Why should I de-sex my rabbit?

17 Oct 2018

Unless you plan to breed your rabbit we recommend de-sexing around six months of age.

Spaying of female rabbits eliminates the risk of unwanted pregnancy when male and female rabbits are housed together, and also prevents uterine adenocarcinoma (uterine cancer).  This cancer affects about three quarters of female rabbits over four to five years of age and is often fatal.

Castration of male rabbits reduces territorial marking (urine spraying), unwanted sexual behaviour and they are also less likely to fight with other male rabbits.

De-sexing rabbits is more complicated than in cats and dogs. Rabbits are also very sensitive to anaesthetic drugs and to pain.  Because of this special precautions must be taken to prevent complications. 

At Vetcall both Claire and Colin (the vets) practiced in the United Kingdom for a number of years, and have a special interest and are experienced in rabbit medicine and surgery. 

All rabbits undergoing anaesthesia for de-sexing receive a modern safe intravenous anaesthetic induction, are intubated and given anaesthetic gas and oxygen (in our experience this type of anaesthetic protocol is safer than the more commonly used intramuscular anaesthetic drug protocols, as we have control of the airway and can breath for the rabbit if necessary and finely tune the amount of drugs required to keep the rabbit under anaesthetic), warmed subcutaneous fluids, two types of pain relief - one of which lasts a couple of days and a check-up twenty four hours after surgery and again after ten days. This is all included in our de-sexing price. Rabbits need to be > 1kg in body weight for the anaesthetic, and in male rabbits both testicles need to have descended.

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