Common & Spay/Neuter of Rabbits Related FAQs
At Griffin Avian and Exotic Veterinary Hospital, we get a ton of interesting questions from pet parents. Below are some common FAQs that might help answer any questions or concerns. Please feel free to call us at 704-932-8111 for any other concerns you might have about your pet.
When should I take my pet to a vet?
Preventative care is the most valuable asset to offer your pet. You should have your pet examined by a veterinarian once you acquire them. Your vet can instruct you on proper husbandry, diet, disease prevention, behavioral expectations, and many other important facts that you should be familiar with to best care for your pet. Even if you have had your companion for months or perhaps years, you may need to adjust their diet to provide your pet a better chance to live a long, healthy life.
If your pet shows any signs of illness—such as lack of appetite, lethargy, depression, abnormal urine or bowel movements, or anything else unusual—you should see a vet immediately! Many species of exotic animals can hide illnesses for a substantial amount of time and may be critical by the time they show obvious signs.
What are the benefits of getting my pet sexed?
Getting your pet sexed can help you understand your pet’s behavior and assist in modifying that behavior. It also aids in pairing amongst breeding birds and reptiles. Perhaps most importantly, it may support a diagnosis of an illness specific to one gender or the other (i.e., egg-related peritonitis in birds).
Spay and Neuter of Rabbits Related FAQs
Should I Have My Rabbit “Fixed?
- Spaying/neutering eliminates the risk of unwanted pregnancy.
- Mistakes in identifying the sex of rabbits can be made in multi-rabbit households, and unwanted pregnancies can occur. Spaying also reduces the risk of false or pseudopregnancy in females, which can cause undesirable behavior like nesting or digging.
- Spaying reduces the risk of uterine cancer and other reproductive diseases. Adult, intact (or non-spayed) female rabbits are at high risk for uterine cancer.
- Depending on the breed, the incidence of uterine cancer can be as high as 60%.
- Spaying/neutering improves the “pet quality” of your rabbit.
When rabbits reach sexual maturity, they can become territorial, aggressive, and destructive. These changes make the pet rabbit harder to handle and litter train and male rabbits are more likely to spray urine.
Most rabbit breeds reach sexual maturity between 4 to 6 months of age. Spaying or neutering your pet rabbit at 5 or 6 months will significantly reduce undesirable behaviors, making your rabbit a better companion. (The risk of uterine cancer increases significantly after 2 years, so all rabbits should be spayed before this time).
How Should I Prepare My Rabbit For Surgery?
The most essential preparation for surgery is to NOT change your rabbit’s routine in any way.
- Do NOT withhold food from your rabbit prior to surgery. Unlike dogs and cats, rabbits cannot vomit, so there is minimal risk of aspiration into the lungs during anesthesia. It is more dangerous to empty the digestive tract, which greatly increases the risk of gastrointestinal stasis, a very serious and potentially fatal problem, after surgery.
- Do NOT change your rabbit’s diet.
- DO bring your rabbit’s normal food and favorite treats to the hospital.
- DO minimize stress in your rabbit.
ALWAYS check with your veterinarian beforehand, but if your rabbit is bonded to another rabbit, you MAY want to bring the friend to the hospital as well. Separation can be traumatic and stressful before surgery. After surgery, the friends can be kept separate, where the rabbits can see and smell each other. Reunite the rabbits after healing.
How Do I Care For My Rabbit After Surgery?
How Do I Care For My Rabbit After Surgery?
- Keep your rabbit quiet and limit her ability to run or jump.
- Handle your rabbit with care. Lift and carry her correctly: supporting the entire body and controlling the back legs. If you are unsure, ask veterinary hospital staff to demonstrate the best way to lift and carry your pet.
- Make sure your rabbit has plenty of water and her favorite foods like leafy greens, hay, and herbs.
- Monitor your rabbit’s appetite, water intake, and fecal output closely. If your rabbit’s appetite slows or stops or any other problems arise, contact your veterinarian immediately.
- Monitor your rabbit for signs of pain such as:
- Loss of appetite
- Hunched appearance
- Reluctance to move
- Sluggishness, depression Loud teeth grinding
- Grunting or crying
- Check the incision site each morning and evening. Some redness and swelling are normal after surgery, but if redness or swelling persists or increases, contact your veterinarian immediately.
- Additionally, sperm can survive in the male rabbit’s ‘tubing’ for up to 4 weeks. Therefore, males should be kept away from intact (non-spayed) females for this length of time minimum.