Nasotracheal intubation can be used as an easy, less traumatic method of rabbit intubation when compared with orotracheal intubation.
Nasotracheal intubation takes advantage of the fact the rabbit is an obligate nasal breather.
Rabbits normally have their epiglottis entrapped on the dorsal surface of the soft palate, thus allowing direct passage of air from the nasopharynx into the larynx and trachea. A tube placed nasally will naturally traverse this pathway from the nasopharynx into the larynx and trachea.
Potential complications include the possibility of introducing pathogens into the lungs and need for high oxygen flow rates. However, rabbits that received nasotracheal intubation in one study were observed over two months, and no clinical signs of respiratory disease were noted. In addition, high oxygen flow rates were unnecessary.