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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > HOUSE RABBIT Q & A > Worried About My Bunny, Please Help
Last Post by Scarlet_Rose at 9/02/2007 5:04 AM (14 Replies)
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User is Offline bunnyfan1030
9 posts Send Private Message
8/29/2007 3:12 AM

I need someone's advise.  I have had four rabbits and have never had the problem that I am having with my minilop now.  She is littered trained but lately likes to pee anywhere in her cage. I had her to the vet for that, they did a urine test, nothing, but they decided to put her on medicine anyways. Medicine did not work. So she still has been peeing not only in her litter box but just anywhere in the cage. (The vet thinks behavior issue, my other rabbit died last August 2006 which is when this all started and he thinks it is related to that. Although, I still have one other rabbit who is in a cage beside her.) Anyways, shortly after that she started plucking out her fur around her eyes. Checked for mites, nothing. Again, vet said behavior problem. Then last week she started getting dried clumps of discharge aroung her eyes, matted into her fur and then this week she will not eat her pellets and she hardly drinks any water (usually she would drink a water bottle a day). But she will eat fresh garden veggies, but no pellets. Also, noticed this week on her feet that she wore the fur off and she has open ulcerated sores on her feet. (She does have a cage bottom but half of the cage is covered with plexiglass) I called the vet and they made an appointment for Friday.  Okay, here are my questions. What in the world could be wrong with her? Obviously, she has sore hocks and my guess is that is from her feet being soaked with urine, but what is up with her eyes and not eating or drinking? Also, the sores on her feet are big, ulcerated and appeared in a short time, I am very worried, I heard that sore hocks could go into a bone infection. I had a rabbit before that had cancer and peed all the time but the vet was able to find it because he had a tumor, could this one have cancer? What could it be? I think I should try to get the vet to move the appointment up, I am so worried. Any thoughts anyone on what is going on with her? I would just like some idea of what is going on. I am worried sick. By the way, my other rabbit is fine, no problems at all.




User is Offline luvmybuns
Franklin, Pennsylvania
65 posts Send Private Message
8/29/2007 4:14 AM

I am definately not a bunny expert, but it sounds like your bunny has some major depression issues.  I looked up rabbit depression and found some articles.  The top thing was to get the bunny bonded again as soon as possible.  I would research this a little more, before trying to find a friend.  Good Luck with your bunny.  You and your bun will be in our  thoughts. 




User is Offline MooBunnay
Dallas, Texas (Allen)
3088 posts Send Private Message
8/29/2007 8:04 AM
Hello, and welcome to Binky bunny - I am sorry to hear your bunny is so upset.

Bunnies often react badly to change which could have started the issues. How familiar with rabbits is your vet? If your vet is not an "exotic pets" vet I'd recommend getting a second opinion from a vet that has a lot of experience with rabbits. The House Rabbit Society has a listing of rabbit vets: http://www.rabbit.org/vets/vets.html .

Have you been able to spend a lot of time with your bunny giving her attention and petting? Also - are you sure she is plucking her own fur from around her eyes? It could be possible that the other bunny is "barbaring" her or "overgrooming" around her eyes - which could be freaking your bunny out - how are the two of them interacting?



User is Offline (dig)x(me)x(now)
San Diego, Calif.
2527 posts Send Private Message
8/29/2007 9:30 AM
It's common for a rabbit to not want to eat if it is in pain. Make sure she continues to eat and drink and good luck with the rest of the problems!



Rachel & Frankie

User is Offline bunnyfan1030
9 posts Send Private Message
8/29/2007 10:49 AM

The vetenarian hospital that I go to has 2 vets for exotic pets and have experience with rabbits. They have never led me astray on any of my other rabbits. I just have a gut feeling that something is really wrong. And yes, I do pet her.  She loves that. And it is her plucking her own fur.  The fur plucking started about a year ago and has just recently gotten worse but when it began I thought it was the other rabbit because she is very high strung and at that point I separated them.  So they are each in their own cage. I was going to put them back in the same cage but because of her peeing outside of her litter box, I did not want the other one to get dampened with urine as well. So they are in cages side by side. Sometimes they lay next to each other in the cages but even when they were in the same cage together, they did not interact much. My rabbit Eleanore who is the sick one was close to Lily who is the one that passed away last August. I had Lily first and then brought Eleanore in her home and they were together two years and just loved each other always together. I got the third rabbit after that and she just keeps to herself not really social but she did play with the other two on occassion.  It just seems that when Lily died, Eleanore's problems began.




