November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month. What better time to remind rabbit owners that early spaying is highly recommended to prevent uterine and mammary cancer. Monique Balas wrote an excellent piece on this topic that was published in the Oregonian. Here are highlights…
The most important thing owners can to do prevent the dread disease is to spay and neuter bunnies when they’re young according to the House Rabbit Society. (The same applies for cats and dogs).
The California-based nonprofit, which works to rescue rabbits and educate the public about their care, has a section on its website devoted to the different types of tumors in rabbits.
While male and female rabbits are both at risk of developing cancer, the two most common types involve the reproductive system and occur in unspayed female rabbits.
The first kind is uterine cancer, which often shows few symptoms until it reaches more advanced stages.
Rabbits are at risk by two years of age, and those risks increase greatly as they age, according to the House Rabbit Society.
Mammary cancer is another common cancer in rabbits, who have between eight and 12 mammary glands, and can sometimes occur simultaneously with uterine cancer.
Breast cancer also has few symptoms other than lumps, which may be detected during playing, grooming or during a veterinary exam.
The spay surgery, which removes the uterus and ovaries, can greatly reduce the risk of breast and uterine cancer. Some studies have shown that unspayed females above age two have an 80 percent chance of developing uterine cancer.
Unneutered male rabbits, meanwhile, may develop testicular cancer. They may not show many symptoms other than enlarged testicles and weight loss.
Neutering them when they’re young can prevent testicular cancer and brings the added benefit of reducing the aggressive behaviors.
The ideal time to spay bunnies is between four and six months old, when their reproductive tract is well-developed but before their risk of developing cancer starts to increase, according to the House Rabbit Society.
To read the complete article, please go to http://www.oregonlive.com/pets/index.ssf/2014/11/early_spaying_and_neutering_ca.html
We have heard from many people who are new to the house rabbit world who worried about the dangers of surgery to have their bunnies spayed or neutered. But time and time again it has been stated by experts that the dangers of not having the spay/neutering done are far greater. Not to mention the myriad of behavior problems that go away after the hormones are no longer flowing.
If you would like to know more about rabbit care and health, as well as for a listing of rabbit savvy veterinarians, the House Rabbit Society website at http://rabbit.org is an excellent place to go.