If you have your rabbit neutered, you are doing something good for your health and social behavior. The gonads are removed during castration - the testicles for the rammers and the ovaries for the rabbit ladies. As a result, no further sperm cells or eggs can be produced and the animals are unable to produce. In addition, sex hormones are no longer released, so typical mating behavior and territorial battles can be avoided.
Castrate male rabbits: good reasons
The most obvious of all reasons to have your male rabbit neutered is to avoid unwanted offspring. Castration of the males is less complicated than that of females and is usually a routine procedure for the veterinarian. Depending on the place of residence and practice, the cost of a rabbit castration is on average between 30 and 70 euros. Now you might think that in a purely male long-eared flat share, the rammers don't have to be robbed of their testicles. Unfortunately, this is a fallacy, because unlike in the wild, the rabbits cannot avoid each other in the enclosure when there are territorial disputes. As cute as the jumble noses look, it is about their territory, they know no pardon against their rival. As a result of fierce territorial battles, the animals can be seriously injured and, at worst, die. This can also happen if only one of the males has remained neutered, sometimes apparently out of the blue, even though the rabbits have tolerated themselves well beforehand. Potent, fertile bullies also tend to suppress their castrated sex.
Speaking of territory: rabbits like rabbits mark their surroundings with urine that smells very strong. Castration prevents this behavior, so it is also beneficial for the well-being of the owner. If the females in the rabbit group are castrated or sterilized, this is enough to prevent offspring, but for a permanent peaceful coexistence you should still have the male rabbits neutered. Otherwise, the loving rammers try to mate the females again and again, which means great stress for the rabbit ladies. If the annoyances accumulate, they can sometimes become clearer, i.e. more aggressive. Here too, serious injuries are the result. It is also less stressful for the males if they do not constantly feel the urge to live out their sex drive.
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Early castration of rabbits: advantages and disadvantages
Some reasons also speak for a so-called early castration of young rammers. This is carried out between the eighth and twelfth week of life before the animals are sexually mature and their testicles have fully developed. The operation is then a little more complex because it requires a small abdominal incision. Check with your veterinarian beforehand to see if he is performing early castrations or if he knows a colleague who you can contact. Not every veterinarian masters the required surgical technique. The intervention is not as straightforward as a subsequent castration, but it is still associated with only a few risks. Theoretically, complications can arise as rabbit cubs do not yet have a fully developed immune system. Early neuters may not be able to cope with sexually mature, fertile females because they never started producing sex hormones or sperm cells and do not understand possible advances - which in turn can lead to frustration among the scorned rabbit lady.
Otherwise, early castration offers some advantages: Territorial behavior is foreign to the affected animals, so they are gentler and especially well tolerated with other neutered lugs. If you have your rabbit neutered after it is sexually mature and produces sperm cells, it cannot go back into its group immediately after the operation. This is because the sperm cells produced before the procedure still lurk in the spermatic cord and epididymis. After six weeks, however, these also disappeared, so that the animals can then be reassembled. This so-called castration quarantine is unnecessary for early neutering, so that the rabbit group can be reunited immediately after the operation.
Should you neuter female rabbits?
Castration is more difficult for rabbits than for males because it requires an abdominal incision. Complications are more likely and it takes a little longer for the animals to recover from the operation. However, pathological changes in the uterus - including cancer - as well as breast gland diseases occur relatively often in the females. If the uterus is removed as a precaution while the animal is still healthy, you can prevent these diseases. It is best to discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with your veterinarian so that you can weigh them up against each other.