Have you recently adopted a rabbit? Are you considering spaying or neutering your rabbit to give it a longer life but wondering how much it costs?
If so, you will probably want to consider the financial cost, which can range from 75 to 600 dollars, with the average being around $260.
You will also need to consider the time you will spend researching a reputable vet and the post-surgery recovery time.
The price will vary based on whether it is spay or neuter and whether the vet includes all costs in the estimate, how old your rabbit is, and where you live in the US.
Read on to see how you can save on these costs.
What affects the cost of altering a rabbit?
Spay vs neuter (female vs male)
Spaying is the procedure done on a female rabbit, and neutering is done on a male rabbit. Either of these terms can also be called altering.
Spaying a female will cost more than neutering a male simply because it is a more complicated procedure.
Spaying involves opening the rabbit’s stomach to access the organs, while neutering does not.
Associated costs such as anesthesia
Make sure to ask if your vet includes anesthesia, post-operative medication, and any other necessary parts of the procedure in their cost estimate.
For example, when you call a vet to ask for a cost estimate, the number they provide you will most likely include only the base cost of the surgery.
If this base cost is 425 dollars, you can expect the final charge to be closer to 500 dollars. Your final bill should give you a detailed breakdown of the costs.
Why is this so? Here are some of the associated costs in a sample vet bill. Some items will be listed with a price and then a discount equal to the price.
This is because they are actually included in the spay or neuter price but need to be itemized on the receipt.
There are also some optional items that your vet can discuss with you and help you decide based on your comfort level.
|Example Item||Example Cost (in USD) in High Cost of Living Area||Example Cost (in USD) in Low Cost of Living Area|
|Spay a 6-month-old female rabbit||425||130|
|Pre-anesthetic bloodwork (optional)||20||20|
|Indwelling catheter (optional)||85||65|
|Meloxicam (post-operative pain medication)||20 (included in spay estimate, so applied vet discount brings it to 0)||17|
|Glycopyrrolate (anesthetic)||26 (included in spay estimate, so applied vet discount brings it to 0)||21|
|Midazolam (anesthetic)||26 (included in spay estimate, so applied vet discount brings it to 0)||16|
|Flumazenil (anesthetic)||19 (included in spay estimate, so applied vet discount brings it to 0)||15|
|Total||425-530, depending on options||130-284, depending on options|
The ideal age to spay your female rabbit is 4-6 months old, and for a male rabbit, it is 2-3 months old.
If your rabbit is 2 years old, it is recommended to do blood work and health checks before surgery.
These extra steps add to your total cost. If your rabbit is older than 6 years old, the procedure will cost more and carry even more risk.
In a high cost of living or urban city area like northern Virginia, your rabbit’s procedure is at least 425 dollars, not including other expenses.
A lower-cost rural area will be less expensive and could even be less than 300 dollars.
Choosing the right vet for the surgery
Find an exotic vet in your area
You can Google “exotic vets for rabbits”, and they will probably give you different results – exotic vets are typically the ones with more experience.
Search using your city name or zip code, then call them to ensure they are accepting new clients.
Check if the vet is listed on House Rabbit Society. This trustworthy organization puts together a list of rabbit vets for various geographic locations.
If your location is not listed, you can see what else is close to you, or you can check out the region’s websites to get an idea of what a safe vet’s website may look like.
Alternatively, a regular vet with prior experience
Do not trust an inexperienced vet with your rabbit. You do not want to waste your money or end up spending even more on complications.
Also, do not be afraid to ask for their experience. Asking questions will get the vet’s attention and show them you care about your pet and protect your investment.
Here are some questions you can ask.
- Have you spayed or neutered rabbits before?
- What is your success rate?
- If any rabbits passed away in your care, what was the cause?
- How many rabbits do you see per year or month?
- What experience do you have with small mammals?
- How will you or your office communicate with me regarding updates or questions?
- What kinds of waivers or paperwork do you require me to sign?
- Do you withhold food or water from rabbits before surgery? (The answer should be no, as rabbits should never have an empty digestive tract as it can lead to other health problems.)
- How will you proceed with post-op care?
Read the reviews
Read reviews thoroughly to see if there have been any cases of pet death or complications. Scan the reviews for complaints about pricing or unexpected costs
Length of time your rabbit will stay at the vet
Your rabbit will most likely stay at the hospital for two nights. This is a normal precaution and should be expected.
Be sure to plan ahead to make sure you can pick up and drop off your rabbit accordingly, or you could end up paying extra for another overnight stay that is unnecessary.
Check the drop-off and pick-up times to see if they work with your schedule, and if not, check if they can be adjusted or flexible.
Check your local traffic ahead of time if you are in a high cost of living area known for traffic during rush hour.
Post-surgery medication and observation
For both male and female rabbits, you will need to administer a medication called Meloxicam orally for up to five days after the surgery.
This is a once-a-day dosage given by syringe. If your rabbit likes the taste, then it will go down easily. If not, you will need time to coax them into taking their medicine.
Both male and female rabbits need to be eating something by the next morning.
For males, they will probably come home behaving normally and eating normally. On the other hand, females may just want to hide in their homes.
Be prepared to give them alone time but ensure their digestion does not stop. This requires a watchful eye which takes time out of your schedule.
For females, you will also want to look at the stitches on their stomachs once a day to check for any drainage or unusual coloring.
Your vet will provide you with more details on what to look for. It may be easy to check if you have a friendly, cuddly rabbit.
If your rabbit does not want to show their stomach, you may have to find the time when they are sleepy or hold up a treat to get them to stand up.
Three tips to save money on your rabbit’s surgery
Skip the optional costs
You can choose not to pay for an indwelling catheter or pre-anesthetic blood work. This could be a good option if you are comfortable with this and have a healthy rabbit.
A young rabbit with no history of health problems is likely to be ok without the optional add-ons.
Go to a rural vet
Rural areas are cheaper in many aspects of life, including rabbit spaying or neutering.
If you have the time to drive to a rural area and fill up your gas tank, you will probably be able to save some money.
Some vets in the mid-Atlantic region provide lower-cost spays or neuters through ‘Spay Today’ vouchers that can be found on the National Humane Education Society’s (NHES) website.
Rescue your rabbit
This is probably the best way to save the most money on your spay and neuter costs.
If your rabbit is a rescue, some organizations will cover some of the costs or provide services at a lower price.
The discount could be as much as 150 dollars, or the overall price could be only 100. This is a significant saving for pet surgery.
Check with your local rescue organization or animal shelter to ask about lower-cost options.
You can also check the ASPCA website and PetSmart Charities locator map to find alternative options near you.