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Postoperative anorexia and ileus in the rabbit: a practical research in elective surgery

  • E. Hartings
  • K. Hermans
  • I. Moeremans
  • J. Dewulf


Anorexia and ileus are common postoperative complications in rabbits and can be fatal if left untreated. Risk factors, like stress and pain, need to be minimized or avoided as much as possible. To get an insight into potential risk factors related to the anesthetic protocol for orchidectomy and ovario(hyster)ectomy (OV(H)X), a questionnaire was sent to veterinarians in Belgium and the Netherlands. Based on 209 answered questionnaires, a significant difference in the development of anorexia and ileus could be seen depending on the type of surgery (less in orchidectomy than in OV(H)X). Two other significant differences were noted: ovario(hyster)ectomized rabbits less frequently developed ileus when butorphanol was used, and more frequently developed anorexia when an antidote was used. This must however be interpreted carefully, since other study-related factors may have played a role. When considering whether or not buprenorphine – an opioid drug for which contradictory results have been reported in the literature – induces gastrointestinal stasis in rabbits, it is noteworthy that in this study, ileus was not reported to be a significant, more frequently noted side effect.

How to Cite:

Hartings, E. & Hermans, K. & Moeremans, I. & Dewulf, J., (2022) “Postoperative anorexia and ileus in the rabbit: a practical research in elective surgery”, Vlaams Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift 91(1), 11–16. doi:

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Published on
28 Feb 2022
Peer Reviewed