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Rodents and lagomorphs
Difficult orotracheal intubation in a rabbit resulting from the presence of faecal pellets in the oropharynx
  1. Sarah Engbers1,
  2. Amy Larkin1,
  3. Mahesh Jonnalagadda2,
  4. Melanie Prebble3,
  5. Nicolas Rousset3,
  6. Cameron G Knight4 and
  7. Daniel S J Pang1,5
  1. 1Veterinary Clinical & Diagnostic Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
  2. 2University of Calgary, Health Sciences Animal Resource Centre, Calgary, Canada
  3. 3Western Veterinary Specialist and Emergency Centre, Calgary, Canada
  4. 4Ecosystem & Public Health, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
  5. 5Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Daniel Pang, dsjpang{at}ucalgary.ca

Abstract

Rabbits have a high rate of anaesthesia-related death compared with other companion animal species. This is influenced by a variety of factors, one of which is difficulty in obtaining a secure airway. The rabbit in this report was enrolled in a larger non-survival study that required orotracheal intubation to be performed. Orotracheal intubation was difficult, taking 306 seconds, compared with a median of 134 seconds (range 29–171 seconds) in the four preceding rabbits. Necropsy examination revealed a faecal pellet lodged in the caudal oropharynx abutting compacted faecal material, ventral to the epiglottis. Two structures of mixed gas and soft tissue attenuation were seen on CT scans obtained pre- and post-intubation, at a location consistent with the faecal material, thus confirming the presence of the pellets at the time of sedation and during intubation. Oral prehension of faecal pellets before anaesthesia represents a previously unreported obstacle to orotracheal intubation in rabbits.

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  • Received October 26, 2015.
  • Revision received January 6, 2016.
  • Accepted January 7, 2016.
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