Spaying/Neutering Your Rabbit: Pros/Cons, Pre & Post Operation Care

Spaying/Neutering Your Rabbit

Once you decide to own a rabbit, their overall health and wellness depend on how you care for them. From planning their food daily, ensuring they exercise, having an updated vaccination, and many more. Although it is overwhelming for first-time pet owners, it’s essential so you can give them a long and happy life. 

Moreover, the important part of this process is having someone you can trust in your pet, one of which is their veterinarian. Most doctors will recommend having your pet spayed and neutered. One reason is that rabbits are prone to testicular and uterus problems when they age. Undergoing spayed/neutered is advisable, especially if your reason for caring for rabbits is to pet them, not breed them. 

This article will walk you through all about spayed and neutered rabbits. What is the difference between the two? The advantages it gives and the caring tips. If you want to know more about this, keep on reading. 

What is The Difference Between Spayed and Neutered?

There is not much of a difference between the spayed and neutered. The major gap is only the gender of the animals. Spaying is usually done in female animals. It is a process of removing the rabbit’s uterus and ovaries.  While neutering is typically for male animals done to remove their testicles. 

The American Veterinary Medical Association says both are surgical sterilization procedures to remove the organ that produces the reproduction hormone. That is why once you decide to spay or neuter your rabbit, it will not have the ability to reproduce again. 

Although there are a lot of benefits, it can give to your pet. Most owners disregard this procedure’s advantages because they fear their pets will undergo surgery. But with the right veterinarian and medical assistant, spayed and neutered is actually good for rabbits. 

Best Time For Spaying/Neutering Your Rabbit

According to the Veterinary Centers of America, the best time for rabbits to undergo surgery is when they are still young. Sometimes doctors will spay/neuter an animal as young as four months up to six months. But the ideal age is between six to ten months old. 

This will help your rabbit prepare for major surgery to remove their reproductive organs. Although adult rabbits can also undergo this procedure, there are most risks since their reproductive organs are much more mature. 

At the end of the day, if you have doubts, you can always consult your trusted doctor about your pet’s surgery plan. They will know what is best for them. 

Things You Need To Consider Before Considering Spaying/Neutering Surgery For Rabbits

Take note that not all rabbits are eligible to undergo some type of surgery. Since this requires a lot of energy and a healthy body, you need to consider some of the factors of your pet. 

Doctors do not allow you to do the surgery by yourself. There are cases wherein pet owners cut the testicles of their animals, leading to infection and serious risk in rabbits. You need to let the expert do their job because surgery is risky. There is also equipment, such as anesthesia, to avoid a painful feeling while the doctor cuts the rabbit. Always discuss the surgical plans with your pet’s doctors to avoid problems in the future.

To guide you better, here are three general things you need to consider: 

1. Age

Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund stated in their article that age is one of the important elements when undergoing surgery. Although it’s always ideal to spay/neuter your pet during their younger year, adults can also do this. As long as your rabbit is healthy and capable of doing the surgery, the vet will allow it. 

2. Weight

Weight is also a factor that you need to consider. An obese rabbit has a lot of complications. That is why before surgery, the doctor is always getting the weight of their animals. This also helps them know the amount of anesthesia your pet’s body can take. 

If your pet is obese, the doctor will first suggest changing the diet. Also, you need to decrease their weight before the doctor approves the surgery. This will increase the chances of a successful post-operation recovery.

3. Underlying Disease

Another important thing to consider is if your rabbit has an underlying disease like snuffles or Gi stasis. RWAF stated in their article that if your pet has a disease, they are not eligible to undergo surgery unless the doctor recommends an emergency procedure.  

Health issues can contribute to more risk for your pet during surgery. Remember, one of the requirements before undergoing surgery is a healthy body

Disadvantages of Not Having a Spayed/Neutered Rabbit

1. Testicular Problems in Male Rabbits

Testicle problems are common in male rabbits once they become adults. That is why some doctors recommend pet owners to neuter their rabbits to avoid future problems. The testicle is part of your pet’s reproductive organ, producing sperm cells. Some of the health issues that male rabbits can encounter are cancer and infection. 

