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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > HOUSE RABBIT Q & A > Always Spay/Neuter Your Rabbits!
Last Post by Velvet at 1/20/2013 3:28 AM (62 Replies)
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User is Offline Ginger
35 posts Send Private Message
11/15/2012 2:37 PM
<P>Cotton is my unspayed bunny. She is 6 years old and has recently starting having blood in her urine. Turns out her uterus is dialated with fluid and blood. Anti-biotics aren't seeming to help. Her vet has ruled out an infection by testing her urine. He says she needs to be spayed but he isn't advising me to do that b/c of her age. He says within a couple of days I need to either decide to do that or risk the spay surgery b/c it isn't good for her to remain this way. I'm afraid to try the spay b/c what if she dies during it... and I hate to put her to sleep when she isn't in pain and is happy and healthy otherwise. It isn't every time she urinates but it's enough to be a concern. I should've had her spayed when she was younger. I didn't understand the importance of it back then b/c she has been my first rabbit, and I didn't intend to ever have her around any other bunnies so I wasn't worried about accidental litters. </P>
<P>Has anyone ever experienced this kind of problem? What happens if left untreated? Does the bleeding just get worse and lead to pain and discomfort? Wouldn't it be putting her through too much to even try the spay surgery? But wouldn't it be awful to just take my happy lil' bunn in to be put to sleep? Both options are awful.</P>

User is Offline Roberta
Wanneroo, Western Australia
3081 posts Send Private Message
11/15/2012 2:53 PM
Hi Ginger, Given the circumstances, I personally would have her spayed if it was going to make a difference especially considering the alternatives, but that is something only you can decide on. Hopefully some of the others will have experience with spaying older buns.
 photo 4c056bd9-2c56-40ee-a225-3a25c9ab287b_zps9ea4421d.jpg

User is Offline LBJ10
5572 posts Send Private Message
11/15/2012 4:23 PM
I would be afraid of this progressing further. You can have blood work done to check to see if she is healthy enough for surgery. If she is and if it were me, I would choose to have the spay done.

User is Offline Ginger
35 posts Send Private Message
11/15/2012 5:41 PM
I just found and read this. I wish I'd have had her spayed :'(

http://www.rabbitnetwork.org/articl...spay.shtml

User is Offline peppypoo
Texas
Forum Leader
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11/15/2012 7:33 PM
Ginger, I'm so sorry to hear about Cotton. Did the vet give you a diagnosis or any explanation of her symptoms? I would consult with your vet regarding whether she is healthy enough for a spay and the associated anesthesia. Is your vet comfortable/experienced with the procedure?
Tammo (RIP), Milo (RIP), Peppy, Remi

User is Offline Ginger
35 posts Send Private Message
11/17/2012 12:42 PM
He said a spay should fix the problem but isn't really comfortable with doin it bc of her age and rabbits don't do we'll with anesthesia anyway. He said he may find a tumor or cancer spread or nothing and could just do a clean spay. It would be 300.00 to do so and with the risk, I'm not sure if I should spend that much and not really know if it would help her or not. I want to do the spay. But what if the bleeding means she already has cancer spread? If I knew for sure it's fix her problem I'd do it without hesitation. It's just a touch decision. Mainly bc she's still happy and playing and eating well.

User is Offline Hazel
855 posts Send Private Message
11/17/2012 1:01 PM

I would do the spay. Your vet said she can't stay like this for long, so what's the alternative, except putting her to sleep? I would do it, now, because if she doesn't have cancer yet, she most likely will get it if you let more time pass, judging by the fact that she already has problems. If she develops cancer down the road, you will wish you would have done it when you had the chance.

Our bunny had cancer, but we didn't know it when we had him have surgery for what we thought was possibly a pocket of fluid. The vet wanted to lance it and ended up finding cancer. Looking back, yes I wish the surgery hadn't happened and he could have spent his last weeks in peace. But even if we had suspected it, we still would have gone through with the procedure at the time, we would have wanted to make sure we did everything possible for him.

