Is anesthesia needed to get blood for blood work?

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Mariam+Theo

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Hello! I have been gone for quite some time and I am so happy to be back!
Anyway, I have a question about blood work for Theo. Theo is my mini rex rabbit who is now 4 years old. He has never gotten blood work done before and I have been wanting to get it done for a while, but haven't had the money until now. I need to get the blood work done very soon (along with several x-rays) because Theo's dewlap is becoming much larger than it should be mostly on one side of his chest and I am getting very worried (see picture). My main concern is that Theo's vet says they normally will put the rabbit under anesthesia to get the blood and I do not feel safe doing that with Theo. Have you ever had your vet tell you this and is this something rabbit-savvy vets normally do? I have heard of rabbits getting blood work before going under anesthesia, but never the opposite.
Thanks in advance for your help!
-Mariam
 

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JBun

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With a typical rabbit and good rabbit vet, it's not usually needed. For a rabbit that freaks out at the vet, sedation may be used, but it's not the same as full on anesthesia like what is used for surgery.

To me he just looks to be overweight. He's got some baggy britches there :p But a lump on one side could indicate a problem, especially if the lump feels different than the rest of the fatty tissue. If you're concerned it's something or he's having other health issues, then having his blood tested could be helpful.

Though if you're thinking it's an abscess or other foreign lump(not just fat), a fine needle aspirate of the lump is more in line with what is done to determine the cause of the lump, and depending on what's found, xrays. If there is something going on, then that's not likely to be the end of testing or expenses. Xrays, meds, possibly surgery, are going to be needed as well. For an unknown lump, I would skip the blood test at this stage and use the money for FNA and xrays if they're needed.
 

Mariam+Theo

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Thanks for the responses! I'm going to ask the vet to try to get blood from him without the anesthesia and see if it works, but if not I don't think I would mind them using a very very minor sedative just to calm him down a bit.

He does seem a little overweight so I am going to talk to the vet about removing pellets from his diet and just feeding him unlimited hay, veggies, and giving him a salt lick. He has a lot of extra fur because he used to be pretty overweight, will the rolls of fur eventually go away?
@JBun, I have felt the lump and it feels like extra fur, but of course, I'm still worried it could be something worse. Does it look like it could be an abscess? I have no idea when the lump became noticeable, but I was just looking back over pictures and it was not there in April. The only diet change that has happened since April is I have started feeding him Orchard grass instead of just Timothy hay. Could that have caused this?
Here is a picture of him from April when the lump was not there:
1628820820472.png
 

JBun

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Did he have a bigger dewlap before when he was overweight, and now it's gotten smaller?
 

Mariam+Theo

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Did he have a bigger dewlap before when he was overweight, and now it's gotten smaller?
Sorry, I'm just now getting back to you, I have been so busy with school and volleyball.
He had a bigger dewlap when he was overweight, and then it got smaller on the right side and a little bigger on the left. It is really weird though because some days it seems bigger/more noticeable than other days.

I removed the orchard grass and swapped him back to only timothy hay on Friday and maybe I'm imagining it, but I feel like the abscess has gotten smaller?
 

JBun

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It might not be an abscess. It could just be his dewlap is a bit odd and lopsided from his weight loss. He's just chunky and a bit baggy from the weight loss, and that might be all it is, which may even out and shrink up over time.

If the bump feels like more than skin or fatty deposits like the rest of the chin, and you're still concerned it could be something more, then it's something you'll want your vet to examine and determine if a FNA is needed to figure out what the lump is.
 
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