What sex is my rabbit?
If you have young rabbits it can be hard to tell what sex they are until they reach maturity. The person you bought the bunny from may have made a mistake – pet shops, breeders and even vets can get it wrong in young rabbits. Make sure the sex of your bunny is confirmed when they are vaccinated at 10-12weeks.
When should I neuter?
Rabbits reach sexual maturity when they reach about 75% of their adult body weight, which means smaller breeds will become fertile earlier. For females, the age of maturity is approx 4-5months in small breeds, 5-8 months in larger. Ideally, females should be neutered after 5 months of age. In a male, the testicles descend into their scrotal sacks at about 10-12 weeks, which means they can be neutered anytime after that. Males will still be fertile for about 4 weeks after surgery, so do not put them with an entire, mature female until this time has past.
Desexing your rabbit keeps them happy and healthy and improves their quality and length of life!
Our recommendation is to desex your pet rabbit. The reasoning for this is to reduce unwanted litters (shelters are overflowing), undesired behavioral issues or traits and reduce long term health risks such as cancer.
If housing more then one bunny together this is a necessity to reduce hormonal disagreements. Same-sex couples will fight – entire males have the capacity to kill each other if the situation arises.
While having baby bunnies seems like a cute idea un desexed males and females housed together can start reproducing as young as 4 months of age and can have 10-11 litters in a single year with up to 12 kittens per litter (24 was the record!),
Why should I neuter?
If left entire, female rabbits run a big risk of developing cancer of the uterus in later life – a study in 2004 estimated a 50-80% chance in a rabbit over 3 years. Entire females can also develop mammary tumours, and can have phantom pregnancies. Their hormones can make them aggressive and hard to handle. They also obviously run the risk of pregnancy if there is any possibility of access to entire male rabbits (including relatives), and a female rabbit can get pregnant immediately after giving birth. Males are also at risk of testicular cancers.
Who should neuter my rabbits?
Desexing rabbits, in general, is a far more complex procedure than cats and dogs. Desexing (neutering or speying) a female rabbit is more invasive surgery than a male. Unlike other species, rabbits should NOT be fasted prior to surgery. The procedure should be performed under a general anesthetic with an assessment prior to surgery ensuring the rabbit is a fit candidate for surgery. During surgery, rabbits should be intubated and provided with fluid therapy. They should be given pain relief before and after surgery.
full pre-op check to see if they are fit for surgery. Rabbits should be closely monitored postoperatively and assist feeding might be required.
In the past rabbit surgery and anesthesia were considered to be high risk, but advances in medicine, surgical techniques, and monitoring have made it a much safer procedure. Make sure you have a rabbit savvy vet who is experienced in this type of surgery.