BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > DIET & CARE > Advice: Choosing Not To Neuter
Last Post by Stickerbunny at 9/13/2012 3:56 PM (19 Replies)
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User is Offline Troller
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9/09/2012 7:57 AM
A little misleading, because I haven't made the choice exactly and a lot of it is contingent on future rabbit behavior. But that is the gist of it. The breeder I got the rabbit from (a highly credible and respected lady by all accounts) suggested that I possibly don't, because her rabbits have always been relatively well behaved. Now I came into getting a rabbit believing that I was going to neuter and still might, but I wanted to hear from folks who went my route and didn't fix.

My situation is this. I'm not going to get another rabbit, just this one. Me and my wife have plenty of time to spend with Conan, and seeing as how he's our first rabbit we really don't want to go through the challenge of bonding and worrying if it shouldn't take having to keep two seperate rabbits (we adopt for life unless the circumstances are truly of of proportion) and so we just want this one. No one around us has rabbits, so really he want have to deal with others except for vets office I guess. I've read extensively the reasons to neuter and agree for the most part, but he's male and so medical reasons aren't as likely, we're not bonding so that part is unecessary, so behavioral remains the main reason to go through with it. Anyone else here passed on fixing their male rabbit?

User is Offline bunnyfan
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9/09/2012 8:15 AM

My boy is 3 years old going on 4. I am very lucky because he is not fixed yet has perfect litter habits. He is a free range house bunny. Whenever he has to use the bathroom he always goes in his litter box. He is very friendly. He still chins everything though, do not know if having him fixed would have changed that or not, probably not. I think it just depends on the bunny. Each one has their own personality. I am not telling you do or don't get yours fixed, just saying mine is not.

I do not have any other bunnies but him, I do also have a dog. My bunny Benji doesn't chew on the carpet or anything. I am not saying I would never have it done, at this point I do not see a need for it. He is perfectly healthy and happy and like you I do not plan on getting another bunny. He gets plenty of attention.


User is Offline britt and yeti
Edmonton, AB
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9/09/2012 12:35 PM
myself and most members would highly advise you do get Conan neutered. it helps with litter training.. it can help them be a more calm passive bunny. and its just better for their overall health.

i would do as much research possible on the subject and make an informed decision..
ultimately its your choice but please weigh all pro/cons,
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User is Offline Sam and Lady's Human
2006 posts Send Private Message
9/09/2012 12:45 PM
There's also the issue of cancer, I remember reading that rabbits in captivity live so much longer than wild rabbits, and they suspect thats why there's such a high cancer rate after a few years? I know females have a ridiculously high chance ( like 80%?) of getting cancer if they aren't spayed, so might be worth looking into for boys as well.

User is Offline equalsign
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9/09/2012 1:23 PM

Neutering is an invasive procedure that your animal cannot consent to. If he is litter trained and isn't spraying I would recommend leaving him intact. Keep in mind that annoying behaviors do not usually begin manifesting themselves before 6-12 months of age. I do not know much about the health complications involved with neutered rabbits. Neutered dogs are less likely to get certain cancers, but are more likely to get others. Recommended reading (especially the googledoc):

http://www.mmilani.com/commentary-200509.html

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:qZsQF_Myk0cJ:www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/LongTermHealthEffectsOfSpayNeuterInDogs.pdf+&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgEw1_AoIs5a5O-5-6tkv8lgLLLl2uncsfGfYlh84pfiVxwD_HEuNjVEusLJLQXVHx885r0FMZHPO64ftyX-sPjWQkimFQDYzN3Uuq7LdjgLopiVPuIxlQDiZMkUovkeGamTlAi&sig=AHIEtbQ7PlvFNT9tczbdF_0DAVZyIFX22Q&pli=1

My male rabbit is neutered because I wanted him to have a companion. His unrelenting sex drive prevented him from being able to get along with my spayed female. As your rabbit gets older, the procedure will get significantly more risky. I would recommend revisiting whether you want to get him a companion before he is 4 years old. My rabbit really enjoys his furry company.


User is Offline FrankieFlash
Michigan
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9/09/2012 2:16 PM
I was on the fence about this too. I always felt like I'd probably want to get him another friend but I knew it wouldn't be for a while. I also was just super worried about him going through with the procedure. And my boy seemed pretty well behaved. Yes, he chewed/s carpet sometimes but he never sprayed and he never peed outside his litter box only pooed. He was super friendly and loved us tons. So due to unforseen circumstance his original neuter appointment got put off a couple times. But the decision became easy because it wasn't until about 7-8 months when our boy started developing some annoying behavior. For example, he loved us but he started "loving" us too much. A switch would click during pet time or our feet moved in the wrong way and he would try to start romancing them. He also became worse with how much poo he left outside the box. He chewed carpet more and more and he was having to be on lock-down a lot which made us sad. And lastly, he started releasing a scent so awful when he was circling my boyfriend. I knew it was time. And I'm glad we did it. It was a tough experience but now I know he won't feel so crazed by hormones and he can go bunny dating within the next year possibly. And not that he minds, but we appreciate a lot less poos out of the liter box and no more romancing (he still circles but in a different way now) or bad scents.

