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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 Fractured bond after emergency vet visit

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    • NetherPixie
      Participant
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        Hi everyone,

        I have a pair that have been happily bonded for over 2 years now.  Both fixed for years and male/female paring.

        Last Friday I had to take Violet to the emergency vet for a GI stasis episode and she was there almost 2 days. Unfortunately it was long enough for her partner, Bun Bun, to become a territorial little jerk and he was nipping and chasing her so she was very stressed. I separated them since she needed to recover and he would just not let her be.  She’s doing much better and is back to her normal self.

        I have been trying to re-bond them. This time though there is a lot more nipping than there was the first time. They are grooming each other and able to be together for a bit with few issues but then they get to a point where they just start nipping and then it turns into him chasing her around and I worry about it escalating. It has only been about 5 sessions, about an hour each but I wanted to see if this was on the right track.  They do groom each other, and will eat together but they don’t seem to trust each other any more.

        I’m thinking I need to keep them in a smaller space and just keep at it until I see better behavior, more grooming, less nipping, maybe a flop or 2. I’m just worried they won’t bond again,, they seem lonely and seem to look for each other but then they they don’t have any trust when they are togther.

        Any and all advice is apricated, I just don’t want to mess this up. They were so happy before and I’m broken hearted they have lost each other.


      • DanaNM
        Moderator
        8960 posts Send Private Message

          Sorry that happened, it’s so stressful when bonds are disrupted! Usually these types of issues are fixable. It seems like sometimes no progress is being made and then they “snap” back together, so I wouldn’t worry to much about things not working out at this point (easier said than done, I know).

          Does the chasing/nipping tend to happen towards the end of the session? If so I would probably shorten the sessions for now and focus on keeping things positive. You can do lots of petting and scent swapping at this point. The goal is to boost positive feelings and try to repair the trust.

          I think experimenting with the space is a good idea. I usually have better luck in larger spaces but sometimes buns do better in smaller spaces, like the bathtub, especially early on. Of course make sure the space is very neutral. Sometimes I think the whole house smells like “home” to buns, so taking them to a friend’s house or on a car ride can work wonders if you hit a stalemate.

          If this ever happens again (meaning one bun has to go to the vet and the other cannot accompany them), I recommend taking the other bun in the carrier with you on the way too and from the vet. This seems to help a lot. I also like to keep them together in the carrier for about 30 min when returning home (or going to a new place) before letting them out as a way to let them adjust to the new space in a more controlled way.

          . . . 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 Fractured bond after emergency vet visit