Introduction to neutering rabbits – RAW23

It is officially Rabbit Awareness Week 2023, running from the 26th until the 30th June. This year the theme is Neutering, Protect & Prevent, and each day there will be a different topic that we will be focusing on. The topics include an introduction to neutering, spaying, castration, pre-operation care, and the last day is all about looking at rabbits in rescue centres.

We caught up with Katy Mackenzie who is the veterinary surgeon at our NAWT Watford centre, to introduce neutering, looking at why it is important, and the health benefits that comes with it.

What is neutering?

Neutering is an operation to remove of all, or part of, an animal’s reproductive organs so that they can no longer reproduce.

What are the advantages of neutering a rabbit?

Rabbits are best kept in pairs or groups, and neutering removes the risk of unwanted kits and reduces undesirable behaviours such as aggression and mounting.  It also prevents cancer of the reproductive organs, which is particularly important in female rabbits as up to 80% of un-neutered does over 5 years old will develop uterine adenocarcinoma - a very nasty metastatic cancer, which typically results in death.

What should an owner expect when they take their rabbit to be neutered, what will they need to prepare?

Rabbits will need to stay at the vets for the day, as the operation is done under general anaesthetic.  It is helpful to take in some of your rabbit’s favourite foods to encourage them to eat while at the vets as they should not be starved before anaesthesia (unlike cats and dogs).  If they are in a bonded pair, then typically both rabbits should stay at the vets together to reduce stress.  If possible, taking a small ‘house’ for them to hide in is also great for reducing stress.

It is important to recognise the benefits of neutering, so we can keep our rabbits happy and healthy. Make sure to keep an eye on our socials and website tomorrow and Wednesday when we will be looking at spaying and castration separately.