Spay & Neuter Post-Op Care
These Care Instructions will help you to know what behavior is normal after a surgery and any problems that may occur that require the attention of a rabbit-experienced vet. Pain management is critical to a rabbit’s recovery after surgery.
Please discuss this with your vet before the surgery and if your vet doesn’t give post surgical pain meds, then you should seek a different vet. Be sure to administer medications at the proper time to keep any pain under control. When you bring Bunny home after surgery, he/she should be alert and responsive to you. It is important to ensure that the bunny is kept warm, especially after spays. Their ears are not necessarily a good indication of body temperature. If the ears feel very cold the buns temperature could be low but you should know how to check accurately with a flexible digital thermometer. Too low a temperature can be life threatening for a rabbit! You can help warm them by using water bottles filled with hot water, a heating pad (cord protected) or warmed towels. Just make sure that the bun can get away if they get too warm and take precautions to guard against overheating or burning.
For instructions on how to take a bunny’s temperature, please read our article Life Saving Emergency Info. Encourage your rabbit to eat after surgery. You can tempt Bunny by offering a small handful of greens such as Kale or Parsley. Always provide fresh grass hay (Timothy or Orchard) for Bunny to nibble on as well as limited plain pellets (no dried fruits or seeds in pellets) and a bowl of clean water. If Bunny has not eaten for 12 hours after coming home from surgery, contact your Veterinarian immediately. This could indicate a serious problem. DO NOT WAIT! Keep a watchful eye on your rabbit and as with all pet rabbits, they must be housed INDOORS. This way, you will be able to watch bunny more carefully and bond more closely as he/she begins to learn the new routine and learns to trust you.
To better understand the hazards of life outside, please read our article Outdoor Rabbits. Allow Bunny to rest in the cage or pen for 24 hours before allowing play time outside the cage. Limit Bunny’s freedom at first to prevent injury from jumping around too much. Wait at least a week before allowing Bunny to play outside where there is dirt or anything that could cause an infection in the incision. If Bunny is allowed outside, supervise play at all times to keep Bunny safe from predators. Indoor housing is the safest for your rabbit. Always keep your rabbit’s cage and litterbox very clean.
Check incision daily for swelling, excessive redness, blood or discharge. (Note: Female rabbits will have an incision on their belly. Males will have a small incision on the testicles.) Make sure Bunny is not chewing or pulling on the incision and make sure it remains closed up. If your rabbit was spayed (female) and staples or stitches need to be removed, contact your Veterinarian as directed – usually within 10 to 14 days. Do not leave staples or stitches in your rabbit. The skin will ‘grow’ over them and your rabbit will become infected. On male rabbits, the testicles will shrink over time and literally ‘disappear.’ The testicles might also become darker and shriveled during this process. This is normal and should be expected.
Hormone related behavior problems such as marking territory, not using the litterbox or aggressive tendencies will usually improve after Bunny has been spayed or neutered. It will take a few weeks for the hormones to settle down but you should see an improvement in these areas. Please note: Male rabbits can still impregnate an unspayed female for approximately 4 weeks after surgery. We recommend not housing a newly fixed male rabbit with an unspayed female rabbit for at least 6 weeks to be on the safe side.
CONTACT YOUR VETERINARIAN IF ANY OF THE FOLLOWING OCCUR:
Rabbit is chewing at incision
Incision opens up or becomes red, swollen or has a discharge
Rabbit has not started to eat after 12 hours of being home
Stools are mushy or Bunny has true diarrhea
Bunny is too quiet, depressed or weak or if Bunny remains in the back of the cage not moving around
If Bunny is in pain, he/she may be hunched over, not wanting to eat and you may hear a loud ‘tooth grinding’ noise
If Bunny seems to lose body heat and feels cool to the touch – take their temperature
To view our list of rabbit-experienced vets, click here For care information about your new rabbit friend, including tips on litterbox training, proper diet and supplies for your rabbit, please browse the Care Health & Diet section here on the site or contact us at 678-653-7175.
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