When we have pets, we all want them to live forever. We haven’t found the spring of youth yet, but we can make sure our furry family members live a very long time.
Spaying or neutering your rabbit is one of the best things you can do to make it live longer. Veterinarians have been telling us for decades that spaying or neutering cats and dogs is good for them. However, rabbit owners often wonder if these steps are right for their babies or even if they are safe.
There are some risks with surgery, but there are also some good things about spaying or neutering your rabbit. Spaying and neutering rabbits can improve their health, happiness, and behavior, as well as make them live longer and stop them from having litters that you don’t want.
To help your rabbit live the longest, best, and healthiest life possible, read on to learn how to spay or neuter it.
Should I get my rabbit spayed or neutered?
Getting your rabbit spayed or neutered can make it live a lot longer. It may also be good for your rabbit’s health and well-being in general. In the end? Your rabbit can live longer and happier if you spay or neuter it.
The most obvious reason to spay or neuter your rabbit is to lower its chance of getting breast, uterine, ovarian, or testicular cancer. These cancers are sadly common in rabbits that have not been changed. Female rabbits that are still whole have a 65% chance of getting uterine cancer by the time they are 4 years old. This is a very big risk for all species. You can avoid this risk by having your rabbit spayed.
Getting your rabbit spayed or neutered can also make it friendlier and more loving. Animals that have been spayed or neutered are more likely to be friendly and loving with their owners and other pets in the house. They are also easier to learn to use the litter box and less likely to urinate on people or other pets.
Lastly, spaying or neutering a rabbit will usually get rid of its desire to have babies, which is a common behavior problem in bunnies. Because they don’t want to have babies all the time, changed bunnies are usually easier to get along with each other. When bunnies are spayed or fixed, they can live in a coed colony without having to worry about having litters they don’t want.
How old should my rabbit be before it is spayed or neutered?
It is best to spay or neuter your kitten as soon as possible, if possible before it starts to show health problems or bad behavior. The best way to be sure of this is to have the surgeries done when the rabbit is still young.
Most of the time, around 3 to 6 months old, when the rabbit is sexually mature, is the best time to spay it.
In the same way, when the testicles have dropped is the best time to remove a male rabbit. Once more, this lasts for about 3 to 6 months.
Your vet may decide that it is best to wait until your rabbit is a little bigger, though, depending on its size, breed, and health at the moment. This is another reason why it’s so important to see a vet regularly who knows a lot about unusual animals.
What about getting older bunnies spayed or neutered?
Anesthesia can be more dangerous for animals as they age, just like it can be for people. Even though different exotics vets have different thoughts, most agree that the benefits of the surgery often outweigh the risks, even in older rabbits. Older bunnies, on the other hand, will need more tests before surgery and may take longer to heal.
You should have a serious talk with your vet if your rabbit is already well into old age (5 years or more). These details will help you figure out if the surgery is safe for your rabbit and if it will still do what you want it to do.
Is it okay to spay or neuter my rabbit?
There is some danger in all anesthetic procedures, no matter how safe or common they are. That being said, spaying or neutering a rabbit is a safe and low-risk operation that should only be done by a vet who has experience with rabbits. Most of the time, the benefits of spaying or neutering rabbits are much greater than the small risks.
Before you set up the surgery, make sure your vet knows a lot about rabbit surgery and how to care for them afterward. These websites can help you find a rabbit-friendly vet near you: the House Rabbit Society’s list of veterinarians or the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians.
You should also make sure that your vet knows the pros, cons, and possible side effects of spaying or neutering your pet. Before having your rabbit spayed or neutered, here are some things you might want to ask your vet.
Questions to Ask Your Veterinarian Before Spaying or Neutering Your Rabbit
- How long have you been seeing exotics animals, specifically rabbits?
- How many rabbits do you see in your office annually?
- On average, how many spays/neuters do you perform on rabbits each year?
- What is your success rate?
- Have you ever lost a rabbit during surgery? If so, what was the cause?
- Should my rabbit fast before surgery?*
- What are your anesthetic protocols?
- What precautions and supportive measures do you have in place before, during, and after surgery?