If your vet knew FOR SURE that she has cancer, I would leave her be. But since he doesn't, I would try.
"You ain't buna fide!"

User is Offline BB
San Francisco Area
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11/17/2012 5:25 PM

If your vet isn't comfortable doing the spay, then you do you have another rabbit-savvy vet in your area for a second opinion?     Rabbits can be spayed later but they need to have blood tests to make sure they are healthy enough.  My bunny Rucy had to go through surgery (for a tooth issue), when she was older than six, and though there are risks, her blood tests came back fine and she did well under anesthesia, but it is vital that you have an experienced vet that feels comfortable. 

The other concern is doing all of this and then finding out it had spread. I understand why you would be hesitant. I don't know of any way to know for sure, which might be a good idea to get a second opinion if you have a rabbit-savvy vet to go to. 

I know this is a very hard decision and that you love your bunny.  You are in a difficult place of trying to decide to end her suffering earlier, or possibly give her more time (even with risks) with no guarantees.   It's a rough spot to be in and I am sorry for that. 

Another resource for a rabbit-savvy opinion is through Dana Krempels from allexperts.com  http://www.allexperts.com/ep/703-35...s-Ph-D.htm  (OH RATS, I just noticed she is on vacation until December 12th.)


User is Offline Ginger
35 posts Send Private Message
11/17/2012 6:29 PM
No, there's not a vet that's good with rabbits less than about an hour away from here, accept the one I go to. He told me my next option would be to take Cotton to the University Of Georgia to the doctor who examined Cotton's X-rays. But I would need a referral and I'm sure my vet could do that but it's a decently far drive and if my vet is gonna charge 300.00, there's no telling what UGA would charge. I did think of Dana Krempels and had already discovered her absence... The vet I take her to did do surgery at the beginning of this year to remove a rather large lipoma from her chest. Her blood work was great and he did a great job. I spoke with him then about spaying her and removing a small lipoma he couldn't get in that surgery. The plan was to wait and let her recover and follow up. This was in March. Well, my mom had breast cancer and soon after Cotton's surgery I had to start caring for her full time bc she got worse. She passed away in July. So I haven't had time to recollect myself and deal with my plans for Cotton, and now this.

If she wasn't bleeding I would just do the spay. But I'm afraid it means she has cancer spread and the vet can't confirm or deny it and I can't find anyone who can. It could probably be either way. He would just have to operate to see. By the way, the small lipoma he didn't get before is now larger, so that pose a problem later on too.

It is so tough. I'm just having to look at Cotton's health from all aspects here. Which the lipoma is no big deal, she's still fine. She still runs and plays like normal. My fear is that something will rupture or something will cause her to bleed out while I'm at work or gone on errands. I'm getting terrified of leaving her, and having her put to sleep would relieve that. But I still don't know if my worry is in vain. I still need to know if I NEED to have her put to sleep.

Her vet took 2 X-rays and had a specialist at UGA examine them, and he didn't see a tumor or signs of cancer. Her uterus is dialated and swelled with fluid and blood. Her vet also took a urine sample since she tinkled on the table as he examined her. She is always scared there, but I'm sure all bunnies are and he handles her well. So, he said the urine didn't show infection. I asked if giving a blood sample or anything else while I had her there would help and he said no. That we should just wait and see how UGA read the X-rays. So I'm thinking maybe he thought the read would show something worse and just wanted to spare the extra trouble at the time? I'm not sure.

I wish I knew enough about it to make an EDUCATED decision. Even though I love her and am attached, if I knew what was going on was bad or was cancer I'd definitely have her put to sleep. But the not knowing is killing me. It's like ignorance of the situation is going to kill Cotton I wish there were more rabbit savvy vets and/or people to talk to in this area. At times, my experiences with Cotton have almost motivated ME to become a vet.

