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Evil bunny hormones and why you should get your pet rabbit(s) spayed or neutered
Is Fluffy refusing to use her litter box? Hops is being cage aggressive? You want to get a friend for Bunnicula, but he constantly fights with other rabbits? Are you worried that your rabbit will develop cancer?
Long gone are the days when spaying and neutering was only for cats and dogs. As different species of pets become increasingly more popular, continuous advances are being made in their care. Preforming surgery on a rabbit used to be risky at best, but breakthroughs in rabbit medicine have made rabbit surgery, in the hands of an experienced veterinarian, much safer than in the past. Most rabbit experts, or anyone who works closely with the species, will tell you that a majority of questions asked by new owners can be answered with one other question; Is your rabbit fixed? There are many benefits to getting your pet rabbit neutered or spayed.
Many of the benefits that come with having your pet rabbit spayed or neutered are behavioral. The high level of hormones that are present in sexually mature, unfixed, rabbits can sometimes cause them to act aggressively. They may display this aggression in the form of cage aggression (towards humans or other rabbits) or by fighting with other rabbits. Female rabbits who are not spayed are more prone to developing cage aggression, or fighting to defend what they see as their territory (usually their cage). Intact males will commonly mount things, and it doesn't usually matter much if something looks like another rabbit or not. Humans, other pets, and house hold items are all fair game when it comes to a hormone driven male rabbit. Male rabbits will often times fight with other males, and of course if they are kept with intact females they will breed. Fixing them greatly reduces behavioral problems such as cage aggression, excessive mating behaviors, aggression in general, and urine spraying, among others.
Many rabbit owners who give up their pet rabbits often do so soon after the rabbit hits sexual maturity. When asked why, many of them will attribute it to their rabbit's new naughty behavior. Rabbits in general make much better pets when they are fixed. Think of how many of them might not have had to leave their homes if they had been fixed so that they did not display these negative behaviors. Not only would more of them most likely not be given up, but they would also not be able to breed and further contribute to the population. Rabbits breed like, well, rabbits! They are becoming increasingly popular pets, but more and more of them are ending up in shelters. Fixing pet rabbits will go a long way in both making them better pets so that they have a higher chance of staying in their homes, and also preventing them from contributing to the overwhelming population of homeless animals in shelters.
Fixed rabbits are usually have better litter box habits than their intact counterparts. Having a litter trained rabbit can make cleaning up after them so much easier. It's not uncommon for rabbits to go from having horrible litter box habits before being fixed, to almost never having any accidents after being fixed. Improving litter box habits is one of the many benefits that often times comes with getting your rabbit spayed or neutered.
If you've never had the privilege of being able to watch a pair of bonded rabbits interacting, then you don't know what you're missing! Rabbits are social animals that get a lot of benefits from being able to live with another rabbit companion. But in order to bond two rabbits together, they must first be fixed.
Along with being helpful with behavioral issues, and bonding, there are some health benefits to getting your bunnies fixed as well. Unspayed female rabbits unfortunately have a very high chance of developing reproductive cancers (uterine and mammary being the most common). If left unfixed, a very high percentage of female rabbits will develop cancer before the age of 5. Having them spayed completely eliminates this risk. Getting your rabbit fixed may seem expensive, but it is much cheaper and normally has a much better outcome than dealing with cancer would be. Nowadays, if cost is an issue, it is often times possible to find vets who offer low cost altering for rabbits.
Rabbits can make amazing pets. Getting them fixed goes a long way towards improving the lives of the rabbit and owner alike! Fixed rabbits are easier to clean up after, healthier, make better bonding candidates, and are less aggressive and better behaved. They are less likely to be given up by their owners, and can no longer contribute to the over population of domestic pet rabbits. Rabbits who have been fixed live longer lives and are better able to concentrate on the joys of life rather than be fixated by an insatiable urge to breed. Fixed rabbits make better pets and are much better candidates to live the lives of spoiled house bunnies.