Rabbit spay or neuter might be something new to most bunny keepers ; however, it’s a common practice most veterinarians carry out. So what exactly is Spaying or Neutering? What are the health benefits of this particular procedure, and is it necessary? Our blog talks about what you need to know about how to spay or neuter your pet rabbit.
Defining Spaying and Neutering?
Spaying and neutering are reproductive surgeries for rabbits, as we discussed in the introduction.
Ovariohysterectomy is a procedure that involves the spaying or sterilization of Does. A veterinarian performs a surgery that removes the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. As a result, they stop going into heat after an ovariohysterectomy. The operation is through the abdomen, and it involves the removal of both the reproductive tract and the blood arteries that lead to it.
The vet then sutures the rabbit back with stitches. After surgery, we usually recommend giving extra care to your pets by ensuring that they’re comfortable and in a safe environment. Lastly, the total recovery time usually takes ten days for female bunnies.
This particular procedure is for bucks and entails removing the testicles through surgery, making them unable to breed. You should neuter male rabbits as soon as their testicles fall out, especially when they’re 3 to 4 months old.
The vet removes the testicles entirely under general anesthesia and then stitches them up. After a week or two, the doctor then removes the stitches. It’s worth pointing out that this particular surgery is minor and rarely causes any complications. Your vet may let the rabbit go home the same day if it recovers well from the procedure, eats, and generates droppings. If not, the vet admits them overnight.
Is the neutering or spaying procedure risky for your rabbit?
If an experienced veterinarian conducts the surgery, there’s little to no chance of harming your pet rabbit. However, it’s worth mentioning that complications might occasionally occur, although mild. Always visit the veterinarian post-surgery when your pet has an infection, urinary issues, or dehydration.
How Long Does it take for the procedure to be effective?
Hormones take time to diminish; a male rabbit can still get a female pregnant up to three weeks after neutering. On the other hand, spraying and mounting might take weeks or even months to dissipate. Wait until this behavior has significantly decreased before attempting an introduction between a neutered male and a spayed female, usually about four weeks after surgery.
It’s worth mentioning that spaying or neutering doesn’t alter a rabbit’s personality in any way. In other words, your pet still remains friendly and caring toward you and other bunnies. Some rabbits will continue to circle and honk as part of their wooing behavior.
How do you care for a neutered or spayed rabbit?
Your rabbit may be stressed and possibly sore when they arrive home. Allow your pet to retire to their haven, provide a bowl of water, and leave them alone for a few hours. Ascertain if they’re sufficiently warm. Offer him some tasty food, and if they don’t eat or generate droppings within 4 to 5 hours, call your veterinarian.
Check for redness or swelling in the sutures twice a day. Most rabbits will lick their stitches, but make sure he doesn’t rip them out by tugging on them. If you’re concerned, get him back to the vet as soon as you can. Neutered rabbits require less food and gain weight more quickly, so cut back on the dry food and make sure he gets plenty of hay.
Post-Surgery recovery time
Recovery is quick if your rabbit is of the right age and in good health when spayed or neutered. Your bunny should start to feel better in about two days. This is because a rabbit’s body will begin healing its tissue within 24 hours of surgery.
Males, on average, recover faster than females in 48 to 72 hours. However, don’t worry if your female takes a few days longer. Lastly, if your rabbit appears slow and disoriented a week after surgery, regardless of gender, contact your veterinarian.
Post-surgery rabbit care
- Make it a practice to check your rabbit’s stitches often. Your rabbit may try to eat them, which isn’t a good idea.
- Keep an eye out for pus, swelling, redness, and a lot of bleeding. The first three signs and symptoms point to infection—a lot of bleeding demands veterinarian attention.
- Continue to feed your rabbit in the hours and days following surgery. If they’re reluctant to eat, herbs and other delicacies may persuade them to do so.
- Do not handle the rabbit for the first few days after surgery. They’ll be uncomfortable and possibly in pain. Holding them could aggravate the situation.
- Make sure your rabbit starts eating as soon as they’re able to after surgery. Once rabbits are out of the anesthetic, they can eat something light. At this time, try herbs, hay, or pellets.
- In addition to feeding your rabbits, keep them warm. Use a warm towel, to wrap up your rabbit. Always shy away from using an artificial heat source such as electric blankets, which might prevent the wound from healing quickly.
- Make sure your rabbit has enough water to drink. Your pet should drink shortly after the surgery using a sipper bottle or any other suitable method.
- If you have another pet rabbit that’s calm around your post-operated bunny, they can stay together. However, you’ll have to separate the two if there are signs of aggression or even playfulness.
- The feces of your rabbit may have a film of mucus on them when they defecate. Nevertheless, if it lasts more than 48 hours, contact your veterinarian.
- Be cautious of the possibility of ileus. This is a defecation-related result of spay or neuter surgery. If your rabbit doesn’t poop within 24 to 36 hours, seek a vet’s attention.
Benefits of Spaying or Neutering your Rabbit
- Reduces the rate of developing cancer
Rabbits, like many other pets, are susceptible to cancer. Some cancers, such as uterine, breast, and ovarian tumors, appear later in a female rabbit’s life. It’s possible that spaying your female will prevent her from developing cancer. Neutered bucks, on the other hand, are at lower risk of getting prostate and testicular malignancies.
- Lowers cost in the long run
Since rabbits reproduce quickly, it can be costly trying to cater to all their basic needs and occasional veterinary bills in the long run. However, neutering or spaying your bunnies definitely exempts you from spending more on them since they don’t reproduce at all.
- Improves your rabbit’s behavior
You can reduce unwanted behavior such as urine spraying, aggressiveness, and excessive mounting through a simple neutering or spaying procedure, preferably before the age of six months.
- Longer lifespan
We believe that the most significant advantage of spaying and neutering your rabbits is that they will live a longer, happier life. Male rabbits, particularly those who are sexually active, can be violent against other rabbits. As a result, one of your bunny’s lifespan or health is shortened if it gets gravely hurt. A rabbit’s sexual hostility reduces once you spay or neuter them.
Do Shelters Spay or Neuter Rabbits?
While some shelters may provide spay/neuter services, it’s advisable to consult your veterinarian.
If you want to keep more rabbits out of shelters and reduce euthanasia rates, always spay or neuter your rabbit. It’s also recommendable to choose a veterinarian that specializes in bunny spaying and neutering. Lastly, the recovery time is minimal; and saves you money since you won’t have to worry about uncontrolled breeding.
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