User is Offline BB
San Francisco Area
Forum Leader
8669 posts Send Private Message
11/17/2012 6:45 PM
The vet that did surgery to remove the tumor on her earlier in the year is the same vet that is worried about doing the spay? I mean she's now not yet a full year older so, what was his concern about the anesthesia if her tests came back okay? I know you said "He said a spay should fix the problem but isn't really comfortable with doin it bc of her age and rabbits don't do we'll with anesthesia" But she did well under his care when he operated before, so I am just a bit confused. Or is it that he is not comfortable with the spay procedure.

Edited to add:   I am so sorry for what you have had to go through with you mom!   That is rough stuff!!! Hugs to you. 


User is Offline Ginger
35 posts Send Private Message
11/17/2012 9:14 PM
Thanks for your condolences! I'm sure my mom is happy now. But I'M left with life and everyday choices now and I miss her. And I wish she were here for me to consult <3

And yes.. Cotton's vet is the same vet that did the lipoma removal with Cotton earlier this year. I'm not sure what his concerns are about the spay unles he's never done one or unless he's holding something back. All I know if he said its just not something he would look forward to. Not something he would want to do. Bc of her age and the fact that rabbits don't do well with surgery anyway bc they don't do well with anesthesia. But then again, it sounded like he would if I choose that. He is an exotics vet and does see other rabbits as well as cats and dogs. Again - I feel like I'm in the dark though.. And wish I could know the "behind the scenes" with this situation.

He's good at replying to emails so I emailed him Friday morning and said I want the spay but am still undecided as to what's best for Cotton. And I sent him the link I provided above and said I had read it and was concerned, and haven't heard back from him yet. So.. Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe he has found some new info or something...

User is Online Sarita
(Dallas)
Forum Leader
17537 posts Send Private Message
11/18/2012 1:54 AM
Does the vet think this is pyrometra? That is very fatal in rabbits and I'm sure she is in pain if it is.

User is Offline LittlePuffyTail
New Brunswick, Canada
Forum Leader
11483 posts Send Private Message
11/18/2012 3:02 AM

I'm sorry to hear about this situation. I don't have any advice that the others haven't given, but I just want to let you know that we are all here to help you through whatever decision you make. I know how hard it is to have a very sick bunny.

I would also like to offer my condolences on the loss of your Mom.

Proud to be a Bunny Hugger and a voice for the voiceless
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User is Online Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
Forum Leader
15630 posts Send Private Message
11/18/2012 3:04 AM
I'm so sorry to hear about your mom passing. That is heartbreaking...

How long have you had your bunny and how long have you been seeing this vet? Did you move to a new area and he's a newer vet? Did he ever recommend spaying in the past (when she would have been younger and healthier)? Was this something that was recommended to you and you chose not to do?

I question this because it's very well-known that spaying reduces much of the cancer risk in rabbits, so not recommending this be done *at any point* in your vet-client relationship is, in my opinion, negligent. It makes me think he's not comfortable spaying at all, again, unless he is a new vet you JUST starting seeing. (If that is the case, who was your vet prior to her Lipoma surgery?)

If he won't spay, I would seek out a vet that is further away to perform the surgery.
Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Offline Ginger
35 posts Send Private Message
11/18/2012 4:41 AM
Sarita - No, the vet didn't mention pyrometra. I've never heard of it but I'll look it up. Cotton doesn't seem to be in pain. She is still playing and eating well. I haven't seen a hint of pain yet.

LittlePuffyTail - Thank you for your concern and for your condolences about my mom

