Cage anxiety after a night at the clinic

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BigJ111

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Hi, we have had happy bunnies in the family for over 17 years, so I'm not new regarding their behaviour and needs. But I'm facing something new at the moment and was wondering if anyone else has been through this and would have suggestions.
The bunny recently had to spent a night on IV at the clinic after a GI stasis episode. Apparently he got really agitated over there in the cage, trying to get out of there for most of the time... He's been back home for two weeks now and we noticed a form of cage anxiety he didn't have in the past. He has no problem going back in to go to the toilet for example or eat hay, however, the second we close the cage door behind him, he just stops whatever he was doing, gets anxious and agitated. Does anyone have an advice about how to help him with this? We of course pet him in his cage to help him calm down, but sadly, we live in an old house that cannot be fully bunnyproofed and letting free range all night is not an option, if only for his own safety.
Thanks in advance.
 

JBun

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A pet exercise pen around the cage to give him an expanded space(tall enough he can't jump over the top) may help him not feel so confined? Another option might be to cover the cage at night with a light sheet, so the cage will seem different to him. You would just need to make sure there is still good airflow.
 

BigJ111

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A pet exercise pen around the cage to give him an expanded space(tall enough he can't jump over the top) may help him not feel so confined? Another option might be to cover the cage at night with a light sheet, so the cage will seem different to him. You would just need to make sure there is still good airflow.
Hi, we already cover partly his cage in summer as it's very light at night outside at this time of the year. The pen is tricky because quite hard to secure (his cage is fairly wide so can't go all around and no way to make sure it's fully closed otherwise. Plus he is used to jump up quite high and I think the pen may not be high enough to prevent him from jumping out)
Also, his behaviour make me thing that maybe it's not the closed space in itself but some kind of separation anxiety. As if he was scared to be left alone because we couldn't be with him at the clinic overnight. I'm not sure. Our previous bunny was a very nervous one (youth trauma I suspect) but never had this behaviour, so I'm a bit puzzled by the situation and how to help him. There's also only 1 actual bunny vet in Estonia, specialised in 'exotic animals', so it's hard to get all answers and help regarding behaviour matters because she is obviously really busy.
 

Catlyn

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Hello there! I finally found another soul from Estonia! Thought i'd never find one....
I cannot help much with the cage situation, haven't read nor experienced anything about it. Though trying to use the xpen attached to the cage would be worth giving a shot. If your bun likes to jump over it, you can just cover it with a light sheet-my experience has shown that bun will usually stop bothering when there's a clear cover. Mine stopped bothering even after transitioning from solid to xpen walls-they are fussy and want to see you there. The cover can even be angled in any direction if need be.
Also, i'm curious, who is that special bunny vet you see? Is she from the Tartu ülikooli kliinikum?
 

BigJ111

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Hello there! I finally found another soul from Estonia! Thought i'd never find one....
I cannot help much with the cage situation, haven't read nor experienced anything about it. Though trying to use the xpen attached to the cage would be worth giving a shot. If your bun likes to jump over it, you can just cover it with a light sheet-my experience has shown that bun will usually stop bothering when there's a clear cover. Mine stopped bothering even after transitioning from solid to xpen walls-they are fussy and want to see you there. The cover can even be angled in any direction if need be.
Also, i'm curious, who is that special bunny vet you see? Is she from the Tartu ülikooli kliinikum?
Hi! Yes, Kristin Tõnise from Eesti Maaülikooli Kliinik in Tartu, still the only Exotic Animals specialist in Estonia apparently (which is crazy when you think about it)
 

Catlyn

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Hi! Yes, Kristin Tõnise from Eesti Maaülikooli Kliinik in Tartu, still the only Exotic Animals specialist in Estonia apparently (which is crazy when you think about it)
Ooh okay, indeed. She's a nice vet. How long do you drive to get to her?
I have also found that in Sodalis clinic right nearby, there's a vet named dr. Jänes, she's also awesome with most things bunny. I've also heard a lot of praise from the Petcity clinic in Rannamõisa, though i've never been there.
 

BigJ111

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Ooh okay, indeed. She's a nice vet. How long do you drive to get to her?
I have also found that in Sodalis clinic right nearby, there's a vet named dr. Jänes, she's also awesome with most things bunny. I've also heard a lot of praise from the Petcity clinic in Rannamõisa, though i've never been there.
Sadly a long drive, we're in Lääne-Virumaa... that's why it's not easy either, long drive that we can only do in last resort not to stress the bunny too much. The emergency animal clinic in Tallinn is still an 1h away as well.
 

Catlyn

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Sadly a long drive, we're in Lääne-Virumaa... that's why it's not easy either, long drive that we can only do in last resort not to stress the bunny too much. The emergency animal clinic in Tallinn is still an 1h away as well.
Oh deary me, that's long indeed. We happen to be county neighbours then, i'm a bit(lot) more to the eastern side, takes us ~1.5hrs to Tartu and a bit more than 2 to Tallinn. With good traffic, that is. We go the shorter way for yearly checkups+myxovax or if something seems off but other than that we won't do bun-travels either. Ah, what a bliss with buns in the middle of nowhere....

Have you tried the "roofed" xpen solution? How did it go?
 

BigJ111

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Oh deary me, that's long indeed. We happen to be county neighbours then, i'm a bit(lot) more to the eastern side, takes us ~1.5hrs to Tartu and a bit more than 2 to Tallinn. With good traffic, that is. We go the shorter way for yearly checkups+myxovax or if something seems off but other than that we won't do bun-travels either. Ah, what a bliss with buns in the middle of nowhere....

Have you tried the "roofed" xpen solution? How did it
Haven't tried yesterday as he was less agitated. He is still a bit anxious as he doesn't go eat his dinner and hay straight after the door gets closed as he normally does, but we'll see tonight I guess. The xpen is ready but not large enough to go all around his cage and the base of the cage not being straight/rectangular, it's kind a tricky to make sure he can't find an escape path (he's skilled at crawling in tight spaces too...)
Question on a different subject, do yours get vaccinated only once a year? is the vaccine Myxovac? Because from the beginning, our local vet told us our bunny needed the booster shot twice a year. I guess it depends on the vaccine brand maybe as when we lived in Finland, it was only once a year as well.
 

JBun

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I guess the pen idea won't work then. Maybe just try and spend time sitting with him to see if it helps calm him down. Also distractions, like feeding time, can sometimes help. Maybe a little hidey hole in there, if he doesn't already have one.
 

BigJ111

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I guess the pen idea won't work then. Maybe just try and spend time sitting with him to see if it helps calm him down. Also distractions, like feeding time, can sometimes help. Maybe a little hidey hole in there, if he doesn't already have one.
The lowest level of his house is more secluded for when he wants to hide already. And feeding time, that's what basically brings him back to his cage in the evening, but he stops eating straight when the cage gets closed and doesn't go back to it until way later as some of it is gone by the morning (he is still in recovery from his GI stasis episode and doesn't eat his full regular pellet portion yet). The vet confirmed now that it should pass with time, once he realises there's nothing to be anxious about, that he's not going anywhere without us and that we are still around when we close the cage. It was less bad yesterday evening, but yeah, will try to spend more time just being 'here' next to his cage at bedtime I guess. Thanks
 

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