Why Should I Spay or Neuter My Rabbit?
There are many myths and concerns about spaying or neutering your rabbit. Some of the
- My rabbit will become fat and lazy. This is not
true. Altering your rabbit does not make your pet fat or lazy. Too much food
and not enough exercise are the causes of obesity.
- A female should have one litter. Not true. It is actually better
for her not to have a litter.
- I will be able to find good homes for all the babies.
You may be able to place your bunnies, but will they go to good
and permanent homes?
Each time you place a bunny from your litter, somewhere a bunny is killed because there
was no home. Yearly, thousands of adorable, adoptable rabbits are destroyed at animal
shelters because no one wants them. Thousands more are abandoned in fields and road sides
to suffer and die.
You may have no trouble finding homes for your adorable babies, but who will care for
them once they outgrow their cute bunny phase and the novelty wears off? Once spayed or
neutered, rabbits can live over ten years. They are not just a temporary pet. The
unfortunate fact is there are many more wonderful rabbits than there are wonderful long-term
permanent homes for them.
Facts you should know:
- An unspayed females has an 80% chance of developing
uterine or ovarian cancer between two and five years of age.
- Rabbits are induced ovulators, which occurs only
after sexual activity has occurred. Rabbits do not “go into heat” in the
standard dog or cat sense.
- Rabbits can become pregnant immediately after giving
birth. With a gestation period of about 30 days, one female can produce as
many as 12 litters per year. A stressed over-bred mother may re-absorb the
fetuses or eat the newborns.
- Altering your rabbits rids you of the worry of what
to do with unplanned litters of bunnies, eliminating all of the problems and
potential risks involved in pregnancy and birth.
- Reduces aggression against other animals, decreasing fights, thus saving expensive
veterinary bills and aggravation.
More reasons to spay or neuter:
Most people are unfamiliar with rabbit behavior and may feel their cute little bunny
turned into the “Rabbit from Hell”. When a female rabbit matures, she MAY become
very aggressive and may circle and spray just as males do. She may bite and start frenzied
digging (which may be into your carpet). This behavior goes away when she is spayed.
Unfortunately, so many rabbits are given up between the ages of six months and one
year, because owners don’t know that what their rabbit is experiencing is normal and
not fun for the rabbit. There is an answer… spay and neuter!
General Rules to Follow:
The smaller breeds of rabbits up to the size of Holland Lops mature at about 3 ½
months of age. The larger breeds, such as Flemish Giants, mature around 5 to 7 months.
Medium sized breeds mature somewhere in between.
Aggressive behavior and negative sexual activity will lessen in about two weeks after
surgery. The larger breeds may take from four to eight months before signs of negative
Keep in mind males are still viable for about 2 weeks after surgery. After this time
has passed, neutered couples can live together and may occasionally mount each other. This
Neutering your rabbit is the best gift you can give him. It will make him a
better companion and someone you and your children can hold and love.
Rabbits are very special animals. If you have never lived with one, your life
will be changed forever. They are interesting, curious, loyal and very affectionate.
Because they give us so much we owe it to them to learn everything we can so that they
can live long and happy lives. Locating a veterinarian that specializes in rabbit care in
addition to dogs and cats is the first step, spaying or neutering your rabbit is the next
and finally, just love and care for them each day.