Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) heart and respiratory rates remain stable throughout 28 day trazodone hydrochloride administration

Trazodone hydrochloride (TZN) is a medication typically prescribed to humans to treat for depression. Due to rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) delicate anatomy and physiology, prescribing medication can be a challenge. In a previous study, it was found that TZN did decrease the rabbit's overall levels of tension, aggression, and struggling. For rabbits needing sedation, TZN may be used as a safe option when handling is a challenge. Two groups (n=4 and n=8) were treated with TZN during a 28-day trial within a laboratory setting. Rabbits were given an oral dose of TZN (40 mg/kg) every 12 hours +/- 1 hour. Heart rate and respiratory rate were obtained once daily prior to morning treatment of TZN. Veterinarian exams to monitor the health and safety of the rabbits were performed weekly. Preliminary results showed no long-term effect was found for the heart and respiratory rate of rabbits when given TZN twice a day for 28 days. Further analysis on the physiological consequences of TZN use in rabbits should be considered before TZN can be recommended for prolonged clinical use.