User is Offline FrankieFlash
Michigan
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9/09/2012 2:18 PM
I forgot my main point. I'm glad we waited until we thought it was time because if we didn't, I'm not sure we would have made the right decision. I feel like if you're on the fence, and you have no plans to get him a friend anytime soon that waiting isn't the worst option. Just see how his behavior is as he gets older. Just don't let him get too old like equalsign mentioned where the surgery is even harder on the bun.

User is Offline BB
San Francisco Area
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9/09/2012 9:04 PM

Your bunny is a very handsome boy. How old is he? In your profile, you put May 2011, but did you mean 2012? 


If your boy, so far, is mellow, no musky strong overpowering urine odor, ( I find the urine of neutered males less pungent),is not marking with poo, not spraying urine, litter box habits are good, not trying to constantly circle, honk and mount, and is fine around any other animals you have, then it certainly is understandable to question neutering. (NOTE If you don't have any other animals, but plan to someday -- Even other animals, not necessarily another rabbit, can actually trigger some of that challenging hormonal behavior.)


However, with that said, I am pro-neuter just because within the 10 plus years that a rabbit is alive, many things can happen in the human's life. It's common to think that now is forever and things won't change much. And sometimes it doesn't. Admittedly, I am a bit biased due to he fact I volunteered at rescues for many years and prefer the "security" of a neuter after what I have experienced. However, I also feel it is up to each individual since males have a much lower cancer rate than females. Plus, it seems as if you are well aware of the neutering benefits for behavior and are watching out for that. I triple ditto - not to wait too long.


Otherwise, if a bunny's mission is to mate, mark and defend, not only is it challenging for the human, but I feel it's not fair to the bunny either to keep him intact.

User is Offline Monkeybun
Hillsboro, Oregon
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9/10/2012 12:58 AM
I always, always, always recommend neutering. But I too volunteer with rescues and the humane society, so I see all sorts of bunny behaviours. It's just better to spay and neuter in my opinion, because like BB said, you never know what may happen down the road, and what will trigger territorial behaviour.

User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
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9/10/2012 1:21 AM
Has you rabbit been examined by a rabbit-savvy/exotics vet? (Is he in fact a HE?) I would consult with your vet about this topic as well if you have not already. If you have talked to your vet about not neutering, what did he/she say?

While it is not as necessary to neuter males for health reasons, the behavioral reasons can be compelling if your bun is exhibiting hormonal behaviors. Certain behaviors (like urine spraying) may go unnoticed at first, and if allowed to continue for an extended length of time, can be become habitual, NOT hormonal.

The comment about consent made me chuckle. Rabbits (pets) are not autonomous. They also don't consent to being caged, being fed certain foods at certain times in certain amounts, or even being in your care at all. As the reasoning adults in charge of their care, we make the decisions that are best for their health and well-being (and for us as their caretakers).
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User is Offline Hunny's Momma
Beautiful New England
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9/10/2012 2:04 AM
If Conan hasn't begun with behavioral issues, kudos to you... Ash is crazy hormonal mess right now & he's only 14 weeks old and has been a real handful for the past couple weeks, needless to say he's scheduled to be neutered on the 19th.  I do wish you the best & hope that you don't ever have to deal with a destructive, hormonal, humpy bunny w/ poor litter box habits that randomly will spray at you & your furniture without warning if you do descide to not get him altered but like a few others have said it can happen at any age... if I remember correctly you said he was only about 16 weeks - he's still so young.  Again, good luck!

User is Offline Troller
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9/10/2012 2:48 AM
Thanks BB, I corrected the birth date, and he's 16 weeks.

And thanks everyone for chiming in. Before I got Conan, I was definitely going to neuter him, as I always have for previous animals I've had as pets. Then I read some accounts of people who didn't, and of course the breeders suggestion (she was very polite adevised it but didn't push for it) not to fix got me questioning it as a committed notion.

He's still young, and Flemish Giants mature slower so these musings may become moot should he turn into a hormone induced ball of furry difficulty. If not though, the strongest pro I got going for neutering is the future.

