Did you know that there are health benefits to spaying or neutering your pet rabbit? For example, expect a longer lifespan when you have your bunny spayed or neutered. It is as important for rabbits to be spayed or neutered as it is for cats and dogs.
What is Spaying/Neutering?
This type of surgery is often referred to as “sterilizing” or having your pet “fixed” or “altered.” The term for female rabbit surgery is called “spaying”; for males, it is called “neutering.”
The procedure renders the animals incapable of reproduction, which benefits not only the individual rabbits but the community of rabbits as well.
Overpopulation in the pet world means that animal shelters are unable to house or arrange adoption for the number of rabbits produced and brought to them. Many people have released unwanted bunnies into the wild, which is a death sentence for these little pets who have no idea how to survive on their own.
How and When Should Rabbits be Spayed or Neutered?
For female rabbits, spaying is best performed when your pet is between four and six months old. Spaying is when the uterus and ovaries are removed. For male rabbits, the surgery is best performed when males are between three and five months old. The procedure is castration, which is the removal of the testicles.
Rabbits younger than these ages are prone to complications from surgery. If you adopt your bunny from a shelter, be sure and ask if he or she has already been sterilized as you may not be able to tell by examining your new pet.
Generally, your rabbit’s veterinarian will have a good idea on the right time to sterilize your rabbit. If you have any concerns about the surgery, be sure and ask and also request an explanation of the procedure. Find out what kind of preparation is required and when it will be okay for your bunny to go home with you.
Rabbits Receive Many Health Benefits When Spayed or Neutered
- Females no longer run the risk of cancer in the ovaries and/or uterus, and they’ll have a reduced risk of cancer of the mammary glands.
- Males have a lowered risk of testicular cancer.
- Both sexes will have a lowered risk of contracting diseases that can be passed through the exchange of bodily fluids.
- Both sexes will have less chance of suffering from urinary tract infections.
- Males are less likely to roam, urinate to mark their territory, and engage in fights with other animals because of their sexual aggression.
- Females no longer have to endure the stress and discomfort experienced during heat periods, and will no longer attract the attention of unneutered males.
There are Other Benefits, Too
- Having your pet rabbit sterilized helps resolve the problem of animal overpopulation.
- Female rabbits are less likely to bite, lunge at, and scratch their owners and other pets.
- Males will become happier and more relaxed.
- Both sexes will become easier to train and will bond better with their owners after sterilization. They will also be able to have friends of their own and of the opposite sex, which isn’t possible after sexual maturation unless they are altered. Altered rabbits make much better companions when they are no longer preoccupied with the urge to mate.
- Both sexes will become less destructive and will chew and dig less, but will remain mischievous and fun.
- Not only unsterilized males but also females use urine to mark territory, and male urine in particular has a very strong odour. If he or she is not sterilized before reaching sexual maturity, territorial marking may become a habit even if it no long serves its original purpose of keeping rivals away.
Give Your Pet Special Care After Surgery
When it is time to take your pet home after sterilization, make sure you have your rabbit vet’s instructions and pain or anti-inflammatory medication, and know what to expect.
Check on your rabbit’s surgery site regularly to make sure everything looks normal and there is no sign of infection—i.e. redness or pus. Go back to your rabbit vet if things don’t look right.
Keep the location of your pet rabbit’s cage in a quiet area and don’t encourage your bunny to move around too much. Your rabbit will know what is comfortable and you can expect him or her to avoid hurtful movements.
As you can see, your pet rabbit will reap many health benefits from spaying or neutering, including living a longer, happier life. Your rabbit will also become a much better companion for you and other pets after the procedure is done.
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