Neutering of both male and female pet rabbits is strongly recommended. Rabbits become sexually mature between 4 and 9 months, depending on breed and size. Young rabbits should be separated into single sex groups at 16 weeks of age. Neutering of same-sex siblings or cage-mates is still advisable as, once they reach maturity, entire rabbits will often show aggressive or dominant behaviour towards each other.
Spaying of female rabbits can be performed from 6 months of age. Un-spayed rabbits have a very high risk of developing uterine tumours later on in life; in some breeds the incidence of this cancer is over 80% in does over 5 years.
Male rabbits can be castrated from 5-6 months of age (once the testicles have descended). Intact males are more likely to display behavioural problems such as fighting, biting and urine spraying. Their urine may also become strong smelling.
Neutering your rabbit is a major surgical procedure, but is performed regularly at Springfield Vets. Anaesthetics can cause ileus, or gut stasis, in rabbits, so all furry friends are kept in the hospital overnight for hand feeding and close observation. They are discharged once they are eating and passing faeces, which is usually the day after surgery. Neutered rabbits are more prone to obesity as they grow older, so care must be taken not to allow overeating.