Questions about post-neuter behaviour and loss of cage pal

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by Chippi, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. Jan 13, 2018 #1

    Chippi

    Chippi

    Chippi

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    Hi everyone. Brand new here and really needing some advice, and I apologise for the long post.

    We had two rabbits, brothers. Mr Hopps and Marshmallow. Gorgeous outside bunnies who have a freaking palace, but love to come inside and hang out too, but are NOT snuggle bunnies.

    We had always planned to get them neutered when they were around 6 months old. Mr Hopps developed a quite large lump on his jaw over the last few months. At a checkup after they were attacked by a cat the vet said they would need to xray it to find out what was going on, and that they would do it while he was under anaesthetic for his neuter.
    Well, we took our two boys in but Mr Hopps was far worse than they expected and would not have survived without constant pain for the rest of his life. The vet strongly suggested putting him to sleep and we devastatingly agreed.

    Marshmallow had his neuter as planned and came home that same day, but at that stage we didn't know that it is best for bunnies to be around the body of their deceased friend for a while. In hindsight, it makes total sense, but we were upset and also just didn't know.

    Since his neuter (today is day 2) Marshmallow has been eating quite well, but doesn't seem to be drinking today, only a quick sip this morning. I have given him some wet fresh grass to trick him into the liquid intake (as suggested somewhere online). Seems to do the trick, but still not sure how much liquid he is getting.

    He has done about 4 lots of 20-30 or so poops since the operation then 1-5 here and there, all normal, and has done 3 big wees, all like normal, though none so far today.

    He seems ok in spirit, though not entirely happy to be cooped up inside for the few days, heavy rain and wind since the first night, didn't want him outside. He doesn't want to listen to the vet and rest, so he has been running and jumping, and seems pretty much back to normal, except sleeping a lot more.


    That's as much info as I can think of. Here are my questions:

    1. As long as he is eating and pooping should I worry about how much he is drinking? And is this normal for a while after neutering?

    Not sure if our boys were technically "bonded" because they were brothers but they were certainly bros, and had been together their whole lives. So,
    2. Is there a way we can tell if Marshmallow is becoming depressed? Or a way to prevent it?
    3. Should we leave all of their toys (loooong cardboard box tunnels) in their pen so that he can smell Mr Hopps or change things up so that he can move on?
    4. As much as it feels like a betrayal of Mr Hopps' memory, should we look in to getting Marshmallow another pal?


    I had some other questions, but they have fallen out of my head because recounting all of this has made my heart hurt again. I am feeling incredibly emotional about losing Mr Hopps, as is the whole family, and I am not sure if I am just completely stressing out and worrying unnecessarily, but I am so so afraid we are going to lose Marshmallow too. I am the Mum, so apparently it is my job to keep it together for the family even though I am hurting so bad inside.

    Thanks for reading and thank you for any advice!
     
  2. Jan 13, 2018 #2

    Aki

    Aki

    Aki

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    Hello,

    I'm very sorry for your loss. It's normal to be stressing out in this situation even if you know it would be better to be calm about it. When I lost my previous rabbit, I felt like his bonded mate would keel over and die any moment and I saw signs that something was wrong all the time for weeks (that was 4 and a half years ago... she's still there ^^).
    Nothing you say about Marshmallow sounds worrying to me.
    1 Most rabbits don't drink a lot. As long as they are eating grass and greens and peeing it's fine. He's right to be running and jumping around. Neutering leaves tiny wounds, contrarily to a spay there is no risk of opening them by moving around, and moving is the best for gut mobility. I personally never prevent my rabbits from moving if it's not imperative (like a broken limb or something) as I'm a lot more scared of stasis than anything else.
    2 Rabbits cope with the loss of a friend in different ways. Some will barely show anything and recover quickly while others will react very violently (I've heard of rabbits randomly screaming for days and one of mine developped very bad OCD after the loss of her bonded mate). I would keep an eye on your bunny, but as long as he is eating, moving around and making normal poos, I would just let him come to terms with the situation on his own.
    3 As long as he doesn't look bothered by it, I don't think you need to change anything. Rabbits like habits and 'normal' the most. Your bunny already went through quite an ordeal between the neuter and the loss of his brother so I would keep everything as normal as possible to avoid stressing him out more.
    4 You are not betraying anyone by thinking of getting another rabbit. I always try to think of a pet's death as an opportunity to give a good home to another animal and investing time and effort in building a new relationship helps me cope with the loss. It's a very personal decision, but I always feel better and more productive by investing my grief into something new rather than just crying and waiting for the hurt to pass. It is often advised to leave the remaining rabbit a few weeks alone to give him time to grieve before introducing a new bunny. Considering your rabbit was just neutered, it's also a good idea to give him around 6 weeks for the hormones to completely die down which will make him more amenable to bonding sessions. It's completely your decision to get a new friend or not. I always thought my rabbits were happier in pairs and I would feel bad to keep a single rabbits especially since mine aren't very people oriented (they like a nose rub just fine but they'd rather cuddle with another rabbit than with me, which suits me just fine considering I'm a working adult with a dozen business trips a year and that I can't be there all the time). Just make sure you get a spayed female. Introducing a spayed female on a neutered male territory generally gives very good results and easy bondings (if you have a rescue or forster families for abandonned rabbits around you, it could be a good idea to look there). Don't attempt to get another male. Brothers who have been together since birth can work out (not always) but introducing a strange male with your current one will probably go badly - having a difficult bonding after losing a rabbit will be hard on you, so don't do this to yourself and chose the easy way ^^.
     
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