Beka - Thank you for your condolences as well.
This past spring around Easter marked 6 years for me and Cotton. She was just a few weeks old when my husband got her for me that March so I always figured she was born in February.
The vet I take her to now isn't a new vet but is a new vet to us. When I first got her, I took her to a local vet that does have some experience with rabbits. Then when she was about a year old she stopped eating and pooping and I took her back and he said she had a blockage and told me to give her a diluted mixture of grapefruit juice with a small syringe ever 6 hours. Thank goodness that worked and she didn't have to have surgery then.
I don't remember him suggesting a spay, and that was the last time I took her to the vet bc she never had anymore problems. I didn't see a reason to take her to the vet if she wasn't sick, and time just passed.
Until the lipoma enlarged on her chest over the past winter and I took her back. He said more than likely it was a tumor and would swell and burst within 3 to 6 months and I would have to put her to sleep before that happened, when she started showing signs of discomfort.
So I found the vet I take her to now to get a second opinion and things worked out. It was just a lipoma. I don't think badly of her other vet. I just think maybe he has more experience with outdoor or farm rabbits? I'm not sure. But I think he must not have much experience with indoor rabbits bc when i took Cotton to him about the lump on her chest, I asked him what an average lifespan is for a rabbit and he said it depends, but generally 4-6 years, and Cotton is 6 now and I should be happy she has had a happy life with me.
I am happy she has been happy with me, but I know that indoor rabbits normally have a longer lifespan than that. Or atleast that's what I've read so many times online.

User is Online Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
Forum Leader
15630 posts Send Private Message
11/18/2012 10:43 AM
Oh, ok. That make sense. Vets that deal with rabbits more as livestock, rather than pets, may not suggest a spay, especially since their clients are more likely to be using them for breeding.

Please keep us posted on what you decide to do.
Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Offline LBJ10
5572 posts Send Private Message
11/18/2012 2:08 PM
I'm sorry to hear about your mom. It's awful that you're having to deal with this now after having to deal with that.

I still think the spay is the best way to go. If it turns out to be a worst case scenario (the vet finds cancer in there), then you do have the option to just have her not wake up. I know that sounds awful, but if you're worried about putting her through all that only to find out that she has cancer then it could be a way to just end the suffering right there. It sounds though like there is a good chance she doesn't have cancer and spaying her ASAP will fix the problem.

User is Offline lzrddr
17 posts Send Private Message
11/19/2012 9:55 PM
I have yet to spay a rabbit over the age of 5 (that was not making babies constantly) that did NOT turn out to have some stage of uterine cancer, so I am pretty sure that is what your bunny has. However, uterine cancer is very slow to spread, and often a spay will cure them. The longer you wait, though, the more likely the cancer will spread (usually to the lungs, but sometimes also/or the liver or mammary glands). This is one of the few cancers that has a really good prognosis if you do something about it soon. Rabbits with uterine cancer are not generally any harder to spay than those without it... in fact, they are often easier to spay as the uterus is much larger and easier to manipulate.

User is Online Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
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15630 posts Send Private Message
11/20/2012 7:02 AM
Thank you, lzrddr, for your professional insight! That is interesting about a spay often being easier when cancer is present. It would make sense that rabbits over the age of 5 would have some type of cellular changes. The oft-quoted stat that we hear is "85% risk by the age of 4". So depending on how slowly it spreads, you could potentially still have a seemingly healthy 5, 6, or 7-year-old rabbit.

Again Ginger, please keep us posted.
Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Offline Ginger
35 posts Send Private Message
11/20/2012 4:20 PM
I am taking Cotton to the vet to give a blood sample for the necessary testing before the spay. He will perform the spay on either Monday or Tuesday of next week. I will hate to have did this if it turns out to be all for nothing but its either this or put her to sleep or leave her untreated with the dread of the unknown. This Saturday will be 2 weeks since the bleeding started. I wish I had've made a faster decision and scheduled the spay for this week. The vet said that since the antibiotic didn't stop the bleeding, that means she has something more than infection in the uterus and confirmed that yes it must be cancer. He did warn me of the risk of surgery/anesthesia and said he plans to call me if things just look terribly bad when he opens her. I plan to ask him to just euthanize her at that point if it really is that bad bc I don't want to put her through the pain and discomfort of not only recovery but the misery that would surely follow as well But hopefully all will go well and the cancer is localized to only her uterus and she will have a happy few more years. I will update and thanks so much to all of you for the support. This is an awesome site! What else would people like me do?!
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