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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BONDING > Our two girls have 'unbonded' after being speyed....
Last Post by BunnyMuffin at 12/09/2008 3:28 AM (16 Replies)
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User is Offline Geordie Quaker
Newcastle, UK
6 posts Send Private Message
11/12/2008 9:55 PM

And I am not even sure if unbonded is a word!

First time poster here. Our two nine month old dwarf lops were speyed on Tuesday and came home yesterday having made a good recovery. Post-op the two were apparently playing, lying together amd generally being the sisters we know and love.

However, all of that seemed to change when we brought them home. They cannot go near each other without one shooting off. Toffee (the more dominant one) merely has to approach Smudge and she shoots off. Then late last night there were signs of aggressive nudging so for the first time they spent last night apart (although in cages right next to each other).

My questions are:

1, Is this unbonding common after being speyed?

2, Is there anything we can do to stimulate contact? We are mixing their poos in each others litter trays so they can get the scent)?

3, Is this likely to be long-term?

4, Is unbonded actually a word?

Responses to questions 1 through 3 should probably take priority though.

Thanks,

GQ


User is Offline BunnyMuffin
Grand Forks, ND
350 posts Send Private Message
11/13/2008 3:08 AM
Aw - that's unfortunate! When I was adopting my second rabbit I was told that rabbits can unbond (I've decided it's a word) when they hit adolescence because of all the hormones and territory issues - but it seems weird that they would be fine until actually getting spayed. Do you know if they were kept together when they were at the vet? It sounds like they spent the night - were they housed together for that? If not then it's possible that they smell different to each other now and that's what's causing the rejection. I've read that once rabbits are bonded they should always be kept together, even if only one needs to go to the vet to take both, that type of thing. If they were kept together though, then I have no clue. If they still aren't happy with each other today and you still feel like they need to be kept in side by side cages, then probably make the bunnies switch sides every night to get them reaquainted with the other's smell more quickly. Of course - if they are being aggressive with one another, then you'll want to wait and let them fully recover from the surgery before stressing them out with the bonding process. It would probably be okay to switch sides, but I'd save the bonding sessions until everyone's healed and healthy to prevent some nasty injuries.

User is Offline BunnyMuffin
Grand Forks, ND
350 posts Send Private Message
11/13/2008 3:09 AM
Oh - and welcome to the forum by the way! There are a lot of very experienced bunny folk here, so I'm sure you'll get some great advice soon!

User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
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11/13/2008 4:03 AM
they might be in pain. i know if i don't feel good, i want to be left alone... were you given pain meds for them? spays are obviously more invasive than neuters, so pain management is necessary. i'd wait at least a week and see how they are together at that point. if they tussle right now, that can affect their incisions and that should be avoided at all costs. keep them within sight and smell of each other.

bunnymuffin makes a good point about them maybe smelling differently. you could try to gently stroke one for a few minutes, then go stroke the other for a few minutes and vice verse. this will mingle their scents together.
Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Offline Geordie Quaker
Newcastle, UK
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11/13/2008 4:21 AM
This is great stuff, thanks BM and Beka! I am actually writing from the UK in Newcatle, this forum was recommended when we adopted from the local rescue.

Thankfully you guys have said things that support what we are doing / planning to do. As soon as we realised they may be a problem we separated them knowing fine well that the healing process has to come first. My fiancee had also suggested that scent may be an issue so we will mix them up and also do the stroking thing).

Methinks his may take a bit of time but hey we will persevere!

They have a follow up in a week too so I may bring up the issue with the vets. As I understand it they did spend the night apart, however did spend time together before we collected them. It's almost as if the journey home has caused it.

Anyway, I am waffling. Loving the forum and hope to get more feedback soon!

GQ

User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
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11/13/2008 4:36 AM
when you take them to the vet, put them in the same carrier. the stress of a car ride might help them lean on each other for "emotional support".
Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Offline Geordie Quaker
Newcastle, UK
6 posts Send Private Message
11/13/2008 7:22 AM
Perhaps the key point in their unbonding (Bunny Muffin, 2008) was during their journey home (which was only around 15 minutes) Smudge was scared and wee'd in her case. The smell was different than usual (and we knew that would happen) and may have been the start of it as they failed to recognise each others scent.

I guess we are hoping that this change in behaviour is temporary and will alleviate when their hormones settle down. It is hard for two first time bunny parents to understand:

a) how rabbits place so much emphasis on scent;

b) how one journey can cause such problems.

Re. your suggestion Beka, we will see how they go over the next few days. We will have to monitor their interaction over the next few days. If we do let them out together it will be for a very short time and under very close supervision.

User is Offline BunnyMuffin
Grand Forks, ND
350 posts Send Private Message
11/13/2008 5:51 PM
Haha - I believe that's the first time I've been credited in an in-text citation. Inventing words has never been so exciting! Keep us posted on how they're doing!

User is Offline Geordie Quaker
Newcastle, UK
6 posts Send Private Message
11/19/2008 12:01 AM
The girls are now 8 days post-operation and have had their check up. They appear to be doing well and they are eating well.