User is Offline MooBunnay
Dallas, Texas (Allen)
3088 posts Send Private Message
8/29/2007 11:47 AM
Could you maybe cover the bottom of the cage in litter or towels or something so that your bunny doesn't step in her pee a lot? I think the problem may come from her being lonely - the fur plucking definitely sounds like a nervous tendency. I have a bunny that bites his own toe nails and doesn't eat much when he ets nervous. Is your bun in a very quiet part of the house? If you put the two bunnies back together - do they fight? If its easy to put them back together I would definitely do it because I think your bunny sounds quite nervous to me. Several things that I have found help nervous bunnies are keeping them on a very regular schedule (as far as feeding times, exercise times etc.) keeping them in a quiet part of the house, and making sure they have a companion. If any part of the cage is wire I would DEFINITELY cover it with towels or something soft because feet injuries can get very painful. Towels could be easiest because you can buy some cheap ones and then just wash them daily.

The loss of control with urine makes me think that cancer COULD be possible - but the pain in her feet could be leading to all of her other problems so I would get her onto the softest flooring possible. I use rugs that I buy at Big Lots - and a little bit of vinegar gets out pee stains quickly and easily. Also the fact that her mate died and then she was separated from the other could be making her very sad. If you can't put the two back together, can you get her a stuffed animal to lay with? Also, does her cage have a cardboard box, or tunnel or something else she can hide in? That also helps animals feel secure.



User is Offline Scarlet_Rose
Colorado
4371 posts Send Private Message
8/29/2007 1:30 PM
Welcome to the board bunnyfan, I am very sorry to hear about your trouble and that this sad occasion has brought you here. You've gotten some great direction from other members, I totally agree with giving her a softer, more absorbing surface, and I do have a question. Did you leave her with the body of the passed-away rabbit for a time? I know this sounds unreasonable, but it is best to leave the body in the cage with any other rabbits they are normally with so that they can have a "mourning period" and understand that their friend has passed away to a better place, then when they then ignore the body, they understand that they have passed. This is extremely hard to do, having seen this at the shelter and being given instructions. Some choose to place a towel over the cage so they do not have to witness it and then the vet comes to the house to pick up the bunny that passed away.
I am thinking that the behavior is linked to this and that your mini-lop does not understand why her cage-mate was taken away and has not returned, your bun is expecting them toreturn anddoes not understand that the other bun has passed over the rainbow bridge. So, she is stressing majorly, very depressed and acting out more severely with the plucking of her fur around her eyes. I have seen this as well when the proper rabbit-mourning routine has not been observed, the partner will often go into a very deep depression, not eat and even on occasion act out. I must caution you that depression can cause the survivor to pass away as well, especially when they are so depressed. It would be adviseable to take her to the vet sooner if they can help you help her kick the depression.
Since your bun has seemingly reached an all-time low with depression you may want to give your mini-lop some extra priveledges such as extra time near you like at night when you sleep so she can be close to you. Normally a mate right now is not recommended until the rabbit starts taking interest in the world again and are more like themselves. However, I have also known cases to the contrary where the introduction of another bun (this was done in desparation to save a grieving bunny). Is it possbile for you to try a bond at a local rabbit rescue? Has your vet suggested any mental-health treatment for her depression? You may want to talk to them about the possibility of bonding as well.



