Rabbit Awareness Week 2023
Neutering: Protect & Prevent
It's Rabbit Awareness Week once again - it's the one week in the year everyone 'rabbit' gets together to focus on rabbit welfare and help spread welfare information to those new to rabbit world, those wanting to learn more and those who want to get more involved - something for everyone!
The most obvious reason to neuter is to prevent unwanted litters. Rescues are currently overflowing with lovely bunnies looking for their forever homes and just do not have the space to take on unwanted litters or to help when a bunny family has got out of control!
A female rabbit can become sexually active from 4-6 months old, with males becoming active from around 3 months old.
Each litter can contain around 5 to 8 baby bunnies - or kits, as they are called.
It's not widely known, but females can become pregnant within hours of giving birth - so with that number of babies, such an early age to become sexually active - and Mom able to get pregnant within hours of giving birth, it's easy to see how one unplanned pregnancy can very quickly get out of hand and a bunny invasion occurs!
Neutering also offers many health benefits - to both male and female rabbits.
90% of females can develop uterine cancer by the age of 5 if not neutered, and testicular cancer, whilst not as common, can also occur. Both these conditions will affect quality and length of life.
There are behavioural benefits to neutering - even when a rabbit lives with a same sex partner or alone and neutering not required for litter prevention.
Males can spray urine from puberty onwards (so from around 3 months), and this form of spraying urine is distinctly different to normal urination. The spray wee is quite stinky and is a way of marking territory and asserting their presence. Spraying is not limited to your furniture either - other rabbits can be sprayed - and even us humans too ... Yuk!
Hormones greatly affect behaviour - whether males or females, and neutered rabbits are often more relaxed and content. They don't suffer from hormone related aggression, and are not prone to the stresses the onset of Spring can produce!
Advances in rabbit medicine have greatly improved the safety of neutering, and although treated as an 'exotic' pet (!) many vets are very familiar with neutering and it is now seen as a routine operation.
In addition, the safety and administration of anaesthetics has improved over recent years.
The Rabbit Welfare Association (RWA) has available on its' website a list of recommended rabbit-friendly vets, along with a helpful guide to find a rabbit savvy vet in your area.
If you're considering getting your rabbits neutered, discuss with your vet and check out neutering on the RWA website for further advice