46156420_10215895389351316_4328006181600

SPAYING &
NEUTERING

We cannot fully express the importance of spaying & neutering domesticated rabbits... but we will try!

Rabbits reach sexual maturity at 4-6 months of age.  Females are induced ovulators, which means they don't have a heat cycle, but will be triggered to ovulate when mating or even just from being in the presence of an intact male rabbit.  Gestation is 32 days and litters can range from 4 to 12 kits.   If the conditions are right, they are capable of producing about a litter per month for 4 years.  Rabbits are overpopulated not only in Cannon Beach, but all over the country.  Most rescues, shelters, and foster homes are full.  Purposely breeding or allowing rabbits to reproduce loose outside contributes to the overpopulation; leaving thousands of rabbits without loving homes and burdening already overburdened volunteers.  Spaying and neutering is crucial to solving this heartbreaking problem.

Photo By:  Chelsea Lincoln

 

There are several health and behavioral benefits of spay and neuter surgeries, which are laid out below.  It is important to note that many rabbits that are surrendered to shelters or abandoned outside meet that fate because of behaviors that could have been resolved by 'fixing' them.  According to the *Cannon Beach Museum, the first bunnies who were released in town were put outside because they "started getting bigger" and "got to be too much for (the child) to handle."  When bunnies reach sexual maturity, they typically start to exhibit some frustrating behaviors like humping, spraying, and biting.  Many pet parents become overwhelmed by this, not realizing that these are normal behaviors that typically resolve after surgery!

 

BENEFITS OF SPAYING

  • Prevention of unwanted pregnancy

  • Prevention of contribution to overpopulation

  • Prevention of uterine adenocarcinoma, which is the most common cancer in female bunnies.

    • In certain breeds (Tan, French Silver, Havana, & Dutch) there is a 50-80% chance of ​this cancer forming.

    • This cancer is likely to spread to other organs within 1-2 years.

  • Decrease in territorial behavior

  • Elimination of spraying behavior.

  • Decrease in aggression.

  • Improvement in smell of urine.

  • Prevention of mastitis (Mastitis is rare in spayed bunnies.)

  • Prevention of mammary adenocarcinomas (cancers), which are most common in 3-4 year old intact females who have had multiple litters

  • Prevention of pyometra (infected, pus-filled uterus)

  • Prevention of hydrometra (watery fluid-filled uterus)

  • Prevention of endometritis

  • Prevention of pregnancy toxemia

 

BENEFITS OF NEUTERING

  • Prevention of unwanted pregnancy

  • Prevention of contribution to overpopulation

  • Decrease in territorial behavior

  • Elimination of spraying behavior.

  • Decrease in aggression.

  • Improvement in smell of urine.

  • Decrease or elimination of humping behavior

  • Prevention of testicular cancer (Testicular cancer is rare in bunnies, but is possible if testicles are present.)

  • Stronger immune system

  • Longer expected life span

 

REFERENCES

"FERRETS, RABBITS, and RODENTS;  Clinical Medicine and Surgery" 3rd Edition By: Katherine E Quesenberry & James W. Carpenter

"Pre- and Post-operative care of Rabbits" Dana Krempels, Ph.D., University of Miami Department of Biology (updated Jan. 3, 2011)

  http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/opcare.html

  • Please make sure to take your bunny to a rabbit-knowledgable vet. 

  • Also make sure your bunny goes home after surgery with a few days worth of pain control.  This is important not only for comfort during recovery, but also because it will help with the healing process.

  • Also please note that NEUTERED MALES CAN STILL IMPREGNATE INTACT FEMALES FOR ABOUT 4 WEEKS AFTER NEUTERING!  So please be careful!