Chennai

This pet parent in Chennai opted for a rare neutering procedure for her rabbit

Lalitha Nair, with her pet rabbit Jennifer Lakshmi

Lalitha Nair, with her pet rabbit Jennifer Lakshmi   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The phrase ‘breed like rabbits’ explains why the animal is usually reared in large numbers -- for producing meat, and to be sold as pets. Even those who have rabbits as pets in India, hardly ever opt for neutering the animals as the procedure costs many times the price of the animal, and after care is equally expensive.

But Lalitha Nair in Neelankarai decided to go ahead and neuter her female rabbit, Jennifer Lakshmi. She explained her decision: “I do not want my pet to breed or develop cancer.” Rabbits are prone to ovarian cancer, and the neutering process protects them from this. “It is not a question of spending money -- Jennifer Lakshmi is a family member,” Ms. Nair said.

“Jennifer Lakshmi follows me wherever I go and licks me, quite like a dog. Rabbits make better pets than cats and dog, if you ask me,” Ms. Nair said when asked how the expensive the procedure was.

In the market, a baby rabbit may cost ₹500, but a neutering procedure and after care will cost many thousands of rupees. Those who keep rabbits as pets usually also allow them to breed. Very rarely does a pet-parent decide against breeding the animal and opt for neutering. Neutering has to be done before the animal reaches two years of age.

“Endo-tracheal intubation in rabbits can be challenging due to their unusual anatomy. It is not like a procedure for a cat or dog. The tube will be inserted after sedation. Then the tube is connected with a gas anaesthesia machine,” said veterinarian P. Mani of the East Coast Pet Hospital at Palavakkam.

The veterinarians took an ECG, and then maintained the body temperature of the animal, monitored its heart rate, respiration and saturated oxygen levels throughout the operation. “The surgery took 45 minutes and the animal gained consciousness after 10 minutes. We also offered four-days of post-operative care at the residence of the pet owner,” explained Sivakumar, another veterinarian.

Both Dr. Mani and Dr. Sivakumar have experience in treating rabbits as they worked on a rabbit farm for many years, an experience that is generally hard to come by. Two days ago, the sutures were removed and the animal is back to its regular activities. Rabbits should be fed a lot of hay, a cup of greens and some fruits on a daily basis, veterinarians explained.

Pet rabbits may live up to eight years even though such longevity is not possible in the wild. As Ms. Nair has plans to move to Germany where her husband is working, she is making arrangements for her travel, along with her pet, of course. “I will fly to Germany with Jennifer Lakshmi by the New Year,” she said.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2020 9:49:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/this-pet-parent-in-chennai-opted-for-a-rare-neutering-procedure-for-her-rabbit/article32619092.ece

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