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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 RAINBOW BRIDGE When is the right time to say goodbye?

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    • D. E
      Participant
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      Hello. I don’t Usualy do forums but I find ourselves in a conundrum.

      We have an 11 year old lion head x although he’s massive and easily 10lbs or more (he’s bigger than our cat)

      He has lived his whole life free in the garden with shelter (the garden is safe)  and so has enjoyed semi freedom and his only real contact with us has been to catch him for flea/worm/vet treatments although he would come to us for a head rub and a carrot he was never fully tame . It seemed he had a wonderful life but now the tables have turned he is an old bunny now and is unable to continue this level of freedom as his behind gets mucky if not checked and cleaned daily and he’s no longer got the fight in him should a cat come into the garden (he was always territorial and would see anything off in his space now he doesn’t bother, so we brought him in .

      He’s so miserable and I fully understand it a life of freedom to a cage.  We concluded we would ask our vet what the right thing to do was but she wouldn’t commit she said we would know when it was the right time to let him go (pts) we need to make the decision ourselves.

      Ordinarily I’d care for him until he became frail/ill/or passed naturally but he makes it clear he’s miserable and isn’t happy. He sits in the corner of his cage huffs puffs and stamps his feet.

      He can’t safely go back to life as he knows it (he’s a nightmare to catch days not minutes!)  he can’t clean himself nor does he go into his shelter when it rains anymore he just gets wet… He has to be inside but I feel its cruel to keep him like this considering he’s never been caged before.

      This bunny was my daughters who’s now grown up and I know it sounds crazy he’s lived free but the garden was designed so that he couldn’t escape by digging down and multiple shelters and his hutch have always been open for him (in the winter he would often bed down in the polytunnel where we made beds of hay wherever he choose to spend his time, and summer months Usualy under the Laurel (but never his hutch he used that as a litter spot!)

      I need opinions and thoughts to help us make these decisions.

      Factoring he’s about to turn 11 and struggling a bit having to go through the indignity of his bottom being cleaned twice daily sometimes once, sometimes it’s OK and he’s miserable!

      We’ve had him in since Christmas and he isn’t getting anymore used to it, we saw the vet Wednesday who wouldn’t commit either way but agreed we needed to think quality of life over quantity.  He’s had 2 respiratory infections in this time and medicating him is disastrous he resists all the way.

      I think it’s kinder to put him to sleep than make him live the rest of his life sad in a cage but ultimately we want to do the right thing by him.

       

       


    • DanaNM
      Moderator
      6222 posts Send Private Message

      I’m sorry you are going through a hard time. 🙁

      I don’t think the alternative should be outside or caged…. why not allow him to exercise in your home? Most of us here have house rabbits that get at least several hours a day to roam in a large room or most of our homes.

      Even at a senior age, I don’t think anyone here would advocate for euthanizing an otherwise healthy rabbit. Many of us would be thrilled to have our rabbit still with us at that age.

      I’m sure he is unhappy in a cage, but you can bunny proof your home so he can roam and have his freedom in a safer way. We are happy to give tips on how to do that and ideas for his housing. Even a couple of exercise pens linked up with lots of boxes and tunnels would be fun for him. You can use puppy pee pads if he isn’t neutered and marking is an issue.

      There are also alternatives to “catching”. It is quite possible to train a rabbit to go into their carrier, so you could do that for when he needs to be cleaned up.

      You should ask your vet about his hind quarters getting dirty. He might need a sanitary trim, some diet modification to reduce mushy poops, and pain management. Metacam (an anti-inflammatory) can help with arthritis that might make it harder for him to reach his cecals.

      . . . 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.  


    • HipHopBunny
      Participant
      629 posts Send Private Message

      There is a difference between quantity and quality of life.  If you feel he has nothing but pain and suffering, it might be kinder to let him go.  I would try the suggestions DanaNM offered. If you can keep him out of pain and in good spirits, then enjoy him for the good days he has left.  Otherwise, you will know its time.  Sometimes I think we’re kinder to our pets than our people.

      Peaceful thoughts as you make this difficult decision.


    • Hazel
      Participant
      2581 posts Send Private Message

      There’s no reason to put him to sleep just because he’s unhappy in his cage. Any rabbit would be, no matter the age, and the situation can easily be fixed as Dana pointed out. Bunny proof a room for him, or as much of your house as you want, and let him go at it. I also agree with looking into pain management.


    • prince dorian the bun
      Participant
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      Since he was so used to being outside, could you give him a smaller area to exercise in for a few hours a day when weather permits. If in a smaller area it should be easier to lure him back in a carrier? It sounds like he was pretty much feral, and now being around people may be a big adjustment to him too. You will probably need to gain his trust, which will be hard since you also need to give him meds and other indignities. But I think it can still be worth it. That said, you are the one that knows how his health is and if he is also in a lot of pain, it is your call to make. It’s not an easy answer really.

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Forum RAINBOW BRIDGE When is the right time to say goodbye?