Pain in rabbits: a review for veterinary nurses [Part 1-3]

summary of:
Pain in rabbits: a review for veterinary nurses [Part 1-3]
Vet examine rabbit in clinic
A. Malik
Published in:
March 2021
Type of access:

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In our edition of: Jun 2021
In our categories of: Exotics

our summary:

Malik, A. (2021) Pain in rabbits: a review for veterinary nurses, part one: assessment of pain. Veterinary Nursing Journal, 36 (3), pp. 105-112

Malik, A. (2021) Pain in rabbits: a review for veterinary nurses, part two: management of pain in hospital. Veterinary Nursing Journal, 36 (4), pp. 132-138

Malik, A. (2021) Pain in rabbits: a review for veterinary nurses, part three: management of chronic pain at home. Veterinary Nursing Journal, 36 (5), pp. 162-168

This three-part review article looks at the recognition and management of pain in rabbits.

Part one focuses on the assessment and recognition of pain, discussing the physiological and behavioural signs that indicate pain in rabbits. The importance of awareness of what normal behaviour in a rabbit consists of is emphasised, as well as the need for ‘whole patient’ pain assessment where tools such as the Rabbit Grimace Scale are used alongside other parameters and not as a standalone method of pain assessment.

In part two, the different methods of managing pain in a hospitalised rabbit are considered, including the analgesic options for the different pain pathways. Multi-modal approaches are described, and local anaesthesia and analgesia techniques discussed. Drug dose ranges are provided in the supplementary materials.

Part three looks at options for managing chronic pain in rabbits in the home, including the benefits of physical rehabilitation in conjunction with multi-modal analgesia. The review concludes with a detailed case study demonstrating the importance of continued monitoring of the patient, as additional interventions or treatments may be needed when the chronic pain condition deteriorates.

Throughout the article, the text is supported by references to the latest published research and clear images.

Take Home

This review article provides detailed practical information that will be useful to all members of the veterinary team in practices that treat rabbits.

Other relevant resources

The Rabbit Grimmace Scale [NC3Rs] [online] Available from: [Accessed 18 June 2021]

Image copyright attribute: Judith Dzierzawa

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