Via the website I have received a number of emails about whether
readers should get their bunnies neutered and what they should expect
if they decide to go ahead with the operation.
I have decided to collate the main questions and answers onto this
page. However if I don't answer a question sufficiently please drop
me a mail.
This page is no substitute for the advice and care provided by
a Vet so PLEASE discuss the operation with your Vet.
All I can offer below is the experience I have had with Rodney.
More independant advice is available from the Rabbit
At around 6 months of age Rodney was becoming a handful and it
all culminated in him starting to spray (marking his territory).
I decided to have him done at the vets that I had previously taken
him to for his health check and vaccinations soon after I had got
him. (I rang round to find the best Rabbit vet in the area before
I got Rodney - this involved ringing round the local vets and comparing
services, previous experiences and prices).
By having him neutered at this age it prevented the behavioural
instinct of spraying becoming second nature to him i.e. its better
to have them done early!
Finding a good vet is extremely important as not all Vets have
experience of Rabbits. Rabbits are considered an “Exotic”
and therefore some vets do not specialise in this area. If you do
not know of a good vet in your area ring your local animal sanctuary,
or if you are a member of the Rabbit Welfare Association they should
be able to advise you of a good vet.
Rabbits have been very sensitive to anaesthetic in the past. Now
that there are more studies on Rabbits and their healthcare is improving
Vets are able to apply anaesthetics to Rabbits with a greater success
rate. This is why it is imperative to find a good vet.
Rodney was in over night, he had the op in the morning and returned
home that evening. I thought he had an eye infection but it was
a very slight reaction to the oil they put in the Bunnies eyes whilst
under anaesthetic to stop them drying out.
I kept Rodney in his cage for all of 2 hours before he was desperate
to come out. 2 days later the vet checked his stitches and that
was that - all done.
The operation is different for females as it involves some muscle
tissue so it may take longer for the Bunny to back up to match fitness!
However I saw my friends two little twin girl lionheads after they
had come out of their op the day before and they were (contrary
to vet advice) bouncing everywhere, and there have been no repercussions.
Rodney's temperament didn't change after the op, he was just as
lovely and cuddly as before.
There are so many benefits to having them neutered, don't feel guilty
about putting them through an op. Its very quickly forgotton and
you will feel better knowing that they won't be subject to infections
later in life.
(1) Male rabbits can become aggressive once their hormones have
really taken hold - this will happen if he is not neutered.
(2) If you ever want to bond your bunny with another bunny you will
have to have them done regardless of whether the other bunny is
male or female.
(3) Not being neutered is linked with behavioural issues in houserabbits
(destructive behaviour etc) so as they get older if they aren't
neutered you may
not find them such a nice houserabbit to have around!
All I can tell you is that every book I've read, and all the advice
I have seen on the newsgroups, points to calmer behaviour in Male
and Female rabbits after they have been neutered. Rodney was quite
affectionate before his op anyway, but I would say that if you spoke
to the Vet the first thing they would ask is whether they have been
snipped. I cannot guarantee that this will solve the issue - but
it is a start, and its something you would have to do anyway before
contemplating introducing a second bunny.
Female Bunnies tend to be very territorial and do suffer from phantom
pregnancies. Neutering can help alleviate some of these behavourial
(1) A female spaying involves some disturbance to more muscle tissue
than in a neutering in males so if you have a female bunny and they
are quiet and aren’t as active for a day or so this will be
(2) After the op the important thing is that they continue to eat
and drink. If they haven’t eaten or drunk anything by the
following morning ring the vet. As soon as Rodney got back in his
cage he started munching on Hay so I knew straight away he was fine.
(3) If you have used wooden shavings in the cage replace them with
a large towel. The shavings can get stuck in the stitches etc. I
got an old large beach towel and laid it all over the bottom of
(4) When you go to pick your bunny up look at their eyes. It was
only when I got Rodney home that I noticed his eyes were inflamed.
I went back to the vet and basically when they put a bunny under
they sometimes put some oil/lubricant on the eyes to stop them drying
out whilst under the anaesthetic. Sometimes there can be a reaction
to the oil - nothing drastic (Rodney's went really quickly without
treatment) I was just a bit miffed they didn't spot his eye lids
(5) Make an appointment for 48 hours later when the vet can check
the stitches. Make sure you are happy to take your bunny home and
that the vet points out anything else you need to look out for.
(6) Do not leave the vets if your bunny is asleep or dopey. Ensure
that you are happy you know what to expect and look for over the
next 24 hours after the operation and that you have any emergency
telephone numbers necessary to contact the Vet.
(7) Try to ration their food out on the night they come out so you
know whether they’ve eaten overnight. Are there any treats
you can lay on for their special night back home?