A Healthy Bun is a Happy Bun
Spay/Neuter, gi stasis, ears & teeth, loss of appetite
One of the most important things you can do for your rabbit's health is having him or her neutered or spayed. Rabbits who are desexed can live almost twice as long!
- Exhibit aggressive behavior which may include spraying, humping, biting - all symptoms of hormonal or sexually frustrated behavior.
- Could lead to serious health issues and/or death at a young age (average 4-7 years); the chances of reproductive cancer for unaltered rabbits (especially females) are more than double.
- Are very difficult to litter train.
- May not be able to have a peaceful relationship with another rabbit because of aggression and hormones.
- Are calmer, gentler and make better pets than unaltered rabbits.
- Are much easier to litter train; in fact, after a neuter or spay rabbits become less territorial, and therefore, more tidy!
- Are much more likely to live twice as long as unaltered rabbits: 10-13 years!
- Help keep the rabbit population down.
Does your bun need fixed? Here are a couple FAQs to help if you're still unsure:
How old should a rabbit be to get spayed or neutered?
Males can be fixed once the testicles descend - at about 3 1/2 months.
Females can be fixed at 5-6 months old.
Is it safe for my rabbit to have surgery?
Absolutely. You just need a rabbit savvy vet to perform the surgery. The younger the rabbit, the less risk in surgery, but healthy rabbits under the age of 5 can safely be put under anesthesia. A good vet will advise that your rabbit over the age of 2 undergo a health check before undergoing surgery. If your rabbit is older, your bunny vet will be able to provide guidance on whether or not spaying/neutering is wise for your bun.
GI Stasis can be fatal to a rabbit. GI Stasis is when your rabbit's gastro intestinal system is no longer 'flowing' correctly and becomes blocked. A rabbit's system is meant to be constantly flowing with food. GI Stasis means that bad bacteria has backed up in their intestines and releases gas into the rabbit's system. Because rabbits cannot pass gas, this condition becomes extremely painful and potentially fatal. GI Stasis must be dealt with right away.
Signs of GI Stasis include:
- Lack of appetite; your rabbit is not interested in food or water
- Severe bloating (this may or may not be obvious)
- A large amount of mucus-like substance coming out instead of regular waste
- Runny bowels
- Lethargy and laying down on her belly a lot, may appear uncomfortable
If your rabbit exhibits signs of GI Stasis, you can try to very gently massage your rabbit's abdomen area; do not press hard at all - your rabbit is not only a fragile creature, but she is also in pain. If a gentle massage does not result in a bowel movement within 3-4 hours, then get her to a vet as soon as possible!
Avoid GI Stasis in your rabbit by making sure she is eating the proper diet, has an unending supply of hay and gets plenty of exercise. Regular exercise helps your rabbit's system to keep things 'moving'.
Have more rabbit health questions? Contact us for specific rabbit health subjects, and we will add them here!
Ears & Teeth
Your bunny savvy vet should check your rabbit's teeth and ears at least once a year, twice a year is ideal. Your vet will check to make sure the ears are clear and that the teeth are wearing down like they should be.
If your rabbit starts to exhibit a head tilt, he needs to be treated by a vet for a possible ear infection. If ear infections go left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of your bunny.
Rabbits should be eating/munching on hay constantly. Rabbit systems are made to be constantly digesting and pooping. If your rabbit exhibits a lack of appetite, keep an eye on him; if he does not eat at all within 24 hours, something is wrong. Get him to a vet immediately.