Why spay and neuter?
Click here to download a brochure with more information.
Spaying a female can be used to prevent or treat neoplasia of the uterus or pyometra and other uterine disorders. Female rabbits are at a great risk of developing uterine, ovarian and mammary cancer if not spayed. Some studies show up to 90% of unsprayed females may get reproductive cancer. This cancer can metastasize and spread through the body, attacking the lungs, liver, bones, skin and other organs, eventually resulting in death. This is entirely preventable by having your rabbit spayed. Males can also get testicular cancer if not neutered.
Rabbits tend to be much happier and calmer once altered. Chewing and digging behaviours decrease, as well as aggressive and territorial behavior will decrease (ie growling, biting, and lunging). Altering your rabbit will make it much easier to litter train them (they will not have the same urge to mark territory) and they will not spray your home as many unaltered rabbits do once they become mature. Unspayed females may go into false pregnancies and nest build. This can be very stressful on them. Once spayed, this will no longer occur.
As careful as you may be, unwanted pregnancies occur all the time. This is a common story we hear from individuals requesting help: they have a male and female, both unaltered, but housed separately, yet when they are not around, one rabbit manages to get in the other ones cage and 30 days later they have a litter. Shelters are usually always full and it can be difficult to find a home for a whole litter or rabbits on your own. For every rabbit that is breed, it means one in a shelter does not find a home and is euthanized. Do not contribute to the over population of rabbits!
Rabbits are very hormonal and territorial until they are altered, making bonding nearly impossible. Once your rabbits are altered, bonding becomes much easier and they will accept each other much more readily. Even same sex siblings may start to fight once they become mature if they are not altered. For more information on how to bond your rabbits, pleas see: www.rabbitrescue.ca/Rabbit Info/bonding.html
When to spay/neuter
Rabbits should be sexually mature when altered. For females, this can be done at 5-6 months
of age and for males at 3 months. Females can usually be spayed during early pregnancies
without additional complications. Speak to your vet immediately you suspect your unaltered female may be pregnant.
Finding a vet:
Spaying or neutering your rabbit is a very safe procedure when done by an experienced rabbit vet. Please visit: www.rabbitrescue.ca/useful-info/vets/ to find a vet who you trust to do this procedure. Rabbits are quite different than cats and dogs, so make sure that your vet has plenty of rabbit experience. Remember, do not fast your rabbit prior to surgery. If your rabbit is older, you may wish to do pre-anesthetic blood work to make sure there are no additional risks in putting your bunny under anesthetic.
After surgery care:
Make sure your vet will be providing your rabbit pain medication after the surgery. When you pick up your rabbit from the vet you may also wish to ask for additional pain medication (which you can purchase) to be given over the next few days to make your rabbit more comfortable. If you bring your rabbit home the same day of the surgery, he/she may still be sleepy from the anesthetic. If this goes on too long, please contact your vet. Try to encourage them to eat once fully awake by offering them their favorite treats. If your rabbit is not eating by the next day, contact your vet.
A male rabbit can still impregnate a female for up to TWO months after being neutered! Keep your male rabbit away from your female (even if he is neutered) while she is recovering, as internal damage can be done if he mounts her.