Uterine cancer, also known as uterine or endometrial adenocarcinoma or uterine neoplasia, is a serious risk for intact female rabbits. Uterine adenocarcinoma is a gland-like malignant type of tumor that arises from the secretory tissue that lines the inner cavity of the uterus. The tumors usually arise from the endometrial or inside layers of the uterus.
Reported incidence rates of uterine cancer in rabbits have ranged from 50%-80% in female rabbits over 4 years of age, especially in certain breeds. For this reason alone, rescues and veterinarians strongly recommend the spaying of female non-breeding rabbits.
Intact female rabbits over 3-4 years of age are most at risk.
- Blood in urine.
- Vaginal discharge stained with blood.
- Cysts in the mammary glands and mammary growths.
- Cloudy fluid that may come from the mammary glands.
- Behavioral changes, including aggressiveness.
- Lethargy, inability to eat, and pale mucous membranes.
- Abdominal masses
Below are some anecdotes about encounters with uterine cancer in rabbits.
- Great Western Exotic Vets, May 2011 - Uterine Adenocarcinoma in a Rabbit
- Miriam's Bunnies, Onyx's Story
- Rachel Cama-Lekx, Eve's Story: The Consequences of Not Spaying
- Reddit, /r/rabbits, Miss Celie will live to be an old bunny, thanks to the /r/rabbits community (more in comments).
- RabbitsOnline, Uterine Cancer ... Worried and Need some Advice
- Facebook, Sweetie's Journey, Stories about other rabbits that had/have uterine cancer
- PetMD, Uterine Adenocarcinoma in Rabbits
- St. Francis Animal & Bird Hospital Library, Rabbit Uterine Adenocarcinoma
- Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund, Uterine cancer in the doe: What's the story?. Updated November 2004.
- Wildpro, Endometrial Adenocarcinoma and other Uterine Neoplasia in Lagomorphs
- House Rabbit Society, Medical Bibliography
- FVMA's 82nd Annual Conference, Rabbit Neoplasia
- Vetstream, Uterine adenocarcinoma
- The Merck Veterinary Manual, Neoplasia
- Domestic Rabbits Magazine (Jan-Feb 2013), Uterine Adenocarcinoma in Rabbits
The following are scientific papers analyzing the statistics of cancer in intact female rabbits.
- Harry S. N. Greene, Adenocarcinoma of the uterine fundus in the rabbit., 1959.
- Theodore H. Ingalls, William M. Adams, Max B. Lurie and Johannes Ipsen, Natural History of Adenocarcinoma of the Uterus in the Phipps Rabbit Colony, 1964.
- E. Cotchin, Spontaneous Uterine Cancer in Animals, 1964, pg. 216-218.
- Th. A. M. Elsinghorsa, H. J. F. Timmermans & H. G. Ch. J. M. Hendriks, Comparative pathology of endometrial carcinoma, 1984.
- Hablolvarid, M.H., Golami, M.R., Moharami, M., Uterine Adenocarcinoma in a Rabbit, 2006.
- B. Walter, T. Poth, E. Böhmer, J. Braun, U. Matis, Uterine disorders in 59 rabbits., 2010.
The following are articles from rabbit breeders.
The following are some relevant FAQs about uterine cancer in rabbits.
- AllExperts, Dana Krempels, Ph.D., Spay/Uterine Cancer
- AllExperts, Dana Krempels, Ph.D., Rabbits/Rabbit - bleeding (re-post w/added info)
- British Small Animal Veterinary Association, Policy Statement on the Neutering of Rabbits