How should I care for my rabbit before and after neutering?

Beforehand

Rabbit carrying hay

As long as your rabbit is on a good diet, no particular different care is required beforehand.  It is very dangerous to starve a rabbit and they cannot vomit anyway so withholding food prior to surgery is not needed, unlike with cats or dogs.  It is a good idea to pack a ‘lunchbox’ of your rabbit’s normal and favourite foods to take to the vets with you.  Your vet will need to make sure your rabbit is eating as soon as possible after the procedure and this is more likely to happen with food they are used to and enjoy.

If you have more than one rabbit (which you should if at all possible, see companionship), then take both rabbits with you.  Ideally, both rabbits should stay at the vets together although this is not always possible.  If not, it is still worthwhile them travelling in the same box to the practice, and when you go to pick your rabbit up as this helps to reduce stress levels and enables them to get used to each other’s scent again.



Afterwards

When you take your rabbit home after surgery, get the vet or nurse to show you the wound so that you can see what it is supposed to look like.  It is then very important to look at the wound at least a couple of times a day.  If there is any swelling, discharge or it looks more open that it did initially, call your vet.  Rabbits generally don’t tolerate buster collars (Elizabethan collars) very well so these are only used as a last resort.

Make sure that you know how to give any medication that you are provided with.  Ideally, you should be sent home with some pain relief, and possibly some medication to help the intestines as an anaesthetic can cause these to slow down.  If no pain relief is provided as standard, you should be able to ask for some.

Your rabbit should be kept in a warm, quiet environment when you get home.  If he/she is usually housed outside, you may need to keep them indoors for the first 24 hours (this may not be necessary in summer).  Make sure that your rabbit is eating and pooing normally by the next day and if not, call your vet.



Check with your vet when to take your rabbit back for a check up.  Most vets like to see them back after a couple of days to ensure everything is healing well and then may want a further check after around 2 weeks to ensure that the wound has completely healed.  If there are any external stitches, these will need to be removed after 10-14 days.

If you have any concern about your rabbit, do call your veterinary surgery for advice.

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