Lapis ISSN 2398-2969


Contributor(s): Lesa Thompson, Peter Dobromylskyj, Paul Flecknell, Lesa Longley, Gina Neiger-Aeschbacher


  • Providing analgesia during and after procedures, especially surgical interventions, contributes to patient well being and improved anesthesia outcome.
  • It is important to give analgesics pre-emptively, as a more effective pain relief can be achieved (preventing 'wind-up').
  • Furthermore, a major advantage of effective intra-operative analgesia is the reduced need for injectable or inhalant agents to maintain a level of anesthesia.
  • The concentration of inhalational anesthetics such as isoflurane   Isoflurane   to maintain anesthesia are reduced by 0.005-0.025% when analgesics are used in conjunction.
  • To provide evidence for this sparing effect using injectable agents (IM, IP injections) is much more difficult as individual requirements are not clearly assessable.
  • In addition to anesthetic dose reduction, pre-emptive analgesia reduces post-operative recovery due to enhanced locomotion and increased appetite.
See Analgesic dose rates table.


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Analgesic drugs for the rabbit

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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Delk K W, Carpenter J W, KuKanich B et al (2014) Pharmacokinetics of meloxicam administered orally to rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) for 29 days. Am J Vet Res 75 (2), 195-199 PubMed.
  • Wenger S (2012) Anesthesia and analgesia in rabbits and rodents. J Exotic Pet Med 21 (1), 7-16 VetMedResource.
  • Barter L S (2011) Rabbit analgesia. Vet Clin North Am Exotic Anim Pract 14 (1), 93-104 PubMed.
  • Flecknell P A (2011) Analgesia of small mammals. Vet Clin North Am Exotic Anim Pract (1), 47-56 PubMed.
  • Egger C M, Souza M J, Greenacre C B et al (2009) Effect of intravenous administration of tramadol hydrochloride on the minimum alveolar concentration of isoflurane in rabbits. Am J Vet Res 70 (8), 945-949 PubMed.
  • Leach M C, Allweiler S, Richardson C et al (2009) Behavioural effects of ovariohysterectomy and oral administration of meloxicam in laboratory housed rabbits. Res Vet Sci 87 (2), 336-347 PubMed.
  • Longley L (2008) Anesthesia and analgesia in rabbits and rodents. In Pract 30 (2), 92-97 VetMedResource.
  • Souza M A, Greenacre C B & Cox S K (2008) Pharmacokinetics of orally administered tramadol in domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Am J Vet Res 69 (8), 979-982 PubMed.
  • ACLAM Task Force Members, Kohn D F, Martin T E et al (2007) Public statement: guidelines for the assessment and management of pain in rodents and rabbits. J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci 46 (2), 97-108 PubMed.
  • Turner P V, Kerr C L, Healy A J et al (2006) Effect of meloxicam and butorphanol on minimum alveolar concentration of isoflurane in rabbits. Am J Vet Res 67 (5), 770-774 PubMed.
  • Borkowski R & Karas A Z (1999) Sedation and anesthesia of pet rabbits. Clin Tech Small Animal Pract 14 (1), 44-49 PubMed.
  • Ramer J C, Paul-Murphy J, Benson K G (1999) Evaluating and stabilizing critically ill rabbits - Part II. Comp Contin Educ Pract Vet 21 (2), 116-125 VetMedResource.
  • Hillyer E V (1994) Pet rabbits. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 24 (1), 25-65 PubMed.
  • Hughes P J, Doherty M M & Charman W N (1993) A rabbit model for the evaluation of epidurally administered local anesthetic agents. Anesth Inten Care 21 (3), 298-303 PubMed.
  • Liles J H & Flecknell P A (1992) The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for the relief of pain in laboratory rodents and rabbits. Lab Anim 26 (4), 241-255 PubMed.
  • Flecknell P A & Liles J H (1990) Assessment of analgesic action of opioid agonist-antagonists in the rabbit. J Assoc Vet Anaesth 17, 24-29 VetMedResource.
  • Kero P, Thomasson B & Soppi A M (1981) Spinal anesthesia in the rabbit. Lab Animal 15 (4), 347-348 PubMed.
  • Stephen G W & Cooper L V (1977) The role of analgesics in respiratory depression - a rabbit model. Anesthesia 32 (4), 324-327 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Flecknell P (2016) Analgesia and Post-Operative Care. In: Laboratory Animal Anesthesia.4th edn. Academic Press, Elsevier, London. pp142-194.
  • Flecknell P A & Thomas A A (2015) Comparative Anesthesia and Analgesia of Laboratory Animals. In: Lumb and Jones' Veterinary Anesthesia and analgesia. Eds: Grimm K A, Lamont L A, Tranquilli W J, Greene S A & Robertson S A. Wiley Blackwell. pp 754-763.
  • Meredith A (2015) BSAVA Small Animal Formulary Part B: Exotic Pets. 9th edn. BSAVA. 
  • Eatwell K (2014) Analgesia, Sedation and Anesthesia. In: Manual of Rabbit Medicine.Eds. Meredith A & Lord B. BSAVA. pp 138-159.
  • Varga M (2014) Anesthesia and Analgesia. In: Textbook of Rabbit Medicine. 2nd edn. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford. pp 178-202.
  • Carpenter J W (2013) Exotic Animal Formulary. 4th edn. Elsevier Saunders. St Louis, Missouri.
  • Johnson-Delaney C A & Harcourt-Brown F (2013) Analgesia and Postoperative Care. In: Manual of Rabbit Surgery, Dentistry and Imaging. Eds. Harcourt-Brown F & Chitty J. BSAVA. pp 26-38. 
  • Khan C M (2010) Pharmacology. In: The Merck Veterinary Manual.10th edn. Ed: Khan C M. Merck and Co. Inc, New Jersey. pp 2123-2378.
  • Lichtenberger M (2008) Anesthesia, Analgesia and Monitoring of the Critical Rabbit Patient. In: Proc 51st BSAVA Annual Congress. pp 160-163.
  • Huerkamp M J (1995) Anesthesia and Post-operative Management of Rabbits and Pocket Pets. In: Kirk's Current Veterinary Therapy XII Small Animal Practice.Ed: Bonagura J D. Philadelphia: W B Saunders Co. pp 1322-1327.
  • Harvey R C & Walberg J (1987) Special Considerations for Anesthesia and Analgesia in Research Animals. In: Principles & Practice of Veterinary Anesthesia.Ed: Short C E. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins. pp 380-392.