Spaying and neutering pet rabbits and guinea pigs can help them have the longest and healthiest life possible. Below are medical reasons supporting spaying and neutering:
- Eliminates the risk of uterine or testicular cancer.
- Female rabbits and guinea pigs are at a much higher risk of developing uterine cancer as compared to other pets, such as dogs and cats. Depending on the breed, up to 60% will develop cancer by middle age. Spaying eliminates this risk. Although less prevalent in males, testicular cancer can also be avoided by neutering.
- Eliminates the risk of other, life threatening uterine diseases.
- Along with uterine cancer, precancerous uterine disorders can also be life threatening. The most serious of these disorders cause changes in the uterine lining resulting in bleeding within the uterus. Blood may be visible around the vulva or appear in the urine. If you see blood from these areas in your rabbit, they should be taken to your veterinarian immediately, as this can be fatal within hours to days.
- Eliminates the risk of life-threatening uterine infection.
- Un-spayed females are at risk for developing pyometra, a condition in which the uterus becomes filled with pus. This can only be treated surgically.
- Prevents disorders seen in older male guinea pigs.
- Excessive production of grease from specialized glands can occur in their skin, and a build-up of secretions and feces blocking the rectum.
- Supports behavioral changes.
- Intact male and female rabbits and guinea pigs may be difficult to handle. Sometimes, spaying and neutering them will make them easier to manage and have a calmer demeanor. It may also decrease the propensity to urine mark at home and make litter training easier.
- Helps avoid overpopulation.
- Rabbits and guinea pigs are prolific breeders. Spaying and neutering prevents breeding, helping keep the population in check.
The best age to spay and neuter is 4-12 months. The procedure is usually that you drop your pet off to a qualified veterinarian in the morning and they go home that night.