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Tubing rabbits VS masking rabbits

22 9:37:41

Question
V-Gel Airway Device
V-Gel Airway Device  
Hi Dr Krempels,
My veterinarian has been very successful in masking rabbits for spays and neuters. She tried to tube one of my rescue rabbits tonight using the new V-Gel Rabbit airway device. After 3 attempts my rabbit died. Is it really better to try to tube them? She successfully has spayed and neutered about 100 rabbits for me by masking and all have survived.
Thank you very much for your input.
Janet

Answer
Dear Janet,

I'm so sorry about your loss.  I've not heard of this happening with a V-Gel, as they are pretty non-invasive.  

While it is better to have an intubated patient in case of problems during surgery, many vet still avoid intubating rabbits because they are soooooo very difficult to intubate.  

One of the problems with traditional intubation is the risk of overstimulating the vagus nerve, which can cause cardiac arrest.  I was under the impression that the V-Gel eliminated this risk, but I could be wrong.  It's usually a risk only if an animal struggles while being intubated.

Did your vet determine a cause of death via necropsy?  It might not have had anything to do with the V-Gel.  Just a thought.

Dana