TECHNIQUE

Castration of Rabbits (Disease Investigation & Management - Treatment and Care)

Rabbit. Surgical area prepared for castration. Click here for full page view with caption. Rabbit draped for castration. Click here for full page view with caption. Rabbit. Scrotum brought through hole in drapes. Click here for full page view with caption. Rabbit castration. Testis exteriorised. Click here for full page view with caption. Rabbit castration. Spermatic cord exposed for ligation. Click here for full page view with caption.

Prescrotal "closed" castration - draped. Click here for full page view with caption Prescrotal "closed" castration. Incision. Click here for full page view with caption Prescrotal "closed" castration - blunt dissection. Click here for full page view with caption Prescrotal "closed" castration - exteriorisation vaginal tunic and testicle. Click here for full page view with caption Prescrotal "closed" castration - Dissection of gubernaculum. Click here for full page view with caption Prescrotal "closed" castration - separated tunic and testis. Click here for full page view with caption Prescrotal "closed" castration - tunic and testicular vessels clamped. Click here for full page view with caption Prescrotal "closed" castration - Testicular vessels ligated. Click here for full page view with caption Prescrotal "closed" castration - Replacement ligated vessels. Click here for full page view with caption Prescrotal "closed" castration - closing incision with tissue glue. Click here for full page view with caption Prescrotal "closed" castration - closed incision. Click here for full page view with caption

Click for Video: Rabbit Prescrotal Castration (Seminoma) Video Clips: Rabbit Prescrotal Castration (Seminoma)
Summary Information
Type of technique Health & Management / Disease Investigation & Management / Techniques:
Synonyms and Keywords Orchidectomy
Description
Open castration
Preparation
  • Anaesthetise the rabbit. (B602.22.w22) See: Treatment and Care - Anaesthesia and Chemical Restraint - Lagomorph Anaesthesia
  • Position in dorsal recumbency. (B602.22.w22)
  • Identify the testes within the scrotum. (B601.17.w17)
  • Carefully clip the fur of the scrotum and surrounding (prescrotal and inguinal) area. (B601.17.w17, B602.22.w22)
    • Do not pluck the fur as this often results in torn skin. (B601.17.w17)
  • Prepare the area aseptically for surgery. (B601.17.w17, B602.22.w22)
  • Drape the area. (B602.22.w22)
Castration
  • Using a No. 15 scalpel blade, make a 1.0 - 1.5 cm incision through the skin and vaginal tunic on the ventral surface of one side of the scrotum. (B602.22.w22) in the skin of the distal scrotal pouch over the testis, continuing the incision through the vaginal tunic to expose the testis, testicular pedicle and spermatic cord. (B601.17.w17)
    • A pre-scrotal incision can also be used. (B600.15.w15)
  • Exteriorise the testis, testicular pedicle and spermatic cord from the vaginal tunic. (B601.17.w17, B602.22.w22)
  • Using a dry gauze sponge, carefully tear the ligament of the testis from the tunic. (B602.22.w22)
  • Pull the testis caudally, exposing a section of the vas deferens and the vascular structures of the spermatic cord. (B602.22.w22)
  • Ligation
    • Place a clamp on the pedicle and place two encircling ligatures round the pedicle. (B601.17.w17)
    • OR Ligate the duct and associated vasculature with 2.0 - 3.0 synthetic absorbable suture material. (B602.22.w22)
    • OR tie off the tissue in an overhand knot. (B601.17.w17, B602.22.w22)
  • Transect the pedicle (duct and vessels) distal to the ligature or knot. (B601.17.w17, B602.22.w22)
  • Check the stump for bleeding. (B601.17.w17)
  • Return the spermatic cord to the inguinal canal, taking care that it can be recovered if it starts to bleed. (B602.22.w22)
    • Release the pedicle into the scrotum; it will usually then retract into the inguinal canal or into the retroperitoneal space. (B601.17.w17)
  • Return the tunic to the scrotum. (B602.22.w22)
  • Repeat on the other side, through a second incision. (B601.17.w17, B602.22.w22)
  • If there is sufficient tissue, close the subcutaneous tissue with absorbable monofilament suture material. (B601.17.w17)
  • Close the skin in a subcuticular pattern using fine absorbable monofilament suture material. (B601.17.w17)
    • Some surgeons prefer not to suture, leaving the incisions to heal by second intention. (B601.17.w17)
    • Tissue glue can also be used to close the incision. (V.w125)

