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Male who's been neutered for over 2 years humping me?

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edikit

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Hi all, I'm in a bit of a predicament. My rabbit, I believe, is in love with me.

He's displaying all of the behaviors that young rabbits usually exhibit before they're neutered - circling, grunting, baseboard chewing, and now, mounting - but he's been neutered for over 2 (almost 3) years now. He's very affectionate with me, lots of licking and flopping and laying at my feet, so I'm inclined to believe it's mating-related humping and not territorial humping. This started a few months after I started working from home full-time due to COVID, maybe around June.

For some additional context, a few months after we had him neutered, we adopted a female rabbit to bond. He would also mount her often. We took the bonding slow, but at the time I assumed it was just taking longer than normal and it was territorial humping, or maybe that his hormones hadn't completely gone away yet. Now I'm not so sure. She unfortunately succumbed to a serious heart condition, so he's been an only rabbit for about a year now. We've been wanting to get him another mate, but I'm worried that because of the ongoing mounting issues, he'll never be able to form a complete bond with another rabbit. (I also took the loss of our other bunny very hard and hadn't been ready to adopt again, but I obviously want to do what's best for him.)

Is this normal behavior for long-neutered rabbits? He seems otherwise very happy and healthy, lots of binks and zoomies and floops, but I'm worried that he's stressed and frustrated. I don't know what to do to help aside from getting him a bond mate and hoping for the best, which feels like it might be irresponsible at this point.
 

JBun

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No, that doesn't sound normal to me. Spayed/neutered rabbits will still have some of that behavior, but minimally compared with what it is when they are unaltered. But what you are describing sounds excessive and abnormal behavior for a fixed rabbit.

My guess would be either the vet didn't do the neuter or didn't do it properly(unlikely and rare, but possible), or your rabbit has a health issue causing the hormonal behavior, like adrenal problems. As far as I know, adrenal problems would be the most likely cause of unusual hormonal behaviors in altered rabbits. If in fact your bun was neutered properly, maybe talk to your knowledgeable rabbit vet about these hormonal behaviors occurring, and getting a blood test done to check your rabbits hormone levels.

 

edikit

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No, that doesn't sound normal to me. Spayed/neutered rabbits will still have some of that behavior, but minimally compared with what it is when they are unaltered. But what you are describing sounds excessive and abnormal behavior for a fixed rabbit.

My guess would be either the vet didn't do the neuter or didn't do it properly(unlikely and rare, but possible), or your rabbit has a health issue causing the hormonal behavior, like adrenal problems. As far as I know, adrenal problems would be the most likely cause of unusual hormonal behaviors in altered rabbits. If in fact your bun was neutered properly, maybe talk to your knowledgeable rabbit vet about these hormonal behaviors occurring, and getting a blood test done to check your rabbits hormone levels.

Oh wow, I really hope it wasn't an improper neuter, as I Imagine the only way to fix that would be another surgery. :(

Thank you for the response and additional info. I've just scheduled an appointment with my vet for this upcoming Tuesday, so hopefully we can get to the bottom of this!
 

edikit

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Nugget had his vet visit on Tuesday and I just wanted to provide an update here.

I asked about adrenal issues and the vet said that in those cases there are usually additional physiological symptoms, not just behavioral symptoms. She specifically mentioned that the coat will tend to be dull and/or patchy and falling out. There might also be decrease in appetite and increase in water consumption. A few months ago Nugget actually did go through a particularly bad case of stasis following a particularly intense shed, but since then he's made a full recovery and the vet specifically mentioned how nice his coat looks (proud bunny mama!), so she ruled that out.

She did say that when she checked his groin area she felt "something" on his left side. She said she could tell that the right side had retracted completely, but that the left side had a little "something" there. She mentioned that it's possible that there was a small piece of the testicle that maybe wasn't removed completely, but she stressed that this was unlikely and assumes it's just how the area healed (and I do recall after his neuter that his left side remained quite swollen for a while after his right side shrank away).

She said they could do a testosterone check, but that those aren't super reliable. If his testosterone was super high, it might indicate something, but if it was normal/low, it wouldn't necessarily rule anything out, since rabbits' testosterone levels fluctuate and it could just be at a lower period. The other option would be a small surgery to see if anything is still there, but we both agreed that it wasn't worth putting him through that, especially since he's otherwise healthy.

