Desexing Your Rabbit

Why Desex my rabbit?

Both male and female rabbits are more likely to be aggressive and territorial if not desexed and can do harm to each other or their owners.
Desexing prevents unwanted pregnancies. Rabbits can reach sexual maturity at about 4 months old, but the sexes should be separated from 10 weeks of age to be safe.

Desexing females helps to prevent mammary gland cancer, and prevents diseases of the uterus. Uterine cancer occurs in up to 80% of female rabbits over 2 years of age and is life threatening, spreading to organs such as liver and lungs. Rabbits can also get pyometra (infected uterus) and endometritis (inflamed uterine lining).

Desexing male (and some female) rabbits helps decrease urine marking behaviour.

What happens on the day of desexing?

  • An appointment should be made for desexing – normally book in at least a week in advance. You should feed your bunny as normal and you will need to bring some of your rabbit’s food with you so that he or she can continue eating throughout the day.
  • We will examine the rabbit to make sure he or she is healthy on the day. We check the males to make sure both their testicles are descended. We will also ask whether any other procedures, such as microchipping or vaccinations need to be done while the rabbit is with us.
  • We admit the bunny to hospital and sedate it to relax it and provide pain relief prior to surgery. If necessary, he or she may be placed on intravenous fluids during the procedure, to maintain blood pressure and help to support the liver and kidneys.
  • Surgery is performed during the middle of the day, removing the testicles for male animals, or the ovaries and uterus for female animals. We often use dissolving stitches within the skin to reduce irritation and chewing. All rabbits are given an injection of pain relief that lasts for 24 –48 hours after the surgery. They are also given an injection to make sure their stomachs are working well after the anaesthetic.
  • All bunnies are provided with blankets and warm water bottles in recovery to make sure they are comfortable and recover more quickly.
  • The vets themselves will admit your rabbit in the morning, call you during the day and do the discharge appointment in the afternoon, to keep you informed and give you have plenty of chances to ask questions.