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Last Post by BB at 12/08/2006 9:07 AM (8 Replies)
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User is Offline Elena Niznik
Glasgow (Scotland)
132 posts Send Private Message
11/06/2006 1:45 PM

Its been over 2 months since i got Rolo my young mini lop. He is shy and fearful but he doesnt respond to sound he only freaks out when he realises you are there. I was concerned that something may be wrong because he hasn't came out of his shell at all. The vet ran some tests and said that he was perfectly healthy however she thinks that he may be either deaf or very hard of hearing.

Does anyone have any experience or any helpful information on dealing with a deaf bunny? and do you think he is happy? I have seen him binky only once but he does love to flopp out under the sofa and in front of the tv.


User is Offline wendyzski
Chicago, IL
1316 posts Send Private Message
11/06/2006 3:55 PM
I remember reading about a deaf rabbit - his human used to tap the floor (not heaily enough to be mistaken for a THUMP) to let him know she was coming nearby - he could feel it through the floor.  She also used some basic hand signs for things like "bedtime", "up", "treat", etc.

Rabbits are less affected by disabilities than some people - they live in the moment and simply do what they can with what they have.  I know of several partially-paralyzed buns, some partially or totally blind ones, and a couple of 3-legged buns.

I once met a blind bunny - survivor of a horrible neglect case - whose brother appointed himself a sort of "seeing-eye bunny".  He would sort of nudge him to treats or toys, and would come galloping up to give you a thorough sniffing before permitting you to pet his brother.  They were just waiting for their final medical OK and by now are happily settled together in a forever home.

There is a list-serve that I hightly recommend for people with special-needs rabbits - it's called Etherbun.  It can be a really busy list, so they have very specific rules about posting - no chitchat, etc - just to keep the info manageable.  But it's a great resource.  http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/etherbun.html

User is Offline BB
San Francisco Area
Forum Leader
8853 posts Send Private Message
11/09/2006 9:51 PM
I also use Etherbun as a great resource.  There's also a House Rabbit online chat that is available 24/7, but it can be slow.  I found it to be busy enough to get good answers in the late afternoon and weekends.   Found great information from someone there when I was researching info about blind bunnies.  http://www.rabbit.org/chat/index.html

I found an article with a few tips on how to communicate and calm a deaf rabbit.

Keep us updated!

User is Offline Elena Niznik
Glasgow (Scotland)
132 posts Send Private Message
11/20/2006 3:20 AM
HI guys.

Got an update on Rolo. He is definately deaf in one ear and has some hearing in his other ear but the vet cannot be certain how well he can hear out of it.

He is still a shy bunny and will not let you near him he does take treats and pellets out of my hand but if you pet him he runs away.
Him and Boo have made a home under my couch. Boo will come out and socialise and feeds and poops in her cage, Rolo however does not come out at all. Im beginning to worry that there is something seriously wrong with him., I have noticed that he has started to get a bald patch under his chin and on his rump. I have checked him for bite marks incase Boo is bullying him but there is nothing. There is also no flea dirt and no sign of mites. The skin is healthy and he doesnt flinch when you touch it.

I have noticed when he does come out from under the sofa he sits hunched up and clicks his teeth. its not a crunchy sound i think he is doing it out of anxiety. My main worry is that A) he has something wrong with him that both myself and the vet is overlooking. ( my vet is great and has 7 rabbits of her own so she is pretty clued up and B) that he is just really unhappy.

Both him and Boo no longer sit together and they no longer groom each other. I dnt think its possible that they have had a fight as they are always superbvised togther.

If he is depressed and truly unhappy I would consider giving him back to the shelter. They have rabbits there with special needs who will never be rehomed and are looked after 24-7. However I would prefer to keep him as he is lovely. But i know i have to do whats best for him.

It breaks my heart to think that he is unhappy or ill. Your advice is greatly appreciated.

User is Offline BB
San Francisco Area
Forum Leader
8853 posts Send Private Message
11/25/2006 10:45 PM

Hi Tallullu,

Awww.  Sorry for the late reply.  If things are still the same, I would suggest doing bonding sessions again and offering him a little extra attention.   Also, IF there isn't a structured schedule, sometimes a structured schedule can actually help a nervous rabbit - as their day becomes predictable and that provides comfort.  

