I have tried several types of anesthetic regimens on rabbits and have found that by far the best method is to use gas induction with Isoflurane and nitrous oxide and then maintain them by mask. They are very difficult to intubate so I seldom even try.
I would strongly suggest that you not use injectables as I have poor results with them. They are too unpredictable. I have tried ketamine, ketamine/Acepromazine, Ketamine/Xylazine, telazol and sodium pentothal. All have had sudden and unpredictable return to consciousness with violent thrashing.
IV catheters in rabbits can be started in their ear veins. I dim the lights and use my otoscope to transilluminate the ear from beneath. The veins are very easy to see then and for me it makes starting the intravenous catheter much easier.
FIRST CHOICEIsoflurane chamber induction with 5% isoflurane 3L/min nitrous oxide and 2L/min oxygen. Once they are asleep, I slip a loop of string through a mask and over their incisors. Then slip the mask down the string, and, with slight tension on the string, attach the tubing from the gas machine to the mask. This keeps the mask from falling off. Here a hydrogen peroxide bottle was adapted to form a mask for this rabbit.
I reduce the flow to 1L/min nitrous oxide and 1L/min oxygen and maitain them on 2% isoflurane.
Masks can be fashioned for different species from a variety of plastic bottles whose bottoms have been cut off
SECOND CHOICEAs above using halothane in place of isoflurane.
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