If we ask the question, ‘What is spaying or neutering?’ The correct answer is that spaying or neutering is the act of removing the animal’s reproductive organ. However, spaying and neutering have the slightest difference in terms of definition.
Spaying is removing the reproductive organ of an animal, while neutering only involves removing the testicles of male animals.
Spaying or neutering is commonly practiced in dogs and cats to prevent testicular diseases and animals’ instinctual drives.
Stray dogs usually get these treatments to prevent roaming around, resulting in unwanted impregnation, especially if the owners do not want to have another batch of puppies.
Interestingly, spaying or neutering is also applicable to pet rabbits. Every owner must know the benefits of spaying or neutering their pet rabbits.
It is not harmful to the rabbits to be spayed or neutered as it can also serve as preventive measures for further health problems.
Benefits of Spaying or Neutering a Rabbit
- Rabbits can live longer and healthier.
- Less risk of cancer.
- Less risk of urinary tract infections.
- Rabbits tend to be calmer.
- They can be easily managed and bond due to their calm behavior.
- They can be easily litter trained with less urge to mess around.
- The controlled population of baby rabbits.
When Is the Best Time to Spay or Neuter a Pet Rabbit?
It is crucial to know the perfect age for pet rabbits to be spayed or neutered. Spaying or neutering a pet rabbit depends on the sex of your pet rabbit.
A male pet rabbit is best to spay or neuter around 3 to 5 months old. Female pet rabbits should be older than the male to be spayed or neutered.
A female pet rabbit should undergo spaying or neutering around 4 to 6 months because this is when they first reach sexual maturity.
Pet rabbit owners must observe their pet rabbits’ age if they plan to spay or neuter them. If rabbits have already reached their middle age at around 5 to 6 years, it is no longer advisable and healthy for them to be spayed or neutered. Rabbits can suffer from complications in surgery if they are too young or old.
How Does Spaying or Neutering Surgery Happen?
Spaying or neutering a pet rabbit is different depending on the sex of the rabbit to be spayed or neutered.
This is too obvious since males and females have different body compositions, so it is expected that spaying or neutering surgery for pet rabbits is different as well.
The female pet rabbit undergoes spaying or neutering surgery by removing their reproductive organ. The procedure takes place by going through the abdomen, and the blood vessels that lead to the reproductive tract are tied.
Afterward, the reproductive tract is removed, and then close the back of the female pet rabbit by putting several sutures.
Spaying or neutering a male pet rabbit is the procedure that removes the testes. It starts by cutting or making an incision in the scrotum and then removing the testicles through the opening.
After removing the testicles, the veterinarian will stitch the opening and apply medicines around the wound.
Also, please be reminded that male pet rabbits usually have stored semen in his body three weeks after the surgery.
Better keep them away from unaltered female pet rabbits to prevent them from mating. After three weeks or so, you can already put them together without worrying about impregnation.
The procedure takes place by injecting anesthesia on the pet rabbits. So pet rabbits are under anesthesia during the whole duration of spaying or neutering surgery.
Who Should You Call To Perform Spaying or Neutering Your Pet Rabbit?
The perfect person to go to when you plan to spay or neuter your pet rabbit is no other than an experienced vet.
If it is your first time knowing about spaying and neutering and thought that you might want to try it on your pet rabbit, do not hesitate to ask the veterinarian if he/she has already performed spaying or neutering surgery before.
Another option is to look for a local rabbit shelter or fellow pet rabbit owner and ask for advice or suggestions to know an experienced veterinarian to perform the surgery for your pet rabbit.
If your rabbit is adopted from any rabbit shelter, chances are such rabbits might be spayed or neutered already, so better ask always.
What to Expect After The Surgery?
Like any other surgery, it is always painful or at least experiences sensations of pain in the recovery process.
Your pet rabbits will experience soreness or irritation around the wound for a few days. But it is normal, and medical care is taught to the pet owners to keep pet rabbits in shape.
Here are some several changes of pet rabbits after being spayed or neutered:
- Hormone Level Decreases
The hormonal level of pet rabbits, male and female, after spaying or neutering is expected to decrease around two to four weeks after the surgery.
- Hormonal Behaviors
Animals tend to react aggressively when reaching maturity age due to raging hormone levels. Spaying or neutering usually makes animals, including rabbits, to be more affectionate and friendly.
- Health Benefits
As discussed earlier, health benefits are easy to spot after spaying or neutering pet rabbits. Fixed female rabbits will minimize the risk of uterine, mammary, and ovarian cancer. Fixed male rabbits will lessen the risk of testicular cancer entirely.
What Can Owners Do for their Pet Bunnies?
Pet rabbit owners should not worry too much about their rabbits after surgery. Typically, your pet rabbits might exhibit painful actions, but pet owners should not be emotive and instead look for ways to help their pet rabbits. There are helpful ways for the owners to take care of their pet rabbits after surgery.
Post-surgical care and pain management include:
- Ask the vet for follow-up pain medications to bring at home if initial treatment wears off.
- Offer a warm feeling to your pet rabbits after the surgery. It can be a warm water bottle or other heat source aside from an electrical heat source as it can electrocute them if they chew it.
- Put a soft and light blanket to cover them rather than a heavy blanket.
Post-surgical contact and handling include:
- Do not expect them to be cuddly after the surgery because they are still feeling sore or in pain. Make sure to find alternative ways like caressing their fur.
- Let them recover independently but never forget your job as an owner to observe their behavior and apply medications.
Post-surgical monitoring and trouble include:
- Regular checks of sutures and see to it that rabbits do not chew it.
- Be alert if excessive bleeding takes place. Once it does, immediately go to the veterinarian.
- Observe if swelling and redness happens. These complications are not normal.
- If you find anything worthy of concern, do not hesitate to call the veterinarian for help.
The Healing Process
If everything goes well, and there are no signs of complications appearing in the rabbit, they are expected to recover faster. Although females tend to need more time to recover as spay surgery is more invasive than neuter, the male is seen to recover faster than females.
However, it all boils down to the type of surgery being done, the type of treatment you give to your rabbits, and the surgeon’s technique. Nevertheless, if there is no complication, your pet rabbits are most likely to recover without difficulty.