Regarding his teeth chattering - tension is one possibility and if it's pain....either way, how are his poops?  Are they normal?  

Does he hunch up in a strange position?

How are his teeth?  Did the vet check his teeth to make sure he doesn't have any malocclusions or spurs(back teeth problems)

User is Offline Elena Niznik
Glasgow (Scotland)
132 posts Send Private Message
11/28/2006 3:15 AM
Hi binky, thanks for the reply, his poops are normal and he is eating and drinking normally too.
He doesnt sit in a hunched position but i have noticed that when he sits, the lower end of his spine just above his tail seems to sink in. when he strecthes and yawns the same things happens. Its almost as if he has a beyonce butt. ( ya know its dips in at the lower back then comes out again)

He doesnt tooth chatter as much as he used to and last night he braved it out into the hall with Boo and managed a binky. He has started to run more too which he never used to do.

I still cant pet him but thats alright i have accepted he is a shy bunny.

His bald patch under his chin is growing back now too.

The vet did check his teeth everytime i have a vet visit i always get their teeth checked and they are perfect.

I think he is just having a bit of trouble adjusting to his new home. But ur right about the schedule i try to groom him everyday but i hate to think im stressing him.

User is Offline BB
San Francisco Area
Forum Leader
8853 posts Send Private Message
12/06/2006 9:29 PM
hmmmm.  Maybe he has a spine issue, or a tail problem?  Is it just the way his fur is or is that how his spine. or hips actually are? Soft chattering can mean feeling relaxed, content or happy.   Louder chattering can be from nervousness, agitation or pain, so since he's a nervous bunny who's got a beyonce bootie, it's hard to tell which it could be?  Can you hear the chattering pretty well?  I mean is it loud?  Or is it just sort of a subtle chattering, between a purring and pain?

The fact that he did a binky is a good sign!   We are in a new home too, and it has taken Jack over a month, to come out of his area.  There is nothing physically wrong with him, he's just a nervous norvis type of bunny - but he does like to be petted.

Regarding daily grooming  - does that mean brushing?  IF SO,   I apologize, but I forgot - is he a long haired bunny?  Or is he molting?  Otherwise, you don't need to brush him everyday.  That can actually irritate his skin if he's a regular short to short/medium haired bunny that isn't molting.   Once a week is usually fine IF he's not a long hair and not molting.
So IF he doesn't need brushing every day, then that could be part of his chattering - agitation because of anticipation. 

IF he needs brushing everyday, then it goes back to the schedule thing.  If he knows exactly when the "brushing" is going to happen, then that will at least help him relax during the other times.

UPDATED:  I just went back to look at your profile to see if you had a picture of him in there.   WHAT A CUTIE!! Anyway, from the picture it doesn't look like he's  a breed that needs brushing everyday, unless that was a baby picture and his hair is now like an angoras or long haired type breed.

User is Offline Elena Niznik
Glasgow (Scotland)
132 posts Send Private Message
12/07/2006 5:01 AM
Hi again Binky,

Rolo isnt a long haired rabbit but in his photo he was still a baby and has now lost all his ginger hair and is totally black. I was brushing him everyday becos he was molting in huge chunks but now i only brush him and Boo once a week.

He is slowly getting better and his bald patches are clearing. I was worried in case it was alopeocia and that he was stressed.

I think that he is a nervous rabbit and that probably wnt change. Is tooth chattering has stopped and he only does light chattering when i am close to him before running away, so i thinks its in anticipation of getting touched.

I contacted the rescue centre and they said they got him from a family that had 2 young children and a pitbull so they poor wee guy was probably tormented. hence his shy behaviour.

Next time i am at the vet i will get his spine checked but i have had a feel and it feels pretty normal.

thanks again binky your help is greatly appreciated

User is Offline BB
San Francisco Area
Forum Leader
8853 posts Send Private Message
12/08/2006 9:07 AM
Ahhh.  You are so sweet to care for him even though he's rather untouchable right now.   That's when most people give their bunnies up.   The prior owners - With two young children and if the dog scared him then he could be traumatized.  Poor thing.   He's lucky to have you.
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