Should I neuter or spay my rabbit?

By Link the Bun
Published on: May 1st, 2020

Why neuter / spay rabbits?

Neutering can keep rabbits from becoming aggressive and territorial if it is done when they are young.

It can also prevent uterine cancer in does in later life. It may avoid bucks from developing a habit of spraying urine to mark their territory if done before they are six months old.

Males (bucks) are given a general anaesthetic, and then both testicles are removed with a simple incision on the scrotum.

Females (does), aged six months or older, are given a general anaesthetic, then the veterinarian makes an incision in the belly. The uterus and ovaries are removed before she is sutured back up.

Always choose a veterinarian who is experienced with pet rabbits for these neutering procedures.

Rabbits may be prone to complications unless the right anaesthetic is used. They can only be given certain antibiotics, as well.

What should I look for with my vet?

Do your homework. You can get vet recommendations from rabbit breeders in your area and the local rabbit clubs. Your pet will need some time alone to recover from their surgery, so don’t pop them back in a communal cage or allow them to play with their buddies until they are healed.

There are a number of health and behavioral benefits to neutering your pet rabbit. These include:

  • 1. A longer and healthier life. Un-neutered female rabbits are at higher risk of ovarian, uterine, and mammary cancers. If you neuter your female rabbit, you can almost eliminate this risk. Neutered male rabbits are less likely to become injured in fights with other rabbits since they won’t take out sexual aggression by provoking conflict with other rabbits.
  • 2. Better temperament. When you neuter your pet rabbit, they become calmer and more amenable to handling. Once the inclination to mate has been removed, both male and female rabbits are less likely to exhibit destructive behaviors like chewing and digging, or aggressive behaviors like biting, lunging, and growling.
  • 3. Curtailment of offensive behavior. When you neuter your rabbit, male rabbits no longer spray, and both sexes can more easily be litter trained.
  • 4. Avoiding overpopulation. Neutering your rabbit will eliminate the risk of unwanted offspring. Abandoned rabbits are at risk of starvation, sickness, predators, and other hazards. Even if a rabbit ends up in a shelter, he may not fare much better since animal shelters are crowded, poorly stocked, understaffed, and euthanasia is common. This suffering can be prevented by neutering pet rabbits.
  • 5. Companionship with other rabbits. If you neuter your pet rabbit, you can safely introduce other rabbits for friendship or play. Unaltered rabbits cannot have friends whether of the same or opposite sex, due to hormonally related sexually aggressive behavior.

At What Age Should You Have My Pet Rabbit Neutered / Spayed?

Female rabbits can be spayed once they reach full sexual maturity. This typically happens around four months of age, though some veterinarians prefer to wait until a female rabbit is at least six months old to reduce the risk of complications.

Male rabbits can usually be neutered from the age of about 3.5 months, provided the testicles have descended. Again, some veterinarians prefer to delay the procedure until a male rabbit is five months of age.

It is important not to wait too long to have your rabbit neutered since the risks increase in older rabbits. Many veterinarians recommend that rabbits should not be neutered after six years of age, and it’s a good idea for any rabbit that’s two years old or older to have a thorough health check before undergoing the procedure.

Sterilizing your pet rabbit is highly recommended to prevent problems down the road. Male rabbits that are not neutered ought to have a habit to fight and will rip and also tear any other scrotums leading to medical intervention. The benefits of neutering your rabbit outweigh the risk.

Is It Safe to Have My Pet Rabbit Neutered?

Neutering a pet rabbit involves a surgical procedure. While there are some risks involved, these are minimal, primarily when an experienced rabbit veterinarian performs the surgery. The riskiest part of the process is administering anesthesia, which causes death in 0.1% or less of cases. The most important thing is to make sure you choose an experienced veterinarian to neuter your pet rabbit.

How much does it cost to have my rabbit neutered?

This depends on vetinary practice that you are using, if you have insurance this may be covered but this will be on a case-by-case basis.

In the UK, Neutering costs between £80 – £100. In the US, Neutering can cost $80 – $100 but often include a pre-examination which costs $45.

How much does it cost to Spay my Female Rabbit?

This depends on your location, Spaying a female rabbit typically costs more than neutering a male rabbit. This can be from $75 – $500 depending on the pre-checkup. If you find this too expensive, try finding an exotic vet who can offer competitive pricing.

It’s always worth finding a vetinary practice with a pet plan as this will be a monthly cost but can severly lower your vetinary fees.

How much does it cost to Neuter my Male Rabbit?

Neutering a rabbit is a lot less expensive than spaying, this is because the procedure isn’t as intense. The typical cost of Neutering a rabbit is between $50 – $150.

Again, you want to try and find a vetinary practice that offers a monthly plan which can help you pay this off or have it covered.

Rabbit neuter & Spay recovery tips

Rabbit neuter & Spay aftercare

The most crucial part of aftercare for neutering or spaying is to have your rabbit eating as soon as possible.

Your rabbit is going to be in pain for a few days, so you should be given some pain medication which may cause drowsiness.

We always keep a few extra syringes around incase you need to give your rabbit some critical care. This is to help with any potential GI Stasis that can occur due from a lack of eating.

You should be offering your rabbit constant food and water from fresh water, hay, veggies, pellets and in a worst case scenario treats. We used small treats to make sure our rabbit still had an appetite.

You should give your rabbit 24 hours to start eating and drinking normally, this time is crucial as any lack of eating and drinking is cause for a vetinary trip.

Your rabbits environment should be calm and cosy, this is the same as a post-op situation for yourself but on a much more intense scale.

If your rabbit is part of a bonded pair, they are fine to be with each other as long as they are both calm.

Having a bonded pair can keep your rabbit calm and comfortable, if this isn’t possible, you should spend a lot of time with your rabbit comforting them and making sure they are as happy as possible.

Try not to over exert your rabbit or handle them for a few days. You should keep activity to a minimum for the first 24 hours if possible.

If you are worried at any point, don’t hesitate to call your veterinary practice.

Can I keep my Spayed rabbit with an unneutered Male?

Yes and No, there’s no real answer to this as it depends on the temperament of the rabbits.

You’ll find if they are unneutered, they’re likely to pick fights more often and severely hurt your other rabbits.

Do not try and introduce your rabbit to new rabbits for around 30 days. Their hormones are going to be all over the place, males can also have viable sperm counts for 30 days after neutering.

My Rabbits post neuter behavior is different?

This should be expected, with neutering or spaying you will find them to be less hormonal. This will make them a lot calmer and less likely to be aggressive and spray.

This is something can put off a lot of new rabbit owners, but by neutering or spaying your rabbit you will be giving them a highly likelyhood of living a longer life.

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