Analgesia in pet rabbits: A survey study on how pain is assessed and ameliorated by veterinary surgeons

Livia Benato, Joanna C Murrell, Emily Jayne Blackwell, Richard Saunders, Nicola Rooney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
244 Downloads (Pure)


In the last 20 years, two studies on the veterinary use of perioperative analgesia in small mammals reported a limited use of analgesics in rabbits but suggested an increasing use over the years. The aim of this study was to better understand how pain is treated and ameliorated in rabbits while under veterinary care.

An online survey of 60 questions was developed and advertised at national and international veterinary conferences, in veterinary publications and on social media.

In total 94.3% of the respondents routinely administered NSAIDs to rabbits undergoing surgical procedures such as neutering, 71.4 % administered an opioid and 70.3 % routinely administered multimodal analgesia, although dosages do not always match current consensus opinion. Buprenorphine and meloxicam were the most common analgesic drugs prescribed by the respondents. The dosage of meloxicam administered both parenterally and orally varied widely.

Rabbit analgesia has improved over recent years similarly to the trend seen in other companion animals. However, overall it seems that pain assessment is still limited in rabbits. The lack of multimodal composite pain scales specific for rabbits makes this task even more challenging.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalVeterinary Record
Early online date17 Apr 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Apr 2020


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