Depression, Arthritis, or Laziness?

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Hoolia

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My senior rabbit (i believe he's 8 this year?) has been.. different since we moved in October. When I first got him, he took a while to figure out how to climb out of his litter box, and most of the time he would nap in his little hidey house. He wasn't the most active bunny, but he wasn't completely immobile.

Since we moved, he lives in his litter box 24/7 unless i move him to get him to his water bowl. He takes a drink and then climbs back into his litter box and stays there until the next time i move him. When he does move on his own, he spins counter-clockwise until he gets to his destination and then sits there, coiled to his left, scanning. Living in his litter box all the time CAN'T be good for him, but he can't be enticed to leave it on his own. If I set him down anywhere where he can't see his litter box, he will stay there until I move him closer to his litter box and then that's the only direction he'll go.
I want to take him to a vet but I don't know what to ask them to look for. He eats normally, eliminates normally, he's alert but not engaged. Could it be a symptom of arthritis? Moving depression? Should I just leave him alone to be lazy? Like I said, i worry about him spending all of his time in his litter box.
 

JBun

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Him consistently turning to his left would be an indication to me of a likely health issue. It could be arthritis, or it could be a vision problem with the scanning you're describing. Or it could be a combination. Either possibility could explain the decreased mobility and activity.

I would take him to an experienced rabbit vet to get a check up. If the vet can rule out it being vision related, the vet should be able to confirm if it's arthritis related. And if so, you could do a trial of meloxicam daily to see if that helps improve your rabbits mobility. It certainly helped with my old rabbit that had arthritis. There are also other meds and supplements that can be tried for arthritis, that other rabbit owners have found helpful. A member on here reported really good results from adequan injections.



Because of the scanning and circling, I would be more inclined to think it's his vision. That it's decreased. If it has to do with glaucoma, that needs to be treated. Otherwise if it's from cataracts or just old age, it's a matter of making adjustments to his environment to make everything more accessible to him.

It sounds like he may be able to still see a little, so that when he's close enough to the litter box, he understands where he is. If this is what's going on, I would suggest a remodel of his area. I would suggest changing to a low sided litter box. I just cut out the front of mine so it was only a couple inches high. Also keeping everything close to the litter box, food, water, maybe even providing a cosy low sided pet bed if your bun doesn't already have one. All in very close proximity so your bun can easily find everything.

Medirabbit: cataracts in rabbits

 

Hoolia

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Thanks for the response! I checked his eyes just a little while ago and they both seem sensitive to light, but not so much to movement. I read that albino rabbits tend to scan more than other rabbits and he's both albino and very fluffy - like verging on angora fluffy, so he scans a lot more when it's time for me to trim his face. I want to get both the rabbits in for a vet checkup, but nobody will return my emails or calls. I haven't been able to reach a vet in over a month.
 

JBun

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Albino rabbits definitely do have more vision issues. It might be with the change of homes and environments, plus being old and having difficulty seeing, that he's just very nervous to venture far from where he feels safe. If it's just vision issues because of being an albino, not really anything a vet can do about it anyways.

So you may just want to start with altering his area, so that it's more accommodating to his vision issues. You could try the low sided litter box with everything in close proximity to see how that works out. Though you may need to start with his food and water inside the litter box for now, so it's always accessible to him, until he starts feeling more comfortable to venture out. If he absolutely won't leave the litter box, you may want to think about changing to an extra large litter box or cage, where you keep everything inside it so he has his own contained safe area, with more room to move around in.
 
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