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The subject of intentional breeding or meat rabbits is prohibited. The answers provided on this board are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet.  It is your responsibility to assess the information being given and seek professional advice/second opinion from your veterinarian and/or qualified behaviorist.

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Forum BONDING Bonding Issue or Health Issue?????

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    • winnie&jinxbuns
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        Hi all, this is my first post on this forum because i’m at a loss for what to do with my bunnies.

        So this story is kind of long, but i’ll do my best to make it shorter. I have 2 bunnies, Winnie (F, spayed mini rex) that I brought into my home 3 years ago, and Jinx (M, neutered mini lop) who joined us 2 years ago. When I first adopted Jinx I was under the impression that he was neutered (because his last owner told me so), and so I tried bonding him many times with Winnie who was spayed at the time. Long story short, he would spray everywhere and do all the territorial behaviors we expect to see, and eventually I found out he was indeed not neutered.

        Fast forward to after his neuter, I slowly began bonding him with Winnie and things seem to be going really well. Besides Winnie being really sassy and having a hard time being the submissive at first, they bonded pretty quickly and I put them together in a pen. For a long time after that they would cuddle, she would groom Jinx, all was great.

        At some point I had to bring Winnie to the vets because she was getting sore hocks, and I eventually extended their play area to the whole entire basement and they loved it and all was well for a solid 6 months, at least. Then all of a sudden Winnie starts peeing outside her litter. I got her urine tested and blood tested and everything came back fine, they said at most she might have very very early diabetes. So I cut off anything besides hay and greens, and the problem continued. Winnie always had the best potty habits. Before I knew it Winnie’s personality completely changed: She was paranoid, scared of everything, including us (she used to be the MOST social rabbit ever and loved people), and would run around panicked and repetitively. It was horrible to see her in that kind of a state. Eventually she stopped binkying, and hopping on things and playing with toys altogether and would run away from Jinx too. Even Jinx’s personality changed. I changed the way their area was set up several times to make things better, but absolutely nothing has helped. She is still to this day extremely paranoid and gets scared randomly, and seems miserable. I think it’s also important to mention that her eating habits are 100% normal, and that Jinx is a very gentle and quiet rabbit, Winnie’s complete opposite. The only thing he does wrong I guess is refuse to groom her 99% of the time in the very rare occasion she asks for it. These past 3 days I started putting the two in a small enclosure. At first they ignore each other and Winnie avoids Jinx, and eventually Winnie might ask for some grooming or flop next to him. But as soon as I put them in their usual space, she runs away from him like he has the plague and pee’s everywhere (Jinx does NOT chase her. Sometimes it seems like he runs up to her playfully, but she darts away). My last resort right now is to completely separate the two of them, bring Winnie to my room and see if things change. I’m so confused and don’t know if maybe Winnie is sick or if it’s their bond. This has been going on for a whole year now and I have a physical scheduled for Winnie in December. If you have read this far and actually take the time to help maybe clarify things for me, thank you so much!

        ps. They’re in their small enclosure at this moment and are completely fine. Jinx has asked to be groomed and Winnie has ignored him, but apart from that Winnie isn’t scared. Vice versa Winnie put her head under Jinx and he won’t groom her.


      • DanaNM
        Moderator
        8839 posts Send Private Message

          So, health issues can definitely affect a bond. Peeing everywhere can also indicate a health issue, so I think you should mention this to your vet. EC can cause urinary incontinence so that’s something to consider. It can be hard to detect in tests as well.

          Is it possible something could be scaring them in the basement? Do they get a lot of human interaction down there?

          Are you seeing actual fighting or aggression between them? If not then I would not separate them. It sounds like something may be scaring her in the basement, so I think bringing them up to your room for closer observation is a great idea.

          It does sound like something medical is going on so I would keep exploring that option and keep a close eye on their bond.

          . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


          • winnie&jinxbuns
            Participant
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              I really hope it’s not EC… I figured if it was EC, her physical symptoms would be way worse at this point since it’s been going on for a year.

              I’ve confirmed that there’s nothing scaring her in the basement. Firstly because they’ve always been in the basement and nothing has been added or removed to the room, and also because i’ve brought Winnie to several other parts of the house and she still acts terrified and runs around in repetitive circles. Eventually she calms down and acts like nothing happened, and then she might randomly start again hours later.

              I’ve never seen fighting or aggression between the two of them. But yesterday I got fed up and brought Winnie alone to my room and she was acting normal at first, curiously exploring the room and asking for pets, and then later in the day started getting scared again and running around. But up until now she hasn’t peed anywhere in my room. I’m hypothesizing that she has some health issue and it broke her bond with Jinx, hence the peeing (because she’s also a dominant bunny, but submitted to him for a whole year until this started).

              One thing that I have noticed is that she has a very very faint head tilt in a particular direction and cleans herself a lot. I’m thinking maybe she has an ear infection and maybe that’s what’s putting her more on edge? What do you think?


          • DanaNM
            Moderator
            8839 posts Send Private Message

              Idk…. the combo of slight head tilt, urinating everywhere, and behavior change makes me think you should investigate EC. My senior started showing excessive urination and what I thought was arthritis. He did in fact have arthritis but he also had EC which I didn’t treat until things had been going on for a long time. Treating for EC is pretty safe and many vets will treat on suspicion, so I would at least mention this possibility to your vet and see what they think. Of course check about the possibility of an ear infection as well.

               

              . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


              • winnie&jinxbuns
                Participant
                12 posts Send Private Message

                  I briefly brought it up with my vet over the phone and moved Winnie’s appointment to next week, so i’ll hopefully see what’s going on with her very soon. It’s been so stressful getting her tested (urine, blood) and the results coming back normal! Especially when you know your bun and you know they’re 100% not themselves. On another note this is the third day she has been separated from Jinx in my room and she hasn’t peed anywhere yet. Her litter habits have been much better. She’s still skittish though and gets scared very easily.


                • DanaNM
                  Moderator
                  8839 posts Send Private Message

                    that’s good there has been an improvement with the urinating!

                    Bonds do get upset for reasons unknown from time to time. If all medical concerns are ruled out then I think it would be safe to work on repairing their bond by doing some sessions in neutral territory to see how she behaves then.

                    . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  

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              Forum BONDING Bonding Issue or Health Issue?????