Arnold The Bunny Bounces Back After Unusual Operation

Arnold the bunny bounces back after an unusual operation at Scarsdale Vets’ Langley Mill practice. The team also win Gold Status as a Rabbit Friendly Clinic, ahead of Rabbit Awareness Week

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Ahead of Rabbit Awareness Week (1-9th June), Scarsdale Vets’ Langley Mill practice is celebrating, as the team has successfully performed an unusual procedure on Arnold the rabbit, and the practice has been awarded Gold Status as a Rabbit Friendly Clinic – the only one in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Arnold’s Story

Arnold is a 7.5 year old male Dutch rabbit who has long-term health issues, including megacolon syndrome – an inflammatory gut condition similar to IBS in humans. However, with dietary management and medication this is controlled, allowing Arnold to live a healthy, happy life.

Five months ago his owner noticed he had begun to sneeze, with nasal discharge only appearing from one side of his nose. He was taken to Scarsdale Vets’ Langley Mill practice, where a swab was taken which showed that he had a Pseudomonas infection. This bacterial infection can be problematic to treat, so when antibiotics didn’t clear it, vet Yvette Rowntree had to look further for an underlying cause. Yvette noticed that his main upper incisor on the affected side was missing and that Arnold would not let anyone stroke him on that side of his head.

A CT scan of his head was performed at Pride Veterinary Centre – only the second time this has been done on a rabbit at Scarsdale Vets. The team saw that Arnold had an impacted tooth root that was causing a blockage in his nose. Also, the tooth was abnormal and only about a third of the normal length. Given its position, they had to surgically remove the abnormal tooth via the roof of Arnold’s mouth.

Yvette Rowntree, Veterinary Surgeon at Langley Mill, says: “Dental problems are the biggest long-term problem we see in rabbits. This case is unusual because normally to extract a tooth we would go in from the front of the mouth, but due to the complexity of the problematic tooth, we had to go through the roof of his mouth instead, which was a first for me.”

Just two days after the operation, Arnold came back for a check-up – he had no pain in his face, the discharge had stopped, and he was back to his normal self.

Yvette continues: “This was a real success, as the symptoms Arnold was displaying were not what we expected to see, so I’m delighted that removing the incisor has done the trick. This is only the second time we’ve performed a CT scan on a rabbit at Scarsdale Vets, so without this, and without the help of colleagues in the anaesthetic and imaging departments at Pride Veterinary Centre, we wouldn’t have been able to see the cause of the problem, or indeed treat it.”

Langley Mill Practice Wins Gold For Rabbits

In addition to this rabbit-related news, the Langley Mill practice has just been awarded Gold Status as a Rabbit Friendly Clinic by the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RAWF).

There are only 13 veterinary practices in the UK who have Gold status for rabbits, with Langley Mill being the only one in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. Also, vet Yvette Rowntree who operated on Arnold and is based at Langley Mill, is one of only 43 RCVS Advanced Practitioners in Zoological Medicine in the UK, with a particular interest in small animal dentistry.

A few of Langley Mill’s rabbit friendly features include:

  • Provisions for rabbits to wait in quiet areas, away from predator animals such as dogs and cats
  • Separate (sight, sound, smell) kennel areas away from dogs and cats
  • Vets always change tunics in between consultations with prey and predator animals
  • Experienced vet and vet nurse team, especially in regards to surgery

With Rabbit Awareness Week starting in June, Scarsdale Vets’ nine First Opinion practices are encouraging rabbit owners to ensure their pets’ vaccinations are up to date and will be promoting rabbit health on their social media platforms.

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