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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 and other reproductive cancers in rabbits - some operable, some not.
- Willys Wabbits. (2023). Zoe's story (Graphic)
- Dr. Alisa Rassin. (2022). Elderly unspayed female rabbit was diagnosed with unoperable metastatic reproductive cancer. (RIP)
- Lori Mills. (2022). A surrendered 10-year-old female rabbit that was euthanized due to multiple cancers all over her stomach area, likely from being unspayed. (Graphic) (RIP)
- u/BronstigHertje. (2022). My bun died from cancer in my arms. (RIP)
- u/the57thdoctor. (2022). I never posted Carmie on here before. However, recently she was diagnosed with uterine caner. She’s older at 8 & in my opinion deserves to be remembered. Such a behaved bun & unique character/ears. (RIP)
- u/dubbledubblepls. (2022). Cadbury's story
- Bunny Wonderland. (2021). Raichu's story
- Toni Eisman. (2021). Onyx and Pyrites' stories
- The Unusual Pet Vets. (2021). Lottie' story (Graphic)
- Safe Haven Rabbit Rescue, Inc. (2020). Hope's story
- The Bunny Burrow Rabbit Rescue. (2019). Midna's story
- u/kingbun7. (2019). Sweetpea's story
- Debbi Braunschweiger. (2019). Charlotte's story (RIP)
- Bunny Bun Hub. (2019). Uterine cancer detection
- Angie Bell. (2019). Pictures of uterine cancer (Graphic)
- u/octopusbackpack. (2017). My bun-bun has uterine cancer. Advice?
- Facebook. (2016). Sweetie's Journey, Stories about other rabbits that had/have uterine cancer
- u/Minniebunny. (2014). Miss Celie will live to be an old bunny, thanks to the /r/rabbits community (more in comments).
- NYDesi80. (2011). Uterine Cancer ... Worried and Need some Advice
- Rachel Cama-Lekx. (2006). Eve's Story: The Consequences of Not Spaying
- Miriam's Bunnies. (2000). Onyx's story
- PetMD. Uterine Adenocarcinoma in Rabbits
- House Rabbit Society. Medical Bibliography
- Vetstream. Uterine adenocarcinoma
- Dr Jay E. Hreiz. (2013). Uterine Adenocarcinoma in Rabbits
The following are scientific papers analyzing the statistics of uterine disorders in intact female rabbits.
- Johanna Mäkitaipale et al. (2022). Prospective survey of neoplastic and non-neoplastic uterine disorders in 116 domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)
- Berit Baum. (2021). Not Just Uterine Adenocarcinoma—Neoplastic and Non-Neoplastic Masses in Domestic Pet Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus): A Review
- Frank Künzel et al. (2015). Uterine Disorders in 50 Pet Rabbits
- B. Walter et al. (2010). Uterine disorders in 59 rabbits [PDF]
- Kumiko Saito et al. (2002). Uterine Disorders Diagnosed by Ventrotomy in 47 Rabbits
- Th. A. M. Elsinghorsa et al. (1984). Comparative pathology of endometrial carcinoma
- Theodore H. Ingalls et al. (1964). Natural History of Adenocarcinoma of the Uterus in the Phipps Rabbit Colony
- E. Cotchin. (1964). Spontaneous Uterine Cancer in Animals
- Harry S. N. Greene. (1959). Adenocarcinoma of the uterine fundus in the rabbit.
- ↑ British Small Animal Veterinary Association, Policy Statement on the Neutering of Rabbits