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Neutering Rabbits? Is it advisable? :)

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Doorman

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Hello all,

I have been debating whether or not to have my rabbit neutered when she gets to the correct age. The reasoning for this is not to stop any unwanted behaviour or breeding but rather to ensure she lives a healthier life. She's never going to be breeding and her behaviour is perfect anyway just to note :)

The reason I am considering neutering is that I have found out there is an 80% chance of reproductive cancer in female rabbits that can be completely eliminated if the rabbit is neutered. Obviously, this is a huge (and terrifying) number that successful neutering can solve.

However, this is where I start to ponder because I also know anaesthetic is more risky for rabbits, in addition to an extra procedure which could cause gut stalsis in an unlucky instance. So while neutering can solve a severe problem, it could also cause one that I may have bought on unnecessarily.

So what I'm asking is, if you were in my situation would you go ahead and neuter or not?

Thanks in advance!
 

Preitler

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Hi,

The reason I am considering neutering is that I have found out there is an 80% chance of reproductive cancer in female rabbit
No, all you found out is that this gets repeated all over the net, well, the english speaking net at least.
Spaying is not such a clear cut issue in the rest of the world. I think it'S a good idea for pet rabbits though.

In the last 2 decades there was a huge campaign in the US to get dogs and cats neutered, with success, numbers in shelters dropped significantly. But it somewhat got out of hand. Some people project that on rabbits too, and those 80% at 3 years is just a made up number that gets repeated and exaggerated as a deadbeat argument each time someome feels in the mood for a crusade.

Of course there is a kernel of truth, rabbit reproduction system is like a Ferrari - great performance, but quite a lot of problems. My guess, after all I saw IRL and read, is about a 20%-30% change to get abnormal growths in their lifetime. About twice the rate humans have, but if the trend continues we will have caught up in another 50 years.
Anyway, this is still a very good reason to spay a pet rabbit. Aneasthesia and complications are lethal in about 2%, depending on the vet. No question, there is a risk, but even with my guess at the numbers it's still a magnitude less.

Since you are still waiting for the right age you can't tell what her behaviour is once hormones kick in, right? Any false pregnancys, or periods with frency activity like digging and chewing jet? Well, all rabbits are different, my intact Fury pretty much destroyed my apartment in the 8 months she was indoors (Myxo quarantine), she's a very happy and healthy 8yo outdoor bunny now. Now I have an intact buck and a neutered doe as house bunnys, Dotty is much more consistant in her behaviour, no mood swings and stuff. No territory marking, or crazy, destructive antics.

Having a rabbit run around like on remote control like this isn't necessarily fun for anyone:
 

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zuppa

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Hello all,

I have been debating whether or not to have my rabbit neutered when she gets to the correct age. The reasoning for this is not to stop any unwanted behaviour or breeding but rather to ensure she lives a healthier life. She's never going to be breeding and her behaviour is perfect anyway just to note :)

The reason I am considering neutering is that I have found out there is an 80% chance of reproductive cancer in female rabbits that can be completely eliminated if the rabbit is neutered. Obviously, this is a huge (and terrifying) number that successful neutering can solve.

However, this is where I start to ponder because I also know anaesthetic is more risky for rabbits, in addition to an extra procedure which could cause gut stalsis in an unlucky instance. So while neutering can solve a severe problem, it could also cause one that I may have bought on unnecessarily.

So what I'm asking is, if you were in my situation would you go ahead and neuter or not?

Thanks in advance!
Hi. I fully understand your concerns I can't discuss 80% because I simply have no access to honest statistics, but something inside my head says it could be a little less than 80%. Also risk of death from anaesthetics is probably much higher than 2% in my head, just because I personally know 6 people who lost their rabbits during neutering since last November. I remember a few threads here about losing one or two rabbits during neutering, one case was just horrible, two healthy rabbits were scheduled for neutering same day and they lost them both same time. I know it mainly because of vets are not familiar with rabbits but this is just horrifying, so I totally agree that no matter what percentage you are losing your only rabbit and this will break your heart.
I know a family they spayed their two 5 month old females and lost one to anaesthetics they were shocked, obviously spaying her didn't save her from cancer.

So if it was only spay because of a fear of cancer, I wouldn't probably go for it to be honest. Just because I don't really trust statistics.

But, if you have a few rabbits and when your female is entering her hormonal age (and after most likely) it can become a nightmare, how territorial she can be and all the peeing in every corner and around and aggression towards other rabbits it's not very pleasant experience, I can tell because I know too well.

