Five Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Rabbit
Five Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Rabbit Print This Page
Note: “Neuter” can refer to operations on either male or female rabbits. “Spay” refers only to females.
by Michelle S. Kelly
There are thousands of homeless rabbits in the Los Angeles area alone. In addition to the large number of rabbits checked into Southern California animal shelters, there are dumped populations of rabbits in parks, airports, and golf courses. These populations of rabbits are either killed off by predators, poisoned or killed when they become a “nuisance.”
Uterine or ovarian cancer is a probability in unspayed female rabbits. Furthermore, intact rabbits do not make as good house pets, and therefore are more likely to live outside, where they are at greater risk of illness and premature death. Rabbits are also healthier when they live peaceably with other rabbits; the safest combination of rabbits is male/female, where both are neutered. Unneutered rabbits are much more likely to injure or kill one another.
Neutering can make a dramatic difference in a rabbit’s behavior. Here’s a sample comparison of behaviors:
Before neuter: sprays, will not use litter box, lunges, bites, exhibits other forms of defensive, territorial behavior, latches onto wrists with teeth and humps your fingers, chews molding, digs carpeting, emits “scents” and leaves pungent fecal pellets all around the edge of its perceived territory. Females often have “false pregnancies,” go around gathering hay, pulling out their own hair, and tearing stuffing out of the living room chair in order to make a nest, cry and lunge at humans who they believe are threatening their unborn children. Unneutered males will repeatedly try to mount females, even if said females are spayed; females respond by fighting with males.
After neuter: stops spraying! Uses the litter box, and is less likely to exhibit defensive behavior, chewing and digging. False pregnancies and other hormonally-induced behavioral problems disappear after the spay. Gets along much better with other rabbits.
Neutered rabbits can live indoors with people, protected from predators and the elements, instead of outside, alone and unhappy. Well-behaved, litterbox-trained, neutered rabbits are given more freedom in the home, and are less likely to be caged. With better behavior comes better treatment: people are more likely to keep and care properly for a “good bunny.”
Domestic rabbits are social animals. Nothing provides better company to a rabbit than another neutered rabbit.