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Thread: Would you have your Doe spayed? The discussion continues .. 26 May 2017

  1. #31
    Warren Veteran daphnephoebe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MightyMax View Post
    Not sure what you mean - surely the GA would make them immobile?
    Sorry. I was referring keeping them stable while under GA. They often go deep and light under GA without much warning so it can be difficult.

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  2. #32
    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daphnephoebe View Post
    Sorry. I was referring keeping them stable while under GA. They often go deep and light under GA without much warning so it can be difficult.

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    Ah thank you I have no experience of female GPs being spayed and only little of male castrates

  3. #33
    Warren Veteran daphnephoebe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MightyMax View Post
    Ah thank you I have no experience of female GPs being spayed and only little of male castrates
    Yes I didn't meet many castrated males either. Only about two or three and that was because they wanted to introduce them to lots of lovely ladies lol

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  4. #34
    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daphnephoebe View Post
    Yes I didn't meet many castrated males either. Only about two or three and that was because they wanted to introduce them to lots of lovely ladies lol

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    GP ladies are rather lovely

  5. #35
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    I have had Guinea pig boys castrated, and even then had 2 develop abscesses.
    I have never routinely spayed girls, but of 4 spayed for ovarian cysts, only one survived. Guinea pigs are one of the small furries I am most concerned about being under for an op, rats cope amazingly well and even chinchillas do.
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  6. #36
    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfpenny View Post
    I have had lots of older does with uterine tumours when spayed, I've lost 2 to confirmed uterine tumours ( confirmed by pm, one rabbit was only 3.5 years old and the other was 5), I've lost 2 to mammary cancer (one was 9 and the other was a recent addition aged about 5-6). I don't see how the vet can state they are not that common if he doesn't do a pm on the animals that die, how many people will take them in when they die and pay for a post mortem. He is unlikely to see uterine tumours in young rabbits, which are often the ones he will neuter and in any case, in my vet, we are lucky to see about one rabbit a week to be neutered.
    The anaesthetic risk is very small as well these days, I've lost 2 rabbits while under, neither were neutering ops and both were ill at the time, I can't even begin to guess how many rabbits have been under over the years, maybe between 50- 100?
    The worst thing about this, is it means there will be even more unwanted rabbit due to 'accidental' litters, folk getting rid because the rabbits have started fighting or because they have become aggressive.
    It's very irresponsible, I think.
    What I do know is that my rabbits lifespan has increased from about 5-6 to nearer 8-10, the last 3 rabbits I lost were 11 ( who had a uterine tumour when spayed at the age of 7), 12 and 12.5, i believe better knowledge on my part, better knowledge on my vet's part and neutering have all been responsible for this and I take in rescues.
    I agree with this. It's hit and miss whether you get a rabbit with good genes who will be healthy most of it's life, but with good medical care lots of conditions can be held at bay if not cured and therefore the rabbit lives longer.

  7. #37
    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    There have been almost a thousand views to this thread, so it's obviously of concern to many.

    I thought it worth updating with Frances Harcourt Brown's excellent reply which was published in the Vet Record last week. This is a shortened version, recorded on her Facebook site:


    ''I am writing in response to a letter that appeared in the Veterinary Record (February 25, 2017). In his letter, Dr Whitehead describes his policy of discouraging spaying of female rabbits, whether kept singly, with other females, or with neutered or entire males, unless there is a specific indication to do so. Dr Whitehead disputes that uterine tumours are common in rabbits and uses an analysis of his clinical records of 61 entire rabbits to support his view. Only three, or maybe four, of these rabbits were diagnosed with a possible uterine tumour, which led to Mr Whitehead’s conclusion that the risk of uterine tumours is only 3 or 4 in 61. He feels that this risk in not high enough to justify the risk of prophylactic ovariohysterectomy. I couldn’t disagree more.

    Firstly, if it was my female rabbit, I wouldn’t accept a risk of 1 in 20 as low enough to discourage me from neutering her in order to prevent a malignant cancer later in life.

    Secondly, Martin Whitehead cites a Viewpoint article by Bradbury and Dickens (Vet Rec Dec 24/31, 2016) that question the need for routine neutering of female rabbits by saying that it can be an extremely aversive experience to a rabbit. Although the authors acknowledge that some practices have developed the facilities and knowledge to provide good veterinary care they still describe neutering as a ‘ highly stressful experience’. I have just retired after 43 years in practice with an increasing rabbit caseload. It reached 100% in the last 8 years of my working life.

    An ‘extremely aversive’ or a ‘highly stressful’ experience’ are not scenarios that I recognise for my rabbit patients. I, and many other vets, have worked hard to improve anaesthetic safety and surgery in rabbits. I think rabbits are no more stressed by neutering than dogs or cats. The animals may not be 100% happy to be at a vets but it is not an extremely aversive or highly stressful experience for them.