But also, depending on your female and also if you have patience to wait until she overgrow her teenage problems, but there's no guarantee she will it's just if you are lucky.
I have an intact female who was always very confident and good character, she had her hormonal time from 7mo to 1 year and a bit, but now she settled nicely and using her toilet pretty well, and I have another female who was a nightmare from 5 months up to one year, fake pregnancies, aggressions, very territorial biting etc, and she has changed a bit at 1 year old but still wasn't good with her toilet, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. Now she is two years next month and she is much better, but still is territorial and boxing when I enter her space, but she's much calmer. I would definitely spay her. I've got one more plan to try and then we'll see.

If you have just one girl and I understand she is still young under 6 months now? So she will become hormonal depending on her personal development sometime between 5 and 7 months and you will be able to see changes, if you are not sure because of risks and can wait and watch her until 1 year or a bit longer, she might calm down or not. If you will want another rabbit, then many females are territorial and it can be a challenge. But all depending on your situation and on your rabbits, they are all so different.

Sorry this comment is already too long, as for health problems as I said above, I personally don't believe in 80% and see much higher risk from anaesthetics than statistics give us, so I personally wouldn't go for it just because of cancer but I would go because it would fix behaviour, that I believe is true.
 

HoppyRabbits06

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Hello all,

I have been debating whether or not to have my rabbit neutered when she gets to the correct age. The reasoning for this is not to stop any unwanted behaviour or breeding but rather to ensure she lives a healthier life. She's never going to be breeding and her behaviour is perfect anyway just to note :)

The reason I am considering neutering is that I have found out there is an 80% chance of reproductive cancer in female rabbits that can be completely eliminated if the rabbit is neutered. Obviously, this is a huge (and terrifying) number that successful neutering can solve.

However, this is where I start to ponder because I also know anaesthetic is more risky for rabbits, in addition to an extra procedure which could cause gut stalsis in an unlucky instance. So while neutering can solve a severe problem, it could also cause one that I may have bought on unnecessarily.

So what I'm asking is, if you were in my situation would you go ahead and neuter or not?

Thanks in advance!
I was debating the same topic too when back in may. I ended up getting both of my bunnies neutered because they get to live longer plus the health benefits for them. I did worry that they might of passed away during the surgery but thankfully everything was okay. My advice for you would be look for a good rabbit savvy vet. it might be very time consuming but it will be worth it. house rabbit society has some great tips on what on what to ask a vet and what to expect. Spaying and Neutering | House Rabbit Society these tips helped me pick the best vet for my rabbits. Since you live in the united kingdom you might want to ask others about where they got their rabbit fixed. Hope this helps! :)
 

JBun

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Though the risk of uterine cancer is sometimes over stated and not always precise in the details of how those risks apply, there is at least some accuracy to the claimed risks based on some older studies and research that was conducted.

I think most of the data is based on the research from the Phipps colony and the Greene colony. The risks of a female rabbit developing uterine cancer can vary depending on the breed of the rabbit and the age. The older the rabbit gets, the higher the risk seems that the rabbit will develop cancer. In some rabbits over 5 years of age, there was a reported 79% occurrence in the Greene colony. Though to get the complete details you would have to search for and read the study. Here's a summary of the two studies.


I had a 7 yr old unspayed rabbit that I suspected was possibly developing some sort of uterine problem, possibly cancer. She had started having excessive hormonal behaviors and near constant nest building behavior. I got her spayed and the abnormal behavior stopped. Though cancer wasn't confirmed, all her behavior pointed to this possibility. She lived another 3 years before passing from old age.

Will your rabbit be more at risk if she doesn't get spayed? No one can say for sure. Some rabbits and breeds may be at minimal risk, some may be high risk. But based on the research, there definitely seems to be a higher risk as rabbits get older. Yes, surgery is a risk too, so you just have to weigh which is the greater risk. If you have a really experienced rabbit vet performing the surgery, that will at least help minimize the surgical risks. As will making sure to have pre surgical blood work done.
 

Doorman

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Hello all,

thanks for your fantastic responses and I am amazed at how much activity is on this forum (first time :)). I am still a little uncertain - I will wait for a few more responses I think. But I do have a few more questions.

1) Does anyone know how to find a rabbit savvy vet? I am in the UK if that helps.

2) What is the best age for neutering if I were to go ahead? She is give or take about 6 months at the moment.

Thanks for all your help and i look forward to hearing from you guys!
 

HoppyRabbits06

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Hello all,

thanks for your fantastic responses and I am amazed at how much activity is on this forum (first time :)). I am still a little uncertain - I will wait for a few more responses I think. But I do have a few more questions.

