What Is Spaying/Neutering?
Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures performed by your vet which remove parts of your pet’s reproductive systems, therefore preventing them from being able to reproduce. Spays are performed on female animals and involve removing the ovaries and uterus. Neuters are performed on male animals and involve removing the testicles. Done by a rabbit savvy qualified vet, this is a safe operation that has many benefits to both you and your pet’s health.
Why Spay/Neuter Your Rabbit?
Prevent Unwanted Pregnancies:
This is vital if you’re going to house multiple rabbit’s together; remember that opposite sexed paired rabbits work best. A rabbit, will on average, give birth to 4-10 kits and can get pregnant again right after giving birth! Rabbits are also the third most abandoned animal in shelters in North America and the first most abandoned in the UK. With so many homeless bunnies already in the world there is really no reason to let your rabbits breed.
Prevent Unwanted Hormonal Behaviour:
Rabbits may start off as cute and cuddly but around 4-6 months of age the dreaded teenager phase will kick in. Their hormones will heighten and begin to dictate their actions. Once sweet and adorable, your rabbit may start exhibiting a number of unwanted behaviours such as grunting, nipping, lunging, territorial aggression, cage protectiveness, humping and marking their territory with foul smelling urine and faeces.
Unfixed female rabbits may not want to be handled or touched and can also exhibit the symptoms of pregnancy. These false pregnancies are very stressful and can be dangerous for her overall health. You may find your rabbit ripping large clumps of fur out to make a nest. If she ingests too much of this hair it could lead to a deadly blockage. In severe cases, her uterine wall may thicken but not dissolve properly when the false pregnancy is over. This can also be life threatening.
Encourage Better Litter Box Habits:
Rabbits are incredibly clean animals who enjoy having a designated spot to do their business, however an unfixed rabbit’s urge to establish their territory will overrule their need to keep a tidy house. Since spaying/neutering will eliminate the hormonal urge to mark, they will instead be once again encouraged to use that delegated spot. You will also find that their droppings and urine have less of an odour to them.
Encourage A Stronger Bond Between You And Your Rabbit:
Since hormones are no longer dictating their behaviour, you can now have the bond with your rabbit that you’ve always wanted. Instead of being chased, humped, boxed at, urinated on or even nipped, you and your rabbit can enjoy your interactions together. Unfortunately one of the main reasons so many rabbits end up in shelters is because pet shops have deemed them to be an easy to care for ‘starter pet’. The uneducated owner is shocked when their rabbit mutates in to an unruly monster and is unaware that a simple procedure can eliminate these unwanted behaviours.
The risk of uterine cancer in an unspayed female rabbit is shockingly high. Up to 75% of unspayed females develop uterine cancer before the age of 5. This risk of cancer rises drastically after the age of 2. There is also a greater risk of males developing testicular cancer if they are not neutered.
Essential For Bonded Rabbits:
Rabbits are incredibly social animals and do best with the companionship of another rabbit. Unfortunately unfixed rabbits (even those of the same sex) are extremely territorial and will often fight to the death to defend their space. Neutering and spaying helps to prevent territorial aggression and dominance issues when rabbits are introduced properly.
When Not To Neuter/Spay Your Rabbit:
Spaying and neutering is of course an optional procedure and not every rabbit will qualify. Fixing your rabbit is not recommended if it’s going to put your rabbit’s health in danger. Heart conditions, rabbits with disabilities or older rabbits are going to have higher risks of complications. It is important to have your rabbit savvy vet perform a thorough physical examination to determine whether or not spaying/neutering is right for your pet.
Who Can Spay/Neuter Your Rabbit?:
Rabbits are extremely delicate animals with a very sensitive heart. Because of this not just any vet can spay or neuter your rabbit. Look for a vet who specializes in exotics and has a lot of experience with rabbits.
Local shelters and rescues often include the cost of spaying/neutering in your adoption fee! You will bypass that pesky teenager phase, not have to worry about post-op care and the fee is often less then taking your rabbit to the vet yourself!
Don’t forget, you can learn more about this topic and others by visiting our YouTube channel BudgetBunny!