If you have recently had your rabbit spayed, you are probably watching her with concern for any signs that something is wrong, as this is a relatively major operation and it can take time for her to get back to normal after it.
If your rabbit is not eating after a spay, it can be concerning and upsetting, so in this article, we’re going to explore why this might happen, when you should worry, and what to do about it.
This will help to ensure that you know what to do with your bunny if she isn’t feeling well, and how to help her.
It is fairly normal for a rabbit to stop eating after she has been spayed, but this is usually an indication that something is wrong and the bunny is in pain, so she doesn’t feel like eating.
Sometimes, lack of appetite is a response to the pain medication, so it can be challenging to work out what to do if you’re seeing this symptom.
You should always talk to your vet first and foremost for advice if you are concerned about your rabbit, especially following an operation, but what else can you do?
If your rabbit isn’t eating, it’s normal to be concerned. Let’s look at what you can and should do, so you know how to give your bunny a quick and comfortable recovery.
Is It Normal For A Rabbit Not To Eat After Being Spayed?
Quite a few owners find that their rabbits will not eat after being spayed, and there are a number of reasons that this may happen, especially if your rabbit is still groggy for the anesthetic and just wants to rest for a while.
Even without an operation, a vet visit can be stressful and make your rabbit uncomfortable, so she may want to simply rest and relax when she is returned to her familiar environment.
This can result in her not eating in the short term, and most bunnies will take at least a few hours or up to 24 hours to return to normal after an operation.
However, for some rabbits, this will continue for longer, and then it starts to be more of a cause for concern, because it indicates that your rabbit is still feeling unwell in some way.
If your rabbit isn’t eating by about 24 hours after the operation, you need to start investigating what is wrong, and call your vet for advice. Sometimes, pain medication will prevent your rabbit from wanting to eat because it can cause queasiness.
If your rabbit isn’t taking pain medication, however, this may be a sign that she is in pain and this is putting her off her food.
Although the pain shouldn’t last for more than a few days, your rabbit will be miserable if she is hurting, and will often reject all food as a result.
How Long Can A Rabbit Last Without Eating After Being Spayed?
A rabbit should not go without eating for more than about 24 hours, because the way a rabbit’s digestive system works is by new food pushing old food through; if the rabbit isn’t eating, old food may start to linger in its guts and make it sick.
Not eating for more than 12 hours can cause pH changes in the rabbit’s guts, although they will generally survive for more than a day with no food, especially if they were healthy beforehand.
If your rabbit is showing no interest in food about 12 hours after the spay, you should consider contacting the vet.
At this point, the rabbit is at risk of developing GI stasis, a condition that means the food is moving slowly through the guts, and creating room for a kind of gas-producing bacteria to grow inside the rabbit’s guts. This will cause discomfort, and eventually organ failure and death.
Rabbits that do not eat for 3 or 4 days will almost always die, so it’s important not to wait and see how your rabbit fares over the next few days.
If she isn’t eating the day after her operation, you will need her to see a vet quickly so that the vet can step in and get some food into her. Not doing so could be fatal for your bunny.
How Long Does It Take A Rabbit To Eat After Spay?
That might all sound very alarming, but you shouldn’t panic if your rabbit doesn’t immediately tuck into her food bowl once you get her home from being spayed.
It often takes a while for a bunny to recover from even a standard vet visit, so you should wait a few hours while she settles down and gets comfortable in her pen again. Don’t worry if she seems disinterested in food for several hours.
By about 10 hours, however, your rabbit should have had time to recover, and the anesthetic effects should have worn off, meaning that your rabbit’s appetite may start to wake up.
She may only want to nibble a little bit of her favorite things, but she should be showing some interest in food by the time 12 hours have passed, or you may want to contact the vet.
Within 24 hours of the surgery, the rabbit should be eating fairly normally again, or there is a risk of her becoming unwell.
She may be a little quiet and have a smaller appetite than usual for a few days, but if she seems particularly disinterested in food, it’s best to contact your vet. Even if the rabbit is fine, it’s better to check in with the vet and be reassured than it is to keep worrying.
How Do I Get My Rabbit To Eat After Being Neutered?
You may be able to get your rabbit to eat again by hand-feeding her a few of her favorite treats and snacks, but be aware that she ideally needs to get some high fiber foods into her system to get her guts moving normally again.
That means hay if possible, even if she will only eat a small amount and she isn’t particularly keen. Hay is the best food for a rabbit, and should help her to recover her appetite and sense of normalcy.
If your rabbit refuses to eat the hay, it’s better to have her eat something than nothing, so pick out some of her very favorite foods and prepare these for her.
The more aromatic the food, the better; a rich smell may tempt your rabbit’s appetite even if the sight of food doesn’t, so opt for some herbs like parsley, a bit of apple, some carrot, or other high-scent foods that your bunny loves.
All rabbits are different, so try the things that you know your rabbit likes, as this increases the chances of her eating.
If your rabbit does start tucking into the treats, try to get her onto hay and normal foods as soon as possible, as this will help the bacteria in her guts to balance and reduce the risk of GI stasis.
Some food is better than none, but don’t let her fill up on treats and reject her hay. Keep your rabbit hydrated, as this will also encourage her to eat.
What To Do If Your Rabbit Is Refusing To Eat!
If your rabbit is refusing to eat, you can keep trying at regular intervals throughout the day, but if you have consistent failures, you must contact a vet and organize an appointment for your pet.
Not eating is dangerous to your rabbit’s health and having her intestines empty for longer than 12 hours could cause permanent damage or even death.
For rabbits that won’t be coaxed into food, vets may feed them a Critical Care formula that provides the nutrition they need, until they can be restored to health and start eating independently again.
You may also be able to get Critical Care yourself, but ideally, you want your rabbit to be monitored by a professional while she is ill, so it’s better to get her to a vet if you can.
Don’t delay, because swift action could mean the difference between life and death for your rabbit, so if she is refusing food or most food more than 24 hours after her surgery, she needs to be seen by a vet as soon as possible.
If your rabbit is still in pain, they may give her more pain medication, or anti-nausea drugs that will help to take away any queasiness resulting from the anesthetic.
A rabbit not eating after a spay is not a good sign; it is common for it to take a few hours for the bunny’s appetite to return and her eating habits to be restored to normal, but within 24 hours of the operation, she should be back to her usual habits. If she isn’t, try tempting her with some particularly loved foods that smell good, or contact your vet for advice on what to do. Your bunny made need more pain medication, or might require a medical intervention to prevent the onset of GI stasis.