Rabbits, like humans, go through an adolescent period of raging hormones.
Male rabbits spray urine; this is not related to litterbox habits in any way and the rabbits are NOT able to control this, it is a hormone-driven behavior. The best way to solve this problem is to have your rabbit altered; after about a month, the hormones will settle down and the rabbit will be so much happier and easier to deal with. So many rabbits end up abandoned at shelters because of behavioral issues related to hormones; if the owners would have had these bunnies neutered, they would have found out what wonderful friends and house companions they can be.
Neutering helps prevent/prevents urinary tract infections, testicular cancer, and contributing to all the unwanted bunnies at the shelters and rescues.
If you have more than one rabbit, altering them will decrease aggressive behavior towards each other (regardless of gender).
Neutering is performed under general anesthesia. After the rabbit is asleep, the abdominal fur is shaved and the skin is cleaned with an antiseptic solution. A slim tube is inserted into the rabbit’s airway to keep a clear path should additional anesthesia or mechanical ventilation be required. The rabbit will be positioned upon the surgical table in such a way as to facilitate the procedure.
The entire neutering procedure generally takes from 10 to 20 minutes. At the risk of utterly traumatizing my male readers:
The veterinarian will make an incision just above the rabbit’s scrotum. S/he will pull each testicle with its attached spermatic cord through the incision and tie off the cord prevent bleeding. The testicle is then excised off the cord; the cord is place back inside (now empty) scrotal sac. The incision is sutured up, and some veterinarians will dust the area with an antiseptic powder.
Usually your pet will go home the same day. Pets, like people, recover better at home. Your veterinarian will give you a list of instructions to follow, but generally you need to prevent extreme activity (no jumping on and off the sofa), watch the area for excessive redness, swelling, bleeding or other drainage. You need to make sure your bunny does not try to chew on his incision. If the incision bleeds, drains, or shows other signs of infection, or if your bunny acts withdraw, lethargic or refuses to eat you need to contact the veterinarian or emergency clinic ASAP.
Generally a follow-up visit is scheduled for ten days post-op for suture removal and to make sure everything is OK.
I always had girl bunnies. Well, there’s Wilbur, but he had been neutered long before I adopted him. I’ve never seen an intact boy bunny; I never felt I knew any of the DARN bunnies well enough to be uh, checking them out prior to their procedures. In my vet tech days, in Florida, no one brought us bunnies to neuter. No one brought us bunnies at all. We had big scary birds, ferrets, snakes, iguanas and turtles, but no bunnies.
As a result, when Captain Oliver came to be my “foster” (hahaha, they never leave, I adopt them) right after being neutered, I was not sure if I was seeing swelling or not. Danielle, from Dayton Area Rabbit Network kindly came over to inspect Oliver, and pronounced him as healing normally. (Another good reason to join DARN – they are an excellent local reference source).
Some time after, I received an email with a couple of attached photos from a very nice bunny-savvy reader, inquiring if his bunny, neutered the previous day, was looking normal or if there was too much redness or swelling to the area? His bunny looked fine, but it made me realize that there must be plenty more responsible, educated bunny owners out there that had never before seen a recently neutered bunny.
Ryan and Abby kindly agreed to let me use photos of their lovely bunny Perrin for the purpose of educating my readers.
The first photo in the slideshow (left) is of G (so as not to have bunny privates blazing across the front of the article). The second and third photos are of Perrin, who looks entirely normal after his neuter. He has a normal amount of swelling to the scrotal sacs; this will resolve in a few days, and over time the sacs themselves will atrophy.
Neutering a bunny is a relatively uncomplicated procedure which will greatly enhance your rabbit’s health and behavior, and provide you with a happy, mellow companion.
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