Spaying and neutering your pet rabbit is as important as having your cat or dog spayed or neutered. Rabbits can normally have surgery once they have reached 4-6 months of age. This may depend on the breed of rabbit and its size. An examination is required by one of our veterinarians prior to surgery where the doctor will give your pet a complete physical exam and answer any questions you may have about spaying and neutering. A pre-anaesthetic blood panel prior to surgery will ensure that your rabbit is healthy on the inside as well. Listed below are the main benefits from having your pet rabbit spay/neutered:
· Eliminating risk of ovarian/uterine cancers and other uterine diseases such as pyometra (infection in the uterus) in females. The risk of developing cancers of the uterus increases as the rabbit ages. It is best to spay before the rabbit is 2 years of age to greatly reduce the risk.
· Reducing aggressive behaviour Both male and female rabbits (especially females!) can display aggressive behaviours such as biting and lunging. Rabbits that were once easy to handle can become very difficult to pick up once they have reached sexual maturity.
· Reducing urine marking behaviours Males and female rabbits can spray urine on vertical surfaces to mark their territory. It is more commonly seen in males than females. The urine from a sexually mature male also has quite a strong odour. If the behaviour is allowed to continue, it may be impossible to completely stop with neutering so it is best to neuter before sexual maturity or just shortly after to curb this behaviour before it becomes a habit.
Spaying and neutering have other benefits for your pet rabbit as well. These are issues we don’t see as often but can occur:
· Prevention of false pregnancies, prevention of mammary gland disease such as mastitis and prevention of testicular disease.