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

Summary Information
Type of technique Health & Management / Disease Investigation & Management / Techniques:
Synonyms and Keywords --
  • Insert a needle at the dorsal border of the zygomatic arch.
  • Direct the needle posteriomedially to reach the superior orbital fissure.
  • Inject 0.5 - 1.0 mL Lidocaine (Lignocaine)).


Appropriate Use (?)
  • For surgery involving the eye or orbit (including enucleation), to allow a lower plane of general anaesthesia. (B531.16.w16)
  • The nerves for orbital nociception and those supplying the extraocular muscles pass through the superior orbital fissue and should be anaesthetised by this procedure. (B531.16.w16)
Complications/ Limitations / Risk
Care is required to avoid accidentally penetrating the globe. (B531.16.w16)
Equipment / Chemicals required and Suppliers
Expertise level / Ease of Use This procedure should only be undertaken by an individual with appropriate clinical training and practical experience; this would usually be a veterinarian.
Cost/ Availability Inexpensive.
Legal and Ethical Considerations There is a risk of accidentally penetrating the globe when this procedure is carried out.

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).

Use of Drugs (Medication):

  • Many drugs are not registered for use in lagomorphs and care should be taken in their use, with proper regard for possible toxic effects. Consideration should be give to relevant legislation regarding the use of drugs.
  • In any country, drugs are unlikely to be specifically licensed for use in non-domestic mammals. 
    • In Europe the prescription cascade must be followed, and the client's informed consent should be obtained, whenever a drug is used which is not licensed for use in a given species. (B284.5.w5)
    • In the UK, guidelines regarding the use of drugs are set out in the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Guide to Professional Conduct 2000: (see: LCofC1 - RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct 2000 - Choice of Medicinal Products).
Author Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)
Referee Tiffany Blackett BVetMed MRCVS (V.w44)
References B531.16.w16

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