User is Offline bunnyfan1030
9 posts Send Private Message
8/29/2007 3:39 PM

No, I did not even think to let her see the body of the other rabbit.  When she died it was kind of sudden. She was breathing funny and jerking so my mother was at my home and she picked her up and shortly after she died.  At the time I was 8 months pregnant and almost hysterical over her death (she had been my little buddy and we had been through a lot with her, we got her from a pet store and she had health issues from day one but had been doing fine for a year), my mother took her to her home to get a box and to bury her so I did not have to deal with it because I was getting myself worked up. Do you really think that is what the problem is? I already have another rabbit which I had gotten when the other one was still alive but as I said she is sort of a loner and when she was with the other rabbit she would jump on top of her and bug her, she was always trying to get away from her. They are in separate cages now, side by side, and from time to time will lay next to each other.  Do you think I should try them in a cage together again? and if so should I do it now or should I wait until I see the vet and they can do something about her eyes and her sore hocks so she doesn't aggravate them? I am just so worried. I went through alot with my Lily that died and was told that was the problem with pet store rabbits. (I had gotten one before her at a petstore who died of cancer).  That is why I bought these two rabbits from a breeder, I didn't want to have to go through all that again.  (The 1st one that died was only 5 and my second one was 3 years old). Eleanore who is the sick one is now 3 and the other one is 2 and I would like to have these alot longer than I did the other ones. I love animals and it is very hard for me. The vet tells me they are busy but as long as she is peeing she will be okay til Friday. I hope they are right. She still won't eat her pellets but she is eating fresh lettuce tonight.  Thank you for all your advice and for telling me about letting the other rabbit see the body, I didn't know that and this will be helpful in the future. I thank everyone so far for all their help.




User is Offline bunnyfan1030
9 posts Send Private Message
8/29/2007 3:52 PM

I attached a picture of my Eleanore. This is a picture before she started distructing herself and before she became sick. I was also going to ask, off the subject of Eleanore, my other rabbit, Willow, the loner, even though we have always spent time with her and have tried to interact with her she does not like to socialize with us.  She hates being picked up and she doesn't like touched. Once in a blue moon she will let you pet her and it is only for a few minutes. But when you talk to her she looks at you lovingly and will come over curiously but when you go to touch her she is skittish.  Although, she is not skittish with the other rabbit and she loves our beagle, go figure, and she even likes my 10 month old daughter, she will let her touch her. Odd. Any ideas how to get her to socialize with people more?


1829521077571.JPG


User is Offline Scarlet_Rose
Colorado
4371 posts Send Private Message
8/30/2007 2:18 PM
That's OK no problems., and I"m glad I could help you out some. You might want to try some bunny bonding time first before putting Willow & Eleanore in the same cage together as it sounds like they did not have the best relationship before. Willow sounds a lot like how my two were. I spent a lot of time on the floor wathcing TV with them hopping around on the floor kind of timid-like and I kept treats on me and at first when they were brave enough to come close, they got a treat from me. I worked up to where they had to allow me to pet them a bit and then they got a treat and eventually they learned to love the petting without the treat and just lay down next to me. This took about 3 months of perseverence, it can be done but it can take a long time. Some bunnies are just funny with the way they take to certain people and not others, maybe because you are their caretaker and not just the "fun" person who just plays with them. It took me a while to figure out that is what was going on with my two as well. Silly little buggers, but I love them to pieces.



User is Offline MooBunnay
Dallas, Texas (Allen)
3088 posts Send Private Message
8/30/2007 3:01 PM
Eleanore is very pretty She actually looks a lot like MY nervous bunny! I think you should definitely try what Scarlet Rose said about just sitting on the floor near her and letting her hop around near you. You could put a towel or sheet down. Martin (AKA nervous toe nail biter) lives in my bedroom so that he can have quiet during the day - then at night when it is dark and he feels safe he does bunny 500's all around the room!



User is Offline BB
San Francisco Area
Forum Leader
8674 posts Send Private Message
8/30/2007 8:13 PM

Bunnyfan1030.  I am so sorry to hear about your loss - Lily, and now about what's going on with your mini-lop.  Both Scarlet and MooBunnay have offered excellent suggestions. It is so strange that she plucks the fur from her own eyes?  How can she physically do that?   I have seen hairloss around eyes do to tearing, but how does she actually pluck fur out from around her own eyes?  

EDITED TO ADD:  I just noticed you said she used to drink a whole water bottle a day.  Did you tell the vet this?  That is alot of water for one bunny! This could mean she could have a UTI (urinary tract infection) - which could be a simple infection or a symptom of something more serious.

Also Did the doctor check her teeth to see if she was having tooth and or jaw problems - abscesses or misalignments, spurs?   Most teeth problems cause problems with eyes too.  

Had she ever gotten into a nasty fight with your other bunny?

As far as her urinating - have you noticed if she seems any weaker on her back legs?  Does she seem to have a harder time jumping into her box?

Is she spayed?  There is a higher risk of cancer of reproductive organs in unspayed females.

