Neutering is something we wanted for Barley before he turned one. He really wasn't displaying aggressive behavior towards us, but he was highly territorial. We wanted to have him neutered mainly because of two things, 1) to lessen his territorial habits like spraying urine and pooping everywhere and 2) to bond him and our female rabbit, Burrito.
Since we get a lot of questions about spaying and neutering rabbits in the Philippines, we decided to write about our experience with Barley's procedure in detail.
We brought Barley to our trusted rabbit hospital, Vets In Practice. They have a new branch in Fort Bonifacio where Dr. Nielsen Donato (deemed the rabbit expert) is frequently present.
If you're not aware, Dr. Nielsen is the go-to vet for rabbits, especially when surgery is involved.
As of writing, his schedule is from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm from Tuesdays until Fridays. ALWAYS call beforehand because there are times that he won't be there during his schedule. Also, he does check ups in the morning and proceeds with surgeries (dogs, cats, rabbits, turtles, and other animals) after lunch. So it's best to go in the morning so he can already check your rabbit and see if he/she is fit to undergo the procedure in the afternoon.
Since we always prefer to stay and wait for the procedure (you can actually leave your rabbit in their care until the procedure is done), we grabbed a quick lunch outside. There's a 7-Eleven nearby, KFC and McDonald's. And as for Barley, we brought some pellets and treats with us so he could also nibble and eat while waiting. Please remember that it's not correct to let your rabbit fast before an operation. Their gut needs to be moving so be sure to bring your rabbit's favorite food just to get him to eat or nibble on something. Bring water too.
Barley's operation took about 20 minutes. But for spaying (female), it would take much longer since it's a more invasive procedure. After the surgery, we had to wait for about another 30 minutes while they waited for Barley to recover from the Anesthesia and also to keep an eye on him.
When they released Barley, we immediately took him home. We made sure he wasn't cold (light blankets help, if your rabbit will allow it) and gave him his favorite vegetables and treats. He only nibbled on some wet basil and wansoy, but we were happy he was in the mood to eat some. For the first 3 days, he wasn't eating his hay like he used to, but he ate a lot of vegetables and pellets. This is okay since he was still recovering. He then slowly went back to his healthy diet, which included a lot of Timothy hay. We also made sure he drank lots of water so we offered him his water bottle from time to time. Since he was taking antibiotics every night, we made sure to give him Benebac (probiotics) every morning.
They instructed us to give him Antibiotics and to come back after 10 days for a follow up check up. They didn't give us any pain relievers (since it's a neuter, it's not as painful as spaying), but we asked for a small amount just in case. We also got an e-collar, which we used for only the first 2 days.
From our experience, rabbits react differently to the surgery. Some, will refuse to eat immediately after getting home. Burrito took almost 12 hours before she finally ate some vegetables and drank water. As we've mentioned, spaying a rabbit is quite harder and more painful.
For Barley, we decided to still get an e-collar just to be safe. We wore it on him only when we weren't able to watch him and removed it when we were beside him. We observed that he wasn't touching his stitches, so we decided he did not need it like our previous rabbits. We also checked his stitches every morning and every night to make sure he was healing properly. We also only gave Meloxicam (pain reliever) for the first 2 days since it seemed that he was healing up pretty well, pretty fast and we were happy.
After 10 days, we brought him back for his check up. We went after lunch so that the lines were shorter. There was only one patient ahead of us, but this means we both needed to wait for Dr. Nielsen to finish up his on-going surgery. After waiting for about 20 minutes, Dr. Nielsen checked Barley and gave us the all-clear signal that everything was okay and healed up already. We didn't pay for anything for the check up.
Just a few notes to help you,
- Barley was 11 months when we had him neutered.
- Vets In Practice Fort is located in the same building as Telus. There is no parking in the building, but there is a huge parking lot beside it. You can use Waze to direct you.
- We spent a total of P5,875. Here's the breakdown: E-collar small P325, Meloxicam Injection P150, Consultation Fee P500, Enroflaxin Syrup (antibiotics) P250, Castration P4000, Anesthesia/Sedation P500, Meloxicam (take home) P150.
- Food is crucial for healing. Be prepared with all your rabbit's favorite foods if you decide to get them neutered/spayed.
- Some rabbits need a lot of extra care after surgery. Like Barley, we had to hand feed him his food and water just to get him to eat and drink for the first few days.
So that's it. Hope this helps you decide to get your rabbit neutered or spayed since it's the wise choice to do so. Our first rabbit, Bonbon, was not spayed so we sadly lost her to mammary cancer at the age of 6 years old. We did not know better then, so we make sure to spay or neuter our rabbits - no excuses. So we hope you make the wise choice too :)
If you have questions, feel free to contact us. We'll be happy to share what we know and experienced with spaying and neutering. But of course, it's always best to consult a rabbit-savvy Vet.