I joined this forum because I have found so many useful forum topics and information here. I live in South Africa, which means although many many people do keep rabbits, rabbits are not as popular pets as dogs and cats round here. Its difficult to find a vet that has extensive experience with rabbits, and most people have millions of opinions regarding rabbits. I could, however, not find info specific to my problem, therefore my post....
I've had my bun for little over a year now. She was a present from my boyfriend to keep me company when he would be away for long periods. Uninformed customers as we were, we searched many petshops and came across one that was kind of legit. We were told that she's an english rabbit, but she's probably some kind of cross. Never the less - she was (and is) PERFECT. About a month after I got her I took her to our family vet for a check up, and was told that she is probably 3 months of age. Which meant I got her when she was 6-8 weeks old when we brought her home for the first time.
Had I known better, I would have gotten a brother or sister from the same litter. We still had a lot to learn....
Since then, during the past two years, I have moved twice and she has therefore lived in 3 different places to date. With her own private garden always a prerequisite when house shopping - she has never lived in a cage. She sleeps in the house at night, and can go in/out as she wishes during the day. The garden has a 6 foot wall and is completely rabbit safe, and because it is so hot here I built her a little shed outside with UV filter shade netting should she wish to lounge outside.
On the dietary side, I have been feeding her Cuni Complete pellets as well as Cuni Nature (which she doesnt like all too much), and a bowl of veggies and herbs twice a day (alternating between carrots, radiccio, tender stem brocoli, normal brocoli, basil, coriander, parsley, dill, fennel, rocket, italian parsley) in addition to a never ending supply of fresh mountain grass hay both inside and outside the house. She also spends a lot of time grazing in the garden and I sow new grass every now and again to assure she has enough good quality grass in her garden. (shes +- 2 to 2.5kg's)
I started feeling bad for having to leave her home alone when I go to work, and after two months of settling in in our new place, I had her spayed with the purpose of getting her a friend. It ended up being a terrible ordeal. She didnt take the surgery very well. Her digestive system crashed 3 days post op, I took her back to our family vet who gave her dexamethasone, I think it's a corticosteroid. Things were looking ok until about 7 days later when, within an hour, she nearly died. I rushed her to the only 24hour academic hospital where they gave her strong pain medication and took bloods etc. They said she had permanent and ongoing liver damage due to the corticosteroids. I contacted one of my friends who is also a vet but not in practice. She concluded that the bloodwork did not provide enough proof of liver damage since a fasting liver test was not performed. With careful nursing and the help of a very knowledgeable friend, my bun survived serious gastric statis and tons of stress.
Two months down the line (two weeks ago) I contacted a local breeder (i didnt know we had those here), who suggested a male friend for my bun, about the same age. I followed the rules for introduction posted all over the net (and in this forum) to the point. It didnt work out. After a few days my bun still ran away, and started stressing so much that she went off her food and started to lose weight again. They didnt fight, nor did she kick him or he hurt her, she was just completely scared to death. Might it be because I brought her home too young and she's scared because she doesnt know the smell and looks of other bunnies? I had to return the new bun. The breeders said that they think my bun probably doesnt know better and thinks I'm her sole companion. I don't want to put her through the stress of a second bun.
Relieved as I am that the little fluffball I love so so much and would do anything for survived, I am still worried. I would like to know what any of you think, given my long description of circumstances:
1.My bun loved to run and binky all the time. Since we moved in here, even 2 months before she was spayed, she stopped binkying. She hasnt ran or binkied since we moved in here.
2. She has a sad look in her eyes since I had her spayed, as opposed to the naughty bun she used to be before. She used to be so destructive. That's stopped - but so has her energy and livelihood.
3. She used to stretch out with her feet behind her on the carpet whenever I was in the area, as if we were enjoying a relaxing time together. She never since being spayed does that anymore. She just sits quietly on the corner of the carpet, in a normal reserved bunny position. Now and then she would flop and fall asleep.
Is it because I betrayed her with putting her in hospital, and forcing her to like a new bunny? Is she sad because of the stress of moving so much? Is she missing bunny company without knowing it? Am I doing it all wrong?
I just dont know what she's thinking, and I don't know what to do
Please tell me what you think :'(
I'm sorry for the long message ;(