Regarding her sore hocks - When you see the vet, ask them for treatment/antiinflammatory med  for her sore hocks, and possibly pain meds so she won't lick them and cause them to get even more irritated.  I am thinking the sore hocks are because she is urinating so much and stepping in it.    Make sure her nails are trimmed - as long nails can make the feet put more pressure on the hocks.  

She will most likely pee on cloth too, but just keep double of everything so you can wash while you put a new one in.  One trick that really works well at the rabbit rescue is put down a towel or pad that's meant to soak up urine, and then put a thick fleece over it.  The urine seems to sink just right down to the pad below and leave the fleece somewhat dry.

If you have a pelleted hard litter, try carefresh or another soft litter temporarily until her hocks heal, or at least cover pelleted litter with hay.

When you are at the vets, ask if you can purchase critical care and ask them to show you how to use if you don't know how.   It is extremely important that your bunny eats and poops. So during emergencies this is good to have on hand.

Regarding the depression, Scarlett is so right.  Some rabbits really do go into a deep depression after their partners dies.  With my first bunny I also did not know to keep the body with the partner, but I learned later that was the best thing to do.  My vet teaches T-touch and has wonderful techniques to help with physical and mental healing.   Ask your vet if they have any methods to teach you or at least some suggestions. 

Regarding bonding with your  other bunny - check out the bonding section on this site.  Definitely go through a bonding period  - do introductions in neutral territories first.      But I would wait until you know it is not a physical illness otherwise the stress of going through bonding could compromise her healing.

Well, I know I've thrown out alot for you to think about!   Keep us updated with what happens at the vets tomorrow.




User is Offline bunnyfan1030
9 posts Send Private Message
8/31/2007 4:57 PM

Not so much plucking, she must be taking her paws and just rubbing her eyes that is all we can figure out. But I did take her to the vet and talk about Eleanore's visit in another post to update everyone who have bee so helpful. Willow is the other rabbit that I have and was already bonded with Eleanore and Lily but the vet had me separate them when Eleanore's fur was being pulled out. (We thought it was Willow doing it) At that point I purchased another cage and just put them side by side in cages but my parents have a secured area outside that I take them to a couple times a week to play together and they get along great. I just kept them separated because of Eleanore peeing everywhere and her eyes draining so that Willow would not have direct contact to it, that is why I did not put them back together when we determined Willow was not the problem.  So hopefully Eleanore will Heal up and I can put them back together again. I  think it will be good for both of them. None of my rabbits are spayed because I have had conflicting advice on this, so I will ask now. My first rabbit, Thumper was a male Flemish Giant who had cancer and the vet had told us that you should have rabbits fixed so that they live longer healthier lives. I then bought Lily but never got her spayed because as I said from the day I bought her home from the pet store she had respitory problems and I was afraid to put her under. (The vet had warned me not to buy anymore rabbits from a petstore, to get them from a breeder, but when I was at a petstore, I saw Lily and fell in love with her. I went back numerous times and finally brought her home. But through her years of health problems, I never regreted it) Anyways, when I decided to get Lily a companion I went to a breeeder and asked her if I should have this rabbit spayed and she told me no that she wouldn't recommend it. ANd then a year later I bought Willow from the breeder and that is why I did not have them spayed. They are ages 3 and 2 now. Do you think that I should have them spayed? I would like them to live long and healthy lives so whatever I can do I will.




User is Offline BB
San Francisco Area
Forum Leader
8674 posts Send Private Message
9/01/2007 10:00 PM

ooops, sorry, i some how missed or forgot about your other post.  I'll have to go have a look.

I am an advocate of spaying, unless a vet feels that a health problem would make it impossible for a rabbit to safely go through surgery. So if a vet feels that respitory problems would get in the way, then that's understandable. Spaying and neutering helps with many behavioral issues, littertraining and urine smell, but even if none of those cause a problem, female rabbits have a high rate of cancer of their reproductive organs, so I agree the vet.




User is Offline Scarlet_Rose
Colorado
4371 posts Send Private Message
9/02/2007 5:04 AM
bunnyfan, if you are able, I would definately suggest getting your rabbits fixed, I think you will have a much closer and longer relationship with them and it will also help with litter box habits too and make everyone happy all-around. BB is spot-on, if there are any health issues of concern, then no. My best to you for taking such wonderful care them! They are very lucky bunnies indeed regardless of where they came from!


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