BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > HOUSE RABBIT Q & A > Neutered Bun Has Humping Problem again- UTI??
Last Post by Dee at 10/25/2012 2:19 PM (6 Replies)
Author Messages

User is Offline Dee
Upton, MA
604 posts Send Private Message
10/23/2012 5:32 PM

Hi Everyone,

It's been quite a chaotic year for us so far- things were calming down but now BunBun is having the same humping problem he had in the summer. He mounts/humps poor Nelli repeatedly, and also pulls out clumps of her fur trying to hold onto her with his teeth. They've been happily bonded for over 4 years now, so this is very unusual. Bun has a history of  urinary problems- sludge and occasional UTI- so last time he did this, I put him on a 10day course of Baytril and he improved within a couple days- at the end of the antibiotics he was normal again. So when he started this time, I took him to the vet and told him what I thought- I should add that last time this humping issue happened, I did take him to the vet and it was useless- after a physical exam and a huge bill, I left with no answers and no meds . So this time the vet takes a urine culture- sterile, with a needle through to the bladder. He told me it would take 3 days to come back. It came back negative! I have heard of anaerobic (spelling?) bacteria that die upon exposure to oxygen and am wondering if this could be the case. That leads me to a few questions.

How reliable is a negative urine culture? Is it common for a bunny to have a negative culture but still have a UTI?

Has anyone had a bunny who had an infection involving anaerobic bacteria? If so, what was the treatment?

I have no more Baytril and of course my vet won't prescribe any. He won't even give me some Metacam to see if that improves Bun's behavior. To me, that makes sense- if the humping stops when I give Bun a pain reliever, we will know that the behavior is caused by physical discomfort. I'm calling around for a new vet tomorrow. I want to find a closer vet because Bun gets SO scared on car ride- he also drools, which leads me to wonder if he gets carsick?! I'm going to try Rescue Remedy before the next trip. But ever since the vet trip last week, both bunnies have been hiding almost all day and night- that is worrying me neary as much as the humping. BunBun also isn't eating like he usually does, because he's so busy hiding.

I have 2 full courses of metronizadole, which happens to kill anaerobic bacteria. Should I give it to Bun on the chance that he has an infection? I guess it depend show common that type of infection is, really.Also, the vet prescribed 4 days of sub q's at home. Bun HATES being handled, and I HATE giving sub q's - it scares me so much it's ridiculous. I know how, but Bun struggles so much, it's a nightmare.

So I'm wondering, should I be giving hi meds and sub q's and stressing him out, even though the problem may not be physical?

Also- another thing that makes me wonder if it's behavioral/stress related- BunBun rarely humps Nelli during the day- they hide togetherin their box all day without a peep. At night, Bun becomes a raving pervert!

Sorry for writing a book here- but I'm so frustrated about this .  Thanks for any advice!



User is Offline Sarita
18885 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2012 2:11 AM
I wonder if the vet can do bloodwork to check on hormone levels. Things I've read about humping males but have no experience with are possible tumors on the adrenal gland and using Lupron to treat this - I have no first hand experience with this however. Maybe email to ask them about this.

User is Offline RabbitPam
South Florida
Forum Leader
11066 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2012 2:12 AM
Hi, Dee,
Just seeing this this morning - sorry for any delay in response.
I am very glad you are finding a new vet, and I would see one right away. Do you know about the thumbtacked list of vet resources at the top of the Q&A forum? Check it out if you need help finding someone who specializes in exotics.

I'm concerned that it's more than just behavior, since he's hunching down in hiding and eating less. It sounds physical to me, but we don't know what the diagnosis should be, and a more experienced vet than your current one will probably be able to tell and prescribe the right treatment. If you can get him to see someone today, I'd hold off on any meds beforehand so you don't have any interfere with a prescribed course of treatment.

BB has a great deal of experience with excessive humping with her bunny Jack, who passed several months ago. (He was many years old, so it wasn't from this specifically.) It was tied up with his bladder as the cause, so she knows a great deal about what they discovered was the cause with him. I'll send an alert here so she can read your post and see if she has anything to add from her own experience. But I urge you to find a new vet and go.
SPIKE, my snuggle bunny (aka Spikey Marbles)

User is Offline lzrddr
17 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2012 8:37 AM
First of all, UTIs in rabbits are pretty rare. I have yet to see one in 25 years of treating rabbits, though I am not going to say I didn't miss one perhaps. I have had rabbits for years, too (though no longer)... humping in male rabbits (and even female rabbits) can be a dominance behavior as well as a reproductive one (both intact and neutered males and females). My rabbits humped still after being neutered, though far less often. This behavior is certainly not unique to rabbits and humping is a common dominance behavior in many species of animals, again intact or neutered. My dogs do it all the time (so often that I sometimes wonder if I left a testicle in place... but the females do as often, if not more so than the males)... happens when you have a lot of dogs in a smaller area. Buck rabbits also have much higher normal circulating male hormones than just about any other domestic animal, so some humping might still be reproductive (though unsuccessful of course). And yes, adrenal tumors (which is where rabbit sex hormones come from once they are no longer intact) can obviously increase this behavior exponentially... still, adrenal tumors are not very common in rabbits (probably even less common than urinary tract infections) so I would not suddenly drop $500 for an ultrasound looking for adrenal tumors. My suspicion is this is a behavioral 'problem' and you may have to keep rabbits separated if it is causing issues. Why antibiotics 'worked' once is likely to be coincidence (antibiotics coincidentally 'cure' all sorts of problems that really would have gotten better anyway I have learned over the years).

User is Offline jerseygirl
Forum Leader
20630 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2012 2:41 PM
My vet said last week it's not always bacteria that causes infection in bladder. Is he straining when peeing at all? Or not always using the box?

