Spay/Neuter for Small Pets

The health benefits of spay/neuter for small pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, rats and mice are many. They include eliminating uterine, ovarian and testicular cancers, reduce mammary tumors, prevent pyometra, a severe uterine infection, decreased territory marking and generally mellower behavior typically towards cage mates.

Since there is a risk with any surgery, it’s important to have the procedure performed by an experienced veterinarian. A number of shelters, including the ASPCA offer low-cost spay/neuter for small animals.

The recommended spay/neuter ages for small pets are:

Female rabbits and guinea pigs – 3-6 months old. Smaller rabbit breeds sooner, larger breeds, later.

Male rabbits and guinea pigs – 12-16 weeks old although neutering for the males is not considered a high priority.

Rats – 6-8 months old

Mice – 6-8 weeks old

Before the actual surgery, the vet will want to take blood samples and examine the pet to make sure s/he is in good health. Your pet will probably require anesthesia to take blood samples. Your vet will also administer IV fluids (intravenous) before, during and after the surgery. IV fluids help to keep the pet hydrated and maintain blood pressure. The IV needle also allows easy access to a blood vessel if an emergency arises.

Discuss spay/neuter of your pet with an experienced vet so that you are aware of any risks, what the cost is and about after surgery care.

Once you are fully informed, you can make a decision whether to spay/neuter your pet.

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