The benefits of neutering your rabbit
Rabbits are social animals so they should be kept together or in groups. A male and female rabbit pair is the best. Therefore, it is important to neuter your rabbits. Rabbits are well-known for their ability to breed. Although they can be kept together as sex couples, they will fight if they are not bred together for at least ten weeks. Neutered dogs will make them more comfortable living together. They shouldn’t be separated and may fight when they are put back together.
Also, it is beneficial for your health to neuter, especially for women. Older women are more likely to develop cancers or infections in the womb. The risk of developing breast cancer is reduced by neutering young. At sexual maturity, rabbits can become territorial and defend their territory from other rabbits and even people. After neutering, both sexes are less aggressive and more manageable. They are less likely to spray (scent-marking their urine with urine), and easier to housetrain.
Neutering male rabbits is done when the testicles are approximately three to four months old. Females can be neutered at around six months of sexual maturity depending on their size and breed. For three weeks, couples that are sexually mature should not be together after neutering. Male fertility is still a possibility.
Are there any risks associated with anaesthetics?
Anaesthesia can pose a risk to any animal or person. The risk of anaesthesia is very low as drugs and techniques are becoming safer. Because rabbits are a common pet, vets can anesthetize them. Ask your vet how often they neuter rabbits each year. This will help you relax.
To ensure that your pet is healthy, it’s a good idea to bring your pet to the clinic for a check-up. This is especially important for older rabbits (over 3 years). You may want to inquire about painkillers for your rabbit after surgery. If your pet has ever had to have their respiratory system tested, tell the vet.
What happens the day before surgery?
Your pet will only need to spend one day at the vet for routine procedures like neutering. You can usually take your pet to the clinic early in the morning and then pick it up later in the afternoon or evening. However, you should check with your vet. It is important to not starve rabbits overnight before receiving an anaesthetic. This can cause them to become weaker.
You should transport your pet in a safe box or basket that is clearly marked with your name, address and phone number. A consent form will be required and a telephone number left. Sometimes, rabbits may take longer to arrive and might need to be kept overnight at the vet.
Collecting your pet after surgery
Make sure that the overnight cage and the carry case do not contain any material such as straw bedding or sawdust that could stick to the wound. Make sure to find out if your pet requires medication and when they will return for post-operative checks-ups. Also, make sure you have an emergency contact number. The area where the procedure was performed will have some fur removed, as well as the leg and ears for drug administration.
Place your pet in a secure cage in a quiet and warm place when you return home. After surgery, rabbits don’t usually need to wear Elizabethan collars. Many vets use surgical glue and stitches under their skin. Collared rabbits can also be protected from caecotrophy (see leaflet Basic healthcare for rabbits (S11). If your pet chews at the wound, contact your veterinarian.
A vet should be contacted if a rabbit experiences abnormal swelling. Abscesses can develop from injuries and wounds, or even spontaneously in rabbits. They are usually covered with a thick, thick layer of material. Rabbit abscesses can’t be treated with just opening and draining.
Three types of teeth are available to rabbits. The incisors, which are long visible teeth at the front of your mouth, are the incisors. Molars, premolars, and premolars can be seen in the cheeks but are not easily visible. In that the teeth grow continuously throughout a rabbit’s lifetime, they are quite different to human ones.
This is vital in the wild, as rabbits spend 6-7 hours a day eating fibrous food. It continually wears down their teeth.
Both types of teeth can cause problems. The incisors are easily visible because of their long curving teeth at the front. It is impossible to see the overgrowth of the rear teeth. Dental problems can be seen in weight loss, decreased appetite, preference for soft foods, dribbling, and stopping eating. The hair of an affected rabbit may become matted and have faeces around their back. Your vet will inspect your rabbit’s mouth. Sometimes, sedation or anaesthesia is required to allow inspection.
What’s the treatment?
Regular trimming of overgrown incisors is a must, which can be done with a dental drill. The permanent solution is to extract the teeth. Rabbits can eat normally without their incisors.
If the back teeth are affected they will need to be trimmed or burred regularly, usually under anaesthesia. This can be repeated up to every four to eight week. To prevent or slow down recurrences, it is important to improve your diet. You may need calcium supplements, but only if your vet recommends. It is not easy to extract the cheek teeth. Also, cases of abscessive disease can be difficult to treat. Sometimes, rabbits suffering from facial abscesses have to be put down because they are in such severe pain and so severely affected that it is impossible to save them.
The key points
- Rabbits should not be kept alone.
- Both sexes can benefit from neutering for their health and happiness.
- Hay and other high-fiber foods should be fed to your pets.
- Do not wait to see a vet if your pet rabbit seems unwell.