Should You Get Your Rabbit Spayed or Neutered?

Thinking of getting your rabbit fixed? Read on to discover the essential info you need to make this important decision for your furry friend. We’ll explore all the key questions – Is surgery safe for your bunny? How much will it cost? What are the health and behavior benefits? When is the right age for spaying or neutering? You’ll get insider tips on finding an experienced rabbit vet, caring for your bun before and after surgery, and smoothly managing the recovery process. Discover how speutering can transform your bunny’s personality and habits for the better. Eliminate those crazy hormones racing through intact rabbits and ensure a calmer, healthier companion for years to come. This is vital info for every loving rabbit owner – let’s hop to it!

Is surgery safe?

Rabbit spay and neuter surgeries are generally very safe procedures when performed by an experienced rabbit-savvy veterinarian. However, like any surgery, there are always risks involved when a rabbit is put under anesthesia. The overall mortality rate for spay/neuter surgery is around 1-2%, but this risk increases for elderly or sick rabbits. Make sure your vet regularly performs these procedures and has a good success record. They should also be able to administer appropriate pain management and monitor your rabbit closely before, during, and after the surgery. With proper care and precautions, your rabbit should come through the surgery just fine and recover fully within a few weeks.

Expected cost

The cost of spaying or neutering a rabbit can range quite a bit, but you can expect to pay $200-$600 on average. Many factors affect the price:

  • Geographic location – Prices are generally higher in major metro areas

  • Vet office fees – Low-cost clinics offer discounted rates, while specialty/emergency hospitals charge more

  • Rabbit's sex – Spaying females is more expensive than neutering males

  • Rabbit's age & size – Surgery on larger, older rabbits requires more anesthesia

  • Additional services – Bloodwork, pain meds, and other add-ons increase the total

  • Overnight stays – Your vet may charge for hospitalization before/after surgery

Don't choose a vet based on price alone. Make sure you find an experienced rabbit veterinarian to ensure your bunny gets quality care. Also be aware that speutering provides long-term health and behavioral benefits that make it well worth the price.

Find a rabbit savvy vet for the surgery

It's extremely important to find an experienced rabbit vet to perform the spay or neuter surgery. Rabbits have unique anatomy and physiology compared to cats and dogs. A vet who mainly sees conventional pets may not have the proper skills and knowledge to safely speuter a rabbit.

Ask your local rabbit rescue group for recommendations on the best rabbit vets in your area. You can also search listings on the House Rabbit Society (HRS) website. Look for a vet who:

  • Has plenty of experience spaying/neutering rabbits
  • Keeps up with the latest in rabbit medicine
  • Can provide proof of high success rates
  • Uses proper anesthesia and pain control protocols
  • Understands rabbit behavior and handling techniques

Schedule a consult ahead of time to meet the vet and ask lots of questions. Getting a "rabbit savvy" vet significantly reduces surgical risks and aids in your bunny's recovery. This is not a place to cheap out or cut corners.

Caring for your rabbit before surgery

Properly preparing your rabbit before the spay or neuter surgery can help ensure good results. Follow these tips for pre-surgical care:

  • Get a pre-op exam to identify any hidden health issues
  • Fast your rabbit for at least 3-4 hours before surgery
  • Make sure vaccines are up to date, especially RHDV2
  • Give pain medication prescribed by your vet beforehand
  • Withhold produce/greens starting 1-2 days prior
  • Provide ample hay & water right until surgery time
  • Keep your rabbit calm and quiet; no strenuous exercise beforehand

It's also important to bring your rabbit's medical history to the vet, including any previous issues and currently medications. Be ready to discuss anesthesia options and pain control plans. Carefully following your vet's pre-operative instructions will get your bunny ready for a safe surgery and smooth recovery afterwards.

After surgery care

The aftercare once your rabbit returns home is crucial for proper healing post-surgery. Closely follow all discharge instructions from your vet. Typical at-home care includes:

  • Keeping your rabbit confined to a small space like a pen or cage
  • Checking the incision site twice daily for signs of infection
  • Applying antibiotic ointment if directed by your vet
  • Providing ample soft litter for comfort
  • Ensuring your rabbit is eating, drinking, pooping normally
  • Giving all medications as prescribed, like pain medicine
  • Returning for follow-up appointment for suture removal

Monitor your rabbit closely for any signs of post-op complication, such as lethargy, diarrhea, drooling, or swelling. Avoid giving fruits or treats that may upset their digestion. Support proper recovery with a calm, soothing environment. Follow-up with your vet if you have any concerns.

Observe your rabbit to make sure they are eating

It's very important to closely observe your rabbit eating and drinking normally in the days following their spay or neuter surgery. Loss of appetite after surgery is common but can quickly become dangerous for rabbits if left untreated.

