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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BEHAVIOR > Confusing Bunny Language - Help please
Last Post by tanlover14 at 9/28/2012 11:12 AM (6 Replies)
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User is Offline Ackattack
Berea, Ohio
27 posts Send Private Message
9/26/2012 6:43 PM

I decided to sign up to the forums since I google to research everything bunny related and this website usually has the best information to offer.

Background info - You can skip to the topic if you want

My girlfriend and I brought home a Holland Lop we named Sunny back in May. He was a baby when we bought him and we took him home and raised him. Everything went great, no troubles at all. Then as we were researching we learned they get lonely at night, so we brought him to the pet store to let him pick out a bunny to bond with. He picked a red holland lop as his companion and they cuddled in the pet store. Therefore, we brought our new bunny, Clover home July 1. Despite knowing Sunny was a male, and Clover was a female, we knew that they were too young to mate.

Two days after buying Clover, she we heard a faint wheezing / squeaking. We were not sure what was going on (being bunny inexperienced). The next day she sneezed and we noticed her wiping snot from her nose. That is when I figured I would need to take her to the vet the next day. Later that night... she was breathing through her mouth and not moving. I rushed her to the emergency vet. They prescribed her baytril. Another day later, we saw her worsen as she was breathing through her mouth with her eyes closed. That is when we decided to see a bunny specialist whom (despite a bad prognosis) prescribed her ciprofloxacin. Thankfully, two days later she was binkying around the floor. She is still on rounds of ciprofloxacin to this day.

Topic:

We were both originally bunny amateurs (girlfriend had a bunny when she was young) and we bought them without knowing better. Being both graduate college students, it seemed like the easy pet (little did I know). But now we love them too much to get rid of them now (despite the vet costs) so I took out a little extra on my student loan just for them.

Now I understand that temperaments are different between bunnies, but we have raised both bunnies the same minus Clover receiving antibiotics (originally bunny burrito, but now she likes them and begs for them) and us having Sunny alone, while Clover always had Sunny around. Confusing part is... Sunny wants to be with us 24/7. While Sunny and Clover are fully bonded- they groom each other, cuddle, take care of each other, Sunny seems to be "more bonded" with us. He will hop in our lap whenever he gets the chance to lick away at our faces. Then he will flop right beside us and purr away while we pet him.

Clover on the other hand...she jumps at the sound of every new noise. She runs from us when we pet her. Sometimes she will hop in our lap, but once we pet her she runs. We have tried petting her softly up her nose down her head (like Sunny likes) but she will nudge very hard every time we do it. Almost like she is annoyed and does not want us to pet her there. Every time we put our face at her level... she will give us the bunny butt - aka turn around in the other direction like we are not a high enough being to be in her presence. When placed in her carrying case for travel to the vet, she has bit my girfriends finger hard enough that she was bleeding pretty badly. Ironically, later that night she licked her face as if to apologize, the first and only time she has EVER groomed us. When she is left alone, she will binky all day long like she is the happiest bunny in the world. When someone goes near, she will stop or go to the cage. 

What gets more weird, is when she decides to be brave and hops next to me on the bed. She will begin to dig at the bed. Then when I pet her back (god forbid I touch her head) I actually see her purr! Then CHOMP! She nips my hand. I scream like a girl (because I heard that's what your suppose to do) and she stops immediately and just sits still while I pet her... then she purrs again. So basically... I was wondering if her behavior is due to her being sick with Pastuerella (although she is asymptomatic while in Cipro), or if her behavior is genetically more aggressive. Why does she dig at the bed when she is beside us, why do we get the bunny butt all the time, how come she will lay next to us and enjoy her back being pet but not her head, why the nipping if she is purring?? All of these things make us feel like a failure in raising her compared to Sunny.

Lastly, Question number 2:  where is the most affordable place to purchase bunny meds (ciprofloxacin). Our vet wants Clover to be on them long term as studies show long term doses of it has shown to wipe out Pastuerella for very long periods of time until the bunny's immune system takes a drop. Us being college students... are poor to say the least. But we love her very much and we want her to have the best treatment possible.

Oh and one last important fact. Sunny is neutered and Clover has not yet been spayed. That will happen within a month or two we think.

Greatly appreciate any feedback! sorry for long post!


User is Offline Ackattack
Berea, Ohio
27 posts Send Private Message
9/26/2012 7:16 PM
Also, one more thing to note. She will let me pet her head if Sunny is in her field of vision.

