Perineal Dermoplasty in Rabbits (Disease Investigation & Management - Treatment and Care)

Summary Information
Type of technique Health & Management / Disease Investigation & Management / Techniques:
Synonyms and Keywords --
  • Anaesthetise the rabbit. See: Treatment and Care - Anaesthesia and Chemical Restraint
  • Place the rabbit in dorsal recumbency.
  • Clip the ventral abdominal skin and prepare the skin for surgery. (B606.4.w4)
  • Make a crescent-shaped incision cranial to the genital opening. (B600.9.w9)
    • Remove a crescent of skin cranial to the genital area. (B606.4.w4)
    • This crescent should include the infected and inflamed skin and also the testes and scrotum in male rabbits (i.e. also castrate the rabbit). (B600.9.w9)
  • Note: The amount of skin removed varies with each individual. (B600.9.w9)
    • The amount of skin that is resected should be just enough to make the ventral skin surface flat but not under tension. (B606.4.w4)
  • Some subcutaneous fat may be removed as well. (B606.4.w4)
  • Suture the incision, ensuring there is no tension on the sutures. (B600.9.w9)
    • Use a soft suture material, e.g. 4/0 Polyglactin 910 (Vicryl Rapide, Ethicon), that does not need suture removal and is comfortable. The rabbit's inflammatory response to polyglactic acid is mild. (B600.9.w9)
    • Two layers of suture may be used: a layer of absorbable sutures in the subcutaneous fat to take any tension, before closing the skin with simple interrupted sutures. (B606.4.w4)
Appropriate Use (?)
  • For the treatment of chronic dermatitis of the perineum, when any other predisposing factors have been identified and treated. (B600.9.w9, B609.2.w2)
    • In cases where it is not possible to resolve the underlying cause (as in spondylitis and the accompanying inadequate grooming problem) the removal of the infected skin folds will at least improve the situation. (B600.9.w9)
  • Before surgical intervention, correct the rabbit's diet, reducing excessive production of caecotrophs and treating obesity. (B606.4.w4)
  • The amount of skin that is resected should be just enough to make the ventral skin surface flat but not under tension. (B606.4.w4)
Complications/ Limitations / Risk
  • Bacterial infection of the skin must be controlled prior to surgery. (B606.4.w4)
  • If insufficient skin is removed, the condition will recur. (B600.9.w9)
  • If excessive kin is removed, the position of the genital orifice will be altered such that the direction of urine flow will be changed. (B600.9.w9)
Equipment / Chemicals required and Suppliers
  • Anaesthetic.

  • Surgical kit suitable for rabbits.

  • Soft suture material, e.g. 4/0 Polyglactin 910 (Vicryl Rapide, Ethicon). (B600.9.w9)

Expertise level / Ease of Use
  • This procedure should only be carried out by an individual with appropriate clinical training and practical experience; this would normally be someone with a veterinary degree.
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 Nikki Fox BVSc MRCVS (V.w103), Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)
Referee Frances Harcourt-Brown BVSc FRCVS (V.w140); Richard Saunders BVSc BSc CertZooMed MRCVS (V.w121); Anna Meredith MA VetMB CertLAS DZooMed (Mammalian) MRCVS (V.w128)
References B600.9.w9, B606.4.w4, J15.30.w1

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