Right now; me and the wife have two cockatiels and a fish. Hardly the pets that would raise the urges in a bunny. In the future, we might get a dog, but I don't see that happening for a few years, probably +5 years. I've had cats, but never felt a true kinship with them as I seem to feel with a rabbit, so I'm not going there. So the only real possibility is another rabbit, and while I won't rule against that thought I seriously doubt I'd do it, and my wife is not for it. We may change our mInds, but we really like the idea of dedicating to one rabbit. After Conan, well who knows...

To answer Beka27, no the vet visit is coming in a week and I planned to go over it with her. She's a very experienced rabbit vet and comes highly recommended (I can't believe I just happened to live nearby one that treats rabbits almost exclusively. Kismet!). Me and the wife are sort of leaning towards neutering, especially since we don't want Conan tormented by fruitless desires he can't sate, but at the same time I feel I should consider alternatives because I'm not one for unecessary surgeries or pain.

Heh, the sad thing is I do hear the earlier the less painful and dangerous, so that's why I'm looking into this so intently. Figure I'll decide within the next few months what's the right move for my family. Thanks folks for letting me rattle on.

User is Offline tobyluv
South Carolina
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9/10/2012 1:05 PM
Even though you say you seriously doubt you would get another rabbit, if there is the slightest possibility that may happen, it would certainly be best to go ahead and get Conan neutered now. Sometimes the unexpected can happen, and it's best to be prepared. A few years ago, we had an elderly bunny, and at his age we had no plans to get a companion for him. Then we happened upon a sick, malnourished bunny on the side of the road that someone obvioiusly discarded. So our old bunny got a companion after all. Fortunately he had been neutered when he was young.

So, besides the behavioral problems that a neuter can take care of, I think it's best to go ahead and neuter or spay rabbits when they are young - just in case they may have a companion in the future. Of course, it's up to you and what you feel comfortable with, but if you are thinking at all of neutering him, it would be best to get it done at an early age.

User is Offline equalsign
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9/10/2012 6:00 PM
Posted By Beka27 on 09/10/2012 04:21 AM
 The comment about consent made me chuckle. Rabbits (pets) are not autonomous. They also don't consent to being caged, being fed certain foods at certain times in certain amounts, or even being in your care at all. As the reasoning adults in charge of their care, we make the decisions that are best for their health and well-being (and for us as their caretakers).

That's dandy. I don't care. Neutering is an extremely invasive and irreversible procedure that does not have clear health benefits for single, male rabbits. It helps with behavior. I don't agree that choosing what my rabbit eats gives me a free pass to castrate him without fully weighing the costs vs. the benefits. I take his welfare more seriously than that.

I wanted to add that bonds between altered rabbits aren't always as difficult as they're made out to be (though many times they are). I'm 2 for 2 with incredibly easy bonds that only took a couple days; even without the luxury of bunny dating. No fighting at all. Sometimes you're just really lucky.



User is Offline Milove
Eugene, OR
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9/10/2012 9:10 PM
I originally tried to get Milo neutered when his testicles descended and he stopped breathing during the procedure (the resuscitated him and he was fine) so he did not end up having it done. After that I decided not to get him neutered. Then at about 5 months he started acting like a terror. Not aggressive. He would just nudge me all the time, even if I wasn't in his way he would come up to me an nudge me and if I didn't move he would give me a warning nip and then a harder one if I still didn't move. He started having accidents, not in his pen but in my room when I would let him run around, he started pooping up a storm in his cage. Then when spring came around he took to rattling his pen 24/7. Which was hard since he was in my room and would therefore wake me up at all hours of the night/morning. He wasn't hungry/thirsty, he had hay and water, he was just going crazy from hormones.
Yes these may just help with behavior @equalsign, but to me, these natural instincts or behaviors caused by the hormones were making him unhappy. He seemed irritated and no matter how much time I let him spend out of his pen, it didn't seem to tire him out/calm him down. It is not, for males, a very invasive surgery. Males usually spring back from it within two days. It seemed to me that by getting Milo neutered I was taking his welfare into consideration seeing as though his mental welfare (being a content and happy rabbit rather than an irritable one) is also a factor that should be considered.
Rabbits that are not castrated might feel a need to mate as I suspect Milo did, and when they cannot/should not have that need fulfilled it seems unfair to keep them intact.

I took Milo a second time with a different vet and it seemed as though it was more unnerving for me than it was for Milo, he was back to his usual self just hours after the surgery.
@Troller, I recommend neutering, but I also think it is fine to wait it out to see if his behavior changes with age.
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User is Offline equalsign
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9/10/2012 9:49 PM
Posted By Milove on 09/11/2012 12:10 AM
Yes these may just help with behavior @equalsign, but to me, these natural instincts or behaviors caused by the hormones were making him unhappy. He seemed irritated and no matter how much time I let him spend out of his pen, it didn't seem to tire him out/calm him down. It is not, for males, a very invasive surgery. Males usually spring back from it within two days. It seemed to me that by getting Milo neutered I was taking his welfare into consideration seeing as though his mental welfare (being a content and happy rabbit rather than an irritable one) is also a factor that should be considered.
Rabbits that are not castrated might feel a need to mate as I suspect Milo did, and when they cannot/should not have that need fulfilled it seems unfair to keep them intact.