1) Does anyone know how to find a rabbit savvy vet? I am in the UK if that helps.

2) What is the best age for neutering if I were to go ahead? She is give or take about 6 months at the moment.

Thanks for all your help and i look forward to hearing from you guys!
I got my rabbits neutered at age one (it took a long time for me to find a vet) but they have to be at least 6 months and older to get them neutered. I do know that once they are 5 or 6 years old its kind of too late to get them fixed. It could probably be done but its very risky. I hope this helps and good luck!
 

HoppyRabbits06

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thanks for that info :). How did you source your vet eventually?

thanks
I went on google and typed "rabbit vets". I called lot of numbers and i asked them if they did rabbit neutering. if they said yes then i asked them a bunch of questions like do you provided anesthesia during surgery? (that should be a yes) do the rabbits have to eat before the surgery?(another yes) About how many rabbit clients does the veterinarian see in a year?
How many spays/neuters OF RABBITS has the veterinarian has done in the past year? What was the success rate? (90% success is way too low) So yeah. it might seem like a handful but I didn't want to trust just any vet. You can ask more questions but that's what I asked. Hopefully this will help you with your journey on finding a rabbit savvy vet.
 

Doorman

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That great. Thanks for that! :)

I don't have any more questions yet but lets see what more people think about neutering!
 

Doorman

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At the moment I reckon I am going to go ahead and neuter and also, whilst she's under, get her microchipped for free by a scheme I am on. It is called the Healthy Pet Club (HPC) and I find it fantastic. I pay about ยฃ20 a month for 2 rabbits to get 2 vaccinations each, a bag of hay or feed every month per rabbit and free microchipping as well as slightly reduced vet costs - it is worth checking out! :)

At my current vet they proposed a cost of ยฃ60 for neutering and I imagine a bit more for things like aftercare drugs etc. And they are fairly rabbit savvy - especially one of the nurses who keeps lots of rabbits and they looked after my previous rabbit fantastically.

What sort of aftercare is there for a rabbit that has been neutered? She is an outdoor rabbit but if it helps can come inside for a bit afterwards. What are they like for the first few days after neutering?

thanks!
 
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Spay/Neuter Supplies & Prep:
(I havenโ€™t gotten my bun spayed yet but Iโ€™ve researched)

Supplies:
- Soft place to rest (fleece, etc)
- Low litter box

Prep:
- Make the space smaller and make sure you can observe your bun,
through out their recovery
- Make sure your vet gives you pain killer meds (as a rabbit will likely stop eating if in pain)


 
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Hermelin

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Just an old research about rabbits utureus. Itโ€™s not like all rabbits get affected by the abnormalities.


Couldnโ€™t find the correct ones that have been done during 90 and 2000. There are quite a lot of papers to speed read ๐Ÿคฃ

I would say itโ€™s good spaying when your bunny arenโ€™t going to breed. One of the modern studies told that bunnies that breed get a lower risk to develop cancer but not breeding had a higher. Itโ€™s also connected to breeds of rabbits and age.

But all animal would get cancer if they lived long enough. Itโ€™s the same with humans.

I forgot I can get access to research because Iโ€™m a pharmacy student, so many research sites are available for me. So I donโ€™t know how it is with everyone else ๐Ÿ˜…
 
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If your rabbitโ€˜s pee smells, like really bad,
Thatโ€™s a reason to get her spayed
(at least in my opinion).

Lennaโ€™s (name Iโ€™m trying out)
pee will sometimes smell DISCUSTING,
and some days it will smell like normal rabbit pee.

But ohh I canโ€™t wait till I get her spayed ! ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜†
 
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Donna Standar

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I fixed all three of mine and they were just fine. After doing so the males quit marking their territory and it was so much better. My one male was 4 months when he was done, much better before the hormones kick in. My female is done as well and she was fine. I'm sure if you get an exotic vet, it's safe. Other vets are not as qualified for exotics. At 6 months old, I'd have her done real soon before her hormones kick in. Good luck!
 

Diane R

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Hi, I see you are in the UK. The RWAF is a fantastic resource: Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (RWAF) Please take your bunny to a good rabbit vet - find one here: Rabbit Friendly Vet List It is unfortunate that there are no good recent studies on the incidence of uterine cancer. Anecdotally, vets report finding cancer in many does spayed age 3 and older. Spaying is definitely recommended, not only to prevent cancer but also to reduce the risk of phantom pregnancies which can be very stressful. And, of course, neutered bunnies can have a friend. The risk IF you go to a good rabbit vet is about 1 in 1000, certainly not as high as 2%.
 

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