Monitor how much hay your rabbit is consuming each day. Make sure they are eating near their normal amounts. Provide their favorite hay to stimulate their appetite if needed. Check that your rabbit is passing normal or even excess cecotropes as a sign of good digestion.

Weigh your rabbit daily with a kitchen or small pet scale. Sudden weight loss likely signals decreased eating. Contact your vet promptly if appetite or cecotrope production noticeably drops or your rabbit loses significant weight. This requires medical attention.

With close observation and quick action if issues arise, your rabbit should regain their normal appetite within a few days post-surgery as the anesthetic wears off and their pain is controlled. Maintain hay available at all times along with water to get eating back on track.

Caring for your male rabbit after neutering

Caring for your male rabbit properly after his neuter surgery is important for minimizing complications and supporting a smooth recovery. Follow these tips for post-neutering care:

  • Keep him confined in a pen or cage initially to prevent leaping and injury
  • Check his incision site twice daily for signs of infection like discharge or swelling
  • Apply antibiotic ointment if prescribed by your vet
  • Ensure he is eating, drinking, pooping normally after anesthesia
  • Watch for decreased urination which may indicate blockage
  • Give pain medication on schedule as directed
  • Allow exercise and play once pain/swelling have resolved
  • Watch for any changes to urination habits or urine scalding
  • Return for suture removal appointment if non-absorbable sutures were used

Your neutered male may experience some initial discomfort and limitations. With proper monitoring, pain management, and wound care, he should be back to normal in 1-2 weeks. Limiting activity early on prevents injury and supports healing. If any concerns arise, don't hesitate to call your vet for advice or bring him in for an exam.

Caring for your female rabbit after spaying

Spay surgery is a major abdominal procedure for female rabbits, so attentive aftercare is needed for her recovery:

  • Keep her confined to allow healing, no running/jumping
  • Check her abdomen twice daily for signs of infection
  • Apply antibiotic ointment per your vet's instructions
  • Watch closely for appetite and keep ample hay available
  • Give prescribed pain medication on schedule
  • Gently palpate her abdomen daily for swelling or fluid
  • Do not allow her to chew stitches or open the incision
  • Return for follow up so your vet can check healing
  • Monitor urine and stool habits for any changes
  • Restrict treats and fruits initially to avoid diarrhea

With a larger abdominal incision, female rabbits can be more prone to complications like internal bleeding or infection. Careful post-op monitoring and pain control are essential. Keeping activity limited prevents tearing stitches or injury. Alert your vet promptly about any concerns with eating, stooling, incision site, or behavior changes.

Health benefits

There are several valuable health benefits to getting your rabbit spayed or neutered. These include:

  • Eliminating reproductive cancers – Unspayed females are at very high risk for uterine and ovarian cancers later in life. Neutering males nearly eliminates testicular cancer risk.

  • Improving urine habits – Neutered males are much less likely to spray urine. Spaying females reduces hormonal driven aggression and territoriality.

  • Preventing uterine disease – Older unspayed females may develop life-threatening uterine infections or uterine cancer. Spaying removes this risk.

  • Decreasing breast cancer risk – Intact female rabbits have higher rates of breast cancer from constant estrogen exposure. Spaying eliminates this hazard.

  • Reducing heart disease – Neutering changes fat metabolism and cholesterol levels in a way that lowers heart disease likelihood, especially in females.

  • Increasing lifespan – On average, neutered males may live 1-2 years longer while spayed females gain 2-3 more years of life.

For both sexes, removing those hormones provides significant lifelong health advantages. Consult your vet about the best age for surgery to maximize these healthy benefits for your bunny.

Advantages for behavior

Spaying and neutering rabbits can improve certain behavior issues driven by raging hormones. Key advantages include:

  • Calmer, less aggressive or territorial behavior
  • Reduction in mounting, humping, and spraying urine
  • Decreased nipping and boxing, especially for unspayed females
  • More consistent litter box habits due to stabilized hormones
  • Easier bonding with other fixed rabbits of opposite sex
  • Less urge to escape from home in search of a mate

The surge of reproductive hormones causes much problematic behavior in pubescent and adult intact rabbits. Eliminating those hormones through speutering settles bunnies down both in personality and actions. Any bonded pair should be fixed for easiest relationship success.

Are there any negative side effects?

There are few disadvantages to spaying or neutering for most pet rabbits. Possible downsides include:

  • Surgical risks from anesthesia – Although very low (1-2%) in healthy rabbits. Higher for older/sick rabbits.

  • Increased appetite – Neutered males and spayed females tend to eat more post-surgery. Monitor weight and adjust diet accordingly.

  • Possible urinary issues – Some male rabbits may develop increased calcium oxylate stones in urine after neutering. Requires monitoring urine pH.

