"Healthy" rabbit avoiding blind rabbit

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Behavior' started by MandyK, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. Sep 11, 2017 #1

    MandyK

    MandyK

    MandyK

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    Hello
    I have 2 senior rabbits. They have been bonded for about 2 years. One has gone blind in the last couple months. I have taken him to the vet, got medicine etc. My issue is with my other rabbit. They used to get along fine, but now it seems the "healthy" rabbit is avoiding the blind one. The blind rabbit will go up to the healthy one, seemingly to have some guidance and help around the cage, as well as some cuddles and companionship. The healthy one hops away almost every time he is approached. He never used to act like this. It breaks my heart for the blind rabbit. Is there anything I can do to encourage a closer bond?

    (For refrrence, they reside in my spare room with about 3/4 of the room to themselves, in an xpen)

    Thanks for any help
     
  2. Sep 11, 2017 #2

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

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    When you took the one to the vet, did you bring the other one along as well? Bonded rabbits should stay together especially if one needs to go to the vet. Otherwise, the one rabbit will come home smelling differently and may be seen as a different rabbit altogether by the one that stayed home.
     
  3. Sep 11, 2017 #3

    MandyK

    MandyK

    MandyK

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    No, I usually take them separately to the vet since it's a long trip.
    The blind rabbit was diagnosed with e.coniculi. This is not a new disease for me to deal with. I have lost another rabbit from e.coniculi about 2.5 years ago - that rabbit was bonded to "healthy rabbit" for 6 years. "Healthy" rabbit had the same avoidance reaction when that rabbit was sick as well (with different symptoms)
     
  4. Sep 11, 2017 #4

    JBun

    JBun

    JBun

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    Like Blue eyes mentioned, a different smell from the vet is a possibility. You could try rubbing a blanket or something with both rabbits scent, on your blind bun.

    Or it could be that your blind bun moves differently now because of not being able to see, and this is causing the avoidance reaction. I would try spending some time sitting with both of them and help encourage group time, with things like feeding their veggies to them where they would be close to each other to eat. Or hand feeding pellets or their favorite treats, always with your blind bun in close proximity to your other bun when your other bun gets his treat. You are trying to create a positive association with your blind bun, so your healthy bun equates good things when your blind bun is present. Also your presence there can be a calming factor. It could take a little time though, for your healthy bun to get used to the changes with your blind bun, and to feel comfortable with these changes.
     
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  5. Sep 11, 2017 #5

    Skavatar

    Skavatar

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    maybe the healthy one does not want to contract the disease and get himself sick as well.
     
  6. Sep 12, 2017 #6

    Aki

    Aki

    Aki

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    I might be wrong but I would say it's probably more the illness. Generally, rabbits avoid their ill companions when it's serious - for me a rabbit pretending his roomate isn't there is a major red flag. Changed smell from the vet is something else, but from my own experience (which is admittedly limited to a few rabbits over the years) that would cause a fight and scuffles over the ownership of the warren. I've never seen avoidance in this case. About the blind thing, I have a rabbit who became blind about one year and a half ago. She lives with another rabbit who didn't react at all differently to her after she lost her eyesight. So, maybe your healthy rabbit is uncomfortable with blind rabbits, but that would surprise me. You say your bunny has e cuniculi, does he have neurological symptoms? Because that would probably disturb another rabbit... Sometimes there are problems we can't see as humans. I know someone who had two rabbits and the male was generally avoiding or even acted scared of their doe (he had been living with another rabbit without any problem previously) which they had never seen do anything out of the ordinary. The owner said she just had kind of a spacey look in her eyes from time to time. After a few years they discovered she had a brain tumor which had been growing for a while and they suppose she probably was acting 'crazy' for a rabbit or communicating weird which scared the crap out of the healthy rabbit. Rabbit communication is so subtle it's sometimes really hard to pinpoint the problem from our human point of view. Still, it's pretty sad so I hope they get along in the future - my other bunny really helped Aki a lot when she went blind and she's normally a pretty independant rabbit.
     
  7. Sep 12, 2017 #7

    MandyK

    MandyK

    MandyK

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    Thank you everyone for the replies. The blind rabbit does occasionally have nystagmus. I assume it happens a lot more often than I see it, but it seems about 50% of the time I poke my head in their room, his eyes are darting back and forth. He is only a couple weeks into his medication so I'm hoping it slows down soon. I thought this may be affecting the healthy rabbit as well.

    I was kind of hoping someone would have a magic answer for how to make the healthy rabbit more comfortable but i understand there's not much i can do in this situation.
     

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