Stopping a rabbit "panic attack"?

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thumpingBerry

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Is there any way to calm a rabbit down during what I would call a "panic attack" ... where the rabbit gets spooked by whatever and runs around the cage and bouncing (or hitting) the walls of his or her cage?

I had a bunny scare this morning. One of my rabbits tends to get spooked by who knows what. She will thump her feet, and usually all it takes to calm her down is just to talk to her. This morning she dashed around her cage, thumping her feet, causing a racket, and caused my other bunnies to get spooked too ... thumping session this morning. Trying to calm her down didn't work. I think she may blame me for part of it. But, what was worse, was that my little lop ear boy, who I have had since birth, panicked too, flung himself around his cage and I thought I was going to lose him. He appeared to have a short seizure or two. But he ended up to be fine. Once all were somewhat calmed down, he behaved normally during feeding time. The bunnies seem to be still a bit on alert tonight after I got home from work.

Any input would be appreciated.
 

JBun

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Rabbits find security in having 'burrows' to bolt into when they sense danger. If pet rabbits don't have these hiding places then they may fling themselves against cage bars, walls, etc in their panic to find a safe place to hide, and risk seriously injuring themselves. Best thing is to provide your rabbits with lots of tunnels and boxes(with both entrance and exit holes) to hide in, so that when they get frightened by something they have a ready place to bolt into to hide. This is usually what will help them feel the most secure and eventually help them more easily recover from their fright.

If you have a hands on rabbit that likes pets, sometimes sitting with them and comforting them with lots of head rubs, can help them calm down. A rabbit that normally likes to be held and snuggled, may take comfort in being held until they calm down.
 

Aki

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Yeah. I have big cardboard boxes with several 'doors' cut into them where the rabbits can go hide when something bothers them. The thumping happens quite often (a lot less now that I live in a quieter town) but the only real panic attack I've seen was after a stink bug landed on Aki's nose. It probably released the stink (those things smell strongly) and she completely lost it. I took her on my knees (on the floor) a bit. Then her husbunny comforted her by licking her and that was it.
Generally petting the rabbit a bit is enough when the rabbit just feels a bit anxious. When it's worse, they hide and comfort each other.
 

katiecrna

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I have only had 2-3 of these panic attacks each time my rabbit freaked out and bolted into her hidi house so hard that I swear she ran into the back of the hidi house face first, and the hidi house is against the pen so she essentially ran into the cage too. I don't know what happen or how hard she hit because I couldn't see inside the hidi house. I just leave her alone and let her come out on her own because I thought she was going to give herself a heart attack.

It's so scary when they do this. Does your rabbit do it often and is it a random thing that scares them? I'm not sure how to prevent this except provide a stable safe environment and have hidi houses for them to feel safe. Is the cage too small? I'm just picturing a rabbit getting spooked and bouncing off the walls because of a small enclosure. Usually when they get spooked they just bolt straight for their hidi house and stay there.
My advice is make sure their cage/pen is big enough and keep a hidi house in the same spot all the time.
 

thumpingBerry

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<snip>

Does your rabbit do it often and is it a random thing that scares them? I'm not sure how to prevent this except provide a stable safe environment and have hidi houses for them to feel safe. Is the cage too small? I'm just picturing a rabbit getting spooked and bouncing off the walls because of a small enclosure. Usually when they get spooked they just bolt straight for their hidi house and stay there.
My advice is make sure their cage/pen is big enough and keep a hidi house in the same spot all the time.
The "skittish" one that appeared to start this has maybe had 2 bad frights, where she runs around the cage. She does dash across the cage maybe a time or two other times. She often will jump into her litter box, which is under a shelf in the cage. I was thinking about putting something like coroplast on the outside of the cage around the litter box area under the shelf, so to make it darker and more of a hiding place.

Little Grayson, the one that really freaked out, has never done this before. He rarely even thumps his feet. I can only assume it was because of Pearl's (rabbit mentioned above) activity scared him. Moreover, their cages are within view of each other.

I don't know what spooks Pearl, or for that matter, any of my rabbits. I had fallen asleep on my sofa, which basically the cages are near, and perhaps my movement ... or my dog's movement, scared her. Both of my dogs were lying on the sofa. This is a pretty frequent activity (being on the sofa or sleeping on the sofa). I do know that anytime I moved that morning, Pearl would start running around again and so did Grayson. One of my dogs is scared of the thumping, so he came and sat on me and I basically held him ... while I was upset. Finally I told myself I had to get to work, so moved slowly and continued on my routine to get ready for work. Before I left, I picked up Grayson and held him a bit.

Today there was a thumping session when I was out of the room/area, but close by. I called out "bunnies, it's ok" and soon they settled. I have no idea of what started that one.

Pearl seems to be ok with me. Grayson is fine. I think I'm finally relaxing on this for now unless I think about it.
 

RavenousDragon

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For some reason, my Whiskey spooks EVERY time someone enters a room. He has a history of pretty bad abuse, but still- he's been with us for over a year and we enter rooms all the time. It's not as bad as what your guys did, but if we spook him and my other bun, Brandy, is not expecting it- she will also scare. She is VERY hard to spook other times, but if he gets going without her preparing for it, she does spook for a second (for her, she sprints to the middle floor of her cage and then gets angry at Whiskey for startling her). Some rabbits just get spooked about things. We are working with Whiskey so that he associates people entering rooms as a good thing (giving him treats and such) but he's gotten quite fat and so we can't really give him treats for it anymore. But maybe if you can find the cause of the spook, you can try to acclimate them with treats? Which is easier said than done. :p
 

Xxviroxx1

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My fire alarm loves going off between 3am/5am I think it's because of humidity worse in summer, happened a few days ago first time since having simba, after the fire alarm stopped I got back into bed and all I could hear was simba thumping constantly thumping, had to get up and soothe him as he was not best pleased.
 

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