Neutering male rabbits is essential if you are planning to keep two rabbits together to prevent fighting or breeding. Even if you are not, it is highly recommended for several reasons...
Neutering male rabbits is essential if you are planning to keep two rabbits together to prevent fighting or breeding. Even if you are not, it is highly recommended for several reasons:-
- reduces or eliminates troublesome courtship behaviour such as spraying urine, mounting and nipping
- makes urine and faeces less smelly
- makes rabbit easier to litter train
- removes sexual frustration and resulting possible aggression
Neutering will not change your rabbit's essential personality i.e. he will still be as warm and loving towards you and other rabbits. Some rabbits will continue to display some courtship behaviour such as circling and honking.
It takes a while for the hormones to reduce; a male rabbit can still get a female pregnant up to 3 weeks after neutering. Other behaviour such as spraying and mounting may take weeks or even months to disappear. If you are introducing a neutered male to a spayed female, wait until this behaviour has significantly reduced before attempting an introduction (approx 4 weeks after neutering).
Male rabbits can be neutered as soon as the testicles descend, usually between 3 and 4 months old. The procedure is straightforward and rarely carries any complications; the testicles are removed completely under general anaesthetic, leaving only a few stitches in the skin. These are usually removed between 1 and 2 weeks after the operation. If the rabbit recovers sufficiently from the operation, is eating and producing droppings, your vet may allow him home the same day; if not, he will be kept in overnight for observation.
How to take care of a newly neutered rabbit
When your rabbit comes home he will be stressed and maybe a bit sore. Let him retreat to his safe place, put a bowl of water close to him and leave him for a couple of hours. Ensure that he is warm enough. Offer him some tempting food; if he does not eat or produce droppings within 4 to 5 hours, contact your vet.
Check the stitches twice a day for any signs of redness or swelling. Most rabbits will lick their stitches but be careful that he doesn't tug on them and try to pull them out. If you are at all worried, take him back to the vet without delay.
Neutered rabbits need less food and tend to put on weight more easily so reduce your rabbit's dry food slightly and ensure he has plenty of hay.