    OR

  • Grasp the scrotal sac and testis with the thumb and forefinger.
  • Make a 1 cm incision over the testis, through the skin and parietal vaginal tunic.
  • Exteriorise the testis.
  • As the testis is pulled out through the incision, it places tension on the parietal vaginal tunic (the testis is attached to the tunic by the gubernaculum).
  • Grasp the parietal vaginal tunic and dissect it from the scrotum.
  • Place a secure ligature (use 3/0 synthetic absorbable suture material) around the spermatic cord, vessels, and surrounding tunic. 
  • Cut through distal to the ligature to remove the testis and surrounding tissue. (B600.15.w15)
  • Note: skin sutures are not needed. (B600.15.w1
Post-surgery
  • Following surgery, observe for haemorrhage for several hours. (B602.22.w22)
  • Overnight cage rest/hospitalisation prevents general over-activity or sexual activity in the immediate post-operative period. (B602.22.w22)
  • See: Treatment and Care - Surgery - Post-operative care
Closed castration
  • Identify the testes within the scrotum. (B601.17.w17)
  • Carefully clip the fur of the scrotum, prescrotal area and inguinal area. (B601.17.w17)
    • Do not pluck the fur as this often results in torn skin. (B601.17.w17)
  • Prepare the area aseptically for surgery. (B601.17.w17)
  • Make an incision in the skin of the distal scrotal pouch over the testis. (B601.17.w17)
  • Exteriorise the testis within the tunic. (B601.17.w17)
    • Dissect the tunic from the scrotum.
    • Great care is required not to tear the thin scrotal skin when breaking down the attachments between the tunic and the scrotal skin. (B601.17.w17)
  • Use a three-clamp technique on the pedicle (including the tunic, vessels and vas deferens). (B601.17.w17)
  • Double-ligate the pedicle: (B615.8.w8)
    • Either place two encircling ligatures, one into each crush from the two proximal clamps. (B601.17.w17)
    • Or place an encircling suture in the crush of the proximal clamp and a transfixing suture in the crush of the middle clamp. (B601.17.w17)
  • Cut through distal to the ligatures to remove the testis and surrounding tissue. (B600.15.w15, B615.8.w8)
  • Note: skin sutures are not needed. (B600.15.w1)s
Abdominal castration technique
  • Make an incision from caudal to the umbilicus to the pubis. (B601.17.w17)
  • Push the testes up through the inguinal canal into the abdomen. (B601.17.w17)
  • Find the testes in the area between the internal inguinal ring and the bladder, or identify the ductus deferens between the bladder and the colon and trace to the testes. (B601.17.w17)
  • Exteriorise each testis. (B601.17.w17)
  • Double ligate and transect the testicular vessels, gubernaculum and vas deferens. (B601.17.w17)
  • Close the abdomen. (B601.17.w17)
    • Repair the abdominal fascia in a single layer using 4/0 polydioxanone (high tensile strength, degrades slowly) or 4/0 poliglecaprone (Monocryl, Ethicon) in either: (B600.15.w15)
      • A row of simple interrupted sutures. OR
      • A continuous suture, with an extra four throws at the start and six throws at the end. The first throws need to draw the edges of the fascia together without crushing the tissue. (B600.15.w15)
    • Close the skin using staples, a subcuticular suture, or tissue glue. (B602.22.w22)
      • A continuous subcuticular suture with a buried Aberdeen knot is appropriate; tissue glue can be used in addition. Or staples can be used. (B600.15.w15)
Appropriate Use (?)
  • To make male rabbits infertile, reduce territorial and aggressive behaviours, and prevent urine marking behaviours. (B602.22.w22)
  • To control reproduction. (B601.17.w17)
    • In males at least four months of age. (B601.17.w17)
  • To reduce aggression between male rabbits. (B601.17.w17)
  • In rabbits with Testicular Neoplasia. (B601.17.w17)
  • Following scrotal/testicular trauma. (B601.17.w17)
  • In cryptorchid rabbits. (B601.17.w17) (see Cryptorchidism in Bears and Lagomorphs)
    • If possible for a testis palpable in the inguinal canal, push it into the scrotum. (B601.17.w17)
    • Otherwise, use the abdominal technique. (B601.17.w17)
Notes
  • The inguinal canal is open and the testes move freely between the scrotum and the abdomen. (B602.22.w22)
  • A large fat mass associated with the epididimis rests in the inguinal canal when the testis is in the scrotum; this prevents soft tissue herniation through the canal and subsequent bowel strangulation. (B602.22.w22)
  • With closed castration, the inguinal canal remains closed. With open castration, inguinal and epididymal fat block the inguinal canal and prevent herniation of guts. (B601.17.w17)
Complications/ Limitations / Risk
  • Note: following castration, the buck may remain fertile for at least four weeks and sometimes longer than this; the buck should be kept apart from any does until six weeks after castration. (B600.3.w3, P113.2005.w6)
Equipment / Chemicals required and Suppliers
  • Standard anaesthetic equipment

  • Surgical equipment.

  • Suture materials:

    • 4/0 polydioxanone (high tensile strength, degrades slowly)

    • 4/0 poliglecaprone (Monocryl, Ethicon)

    • Staples

    • Tissue glue

Expertise level / Ease of Use
  • This procedure should only be carried out by an individual with appropriate clinical training and practical experience.
Cost/ Availability

The costs of a surgical operation include those associated with: (J15.30.w1)

  • Pre-operative diagnostics (e.g. radiography, ultrasonography, blood tests)
  • Anaesthesia.
  • Perioperative medication (e.g. analgesics, antibiotics, fluids).
  • Surgical preparation (of the operating theatre and the patient, including staff time).
  • Consumables and equipment.
  • Time of the surgeon and assistant(s).
  • Post-operative hospitalisation.
Legal and Ethical Considerations In some countries there may be legislation restricting the use of this type of technique to licensed veterinarians. For example in the UK: "The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (Section 19) provides, subject to a number of exceptions, that only registered members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons may practice veterinary surgery." (See: LCofC1 - RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct 2000 - Treatment of Animals by Non-Veterinary Surgeons).
Author Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)
Referee Molly Varga BVetMed DZooMed MRCVS (V.w125)
References B600.3.w3, B600.15.w15, B601.17.w17, B602.22.w22, B615.8.w8, J15.30.w1, P113.2005.w6

Return to Top of Page