It should really be, “Get neutered like rabbits.”

You’ve heard the phrase “breed like rabbits”. It’s not exactly a good thing. In fact at SaveABunny, we know just how counter-productive a rabbit’s skill at reproduction can be – we save the cute, yet unwanted consequences from shelters every day. This is the main reason we neuter all our rescues, and recommend neutering for all pet rabbits. But there are other reasons, too – ones that other kinds of pet owners don’t have to worry about.

When I got my first rabbit, Ellis, from SaveABunny a few months ago, he was already nuetered – and he’s extremely well-behaved. Of course, I didn’t have anything to compare him to until I got my second bunny, Linda. She was just starting that obnoxious teenage phase when I got her, hormones raging. As social animals, rabbits go through developmental stages similar to the way dogs do, and if you’ve ever had an adolescent puppy (which I did, briefly,) you’ll understand how hard it is to train a young rabbit.

Let’s just say I’ve gone through a lot of stain remover since I got her. I’ll admit I’ve also been kind of lazy about following the training guide and doing it properly. But I got her right before Thanksgiving and the whole holiday season just makes me want to hide away in a dark closet and drink. No excuse though. I’m just a mediocre bunny-keeper. But the point is that rabbits are harder to litterbox train before they get neutered no matter how mediocre or determined you are.

Plus, female rabbits have a distressing tendency to get cancer if they’re not neutered. It’s the downside of that amazing ability to produce offspring.

Linda finally had her spay appointment yesterday, which means 1. I’m really excited to see if she’s easier to train now, and 2. I can tell you how it went so you’re prepared when you take your bunny in. Girl bunny, of course. Can’t tell ya how it went with Ellis, cause I didn’t know him then.

Firstly, the vet asked me to stop feeding her at 10 the night before. I then totally forgot to take the hay out of her pen and when I came out in the morning, she was munching away. After some cursing, I called the vet to see if it would be ok, and she said they could just do her last and it would be fine.

UPDATE: As it turns out, rabbits should NOT be fasted before surgery. If your vet, (or veterinary assistant, in my case,) tells you to fast your rabbit, it would be a really good idea to let them know, and maybe start looking for a new vet. Thanks to our readers for commenting on this and letting us know! But back to the story.

So I dropped her off, declined the vet’s offer to tell me exactly what they were going to do to her in the procedure (sorry, in retrospect it would have been nice for this blog, but I hadn’t eaten yet, and I’m not super functional mentally before 11), and went to work. They called me after lunch to tell me it had gone well and that she was fine. Yay!

When I picked her up after work, they gave me some pain meds for her and said to make sure she is eating and pooping.

Eating: check.

Pooping: check.

Pain meds: What the – they sort of look like syringes but they’re oral? I was pretty certain these were a terrible idea and she would never go for it, but apparently metacam is delicious and giving it to her was really easy.

The only real problem was that when I brought her home, Ellis decided she was no longer cool enough to be his friend now that she was missing an internal organ, and started chasing her around and biting her. Soooo yeah. Had to keep them separated for a few days. They’re mostly friends again now though. Note to self: take advice of blog comments! I should have stuffed him in the carrier with her and made him spend the day at the vet, too, then at least they would both smell equally funny to each other.

So, Linda is doing well, she has a funny shaved spot on her belly and a big ugly scar, but time is especially good at healing those kinds of wounds. I’ll let you know if her manners improve.

One last thing though. At SaveABunny, we spay and neuter all of our rescues, and that bill adds up fast. Really fast. But by doing it, we help make sure shelters everywhere end up less crowded. We have a whole slew of new rabbits that we’re scheduling appointments for, so if you can help out, please donate! Even small amounts make a big difference. Thanks!

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7 Responses to “It should really be, “Get neutered like rabbits.””

  1. Chelsea Fenton Says:

    One problem I have with this story!!!… Rabbits are never fasted before surgery!! They use a different anesthesia than dogs and cats during the procedure. It’s a good thing you forgot. I would question your vet a little bit… I’m not a vet myself, but I have been looking to get my pet rabbit spayed and have talked to several vets and ALL of them have told me their golden rule of “never fasting a rabbit before a surgery.” You can probably research it online if I don’t seem like a credible source.

  2. Amanda Says:

    Not to be a downer on your *bunny saving* brigade… but I have been a rabbit breeder for over twenty years now, raising, selling, and showing rabbits, as well as assisting the judges in American Rabbit Breeder Assocation sanctioned shows, State fairs, and have judged shows myself as well. The temperment of the rabbit has very little to do with wether or not the rabbit it “intact” or not, and more to do with the breed or the line. Nice rabbits breed nice rabbits, mean breed mean.
    Likewise, some rabbits are just simpler to litter box train than others. It has nothing to do with “obnoxious teenage phase.” Any animal is just the same as rabbits… some are easier to train than others.
    Unfortunately, when a rabbit is no longer “intact”, they can be used for nothing more than a house pet, and if the owner should decide to find another home for it with a breeder, the rabbit cannot be shown nor reproduced.
    Granted, some rabbits need to be saved from terrible living conditions, but many breeders are not as evil as you people may think. We offer on going support and advice for new families, at any point in time they need or want. Breeders are not like puppy or kitten farms, they are often times people, like myself, who have enjoyed raising showing and sharing them with others. Breeders carefully select parings for breedings, attempting to achieve a rabbit that is as close to the American Rabbit Breeders Association spefications as possible, some are then kept by the breeder for their own private stock, while others are then sold to the public. No one that has ever purchased a rabbit from our rabbitry has ever left unprepared.
    A vet can talk text book vet terms all day about rabbits, but unless they themselves have owned several rabbits at once, they don’t have the needed hands on expertise that is the majority of knowing how to care for rabbits. When looking for a vet for a rabbit, if it is entirely essential for one to feel better about owning the rabbit, its always good to ask what their experiance with rabbits are.

  3. DJ Says:

    I think the HRS has a good page on its site about questions to ask a rabbit vet, as well as questions to determine if your vet is really rabbit-savvy.

    I’ve always heard that rabbits should not be put on a fast before surgeries, because they don’t vomit and because they need to always have food running through them to avoid statis. That may not always be the case, but it’s one of the test questions I was told to ask vets about when I first adopted my bunnies.

    You might want to ask Marcy her opinion and for tips on locating a good vet in your area. A vet that doesn’t know very much about rabbits could easily end up causing one’s death. It happened with a friend of mine’s rabbit, who was prescribed an antibiotic known by rabbit-savvy vets to be very dangerous and even kill rabbits.

  4. thea Says:

    I actually found this vet through the HRS recommended vets page. When I brought Linda in, the girl who had originally told me to make her fast seemed to backtrack a little and mentioned something quick about how rabbits didn’t need to fast “as much”, so I think she actually made the mistake of telling me to have her fast in the first place, then probably realized she was wrong but didn’t want to admit it. She was not the vet, though.
    Thanks for the advice about asking questions – we should probably have a section on the SaveABunny site adressing this!

  5. DJ Says:

    That’s a great idea!

  6. thea Says:

    When looking for a pet – rabbit or otherwise – we hope you check the shelters before going to a breeder, because shelter animals will be euthanized. We have nothing against breeders and in fact work directly with at least one that I’m aware of.

    Just a reminder that the views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those held by SaveABunny and it is written by volunteers who do not claim to be experts – although we try our hardest to be factual and research our claims. Just thought I’d put that out there. Thanks :)

  7. thea Says:

    Thank you for pointing this out! Everyone should be aware – I’ll add an update to the blog.

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