Desexing your rabbit, guinea pig or rat…

Desexing your dog or cat is very much part of their routine health care. In fact, it’s much more unusual to see an entire dog or cat rather than a desexed one these days! Desexing your pet rabbit, guinea pig or rat is just as important but is a far less common procedure. There are certainly some important points to take into consideration but here at Inner South Vet Centre we are passionate about helping you to work through these considerations and make the best possible choice for your pet’s health.

Male rats, rabbits and guinea pigs will benefit from desexing in several ways. The removal of the testicles ensures that you little man cannot get testicular cancer. Rats will develop a much softer, less greasy coat and will become even more placid and relaxed then they might have been before.  A desexed male rat most closely resembles a big, squishy, fluffy bundle of chilled out snuggle bug. Quite the adorable pet! Male guinea pigs left un desexed can develop impactions of sebaceous material around their genital area. This very greasy material can then cause infections. It also smells quite objectionable. The lower hormones in a desexed guinea pig dramatically reduce this problem. Males of any species can be more aggressive if not desexed. Although this is not often directed towards their human owners, fighting can occur between cage mates. Rabbits, guinea pigs and rats can all inflict vicious and extensive wounds on each other when fighting. Desexing markedly reduces this conflict.

The surgery for males is quick and simple. Recovery is rapid and your pet is likely to be back to normal within days.

Female rabbits have a VERY high incidence of uterine cancer. Up to 80% of does over 6 years of age in some genetic lines will have cancers of the uterus or ovaries. Desexing your girl bunny early means she will NOT develop uterine cancer, an otherwise very likely cause of death. This simple surgery can extend the life of your pet by YEARS!

Female rats have a similarly high incidence of hormone related cancers. Just as in rabbits, desexing your little rat girl can prevent disease and prevent tumours that might otherwise end her life.

But now there is an alternative to surgery! The Suprelorin® implant was designed as a chemical castration option for dogs, but is perfect for rats. The implant is placed much like a microchip. It is injected under the skin and slowly dissolves over the life of the rat, releasing a low dose of hormone that switches off the reproductive systems. This could reduce the incidence of mammary tumours to over 90%! This is of enormous benefit to your little rat, as female rats often develop these growths and eventually need to be put to sleep.

Female guinea pigs are very prone to the development of ovarian cysts as well as mammary cancers and enjoy similar benefits from desexing.

The surgery for females is a little more involved than for males. Recovery is normally rapid and we find the girls are up and about in a few days. Occasionally some extra pain relief or a few more days of rest are required.

There are enormous health benefits from desexing your rabbit, guinea pig or rat. The surgery has the potential to extend their life span and prevent serious disease. At Inner South Vet Centre we are passionate about providing the best in health care for these loveable pets and we believe that desexing is a fundamental part of this. If you have any questions or wish to have your pet desexed please make an appointment.