  • Personality changes – Loss of hormones may mildly alter rabbit's natural behaviors. Most changes are positive but it varies individually.

  • Cost of surgery – Upfront expense of $200-$600 may be prohibitive for some owners, but rescues can often assist with discounted spay/neuter.

For almost all household rabbits, the plentiful health and behavioral benefits far outweigh these limited drawbacks of surgery. Discuss any specific concerns with your rabbit-experienced veterinarian when planning for this important procedure.

Preventing Overpopulation and Unwanted Babies

One of the key reasons to spay and neuter pet rabbits is preventing the serious problems of overpopulation and unwanted litters. Key facts include:

  • Rabbits are prolific breeders, able to get pregnant again just hours after giving birth. This leads to exponential population growth if left unchecked.

  • Many accidental litters result from failure to properly sex and separate male and female rabbits.

  • There are already thousands of unwanted rabbits overflowing shelters and rescues, many which face euthanasia. Breeding contributes to this crisis.

  • Most "accidental" baby bunnies end up abandoned, neglected, or sold to irresponsible homes once weaned.

  • Even responsible owners usually cannot find good forever homes for an entire litter.

  • Pregnancy and birthing complications can pose serious health risks for female rabbits, even leading to death.

Spaying and neutering ensures your rabbits do not add to the pet overpopulation problem. It's essential for being a responsible rabbit owner and improving animal welfare. Always adopt, don't shop when welcoming new bunnies to your home.

When are rabbits too old or too young?

Most rabbits can be safely spayed or neutered between 4-6 months old. Large breed rabbits may need to wait until 6-8 months for proper physical maturity first. Very small dwarf breeds can sometimes be done at 4 months. Older adults and senior rabbits can still benefit from speutering surgery and should also be considered.

In terms of upper age limits, there is no definitive cut-off. Much depends on your individual rabbit's health status. Older or chronically ill rabbits may have higher surgical risk due to anesthesia challenges and poor wound healing. However, uncontrolled reproductive cancers also pose serious threats to elderly unspayed females.

Discuss your rabbit's age and overall condition honestly with your vet. They can help advise the best time to schedule a spay or neuter surgery, or if your rabbit may be too high risk. With appropriate precautions, even senior rabbits over 5 years old often still undergo speutering surgery with excellent results and recovery.

Will a rabbit’s personality change after being fixed?

Spaying or neutering will reduce the aggressive, territorial, and hypersexual behaviors connected to raging hormones in rabbits hitting puberty or adulthood. So in that sense, yes – a rabbit's personality is likely to change after being fixed. However, their innate individual temperament remains the same.

A very active and curious bunny will still be energetic after surgery. A mellow, docile rabbit will still be sweet and gentle. But the amplifying effects ofUnpayed females tend to become much less aggressive after spaying. Unneutered males are calmer and less prone to marking territory after losing their testosterone.

On the whole, spaying and neutering settles a rabbit's mood and manners in very positive ways. But it's important to remember every bunny has their own distinctive personality that surgery cannot fundamentally alter. Monitor your rabbit's behavior changes post-speuter and discuss any significant concerns with your vet.

Adopting a rabbit

When bringing a new rabbit into your home, adopting from a shelter or rescue is the ideal choice. Benefits of adopting include:

  • Saving a homeless rabbit's life and reducing overpopulation

  • Receiving a rabbit who is already spayed/neutered, vet checked, and socialized

  • Avoiding support of irresponsible breeding and pet stores

  • Cost savings compared to purchasing from a breeder or store

  • Access to adoption counseling on proper rabbit care

  • Ongoing assistance from rescue if issues arise later

Look for local rabbit rescues in your area by searching sites like and Read all adoption contracts thoroughly and ask questions. Make sure to "speed date" multiple eligible rabbits to find your perfect match! Adoption will likely involve an application process plus home visit prior to placement.

Related Questions

Do rabbits smell bad?

Rabbits themselves do not smell bad. Any foul odors from a rabbit's environment come from urine accumulation and poor litter habits. As long as you regularly clean the litter box, tidy the living space, and bathe your rabbit when needed, there should be no unpleasant smells. Good litter box habits, proper diet, and dental health also help keep your bunny smelling fresh. Neutered males and spayed females have more consistent urine habits as well. With proper care, your rabbit should not stink!

Do rabbits calm down with age?

Like most animals, intact rabbits tend to become calmer and less energetic as they transition from youngsters to full adults around 1-2 years old. However, hormones continue driving many problematic behaviors like spraying, circling, and aggression beyond this age. The most reliable way to settle down your bunny is to get them spayed or neutered between 4-6 months old. This eliminates the hormonal chaos and leads to a happier, more relaxed companion for years to come. While maturity takes the edge off, speutering is the key to a truly mellow rabbit at any age.


Leave a Comment