Rabbit Formulary

DRUG NAME DOSE (mg/kg) & ROUTE FREQUENCY NOTES
Anticholinergics – Prevents bradycardia and cardiac arrhythmias
Atropine 0.02-0.05
IM or SC
Once at induction.  May need to administer booster dose. Some rabbits have atropinase and atropine is quickly metabolized
  • Recommended: Glycopyrrolate

0.1 IM or SC

0.01 IV

Once at induction. May need to administer booster dose.
Inhalation anesthetics – Must use precision vaporizer. Survival surgery requires concurrent pre-emptive analgesia. Mask or chamber induction without injected pre-medication may result in breath-holding and injury.
  • Recommended: Isoflurane or Sevoflurane
1-3% inhalant to effect (up to 5% for induction). Up to 8% for Sevoflurane Whenever general anesthesia is required Survival surgery requires concurrent pre-emptive analgesia.
Nitrous oxide (N2O) Up to 60% with oxygen Whenever deep sedation or general anesthesia is required Not acceptable for surgery as sole agent – usually used with inhalant anesthetic to potentiate effect and lower required dose
Ketamine combinations – May sting on IM injection. May be used for pre-anesthesia prior to intubation and induction of isoflurane anesthesia or as general anesthesia.
  • Recommended: Ketamine-Xylazine
35 – 50
+ 5 -10 IM or SC (in same syringe)
As needed. If redosing use ¼ dose of each. May not produce surgical-plane anesthesia for major procedures.  May be partially reversed with Atipamezole or Yohimbine.
  • Recommended: Ketamine-Xylazine-Acepromazine
35-50
+ 5 -10
+ 0.75 – 1.0 IM or SC (in same syringe)
As needed. If redosing use ¼ dose each of ketamine and xylazine only. May not produce surgical-plane anesthesia for major procedures. May be partially reversed with Atipamezole or Yohimbine.
Ketamine-Medetomidine 35 – 50
+ 0.25 -0.5 IM or SC (in same syringe, or with medetomidine adm. 10-20 minutes in advance) only if pre-medicated with an anticholinergic
As needed. If redosing use ¼ dose of each. May not produce surgical-plane anesthesia for major procedures. May be partially reversed with Atipamezole.
Ketamine-Midazolam 35 – 50
+2 – 5 IM or SC
(in same syringe)
As needed May be useful for restraint for performing short, not painful procedures.
Reversal agents for alpha 2 agents – Atipamezole is more specific for medetomidine than for xylazine (as a general rule, Atipamezole is dosed at the same volume as Medetomidine, though they are manufactured at different concentrations)
Atipamezole 0.1 – 1.0 SC, IM, IV Once. Repeat as needed. To reverse medetomidine or xylazine
Yohimbine 0.2 – 2.0 IV or SC Once. Repeat as needed. For reversal of xylazine effects
Other injectable anesthetics
Sodium pentobarbital (Nembutal) 20 – 50 IV to effect and maintained with intermittent bolus as needed
or
2-20 mg/kg/hr IV continuous infusion after induction
Recommended for terminal/acute procedures only, with booster doses as needed Consider supplemental analgesia (opioid or NSAID) for invasive procedures. Rabbits have a very narrow window of safety for pentobarbital. Apnea is common at anesthetic doses.
Propofol 12-26 IV As needed.  Very short acting unless administered as a an IV drip. Only useful IV, so therefore limited usefulness. Respiratory depression upon induction is possible.
Opioid analgesia
  • Recommended: Buprenorphine
0.01 – 0.1 SC or IP Used pre-operatively for preemptive analgesia and post-operatively every 6-12 hour For major procedures, require more frequent dosing than 12 hour intervals. Consider multi-modal analgesia with a NSAID
Butorphanol 0.1 – 0.5 IM, IV, SC

Every 4-6 hours

Useful for minor, short procedures
Morphine 0.5 -5 IV or IM Every 2-4 hours for 8 hours When fentanyl patch is placed at induction
Fentanyl patch Patch /B.Wt.
25 µg/hr
Place patch 24 hours in advance of surgery and maintain for up to 3 days. Alternatively, place at induction, premedicate with morphine, adm. morphine at 4 and 8 hrs. When severe post-surgical pain is anticipated. Best placed on the back at induction and covered by a  bandage after surgery
Reversal agents for opioids
Naloxone 0.01 -0.02 IV, IM Once as needed to reverse respiratory depression Note that reversal will also remove the analgesic effect of the opioid
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for analgesia (NSAID) — Note that prolonged use may cause renal, gastrointestinal, or other problems.  Used pre-operatively for preemptive analgesia and post-operatively for postoperative analgesia.  Depending on the procedure, may be used as sole analgesic, or as multi-modal analgesia with buprenorphine.
DRUG NAME DOSE (mg/kg) & ROUTE FREQUENCY NOTES
  • Recommended:
    Carprofen
1.0 – 2.2 PO Every 12 hours
Meloxicam 0.1 – 0.3 PO, IM or SC Adm. pre-op, then every 24 hours
Flunixin meglubin
Banamine®
1.0 IM only For supplemental postop analgesia
Every 24 hours for no more than 3 days
Useful for treating hyperthermia
Ketorolac 0.3 – 0.5 IM, SC Adm. pre-op, then
every 12-24 hour
Ketoprofen 2 – 5 SC, IM Adm. pre-op, then every 12-24 hour
Local anesthetic/analgesics (lidocaine and bupivacaine may be combined in one syringe for rapid onset and long duration analgesia)
DRUG NAME DOSE (mg/kg) & ROUTE FREQUENCY NOTES
Lidocaine hydrochloride Dilute to 0.5%, do not exceed 7 mg/kg total dose, SC or intra-incisional Use locally before making surgical incision Faster onset than bupivacaine but short (<1 hour) duration of action
Bupivacaine Dilute to 0.25%, do not exceed 8 mg/kg total dose, SC or intra-incisional Use locally before making surgical incision Slower onset than lidocaine but longer (~ 4-8 hour) duration of action
BU IACUC Approved October 2008