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Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A Timing of spays for newly adopted female bonded pair?

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    • Meg
      Participant
      422 posts Send Private Message

      Hi everyone!  I’m posting this question for my dad and stepmom, who are adopting their first bonded pair — woohooo!!  🙂  🙂  The pair are a mother and daughter who are being surrendered by another family, and neither are spayed yet.  The mom is 2 years old and the daughter is 10 months old.

      Their questions are:

      1. Would it be better to get them spayed at the same time, or let one go through it and heal first and then do the next, so they can comfort one another?
      2. How long should they wait after arriving in their new home before starting the spays?  A month or so?  Longer?
      3. Is there anything they can/should do to preserve the bond of this pair throughout the spay process?

      Thank you so much!!  🙂


    • Bam
      Moderator
      15217 posts Send Private Message

      Wohoo! 🐰🐰

      It is as a rule best to have both buns desexed at the same time. They can then recuperate at the same time, which reduces the time they need to be separated.

      To preserve the bond they should be housed within hearing, seeing and smelling-distance of each other. They should be separated during the healing process. It takes 2 weeks for the internal surgical wounds to heal, but the hormonal turmoil brought on by the spay will as a rule go on for a few weeks more.

       


    • Meg
      Participant
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      Thank you so much, Bam!! 🙂

      So I did some reading (my own bunnies had already been fixed before I adopted them, so I wasn’t familiar) and found more info from these sources.  All say that you don’t need to separate the bunnies as long as they are interacting calmly — what do you all think?

      https://rabbit.org/post-surgical-aftercare/

      http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/opcare.html

      Caring For a Rabbit Before and After Neuter or Spay Surgery

      I wonder, if they don’t usually need to be separated, would this change the take on whether they should be spayed simultaneously or one at a time?

      What does “the hormonal turmoil brought on by the spay” entail?  I couldn’t find any info about that and it’d be great to know what to expect / how to help them.  🙂

      Thanks again!! 🙂


    • Hazel
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      I would keep them separated no matter what. A spay is major surgery, afterwards their hormones go up and down erratically for a few weeks (which is what Bam was referring to), plus they will smell completely different coming home from the vet so they might not even recognize each other. The chances of them fighting is much higher than it normally is with intact females and if they do fight they could easily tear open their incisions. Not worth the risk in my opinion.

      Don’t worry too much about breaking their bond. Intact rabbits don’t bond in the traditional way, if you’re lucky they tolerate each other but they can’t form a proper bond until after they have been fixed and their behavior isn’t dictated by hormones anymore.


    • Wick & Fable
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      Re: the hormonal turmoil, it has been observed that some rabbits exhibit more intense hormonally-driven behavior immediately after a spay/neuter, and this is attributed to the body’s hormones acclimating to the procedure itself. So a just-neutered rabbit may end up marking, digging, chewing, etc. more intensely after recovering from his neuter for a few weeks to months afterwards. This is not guaranteed, but if you observe it, it can be a likely culprit.

      Re: keeping the rabbits together, I will emphasize what one article explicitly outlines and what you mention, which is if the rabbits interact calmly with each other. Over time, I have become more flexible/accepting of legitimate bonds that seem to form between un-fixed rabbits (depending on age and what the person reports and for how long), so I do not think ever pair needs to separate, as there are many cases where they are kept together and things turn out OK, but it is generally the safest recommendation to separate, especially if you cannot supervise all the time. Bond dynamics aside, interactions may lead to unintentional strain/injury of the surgical site. I personally think doing a pen wall separation could be a nice medium between ensuring safe physical separation while still being able to see/touch each other as desired.

       

      The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.


    • Meg
      Participant
      422 posts Send Private Message

      Hi everyone,

      Thank you so much, this is super helpful!  OK, so it sounds like what’s best would be getting them spayed at the same time and keeping them separated with an exercise pen wall, especially when unsupervised, while they’re healing.  (After that, maybe use “stunt doubles” (stuffed animals with their scent on it) and/or watching how they interact across the pen wall as a guide to see when they’re ready to stop the separation?  Or is some amount of re-bonding required?)

      Thanks again!! 🙂


    • Hazel
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      They need about a month to heal and get over their hormones (you can do pre bonding during that time, stunt doubles, switching cages etc). After that, I would treat them like a brand new pair and go through the bonding process as if they don’t know each other, nice and slow.


    • LBJ10
      Moderator
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      Keeping them separated until they are, at the very least, healed would be ideal. IF you decided to try to keep them together, then you will need to be prepared to separate them immediately if a problem arises. Some bunnies are just fine staying together, especially if they have been doing well with hormones intact up to that point. But there is definitely a risk of aggression or fighting following being spayed/neutered, so most people recommend just keeping them separate immediately after the surgery to prevent any possibility of problems.


    • Meg
      Participant
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      OK, great!  Thank you all so much.  🙂


    • DanaNM
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      It’s very interesting that they are 10 months and 2 years old and unspayed so far, but seemingly happy together!

      At the rescue I volunteer with they do not usually separate same-sex pairs when they are spayed/neutered as long as they are happy together before the procedure. But then they are monitored very closely during the healing process. Sometimes they do end up separating at some point later (usually with younger pairs that had “baby bonds”). Then with opp-sex sibling pairs, they separate to prevent pregnancy, and then attempt to re-bond after (sometimes the pairs go right back together like long-lost friends, sometimes they don’t).

      Considering that your dad a stepmom are new rabbit owners, I think the safest bet is to separate them but house them side by side, as others have suggested. Your dad and stepmom may not be as aware of warning signs of trouble, and since the buns are already mature there may be more hormonal fluctuations post-spay than in a young bunny.

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • Meg
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      Thanks, DanaNM!  That makes sense.  My dad and stepmom aren’t new to bunnies but they are new to pairs, so what you say would still apply.  🙂  (They had two solo buns sequentially before this.)  They also both work full-time so it makes sense to have the bunnies separated with an x-pen wall or something while they’re not there.

      To be honest I’m not that knowledgeable about bonding/warning signs either, because my two had an insta-bond back in the day.  I kept them separated with an x-pen wall but they were immediately snuggling on either side of it.  I tried the stunt double thing too, but basically in less than a week it was at the point where they seemed so simpatico that I felt mean keeping them apart, and they were never separated after that.  (They never fought.)  But I’ll be reading up on this forum and rabbit.org, etc.!  🙂

      Thank you so much again for your guidance!


    • DanaNM
      Moderator
      6051 posts Send Private Message

      That is so lucky! It’s so nice when they just go together like that. 🙂 And yeah if they will be away from home a lot then separating is def the way to go.

      For reference, the main warning signs of trouble in a bonded pair would be chasing, fur pulling, excessive mounting, lunging, or any aggression or tension at all really.

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • Meg
      Participant
      422 posts Send Private Message

      Super lucky!  I guess they were just meant to be.  🙂

      Oh that’s really helpful to know about the warning signs — thank you so much, DanaNM!

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Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A Timing of spays for newly adopted female bonded pair?