Obviously given the healing process we have not yet tried to put them together, we figured we may have to wait a little longer to do that. In the meantime we have been:

- Housing them side by side (with a 6 inch gap);
- Mixing their scents via their litter trays;
- Swapping them between each cage on a daily basis;
- Placing their food near to each others to promote familiarity;
- Giving them equal time to run around the room.

Is there anything else we should be doing? They have made one or two wild atempts to get to each other without success. Sometimes they are lay close to each and seem completely at ease, only once did we see one lashing out at the other through the fence.

Longer-term we have real worries if we cannot rebond them: as they recover they are going to need longer time to run around, something which is very difficult to achieve in our small house if they cannot do it together. Now having these two cage set-ups has completely taken over our kitchen-dining room so I hope that they do become friends again.

Thanks,

GQ

User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
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11/19/2008 9:49 AM
I hope they can be friends again too - sometimes after the bond they are still hormonal - you can imagine the changes going on in their body from the spay so it's not a surprise they are so temperamental. I think what you are doing is great and you will just need to be persistent.

I think even if they were separated at the vet's it's more the procedure than the actual separation - they most likely had to be separated for various reasons throughout the time at the vet's anyway since it's obviously not possible to keep them together 100% of the time there while they are working on them (weighing, shaving, medicating, etc...).


User is Offline Geordie Quaker
Newcastle, UK
6 posts Send Private Message
11/20/2008 8:36 AM
Very good point. They had visited the vets a week previous and were probably separated for a short period then. It simply must be the result of the operation, hormones and subsequent change in scent.

Sometimes I am convinced they are missing each other: you can almost see in their faces 'I recognise you, but you don't smell as I remember so it cannot be'. They must as confused as I am! Like you say, once hormones have settled we will have a better idea of their longer term behaviour.

User is Offline Kokaneeandkahlua
Edmonton, Alberta; Canada
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11/21/2008 7:43 AM
Wow I think your doing fantastic. It might be a process but once horomones settle, and if your persistant I'm sure that they can be best buds again!! Please share some pictures if you'd like-I'd love to see the cuties!
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Kokanee & Chuck My Bridge Bunnies-you left paw prints on my heart

User is Offline Onion_&_Shallot
4 posts Send Private Message
12/01/2008 2:20 AM
Hello! Another 1st time poster here! We've found ourselves in a very similar position after getting our girl (Shallot) speyed last Monday. Her brother (Onion) now chases her and tries to bite her when they are out together.

The vet's advised us to keep them seperate initially, to avoid Onion getting worried when Shallot came home all drugged up! On the second night, Shallot seemed quite herself, so we let Onion out as well, which was when the trouble started.

We've tried re-introducing them on neutral ground (upstairs, where they hadn't been before). We've also since started swapping cages and litter trays to familiarise them on a scent level. The cages are next to each other so they can see each other.

I guess it's just going to be a matter of time and patience, getting them familiar with eachother again.

Would be interested to know how your two are getting on now Geordie Quaker!

Rob

User is Offline Kokaneeandkahlua
Edmonton, Alberta; Canada
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12/01/2008 9:58 AM
Welcome Rob!
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Kokanee & Chuck My Bridge Bunnies-you left paw prints on my heart

User is Offline Geordie Quaker
Newcastle, UK
6 posts Send Private Message
12/02/2008 9:57 PM

Hi Rob,

Although obviously I wish you weren't experiencing the same problems, it is interesting to hear from someone else in the ame predicament.

They are now three weeks post surgery, and a couple of days ago we restarted the bonding process (we delayed it to allow their scars to heal). So far we have had them together twice, however we have done this with one on my lap and one on my fiancees. They didn't go for each other, but at the same time they didn't seem hugely interested either!

In terms of actually putting them together, we are concerned because Toffee (generally the more outgoing one) seems to have something of a temper at the moment and is enjoying kicking up her litter tray etc. We are slightly worried that this may transfer into violence towards Smudge but appreciate we will have to take the plunge sooner or later.

In the meantime, we are still swapping cages, tranfering litter and keeping htem close together. It is really getting us down because our house isn't conducive to having two separate cages and the whole thing is a logistical nightmare. We want our sisters to be mates again!


User is Offline Onion_&_Shallot
4 posts Send Private Message
12/09/2008 2:43 AM

Well, our two are happily in the same cage again, and have been for nearly a week now.

We put them both in a small temporary cage and took them for a ride in the car round our local town. They were both fine for the duration of the ride, although when we put them both back in their cage, Onion (male) got a bit territorial and chased Shallot into a corner. We supervised them for a while, and there was no real aggression like before, so we left them overnight. In the next day or so they got much better with each other and are now just like they used to be. In fact they are better than before, because Shallot seems much happier without her maternal frustrations and Onion gets to lie down for more than five minutes without her trying to hump his head!!


User is Offline BunnyMuffin
Grand Forks, ND
350 posts Send Private Message
12/09/2008 3:28 AM
Hooray for Onion & Shallot!! That's great news! I'm glad Onion's head has been given a break. :-)
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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BONDING > Our two girls have 'unbonded' after being speyed....

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