Rabbit Chronic Chewing Herself

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by Maureen Las, Nov 14, 2016.

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  1. Nov 14, 2016 #1

    Maureen Las

    Maureen Las

    Maureen Las

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    Hi
    This post is for a friend of mine who has had a rabbit that she adopted several years ago. Rue had a sore on her side which was discovered after she was adopted ; she was chewing an area on her side . After some skin scrapings it was determined to be ringworm and Rue was treated with an oral anti-fungal for an extended period of time. During this time she wore a plastic e-collar and handled it well. After treatment another skin scraping was done and no ringworm was found, however, after the collar was removed Rue continued to chew the area . The vet determined that it was probably a behavior that had become habitual and recommended a tranquilizer. My friend did not want to go that route and so Rue has lived happily with her e-collar until recently . My friend has been able to remove the collar for a week at a time but inevitably Rue begins to chew it. At this point Rue's skin is beginning to break down from contact with the collar. My friend is willing to consider meds but I told her I would post this to determine if anyone has any other ideas or even any other meds other than the Xanax that the vet would have compounded. All different types of e-collars have been tried and only the ridgid one was successful. Anyone have any ideas here ???
     
  2. Nov 15, 2016 #2

    JBun

    JBun

    JBun

    Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    There could still be an underlying problem internally that is causing pain or discomfort, and thus causing the behavior to continue. If xrays and blood tests haven't been done yet, that might be a good next step.

    If nothing is found with further diagnostics or your friend doesn't want to go that route yet, she could ask the vet about trying meloxicam and/or gabapentin to see if the behavior is a pain response. Might want to consider trying tramadol as well if those others don't have any effect. If the behavior improves on any of these meds, then it would be an indication that there is an underlying problem causing pain that is resulting in the self mutilation.

    Some other options other than an e collar, that might help prevent the chewing in the meantime: a donut collar(can make one from a sock and vet wrap), or a pet shirt or tube sock to cover the area.

    If your friend hasn't already seen these links, they might prove helpful.
    http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/Skin_diseases/Mechanical/Mutilation/Selfmutilation.htm
    http://wildpro.twycrosszoo.org/S/00dis/PhysicalTraumatic/Self_mutilation_rabbits.htm
     
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  3. Nov 18, 2016 #3

    Maureen Las

    Maureen Las

    Maureen Las

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    Thank you Jen for your always awesome and use info. I had not seen the Medi- Rabbit article on self mutilation. We are slowly working on a plan for Rue including pain meds (which I should have thought of ) :wiggle Will up date this as things occur.
     
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  4. Nov 18, 2016 #4

    Aki

    Aki

    Aki

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    The rabbit might indeed still have a problem.
    It might also just be habit, as you mentionned - my rabbit, Aki, is a terrible neat-freak, but after her spay (her hindquarter was bandaged for about a week after the operation) she wouldn't touch the bandaged area and wasn't washing it at all anymore. After about a month, I had the idea of putting her back legs in water. She instinctively licked the water and it was like I pressed a reset button. After that, she was washing normally again and never stopped again. So, when it's a 'habit' problem, you have to find a way to break the routine. In your friend's case, it's kinda weird though, considering Rue goes long periods of time without being able to touch her side.
    Self multilation is often caused by boredom and anxiety. To be completely truthful, meds to calm it would be my last resort. If Rue was my rabbit, I would try pairing her with another rabbit (from a shelter, so your friend can give it back if it doesn't work). It would be a big change for Rue, making Rue concentrate on something else and would relieve potential boredom and stress. Getting a second rabbit can really help with anxiety and OCD like behavior. Aki is prone to repetitive behaviors when she is alone - having a friend cured her completely, when he died it came back and stopped again when I got her a brand new husbunny: bottom line, she's just too skittish to live as a single rabbit. Maybe it's Rue's case too. If it's something your friend can consider, once the health issues have been ruled out, I think it would be worth a try.
     

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