Have rabbits neutered: These reasons speak for it

If you want to prevent unwanted offspring, you should have your rabbits neutered. However, there are other important reasons for neutering – especially in bucks.

In order for male rabbits to get along in the long term, both should be neutered - Shutterstock / Claudia Steininger

In order for male rabbits to get along in the long term, both should be neutered – Shutterstock / Claudia Steininger

Anyone who has their rabbit neutered is doing something good for their health and social behavior. Castration removes the gonads – the testicles in bucks and the ovaries in female rabbits. As a result, no further sperm cells or eggs can be produced and the animals become infertile. In addition, sex hormones are no longer released, so that typical mating behavior and territorial fights can be avoided.

Spaying Male Rabbits: Good Reasons

The most obvious of all reasons to have your male rabbit neutered is to avoid unwanted offspring. The castration of males is less complicated than that of females and is usually a routine procedure for the veterinarian. Depending on where you live and the practice, the average cost of a rabbit castration is between 30 and 70 euros. Now you might think that you don’t have to deprive the bucks of their testicles in an all-male long-eared flat share. Unfortunately, this is a fallacy, because unlike in the wild, the rabbits in the enclosure cannot avoid each other when there are territorial disputes. As cute as the cuddle noses may look, when it comes to their territory, they show no mercy to their rivals. As a result of bitter territorial battles, the animals can be seriously injured and, in the worst case, die. This can also happen if only one of the males has remained unneutered, sometimes seemingly out of the blue, even though the rabbits have previously got along well. Potent, fertile bucks also tend to suppress their castrated peers.

Speaking of territory: Like cats, for example, rabbit masters mark their surroundings with urine, which smells very strong. Neutering prevents this behavior, so it is also beneficial for the well-being of the owner. If the females in the rabbit group have been neutered or neutered, that is sufficient to prevent offspring, but you should still have the male rabbits neutered to ensure long-term peaceful coexistence. Otherwise, the love-mad bucks try to mate with the females from time to time, which means great stress for the rabbit ladies. If the harassment accumulates, it can sometimes become clearer, i.e. more aggressive. Here, too, serious injuries are sometimes the result. It’s also less stressful for males when they don’t feel the constant urge to act out their sex drive.

Rabbits need lots of exercise and like company – Shutterstock / Rita Kochmarjova

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Early neutering of rabbits: advantages and disadvantages

Some reasons also speak for a so-called early castration of young bucks. This is carried out between the eighth and twelfth week of life, before the animals are sexually mature and their testicles have fully developed. The operation is then a little more complex, as it requires a small abdominal incision. Check with your veterinarian beforehand if he does early neutering or if you know a colleague you can contact. Not every veterinarian has mastered the necessary surgical technique. Although the procedure is not as uncomplicated as castration at a later date, it is still associated with only a few risks. Theoretically, complications can arise because rabbit pups do not yet have a fully developed immune system. Newly neutered rabbits may not get along well with mature, fertile females, as they have never started producing sex hormones or sperm, and do not understand possible advances – which in turn can lead to frustration in the spurned rabbit lady.

Otherwise, however, early neutering offers a number of advantages: Territorial behavior is alien to the affected animals, so they are more gentle and get along well with other neutered bucks. If you have your rabbit neutered after it is sexually mature and producing sperm cells, it will not be able to return to its group immediately after the operation. This is because the sperm cells produced before the procedure are still lurking in the spermatic cords and epididymis. After six weeks, however, these have also disappeared, so that the animals can then be put back together again. This so-called castration quarantine is unnecessary for early castrates, so that the rabbit group can be reunited immediately after the operation.

Should female rabbits be spayed?

Female rabbits are more difficult to castrate than males, as it requires an abdominal incision. Complications are more likely to occur and it takes a little longer for the animals to recover from the surgery. However, the females often develop pathological changes in the uterus – including cancer – and diseases of the mammary glands. If the uterus is removed as a precaution while the animal is still healthy, you can prevent these diseases. It’s best to discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with your veterinarian so you can weigh them against each other.

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