- Can you please describe the surgery?
- What is your typical post-operative plan?
- Do you provide pain control medications or antibiotics?
- Do you suggest feeding a recovery diet (like Critical Care) after surgery?
* The answer to “Should my rabbit fast before surgery?” should be an emphatic “No.” Rabbits are unable to vomit or regurgitate, so there is no need to withhold food or water before surgery. In fact, doing so could cause your bunny to go into gastrointestinal stasis, making the entire situation much riskier. If your vet answers “Yes” to this question, they may not be qualified to perform the surgery.
How Are Spay and Neuter Procedures Performed on Rabbits?
In order to spay or neuter your rabbit, it will need to be fully sedated. During the whole process, trained professionals should closely watch the vital signs of anesthetized animals, such as their heart rate, breathing rate and effort, blood pressure, temperature, and others.
The surgery that is done on female rabbits is called an ovariohysterectomy. A rabbit’s hair is shaved off her abdomen, her skin is cleaned, and a cut is made through her abdominal wall so that the vet can easily and properly spay the rabbit. Her uterus and ovaries are taken out, and her blood vessels are cut off. Then she gets several rounds of stitches to close her up.
Male rabbits are neutered, which is also called an orchiectomy. Because this is usually a faster process, you need to be asleep for less time. After the hair around your rabbit’s scrotum is cut off and the skin is properly cleaned, the testes are tied off and taken out. The cut can be made straight into the scrotum or just before it. The doctor can either sew up the wound that was made or leave it open so it heals itself.
What should I do to take care of my rabbit after I spay or neuter it?
When rabbits are spayed or neutered, most of them do very well and heal without any problems. However, it is very important to keep a close eye on your rabbit, check their cuts, and make sure they are eating.
Because they are prey animals, rabbits are hard-wired to hide when they are sick or hurt. As a responsible pet owner, it’s your job to keep them safe and comfy and keep a close eye on them while they heal. Keep an eye out for any signs, no matter how small, that your child might need extra help, like a loss of hunger, drinking less water, having problems with feces, changing behavior, etc.
Neutering Aftercare for Male Rabbits
Each rabbit is different, but many guys are hungry and ready for a snack when they get neutered. Once a male is neutered, he can still keep sperm for up to three weeks. Because of this, you should keep your male rabbit away from any female rabbits that are still whole for the first three weeks so that they don’t have a litter.
Spaying Aftercare for Female Rabbits
Women may want to be left alone after surgery because they have a more extensive treatment. Also, for a few days, they might not want to be touched or moved. Most of the time, it’s best to accept these requests for privacy. As well as making sure she gets her daily medications or suggested extra food, make sure your little girl has plenty of fresh grass-hay and clean water.
Take care of wounds and manage pain
Get advice from your vet on how to stop your rabbit from licking, chewing, or digging at their wound if you notice this happening. You will need to stop doing this so that the wound doesn’t open up. Making sure they get the full amount of pain medicine that your vet has recommended is very important.
Timelines for Behavioral Change
Also, keep in mind that spaying or neutering your pet might not fix the problem right away, especially if it has behavior problems. Since it can take a while for hormone levels to return to normal, bad behavior may persist for a few weeks to a few months after the surgery.
Some dominant behaviors, like hair pulling, humps, circling, etc., may have become ingrained if your furry friend was altered after it reached sexual maturity. This is why it’s important to talk to your vet about any worries you have before the surgery and set realistic goals.
Spaying and Neutering: An Important Procedure for Rabbits
Unfortunately, spaying or neutering your Rabbit won’t give it eternal life, but it has been shown to make it much healthier and live longer. Most of the time, these surgeries also make your rabbit a friendlier and more affectionate pet by reducing bad habits.
There is a chance of risk with every surgery, but as a responsible and informed pet parent, you can help lower these risks. Finding a doctor team that knows a lot about rabbits can help the process go more smoothly and answer any questions you have about your bunny.
Choosing to have surgery isn’t an easy choice, and it should never be taken easily. But if you know what to expect and speak up for your furry friend, you can help make sure that the process goes smoothly and that your bunny heals quickly and comfortably.