Pet Insurance

Rabbit owners urged to neuter their pets after surge in unwanted bunnies

Neutering a pet rabbit is "the kindest thing you can do" as a bunny owner, experts say.

Rabbit charities are dealing with thousands of unwanted bunnies in the aftermath of the pandemic, with some reporting an increase of almost 50%.

Rabbit owners are being urged to neuter their pets to prevent unwanted litters that end up in the care of overwhelmed rescue centres.

The RSPCA says it dealt with 1,942 shunned bunnies last year - an increase of 48%.

Pet ownership soared during the pandemic, with experts at the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWA&F) saying many families were unprepared or found it difficult to register at under-pressure vet practices.

With rabbits quickly able to reproduce, shelters and rescue centres are now being inundated with bunnies they need to neuter, vaccinate, microchip and find new homes for.

The RWA&F is asking for breeders to place a "temporary halt" on activities so charities can find homes for their animals.

Dr Jane Tyson, rabbit welfare expert at the RSPCA, said: "Along with other charities, the RSPCA has seen a surge in rabbits coming into our care, along with a drop in the number of people offering to adopt. Sadly, accidental litters are all too common and, even with planned breeding, there just aren't enough homes for all the rabbits that are being born.

"We'd urge anyone who has rabbits to ensure they know the sex of their pets and owners can find help on our advice pages. Rabbits can breed earlier than people think - they can have large litters and can get pregnant soon after giving birth."

Research by NimbleFins estimates the cost of keeping a rabbit is between £67 and £76 per month. It could cost up to £112 a month to keep two rabbits.

Although neutering a rabbit may feel like an additional expense that isn't covered by rabbit insurance, it could save you money in the long run.

As well as preventing unexpected litters, the risk of uterine cancer in female rabbits is reduced if they are spayed. Up to 80% of female rabbits who have not been neutered get this potentially-fatal condition, according to the Royal Veterinary College. Meanwhile male rabbits who have not been castrated can become aggressive, fight and spray urine.

In one case in Kent, the RSPCA was handed a family of rabbits, with the two adults reproducing three offspring. When it came to neutering the adults it was already too late, with the female pregnant again, giving birth to a litter of five. The adults were just 10-months-old.

Branch manager Becky Blackmore said: "What started with just a pair of pet rabbits in a hutch in a garden snowballed - and without neutering and responsible ownership, this is a problem we expect to see again and again."

Male rabbits can be neutered from aged 10 weeks while female rabbits can be spayed from four months.

Rabbit neutering cost

The cost to neuter a rabbit depends on the sex of the bunny and is different at each vet clinic. However, spaying a female rabbits is more expensive than castrating a male as it is more complicated.

The price quoted usually includes pre-operation examinations, surgery, an overnight stay, pain relief and preventative medication for a number of days, and post-operative check ups.

Rabbit spay cost

Although the cost to spay a female rabbit varies from clinic to clinic, and if there are any other complications or circumstances discovered before surgery, the cost to spay a rabbit is thought to be about £200, according to the Royal Veterinary College.

There may be help available to assist with the cost of neutering your pet.

Rabbit castration cost

The cost to castrate a male rabbit again changes depending on the clinic and circumstances, but it is thought to cost about £150 to neuter a male rabbit.

There may be help available to assist with the cost of neutering your pet.

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Helen Barnett

Helen is a journalist, editor and copywriter with 15 years' experience writing across print and digital publications. She previously edited the Daily Express website and has won awards as a reporter. Read more here.