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Should You Spay / Neuter Your Pet Rabbit?

Learn if you should spay or neuter your pet rabbit in this Howcast video featuring bunny lover Amy Sedaris and rabbit expert Mary E. Cotter.


Speaker 1: So, today we're talking about whether or not it's a good idea to spay or neuter your bunny. As a representative of House Rabbit Society I can tell you that we encourage everybody to spay and neuter bunnies for a variety of reasons. The main one for female rabbits is that the uterine cancer rate in female rabbits that aren't spayed is very, very high. Different figures are bandied about anywhere from 50 to 80% of female rabbits who are not spayed are likely to get uterine cancer as they get older.

The reason you want to spay the rabbit when she's younger is because the older the rabbit is, the higher the surgical risk is and it's really safe surgery when the rabbit is young. If you're spaying an eight to ten year old rabbit, it's a different kind of surgery, so you want to get the rabbit when she's maybe six months to a year old. Get her spayed and prevent any possibility of uterine cancer.

Do you need to neuter males in the same way. Well, testicular cancer is much less likely, but the reason we neuter males is because we encourage as many people as possible to get two rabbits, a male and female so they'll be companions for each other. You can't really put two rabbits together unless they're both spayed and neutered because you'll get constant humping by the male of the female who is not interested and that can make fights break out. It's just a much easier combination to put rabbits together when they're both spayed and neutered. So, it's good from a health standpoint and good from a.

Speaker 2: Is it true rabbits can get pregnant while they're pregnant?

Speaker 1: Can get pregnant while they're pregnant. I'm not sure I understand that. They can get pregnant . . .

Speaker 2: Then they can get pregnant again even though they're pregnant. Somebody told me that once.

Speaker 1: Oh, I see what you're saying. Yeah, rabbits are what's called induced ovulators.

Speaker 2: Sure.

Speaker 1: Which means that they don't have normal heat cycles like dogs do.

Speaker 2: Mm-hmm.

Speaker 1: People always think of dogs as coming into heat like twice a year and you can pretty much tell when they're in heat. Rabbits on the other hand don't have normal heat cycles and they can conceive anytime. They can have a litter about every 30 days about once a month.

Speaker 2: And how many little bunnies? What is a baby bunny called?

Speaker 1: A baby bunny's called a kit and a litter consists of anywhere typically from four to eight kits and we once asked somebody, actually I asked a mathematician to do this. He's working on it now as a project to figure out if you started out with one male and one female at the beginning of the year, how many rabbits will you have by the end of two years. He hasn't finished the calculation yet because he's having his students participate, but he said the number is astronomical.

So, you definitely want to spay and neuter rabbits because you know, they have kits and then when those kits are four or five months old, they start breeding and then their kits start breeding when they're four or five months old, so by the end of two years you have a very large number of rabbits. Everybody wants their children to have the experience of birth. You know how that goes, right?

Speaker 2: Mm-hmm.

Speaker 1: Don't do it with rabbits. It's hard to find an excellent permanent home for a rabbit. It's real easy to give away a baby rabbit. Everybody wants a baby rabbit and then when that rabbit reaches sexual maturity a few months later, finding a really great home is not easy at all and can take you sometimes months to find the right person. So, we really encourage spaying and neutering for those reasons.

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