2. Pyometra in Female Rabbits

While male rabbits can be diagnosed with testicle problems, female pets also have a risk in their reproductive system. Bishop Stortford Veterinary Hospital stated that the uterus of female rabbits works differently from other animals because they have two uterine holes rather than one. 

This is also why bacteria like Pasteurella multocida can easily travel inside your rabbit’s body, causing pyometra. This bacteria is transmissible through sexual intercourse. So if your female rabbits have sex with a positive male, most likely, your pet will become a new host for the bacteria. Your female rabbit can be diagnosed with uterus infection once they become an adult and has not been spayed because it occurs in the uterus. 

Read More: Definitive Guide to Your Rabbit’s Health

Advantages of Spayed/Neutered Rabbit

1. Spayed/Neutered Decreases Chance of Unwanted Pregnancies

Unwanted pregnancies can happen if both male and female rabbits share the same cage and they are in heat. If it happens the first time, there is no problem with that. But, if the rabbit continuously produces babies, it can be quite alarming. 

Overpopulation in the same household can sometimes lead to negligence. VCA claims a female rabbit can have a 14-baby rabbit in a single pregnancy. And they can get pregnant every month, so it is a challenge to avoid breeding, especially if you own more than two rabbits with both genders. 

But if your rabbit undergoes surgery to remove the organ that produces babies, you can decrease the chance of unwanted pregnancy. 

2. Spayed/Neutered Decreases Aggressive Behaviors

Although rabbits are naturally friendly animals, they sometimes tend to be aggressive. You must remember that rabbits are still animals and have an instinct to be territorial because of their ancestry roots. 

Before rabbits became domesticated pets, in their early years, they once lived in a natural environment. Wild rabbits claim territory to avoid conflict with other animals and ensure they have a food source. 

But even today, captive rabbits can be territorial because their hormones tell them so. One solution to that is undergoing spayed/neutered surgery. According to the Oxbow Animal Health article, aggression lessens once the rabbit’s testicle or uterus is removed. 

3. Spayed/Neutered Decreases Reproductive Problems

One of the primary advantages of this surgery in rabbits is decreasing the chance of testicle and uterus problems. Since this surgery removes your pet’s reproductive parts, they reduce the chances of cancer or infection when they get old. That is why it’s also ideal for rabbits to undergo this surgery when they are still young. It’s easier to conduct and has minimal risk for them. 

Pre-operative Care for Spayed/Neutered Rabbits

Before you let your rabbit undergo spayed/neutered, you must discuss it with your veterinarian. Again there are many considerations that the doctor will look at. As a general rule, the doctor will have a physical check-up first with your rabbit to ensure they are physically fit. 

In addition, you need to consider the administration of anesthesia, a strong drug used in surgery to avoid painful feelings during the operation. So if their body is not ready, your pet can have an adverse effect when injecting this drug. Therefore, you must ensure that your rabbit eats well the day before the surgery.     

Postoperative Care for Spayed/Neutered Rabbits

Although the operation is risky for your rabbit, postoperative care is also important. That will determine if the surgery went well for the rabbit. Here are some things you need to do to help your rabbit recover from spayed/neutered surgery.  

1. Provide Nutritional Foods

After the surgery, your rabbit is probably hungry and tired. You must offer them only nutritional foods to help them recover their strength. Food can also help your pet heal fast because the nourishment will be distributed throughout its body. 

Let your pet eat their favorite meal, like hays and pellets. Although sometimes rabbits do not have the energy to eat after the surgery, it’s all-natural. Do not force your pet; instead, ask your doctor what food suits them.    

2. Provide Clean Drinking Water

Another thing you need to do is ensure they drink a lot of water. You don’t want your rabbit to become dehydrated because it can only risk your pet more. Aftercare is important, so you need to avoid problems like this. Michigan State University claims water helps build body tissues that help your pet heal. Moreover, they added  that your rabbit’s body contains two-thirds water. That is why you need to ensure they are full and hydrated. 

3. Keep An Eye Out For Any Changes     

One thing that the doctor will remind you of is to look for any adverse effects in your rabbit. Assess your pet every hour to see if they are eating and drinking. Also, look at their behavioral changes. You must see as early as possible if there are signs of sickness in rabbits. If not treated, it might lead to infection and other problems.   

