What To Do If Your Rabbit Won’t Eat After Being Spayed?

Categorized as Bunny Health

Last Updated on October 26, 2022 by Rei Garnet

While it’s normal for a rabbit to have a decreased appetite after being spayed, your rabbit should at least eat something within 24 hours of being spayed.

According to Dana Krempels, Ph.D., if your rabbit hasn’t eaten anything within 24 hours of being spayed, you should contact your veterinarian and tell them about your rabbit’s condition.

Most likely, your rabbit is not eating due to intense pain. Your veterinarian might prescribe you more analgesics (pain medication) to ease your rabbit’s pain, which in turn could encourage your rabbit’s appetite.

In rare cases, the reason your rabbit might have stopped eating is due to complications from surgery. In this case, your veterinarian should give you the proper instructions on how to hand-feed your rabbit for a few days.

If it’s less than 24 hours after your rabbit’s surgery and they’re not eating anything (which is normal), you can try giving your rabbit leafy greens. In my case, these were the first things my rabbit ate while recovering from surgery.

Leafy greens like basil, parsley, carrot tops, cilantro, and celery are great options to encourage your rabbit’s appetite.

Finally, according to a study done by the Department of Periodontics in India, you can also syringe feed your rabbit with a thin slurry of blenderized (to liquefy food in a blender) fresh vegetables mixed with fruit juice 1-2 times during the initial 24-hours period after the surgery.

Now that I’ve given you the gist of the article, read on as I explain in more detail what to do if your rabbit won’t eat after being spayed:

Why is your rabbit not eating after being spayed?

A baby rabbit sleeping on its food bowl.

The most likely reason why your rabbit is not eating after being spayed is pain. It’s common for rabbits to have a reduced appetite due to pain.

Before going into surgery, you should ask your veterinarian what kind of post-operation analgesic (pain medication) they would give your rabbit to manage pain.

According to Dana Krempels, Ph.D., if your veterinarian would not provide any pain medication for your rabbit to manage pain, you should seek a different vet. Preferably, a rabbit-savvy vet to do the surgery.

In rare cases, your rabbit could also stop eating if they are experiencing complications from their surgery. If this is the case, you need to contact your veterinarian about how to hand-feed your rabbit.

What can you do to make your rabbit eat after being spayed?

A veterinarain syringe feeding a rabbit.

According to Dana Krempels, Ph.D., the first thing you should offer your rabbit if they are reluctant to eat is their favorite treat (if your rabbit hasn’t eaten in less than 24 hours). Just make sure that you only give a little. The goal here is to encourage your rabbit to eat.

Feeding a lot of treats would likely do more harm than good.

You can then feed your rabbits leafy greens like basil, parsley, carrot tops, cilantro, and celery. These fragrant herbs are known to be preferred by rabbits recovering from surgery.

Finally, according to a study done by the Department of Periodontics in India, you can also syringe feed your rabbit with a thin slurry of blenderized (to liquefy food in a blender) fresh vegetables mixed with fruit juice 1-2 times during the initial 24-hours period after the surgery.

Alternatively, you can buy a critical care food like the Oxbow critical care supplement for rabbits.

Here’s a great instruction on how to syringe feed your rabbit by Dr. Kristin Britton of the NorthStar VETS:

Just make sure that you’re not forcing your rabbit to eat the liquified fresh vegetables. If you are doing it right and your rabbit is still throwing out the food, you should stop.

If this is the case, your rabbit might not be able to swallow normally. You need to contact your veterinarian and tell them about it.

How long does it take for a rabbit to eat after being spayed?

If the surgery is a success and the veterinarian provided adequate pain medications for your rabbit, your rabbit should not completely stop eating after surgery.

Your rabbit should only have a reduced appetite. According to vcahospitals, your rabbit should be eating normally within 12–24 hours after being spayed.

If your rabbit hasn’t eaten anything within 24 hours after being spayed, you should contact your veterinarian about the situation.

When should you take your rabbit to a veterinarian if they’re not eating after being spayed?

A white rabbit being checked up by a veterinaran.

You should bring your rabbit to a veterinarian if they haven’t eaten anything within 24 hours post-surgery.

Your rabbit should only have a reduced appetite. A rabbit completely abstaining from food for long periods of time should be considered an emergency because they need to eat in order to induce gut movement.

How long can a rabbit survive without eating after being spayed?

The amount of time your rabbit can survive without eating after surgery depends on what condition it develops. As an example, if your rabbit hasn’t eaten anything in 24 hours, it can develop GI stasis.

GI stasis is a serious, life-threatening condition that can quickly kill a rabbit within 24 to 48 hours.

Conclusion

You can give your rabbit fragrant herbs and leafy greens like basil, parsley, carrot tops, mint, cilantro, and celery to encourage appetite post-surgery.

You can also syringe-feed your rabbit liquified fresh vegetables mixed with fruit juice 1-2 times during the initial 24-hour period after the surgery.

Just make sure that you’re not forcing your rabbit to eat the liquified fresh vegetables. If you are doing it right and your rabbit is still throwing out the food, you should stop.

If your rabbit hasn’t eaten anything within 24 hours of being spayed, you should contact your veterinarian and tell them about your rabbit’s condition.

Cite this article:

Bunny Horde (December 7, 2022) What To Do If Your Rabbit Won’t Eat After Being Spayed?. Retrieved from https://bunnyhorde.com/rabbit-wont-eat-after-spay/.
"What To Do If Your Rabbit Won’t Eat After Being Spayed?." Bunny Horde - December 7, 2022, https://bunnyhorde.com/rabbit-wont-eat-after-spay/

By Rei Garnet

I’ve loved and cared for rabbits since I was 9 years old, and I’m here to share my passion for rabbits. My objective is to help rabbit owners give their rabbits the best life possible.