Reduction of Reproduction

February is Spay and Neuter awareness month, so we bring you some timely information about the process.

Unwanted reproduction is a huge, yet totally preventable problem in exotic pets. The phrase “breed like rabbits” exists for a reason. Even without a mate, hormonal pets can be dangerous to themselves, their owners, and others. They can develop undesirable and aggressive behaviors as they mature, and we find many people seeking to rehome pets due to these concerns. Unfortunately, relocating the pet will not resolve the issue. It’s time to spay or neuter, before it’s too late!

Rabbit Babiesguinea pig babies

How will you know when it is time to spay or neuter your pet? Generally in male exotic small mammals you can see the testicles descend into the scrotum and become visible outside the body. This typically occurs around 3-4 months of age. Sometime one or both testicles do not or cannot descend, resulting in cryptorchidism. In these cases, the doctor removes the retained testicle(s) from the abdomen in a process similar to spaying.

Female exotic small mammals should generally be spayed around 4-6 months of age. Guinea pigs’ pelvic bones fuse around 8 months of age, making later pregnancy very dangerous for them, often requiring surgical intervention. Reproductive tumors, cancers, and cysts are also avoided by early spaying. Rabbits and guinea pigs are highly likely to develop uterine and ovarian tumors if not spayed, and rats suffer mammary tumors that can rapidly grow larger than their bodies.

While reptiles and birds can technically be “spayed”, it is better to attempt to reduce or eliminate the stimulating factors prior to resorting to surgical altering. The surgical procedure is far more involved and poses more risk than a mammal spay. Our veterinarians will be able to guide you through the lifestyle changes needed to reduce the stimulating factors, which can include diet, temperature, light exposure, handling techniques, and other factors. Non-surgical methods of hormone suppression including Lupron injections and Deslorelin implants are also tools that may be utilized to keep reproduction and hormonal behaviors at bay.

Exotic Vet Care Circle

About Us

Our exotic animal hospital is dedicated exclusively to the care of birds, exotic small mammals, reptiles, and even fish! We can offer everything your pet needs for a healthy and happy life, from wellness care and grooming to diagnostics and dentistry, but we can also provide emergency care during our opening hours, along with more specialized treatment for referred patients.