    Thirdly, Dr Whitehead’s analysis of his clinical records does not stand up to scrutiny. A palpable abdominal mass was the only diagnostic criterion that was used. The reproductive tract was not examined during laparotomy or post-mortem examination, so the full extent of uterine abnormalities is unknown. Behavioural issues were not included in his clinical assessment of the rabbits in his analysis. He looked at the data from 61 rabbits, which is too small a number to draw any significant conclusions and is an indication of how few rabbits are treated in his practice. For several years, I was spaying 61 rabbits within three months.

    Sadly, I didn’t keep detailed record the incidence of uterine tumours and other abnormalities but, anecdotally, they were common and the incidence increased with age. Recently, I canvassed opinion on this matter among vets and rescue centres that neuter several hundred rabbits per year and there was general agreement that uterine tumours and other abnormalities are common. There was also agreement that the risk of anaesthesia in rabbits is small and the risk of surgical complications is low if the procedure is done well. Many charities and welfare organisations have spent considerable time, effort and money educating owners that neutering female rabbits is a beneficial. I only hope that the views of Martin Whitehead, Guen Bradbury and Greg Dickens do not convince vets and owners otherwise''

  8. #38
    Warren Veteran joey&boo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MightyMax View Post
    There have been almost a thousand views to this thread, so it's obviously of concern to many.

    I thought it worth updating with Frances Harcourt Brown's excellent reply which was published in the Vet Record last week. This is a shortened version, recorded on her Facebook site:


    ''I am writing in response to a letter that appeared in the Veterinary Record (February 25, 2017). In his letter, Dr Whitehead describes his policy of discouraging spaying of female rabbits, whether kept singly, with other females, or with neutered or entire males, unless there is a specific indication to do so. Dr Whitehead disputes that uterine tumours are common in rabbits and uses an analysis of his clinical records of 61 entire rabbits to support his view. Only three, or maybe four, of these rabbits were diagnosed with a possible uterine tumour, which led to Mr Whitehead’s conclusion that the risk of uterine tumours is only 3 or 4 in 61. He feels that this risk in not high enough to justify the risk of prophylactic ovariohysterectomy. I couldn’t disagree more.

    Firstly, if it was my female rabbit, I wouldn’t accept a risk of 1 in 20 as low enough to discourage me from neutering her in order to prevent a malignant cancer later in life.

    Secondly, Martin Whitehead cites a Viewpoint article by Bradbury and Dickens (Vet Rec Dec 24/31, 2016) that question the need for routine neutering of female rabbits by saying that it can be an extremely aversive experience to a rabbit. Although the authors acknowledge that some practices have developed the facilities and knowledge to provide good veterinary care they still describe neutering as a ‘ highly stressful experience’. I have just retired after 43 years in practice with an increasing rabbit caseload. It reached 100% in the last 8 years of my working life.

    An ‘extremely aversive’ or a ‘highly stressful’ experience’ are not scenarios that I recognise for my rabbit patients. I, and many other vets, have worked hard to improve anaesthetic safety and surgery in rabbits. I think rabbits are no more stressed by neutering than dogs or cats. The animals may not be 100% happy to be at a vets but it is not an extremely aversive or highly stressful experience for them.

    Thirdly, Dr Whitehead’s analysis of his clinical records does not stand up to scrutiny. A palpable abdominal mass was the only diagnostic criterion that was used. The reproductive tract was not examined during laparotomy or post-mortem examination, so the full extent of uterine abnormalities is unknown. Behavioural issues were not included in his clinical assessment of the rabbits in his analysis. He looked at the data from 61 rabbits, which is too small a number to draw any significant conclusions and is an indication of how few rabbits are treated in his practice. For several years, I was spaying 61 rabbits within three months.

    Sadly, I didn’t keep detailed record the incidence of uterine tumours and other abnormalities but, anecdotally, they were common and the incidence increased with age. Recently, I canvassed opinion on this matter among vets and rescue centres that neuter several hundred rabbits per year and there was general agreement that uterine tumours and other abnormalities are common. There was also agreement that the risk of anaesthesia in rabbits is small and the risk of surgical complications is low if the procedure is done well. Many charities and welfare organisations have spent considerable time, effort and money educating owners that neutering female rabbits is a beneficial. I only hope that the views of Martin Whitehead, Guen Bradbury and Greg Dickens do not convince vets and owners otherwise''
    Thanks for posting MM

  9. #39
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    I also wouldn't accept a risk of 1 in 20 to discourage me from neutering any doe that I had.

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    Very interesting. Thanks for posting.
    Sarah.

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