Neutering and Spaying your Rabbit

Neutering and Spaying your Rabbit

What is Neutering?

Neutering is a surgical procedure performed to prevent reproduction in both female and male rabbits. In males, the testicles are removed, which causes a drop in the level of testosterone. In females, the ovaries and the uterus are removed, preventing your rabbit from falling pregnant.

The operation is very straightforward; your rabbit will arrive in the veterinary clinic in the morning, stay for the day and most likely will be home by evening or the next day. As with all surgical procedures, there are risks involved, but neutering is generally safe, straightforward, and the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Neutering (males) or spaying (females), can help your rabbit live a happier, healthier, and longer life, while also preventing unwanted breeding and reducing aggression. You can neuter or spay your rabbit when it reaches sexual maturity which is around four to six months old.

In this blog post, I’ll explain the benefits of neutering your rabbit, what to expect from the procedure, and how to care for your rabbit once you’ve taken them home.

Dr Bobby Ortiz, small and exotic pet vet, posing with a bunny patient

Dr. Bobby Ortiz, M.V.B.

Dr Bobby Ortiz, aka 'Dogtor Bob', is a small animal and exotic veterinarian based in Dublin. He has a strong interest in Small Mammal (rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets) and Reptile medicine and surgery.

He grew up in a family of avid animal lovers, which led him to work as an Aquarist at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific in California. It was there he decided he wanted to become a vet, and specialise in exotic animals, that needed the same care and medical attention that dogs and cats are given.

He lives with his wife and Brittany Spaniel Bodhi, and has dreams to build a new tropical marine fish tank in the near future!

Benefits of Neutering your Male Rabbit

For male rabbits, known as ‘bucks’, there are many benefits to neutering, such as

  • Eliminating the risk of testicular diseases. Reproductive cancers are quite common in rabbits.
  • Better behaviour-neutered rabbits are less aggressive and usually easier to handle. If you have children who enjoy caring for the rabbit, this is important.
  • Reducing mating/hormone induced behaviours such as mounting and territorial marking (uncastrated male rabbits often spray urine like cats over their territory)
  • Helps bonding-neutering helps both male and female rabbits live together safely.
  • Prevents them from impregnating female rabbits.
two rabbits sit together and eat fresh dandelions

Benefits of Spaying your Female Rabbit

For female rabbits, known as ‘does’, spaying is important for several reasons, including

  • Reducing risk of cancers such as mammary and uterine cancer, both of which can be fatal. Unsprayed females can also develop pyometra, an infection of the uterus.
  • Less acts of aggression and lashing out. This may stem from sexual frustration and phantom pregnancies, and they may growl, scratch or bite other rabbits or humans.
  • Less fighting; keeping two un-spayed female rabbits together can result in serious fighting and runs the risk of injuries.
  • Eliminating the risk of unwanted pregnancy. Rabbit pregnancies are very short, usually lasting around 31 days. Females can mate again straight away after given birth, so if the father is still around, it’s extremely likely that you will have an explosion of baby bunnies very quickly!

Is Neutering/Spaying Safe?

Neutering procedures are generally very safe and very few complications arise. Of course, every surgery comes with risks and have unexpected difficulties, including the small risk of death, but for most rabbits the benefits outweigh the risks that come with being unneutered.

If you own an older rabbit or one in poor health and are worried about neutering them safely, it is recommended you discuss the risks and benefits with your vet in order to choose the best options for your pet.

Caring for your Rabbit Post-Surgery

Your rabbit will be given pain relief and be sent home with enough to last a few days. Make sure to keep them in a safe, quiet environment, and try to avoid stress triggers such as excessive running, jumping or hard play. You can feed your rabbit as usual, although appetite may not return until 12-24 hours after the operation. Be sure to consistently monitor your rabbit and the incision, and report to your vet any concerns you have regarding behaviour changes, appetite, drinking, urination and defecation.

Neutering is hugely beneficial for both male and female rabbits, and can make them calmer and less aggressive. They usually recover fairly quickly after recovery, so don’t worry if they seem lethargic for the first few days. Always contact your vet if you notice symptoms that concern you.

Any More Questions?

If you have any concerns regarding your rabbit’s health, I recommend you consult with your local veterinarian. For more on feeding and caring for your rabbit, speak to a member of the Petmania team in store today.

Any More Questions?

If you have any concerns regarding your rabbit’s health, I recommend you consult with your local veterinarian. For more on feeding and caring for your rabbit, speak to a member of the Petmania team in store today.

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