I agree it does sound behavioural just from the times you said it's occurring. Do you shut them into a smaller area at night?

Rumball (6) has been like this for months now and I notice it's when I have them in more enclosed area. Though he does hum and approach Jersey at other times when they're free ranging.
Whoever says "It's only a rabbit" has obviously never loved a rabbit.

User is Offline Kokaneeandkahlua
Edmonton, Alberta; Canada
Forum Leader
12104 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2012 4:16 PM
I can't really add to the great advice so far (and advice coming when BB sees this)

My only thought is I doubt the results were negative for any bacteria-they may have been interpreted as negative. In my work experience I've learned that at least in humans (And I think we can generalize) there is always bacteria in the bladder. I work in health care and there is a certain number x^ that is considered a UTI in humans, however now even if they are at that threshold you don't treat the UTI if they aren't displaying symptoms of acute UTI (i.e behavior, fever etc); So the vet may have said negative, meaning he interpreted the results as negative (because they were below a certain level|) but there is most definitely bacteria, so it might be worth pushing to ask what bacteria and how much was found. Perhaps a lower number for your bunny is a sign of acute UTI. (I believe you are also further correct, bladder/tract bacteria are anerobic)

User is Offline Dee
Upton, MA
604 posts Send Private Message
10/25/2012 2:19 PM
Hi Everyone,
Thanks so much for all the great advice! Sorry for the late reply- as always, any bunny crisis always falls on either my busiest workday or holiday. Things are pretty much the same here with BunBun- he's pretty good all day, then evening hits and he starts humping! Actually, I should clarify that he never really gets to the humping point- he usually begins with romantic (and vigorous) grooming to Nell's ears, then works his way to her butt, maybe pulls a tuft or two of fur, then tries to hop aboard- at that point, Nelli exits the scene. But Bun is persistent- he follows her around and makes repeated attempts. Nelli STILL hasn;t learned to run when she sees him coming toward her- maybe because they have nice, peaceful days together cuddling.

Sarita, I think it would be a good idea to get bloodwork done too, just in case something is off. I was very worried about an adrenal gland tumor the 1st time this humping thing happened, but have somewhat ruled it out because I don't think the behavior would go away in that case. However, it's still possible and at Bun's age (4 1/2) baseline bloodwork would be a good idea anyway- at a better vet, I think!

RabbitPam, thanks for reminding me of the Vet List- I'll check it out again. Problem is that all the vets are at least an 50-60 minutes away, and Bun gets SO scared in the car. He drools too, which makes me think he feels sick, poor thing. But I'm gonna get some Rescue Remedy and hopefully that will help, cuz our current vet, though he's only 15 minutes away, isn't much help so far! About the hiding, he finally got back to his more sociable self yesterday, and today has been out all day. I think that all the handling and the vet visit really terrified him and he didn't wanna take the chance on mean old me catching him again . His appetite is better too- so now it's just the humping AND one more thing- I noticed that he's shaking his head sometimes, esp. when he gets up. He had an ear infection w/ head tilt in May- I wonder if that could be causing all this crazy stuff?! Humping doesn't seem like a symptom but you never know I guess. And I remember BB telling me about Jack having that humping issue too- I watched the videos and they were absolutely hilarious- but I also could see how BB was at her wit's end with it! And he did have that bladder stone, so in his case it was at least partly health related.

Izrddr, I appreciate your input- 25 years of treating rabbits is a lot ! It's good to hear that UTI's aren't really common in rabbits. Makes me think that the strange peeing habits of Bun are related more to sludge than an infection. Y'know, I was wondering if the Baytril course I gave just coincided with the behavior improving, and didn;t really cure anything! I know that animals don't fall for the "placebo effect", but us humans tend to do regarding our pets. It just feels "safer" to be doing something than nothing, but if this is behavioral, meds might just make it worse. And sub q's won;t hurt physically, but the handling stresses Bun and might make him act worse. Ugh- no easy fix here!

Jerseygirl, that's interesting that bacteria isn;t always the cause for bladder infections. I know that the irritation of sludge crystals can make bunnies suspectibleto UTI- I think that's why vets prescribe antibiotics with really bad sludge cases. Actually, Bun was really taking a long tie to pee a couple weeks ago- he looked uncomfortable too. He did improve, but he's always leaving little puddles outside his box and the other day I watched him pee and it was only dribbling out, rather than a normal stream of urine. That's why I was surprised that the culture came back negative- but then all that could be from sludge. So your bunny Rumball has a humping issue too? That makes sense that he does it more when they're in close quarters, probably more temptation for him! Bun and Nelli are both free range 24/7 with no cage, so I don;t know what outside factors trigger the behavior- except nighttime and sometimes, my presence! Seems that they're fine, then I appear and Bun starts rght up!

K&K, thank you for that info- it helps me understand things better. I will ask for more details on the culture results- I read that sometimes infection shows up by presence of blood and white blood cells in the urine too- I wanted to ask about that too. You made a good point too that all individuals have different thresholds for the amount of bacteria that constitutes an infection. Tomorrow I'll call the vet- I'm going to ask for the # of the exotics specialist he mentioned too.

So at this point, I'm going to continue trying to figure out what could be triggering this behavior in BunBun, and separating the bunnies if Nell seems to be getting exhuasted or upset. I don't feel that this is an urgent situation since Bun is eating, pooping and acting normally (and peeing almost normally, since Bun is always strange like that). However, I am going to find a good exotic vet that is very experienced with rabbits to look Bun over thoroughly. The fact that he's shaking his head makes me wonder now too- but I might just be parinoid! Thanks again so much for all your help .

BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > HOUSE RABBIT Q & A > Neutered Bun Has Humping Problem again- UTI??