This was all part of my decision making process. I tried to look at it from every angle before I made the decision. I do not think it should be rushed. I do not think it should be glossed over without serious thought.

In honesty, I believe my rabbit became less happy after his neuter. I got him as an adult and he was always very sweet and happy, albeit a little horny. I waited a few months before I decided to have him neutered. I noticed an immediate change in behavior afterwards. He became grumpy and withdrawn, and still is a year later.

I am aware that a neuter is not as major a surgery as a spay. You are not going to convince me that the neuter is not an invasive surgery. I think we are using two different definitions of the word "invasive."


User is Offline Troller
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9/13/2012 3:17 AM
More and more I'm thinking of neutering. Mostly because it would be sad to have a creature who has urges and no way to sate them. That can't make them happy can it? I mean if it's just an adolescence thing, fine I can deal with it, but their whole lives? That, and well yes who knows what the future might bring. Still, I got some time to mull it all over.

User is Offline Malp_15
British Columbia, Canada
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9/13/2012 9:40 AM
I'm not going to get involved with the argument here, but I just wanted to chime in with my experience.

I have one male rabbit that was neutered at 6 months and he is now almost 2. He was a pissy(literally and figuratively), ball of hormones and is now a super happy rabbit with amazing litter habits. Last Christmas I acquired a 3 year old male rabbit as a rescue. He was the SWEETEST thing ever, and I wasn't able to neuter him for almost 6 months because of health conditions. After living with me for 3 months he started spraying EVERYWHERE and trying to litter train was just a joke. I'm not going to lie, I was at war with myself over whether to neuter him or not, because for him it was a VERY risky surgery. But in the end I went forward and everything worked out totally fine and he kept his wonderful personality. BUT because he wasn't neutered until after he had the chance to gain those bad habits, his litter habits leave a lot to be desired and he still sprays occaisionally. He just doesn't have that musky intact male smell anymore.

So I think you need to consider what you are willing to live with, for hopefully the next 8+ years.

User is Offline BB Administrator
Geekville
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9/13/2012 3:02 PM
We each have to make what we feel is the best decision for our bunnies. Whether or not to neuter can be controversial and while a meaningful discussion of viewpoints is allowed, deterioration in the form of sarcasm, anger and the like are not.

Let's respect that this is Troller's thread and take care not to hijack it to debate each other.  Good points have been made and so now it's up to Troller. If you have more to add, that's fine, but keep this in mind: Discussion - yes, Argue - no.

Fixes Stuff. Thinks about Fixing stuff. Dreams about fixing stuff. Is it fixed yet?

User is Offline Stickerbunny
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9/13/2012 3:56 PM
You say you have cockatiels and while you might think that a bird can't trigger hormonal responses in a bunny... my male chased my cockatiel around the floor (floor foragers, so mine likes to get down and walk around the floor a bit) trying to chin him. The bird found the litter box and was interested, cause it looked like a big old scratch/forage tray to him, which triggered territorial response again from my male, including spraying, grunting and aggression towards the bird. Now, it wasn't a huge deal, but even something as seemingly innocent as a bird can trigger a bunny into hormonal behavior. My male hasn't done any of that since I got him fixed. Something as innocent as you pet your friends dog can also trigger it, doesn't have to be an animal in your own home.

Now, that being said - I probably wouldn't have neutered my male and my vet actually recommended AGAINST it for my particular rabbit due to health complications (which in the end, caused him to heal slower than most boys, but he did fine), until bonding became an issue and he had gotten a bit healthier in my home. My vet has treated rabbits for 25 years, sees them often and cares so much about ours that he offered to come in after hours if my female presented problems after her spay because he doesn't trust the emergency vets in town with a rabbit. He explains everything step-by-step to the owners of his patients, he even told us what treatments were available he doesn't use and why when my female got the snuffles (he gave us the actual name but I seriously can't remember the name of the bacteria). Given that experience, he said he has never treated a male with cancer and considers that risk rather low. He recommends it on younger male bunnies due to preventing bad behaviors, but on adults that are well behaved, he leaves it 100% up to the owner and will not recommend either way (unless there is a health concern). He doesn't see it as a huge benefit to males, who are solo bunnies, if the owner is happy with their behavior. On females, he's pretty strict on wanting owners to have it done and keeps his prices low compared to other vets in town just so more owners can afford it.

BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > DIET & CARE > Advice: Choosing Not To Neuter

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