User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
Forum Leader
15675 posts Send Private Message
9/27/2012 2:13 AM
It sounds like she's just starting to hit her hormonal stage as far as the biting and digging are concerned, and some of her personality is going to just be the way she is. Also, with not being spayed but being with a male, she is still at risk of experiencing a false pregnancy. This can cause a huge uptick in territorial/cranky behavior. Factor in her constant medical issues and I'm not surprised she's a bit more skittish.

Did the bunny specialist perform a culture to determine that it was in fact pasteurella? Does that vet normally prescribe long-term antibiotics in these cases? I have a more basic understanding of this (I have not had to deal with this in my own rabbits) but I know that many rabbits are carriers and don't show any symptoms, but some may have either a weakened immune system, or a more troublesome strain. Is the plan to eventually get her off of the cipro to see how she does? Resistance is obviously an issue. Was the Baytril not working?
Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Offline Ackattack
Berea, Ohio
27 posts Send Private Message
9/27/2012 5:26 AM

Thank you for your reply. 

I have heard of false pregnancies before but only a little.She isn't very territorial so to say. She will leave her cage willingly to binky around the room. When I go in to give her food in the cage she hop out to move out of my being very excited knowing she is being fed, which I have seen often bunny's snort when people go near their cage. I have felt her belly and it is sort of bloated, but the vet said that would happen from the antibiotics - and she gets probiotics to counter the Cipro. For the most part, the nipping and the digging is the newest thing - while she has always been a shy and skiddish bunny. Only sometimes though. She has moments of pure bravery and affection, but those are rare. i suppose it's the extremes of affection vs not wanting anything to do with us, and the nipping while being pet then purring immediately afterwards are the most confusing.

The bunny specialist vet did not perform a culture. She stated, "I could charge you folks a lot of money for a culture only to find out it is one of many strains of Pastuerella in which I would treat it in the same manner". She basically tried the baytril, SMP-TMZ, Cipro orally and through the eyes, and also ordered injections of another antibiotics (forgot the name). After making it through the baytril, TMZ with minimal improvement, and finally landed on the cipro, the cipro made her improve to the point where symptomatically nothing appears wrong. She now breathes as good as our other bunny (who seems to have a MUCH better immune system as he only shows an occasional sneeze once every few days) So she held off on the injections. She plans to have her on a 3 month course of that and then keep her in a stress free environment to go from there and see how she does. I asked her about echinacea and she said that although there are no research studies showing it will improve a bunny's immune system in fighting off the pasteurella, many people swear by it. So I have also been looking for that orally to put her on when the antibiotics are done,  to no avail. Clover has one more round of Cipro and after spending well over 200 dollars on antibiotics - we are looking for a cheaper place for the third large dose. We have called 5 pet drug places in the area that we could find, and they only offer pills of cipro.

I also believe she might have some bunny asthma. When I give her a treat I start to hear her breathing get worked up and a little wheezy. Only during the treat or when she is frightened does she wheeze while on the Cipro.


User is Offline tanlover14
3396 posts Send Private Message
9/27/2012 7:43 AM
I don't know much about the the Pastuerella at all -- but I just wanted to say that her actions are a lot like my baby buns when they started getting hormonal. Our skittish girl bun never wanted to be touched at all and after her spay, with lots of love and care during her healing period, she turned into a completely different bun. I think, ultimately, it's her hormones causing most of her behavioral problems right now!
 photo f7a948e4-51c5-4191-9c54-d543ef2be477_zps834141e2.png

User is Offline Ackattack
Berea, Ohio
27 posts Send Private Message
9/28/2012 5:39 AM

That's great to hear that she became affectionate after her spay. Like I said, we don't treat her any different than Sunny, and Sunny is a needy cuddling grooming machine to us. He would rather lay with us on the couch / bed than in his cage when given the chance. We always feel bad for Clover who either lays on the floor or stays in the cage by her lonesome even with encouragement. Hopefully the spay will let her be a little less nervous / bipolar.


User is Offline tanlover14
3396 posts Send Private Message
9/28/2012 11:12 AM
Our girl used to ALWAYS stay in her cage and just stare at us while the boy buns would be laying next to us and jumping on us. To the point where sometimes we would have to force her out to get some exercise because she just didn't want to be around anyone - I would use the spay to hopefully get close to her and see if she begins to have a slightly better temperament afterwards. I really think it may be her hormones just kicking in!
 photo f7a948e4-51c5-4191-9c54-d543ef2be477_zps834141e2.png
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