Male rabbits can get very feisty if they are not neutered. They will attempt to mate with any females and may become aggressive if paired with another male. However, neutering your buck when he reaches sexual maturity is one of the most effective ways to cull these unwanted behaviours. Since neutering involves invasive surgery, your rabbit will need special care and attention after the procedure.
Preparing the correct care for your rabbit before the procedure will ensure that, when your rabbit returns home, he will have everything he needs to recover comfortably and safely.
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Why Should You Neuter A Rabbit?
Neutering is an operation to remove the testes of a male rabbit. There is also a process for female rabbits known as spaying although it is not recommended unless your doe will be living with an unneutered male as spaying can be much more difficult to recover from.
However, neutering a male is common practice and recommended by most vets for the health and well being of your male.
As they reach sexual maturity between the ages of four and six months, bucks can become very aggressive. While rabbits may look sweet and innocent, if you have ever seen a pair of males fighting for dominance, you will know that these animals are very determined and confrontational.
Most rabbit owners keep their buns in pairs as they are social animals but fights will regularly erupt if they are not neutered. Furthermore, since rabbits predominantly fight to claim dominance and win territory, this will not be the only way they do that.
Spraying is very common in unneutered males so if you want to allow your rabbits free roam of your home, you will not want this type of behavior.
The urine that males spray when marking their territory is vastly more pungent than the urine they pass to relieve themselves. Neutering will quell this and will also make litter training much easier.
According to Rabbit Welfare, neutering may also be beneficial to the health of your buck since it is not unheard of for them to develop testicular cancer. With the testes removed, this is no longer a possibility.
How To Care For A Newly Neutered Rabbit
Neutering is a relatively simple procedure and is often done with the rabbit returning home the same day. However, the removal of any body part is bound to cause a degree of physical trauma and your rabbit may experience discomfort in the days that follow. Providing suitable care will help make his recovery easier.
Food And Water
It is recommended by vets that your rabbit begins eating normally as soon after surgery as possible. In fact, many vets will encourage owners to bring some food with them so that the rabbit can have some of his regular diet soon after he wakes up.
However, some rabbits may not regain their appetite as quickly but provided that they start eating again within 24 hours, there should be no issues.
It is important to give your rabbit access to all of his usual foods including hay and pellets as well as a good supply of freshwater. You will need to monitor what he is eating and drinking and alert your vet should his appetite not resume.
Alongside monitoring your rabbit’s eating, you will also need to keep an eye on whether he is pooping frequently. If he stops eating for a short time after surgery then his output may slow a little and this is normal.
However, once he regains his appetite, your rabbit should begin toileting as normal. If there are any changes, these should be reported to your vet.
Comfort And Bonding
Most rabbits are brought in pairs and this means that they will already be bonded at the time of their operations. Provided that your two bunnies do not fight, it is a good idea to keep them together to give them some normality and comfort as they heal.
In addition to this, you must make sure that your rabbit has a warm, comfortable place to rest as his body recovers from the surgery. Providing additional bedding may be a good idea and you should allow your rabbit some quiet time as he heals.
While you may think that affection and love will be of comfort to your rabbit, it is quite possible that this will hurt them so it is wise to avoid handing your pet during the recovery period unless it is essential.
If you have had your bunny neutered because you want to pair him with a female and avoid the risk of pregnancy, it is important to wait at least thirty days before doing this.
While the surgery will have removed the testes which are the glands that produce sperm, any sperm that was already present may remain alive and viable for up to this length of time an placing him with a doe could still result in a litter being born down the line.
Keeping your rabbit comfortable also means managing any pain he may be experiencing as a result of the surgery. There are many ways that you can do this and your vet should give you the most appropriate advice for your rabbit. But there are a variety of pain medications that can be given to keep your bunny happy while he heals.
Male rabbits typically heal much more quickly than females are neutering or spaying because the operation is not as serious. That being said, it does cause an amount of physical trauma which will take time to heal.
You may notice that your rabbit is much sleepier and inactive for the first 24 hours but after this, he may begin to perk up again.
However, it could take as long as ten days for your pet to be back to normal and fully healed. You must keep an eye on the wound from surgery during this time as there is a chance of infection especially if the rabbit interferes with the area. If you notice that they are not healing as you would expect, you should return your rabbit to the vet.
Male rabbits must undergo neutering to avoid impregnating females, reduce aggression and keep them in better health. However, since this surgery involves the removal of the testicles, it will be undoubtedly uncomfortable and your rabbit will need time to heal.
Encouraging your pet to eat normally and giving him somewhere quiet and comfortable to rest will contribute to proper care after neutering.