Food and water should NOT be removed from a rabbit the evening before surgery! Ignore this direction if given by the front office staff and discuss this with your vet if the instructions come from him/her. Rabbits cannot throw up and possible vomiting is the reason that food is removed from cats and dogs. It is harmful to the rabbit and causes a longer recovery time if food is removed. The rabbit should also be tempted to eat as soon as they are awake to assist with the recovery process.

All about anesthesia


Surgery Aftercare for Rabbits: The Mae West E-collar/cone alternative for rabbits

Here’s a great idea from the House Rabbit Society on preventing a bunny from chewing his or her stitches or incision. Note that traditional e-collars (elizabethan collars) dont’ work well for rabbits. They can get their front feet stuck in them, and e-collars make it impossible for a bunny to reach and eat their own cecal pellets (which are critical for their digestive health.)

Image from the House Rabbit Society’s Facebook Page

The House Rabbit Society posted what they call a “Mae West” collar for bunnies on their Facebook Page (and we highly recommend you follow the House Rabbit Society for great advice, ideas, and of course cute bunny photos.)

A Mae West collar is a long tube positioned around a bunny’s neck, fastened like a necktie with tape instead of a knot. This bunny’s feet are not wrapped. What you are seeing is the ends of a long tube made out of cloth and vet wrap. The Mae West keeps the bunny from reaching and pulling at her incision scar (and the staples or stitches holding it together for healing). Note that the bunny can still reach her cecal pellets adn can groom in other areas. 

The original poster included these notes: 

That is a yoke collar. They are just big enough so a rabbit can’t get their mouth over to chew or nibble at the surgery site. Her front legs are not wrapped up. That is the two ends of the yoke collar that are fastened together. My rabbit tolerated the yoke collar much better than the ecollar and they used this up at UC Davis also. 

We will try to get more details on creating a yoke collar and post them here!

Another e-collar/cone alternative for small rabbits: The Sock

Natalie Scanlen shared this idea that worked for her and her small bunny, Elwha:

My Elwha pulled her staples and the emergency vet put a cone on her that did NOT work. So this was my fix, a sweater made by cutting appropriate holes in an old sock. It worked really well and I used it for my other buns. The trick is a thin stretchy sock that doesn’t hang loose. 

After we took it off she had “hat hair” for a few days, but it was worth it to let her heal. And she stayed pretty clean underneath so didn’t miss the grooming. We also chose a sock with a snug cuff that stayed close around her neck. If the cuff is too loose they can wriggle out.

Elwha the naughty bunny models the modified sock that made her leave her surgery scar alone.


  1. Any idea on what material is used on the tube for the yoke collar?

    1. Author

      Hi Jules, some people use a sock with stuffing in it. You can also use duct tape wrapped around something to make a tube. Hope your bunny is doing ok!

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