Should I Neuter my Rabbit?

What is neutering?

Neutering is a surgical procedure performed under general anaesthetic to prevent animals breeding.  In a male neutering is called castration which involves removing both testicles, and in the female the procedure is usually called spaying when both ovaries and the uterus (womb) are removed.

Why neuter pet rabbits?

There are many good reasons to neuter pet rabbits. The most common reason is to prevent the birth of unwanted rabbits which is very important in households with male and female rabbits living together. Rabbits become sexually mature from about 12 weeks of age. For welfare reasons pet owners should keep to manageable number of pets. 

Are there other reasons to neuter pet rabbits?

Neutering is particularly important because all rabbits need company and should be kept in pairs. Same sex pairs tend to fight, causing injuries, which can sometimes be severe. This is true of females as well as males. Rabbits are much happier when a castrated male is paired with a spayed female.

During the breeding season sexually mature rabbits can be very aggressive and more difficult to handle. Both male and female rabbits mark their territory by spraying urine. Spraying is 10 times more common in males than females and the urine has a very unpleasant odour. Neutering will reduce this aggression and spraying urine.

Why is it so important to spay female rabbits?

Uterine cancer is the most important reason to spay a female rabbit. Sadly about 80% of unspayed female rabbits will develop a malignant cancer of the uterus called adenocarcinoma by the time they are 5 years old. Other diseases of the uterus that can be prevented by spaying are pyometra, a life threatening infection, and endometritis, an inflammatory disease of the uterus. Female rabbits may also get breast and ovarian cancer.

For all these reasons we strongly recommend neutering your pet rabbits.

What’s the best age to neuter rabbits?

For all rabbits, neutering should be done from about 4 – 5 months of age. The procedure is more involved for females. If your rabbit is older neutering can still be done and is most likely to be the best option for most rabbits. The patient should make a speedy recovery and will need his or her wounds checked daily until his sutures are removed 10 days later.

Are there any risks?

All surgical procedures carry some risk to the patient. However, in young healthy animals this risk is minimal.