4. Ensure A Safe and Quite Place

If the doctor allows your rabbit to go home, let them rest. Rest is important in aftercare because it will help the rabbit regain strength from surgery. Do not let them sleep in their old cage and bedding because bacteria might affect their surgery. One thing you want to avoid is an infection because it is a risk to your pet’s full recovery.

5. Avoid the Rabbit Having Contact with the Surgery Cut

Like any normal wound, the surgery cut is uncomfortable for rabbits. That is why sometimes they will try to lick and scratch it. If days pass and their wound starts healing, avoid saliva contact with your pet’s wound at all costs. Some reports say rabbit saliva can infect an open wound. The best way to help your pet avoid this behavior is to put a cone collar on their neck.   

Complications for Post-Operation

Most spayed/neutered surgery cases are successful, according to VCA. But there are times when complications can also occur. That is why you must note the doctor’s reminders when your rabbit is in the recovery stage.

Do not believe in myths and hoaxes that you read online. Always be informed with the right information, especially concerning your pet’s health. Contact their vet immediately if you think your pet is having postoperative complications. 

Here are some of the complications of spayed/neutered:

1. Anesthesia Allergy

Allergies to anesthesia are rare in animals. But there are some cases where your rabbit will react to the injected drug in their body. You can notice this if some part of their body suddenly swells and they continuously scratch the injected area. 

2. Postoperative Infection

Infection happens if a bacteria enters an open wound. That is why there is a possibility that your rabbit will have an infection after the surgery. But this is avoidable, as long as you follow the after-care tips of their doctor. You also need the prescribed medicine to reduce pain and inflammation from the wound cut.    

3. Internal Bleeding

When your rabbit undergoes surgery, there is a possibility of internal bleeding. However, doctors will try to fix this during the surgery. But occasionally, their wound can be opened again, bringing back the bleeding. You must keep an eye on your pet to avoid infection from bleeding. Schedule a visit to their doctor again for fast treatment.                  

4. Lost of Appetite

Losing appetite is one of the common problems in animals after any surgery.  Even if you offer them their favorite food, you will notice that they would ignore it and prefer to rest. 

Doctors sometimes put an IV fluid to assist with nourishment. But it’s advisable to let them eat independently to regain their appetite while recovering. If your pet is not eating for a day after being spayed/neutered, bring them back to their doctor as soon as possible.                             

Key Takeaways

  • Spayed/Neutered is a surgical operation commonly done in animals to remove parts of their reproductive system.
  • Spaying is done in female rabbits, removing their uterus and ovaries that produce egg cells. 
  • Neutered is done in male rabbits, removing their testicles that produce sperm cells.
  • When rabbits undergo spayed/neutered, they will no longer reproduce babies in the future. 
  • The best time for rabbits to undergo spayed/neutered is while they are young, between six to ten months. Although adult rabbits can still have the surgery, you must first ask for the doctor’s advice to ensure it is safe for your pet. 
  • Before a rabbit undergoes surgery, there are many things you need to consider, such as the rabbit’s age, weight, health status, and if they have any underlying disease. 
  • Doctors recommend many owners get their pets spayed/neutered, especially if they are not a breeder. In addition, there is also a risk for animals when they are not spayed/neutered. Some of them are testicular problems and pyometra which often occur when the rabbit ages. 
  • Advantages of spayed/neutered; decrease unwanted pregnancies, decrease aggressive behaviors, and reproductive-related problems. 
  • Before the surgical operation, ensure that your rabbit has enough rest and eats nutritional food. You need to keep them fit to ensure that the recovery stage is easy and does not lead to serious problems.
  • Postoperative care includes; giving healthy foods, providing clean water, keeping an eye out for adverse effects, ensuring they have a good rest, and avoiding licking the wound cut. 
  • Spayed/Neutered surgery is often successful, especially with the right care from the doctor and pet owner. But on rare occasions, there are some risks after the operation, such as allergic reaction, infection, internal bleeding, and loss of appetite. It’s advisable to bring the rabbit to the doctor immediately for early treatment and assessment.
Rabbit Digestive System

Rabbit’s Digestive System: Parts, Problems, Treatment & Prevention

Rabbit Sounds Every Owner Should Know

8 Rabbit Sounds (Happy, Unhappy & Angry) Every Owner Should Know