Just like cats and dogs, rabbits must be spayed (females) and neutered (males). Due to over-breeding and the common misconception that rabbits are easy or “disposable” pets, there are more rabbits than there are good homes willing to take them. Rabbits are the third-most-common animal to be abandoned or surrendered to animal shelters. Shelters which accept rabbits and rabbit rescue organizations’ foster homes are nearly always filled to capacity. Many other rabbits are “set free” in fields and parks where they die.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to spay or neuter your house rabbits. Aside from helping to relieve the massive overpopulation problem, spaying and neutering your rabbit has behavioral and medical benefits. When a rabbit hits puberty between 3 and 6 months of age, he most likely will become very territorial. Both male and female rabbits may aggressively defend their territory by grunting, lunging, and biting. Sexual activity in the form of mounting hands, feet, fuzzy bedroom slippers, and anything else available is also very common. While these behaviors are troublesome, one common behavior tops them all: spraying. Unneutered males and some unspayed females will spray large amounts of urine to mark territory and objects (or even an unsuspecting owner) as belonging to them. They frequently do this by leaping into the air and spinning in order to spray the urine over a large area. Unfortunately, this is when most rabbit owners give up their rabbits or move them to outdoor hutches. Neutering alleviates most of these behavioral difficulties without changing your rabbit’s personality.
Most importantly, for medical reasons female rabbits must always be spayed. Studies have found that 50 to 80% of unspayed female rabbits develop uterine and/or mammary tumors by five years of age. Spaying your female rabbit adds years to her life.
Spaying and neutering, as with any other medical procedure, should be done only by a veterinarian with experience and training in treatment of rabbits. Male rabbits can be neutered as soon as their testicles descend (3 to 6 months). Most vets spay females at about six months.
More reasons to spay/neuter your bunny
- Helps end the tragedy of pet overpopulation
- Prevents a healthy bunny from developing cancer of the reproductive system
- Reduces bad habits like spraying and marking territory, without altering your bunny’s personality
- Takes away your bunny’s urge to mate, and the bad habits that come with it
- Makes adopting a bunny more cost effective than buying from a breeder. Adopting a spayed or neutered bunny from a shelter or rescue group like Bunny Buddies often costs far less than the price of surgery alone.
- Allows your bunny to live with other bunnies, without the risk of unwanted litters or mating-related aggression
- Makes your bunny more enjoyable to live with
What does it cost to spay/neuter?
Spaying tends to cost more than neutering because spaying is a more complicated procedure. See our Vet List for general prices, but please phone the vets you’re considering for current pricing.