She suggested that I could possibly try to "train" him by mimicking dominant rabbit behaviors like standing tall over him when I pet him and gently pushing his head down (rabbit submissive position?) when he starts up.

I might still ask for the testosterone check eventually. My thinking is that if it does come back high, obviously something is up, but if it comes back normal/low, well, we wouldn't be any further away from a diagnosis than we are right now, haha.

All said and done, she said that she wasn't concerned, get him a girlfriend, and bring him back if any other health issues arise. 🤷‍♀️
 

robynanya

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Glad you got to get him into a vet so quickly! That peace of mind is so valuable.

I have personally heard of way too many improper neuters/spays with rabbits that it's hard to me to write it off as the least likely scenario. The problem is, not a lot of vets are certified to work with exotic animals (which rabbits are considered as such) at least in my area. Almost every vet local to me offers spays/neuters for rabbits, but only one of them has the specific training to do so (he's the vet we use, at a much greater cost, of course!). That being said, I've mostly heard of spays being completed incorrectly as opposed to neuters, but I do feel like there are a lot of vets out there that should just stick to cats and dogs, and they don't.

Wondering if your vet would do the bloodwork, and perhaps an ultrasound to see if anything was missed? As opposed to leaping to surgery.

If your rabbit is doing a lot of bonding/mating rituals, like licking and grooming, it can mean that they are lonely. So while he may continue to hump a future girlfriend, as long as it is not distressing to her, it might be okay! And maybe the humping will actually slow down. But I'm not an expert!
 

edikit

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Glad you got to get him into a vet so quickly! That peace of mind is so valuable.

I have personally heard of way too many improper neuters/spays with rabbits that it's hard to me to write it off as the least likely scenario. The problem is, not a lot of vets are certified to work with exotic animals (which rabbits are considered as such) at least in my area. Almost every vet local to me offers spays/neuters for rabbits, but only one of them has the specific training to do so (he's the vet we use, at a much greater cost, of course!). That being said, I've mostly heard of spays being completed incorrectly as opposed to neuters, but I do feel like there are a lot of vets out there that should just stick to cats and dogs, and they don't.

Wondering if your vet would do the bloodwork, and perhaps an ultrasound to see if anything was missed? As opposed to leaping to surgery.

If your rabbit is doing a lot of bonding/mating rituals, like licking and grooming, it can mean that they are lonely. So while he may continue to hump a future girlfriend, as long as it is not distressing to her, it might be okay! And maybe the humping will actually slow down. But I'm not an expert!
We've got the same issue where we're at. We have one "cat and exotics" vet clinic and 2 others (a local clinic and a VCA) that each have one vet on staff who will work with rabbits. I really don't like the exotics clinic at all, even though they're probably the "most" rabbit-savvy of the three options. I've had questionable experiences every time I've gone there and I really just don't trust them with my rabbit's life. I really like the other 2 vets and they both seem knowledgeable about rabbits, but I am concerned because they're not "specifically" rabbit vets. The one who did Nugget's neuter has 2 rabbits of his own and I asked him a ton of questions beforehand (and liked the answers he gave), and he specifically reported to me that he successfully removed both testicles, but it's always been in the back of my mind.

He did have bloodwork done a couple of months ago (from the exotics vet) and everything came back normal, but I'm not sure if there's a specific test that needs to be run for testosterone/hormone levels that maybe wouldn't be run in a routine blood panel?

Yes, lots of licking and grooming! He quite literally won't leave my side and always flops over at my feet wherever I stop. It's very precious on one hand, but also quite sad, because I think you're right that he's lonely. The girl bunny we had previously seemed well bonded with him (lots of snuggling and grooming each other), but I think part of the problem was that she never asserted her dominance (due to her health issues she was quite lethargic), so that behavior was never quelled with him. He wasn't constantly humping her, but when he did he'd sometimes pull out fur and she'd run away and hide, so we could never leave them alone and always had to be supervising. This time we'll hope to pair him with a girl who's more assertive.
 

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