Tips for a bun that has lost hearing and losing vision

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ta240

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We have a bun that is roughly 12 years old. Over the last year we noticed his hearing was mostly gone. His ears look clear and he doesn't scratch at them.
Then about 6 months ago one eye started getting foggy. He did really well with one good eye. He had trouble with bland colored things, like off-white walls so we put bright ribbons around the bottoms of the walls in the areas he went, to help guide him. He got around really well that way, until the last few weeks when the other eye started going foggy. At that point we switched to strips of LED lights to guide him but it has already progressed to where he even has trouble seeing those now. Picture of the better eye attached

His world is now mostly his cage and a small area in front of it. A fair amount of the time he doesn't see us approaching him and only reacts when he is touched.

The largest hurdle we have is, as a rescue he never got used to us picking him up so we can't hold him and from day one he did not even like being guided in a direction. So when he does get disoriented in the room we can't gently guide him back to where he should be as he gets upset and pushes even harder to go in the wrong direction. Then his bunny pride gets hurt as we pick him up and put him back in his home to reset his positioning.
Trying to hold him in place to examine or have someone examine him really stresses him; he will not stop fighting it.

He is the sweetest little guy ever but some truly terrible things happened to bunnies at the place he was rescued from and I think his experience with that, even all these years later, caused his complete aversion to being immobilized and if he notices that you have something in your hand as you come towards him it is exponentially worse.
Aside from his complete aversion to being picked up, held in one place and examined the only rabbit vets around are well over an hour away and are the 'leave him in the morning and pick him up in the evening' ones.

His home is decent sized and he gets around it decently. I watched him last night go up to his food and water dish and trace the outside of them with his chin (not his normal marking procedure) to figure out where they were and then did his usually happy eating.

Does anyone have any suggestions for making sure his quality of life is the best possible?
 

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Not making changes to the rabbits environment is the main thing with vision impaired rabbits. Their territory is essentially all memorized and mapped out in their head, and any changes or even items left out in an unusual spot, could cause confusion or nervousness for them. The exception to this would be an older bun that shows signs of bunny 'dementia ' and is confused even without changes. For that I would limit the rabbits area. Which is what I had to do for my semi deaf, vision impaired, mobility impaired, 'dementia' confused elderly bun. Everything she needed was kept in a smaller space so she could easily find and access them.

With sound and vision mostly gone, it becomes more about using vibration and smell as guides. So maybe trying floor vibration to alert him to you approaching. Or an alternative suggested in the thread below is lightly blowing on the bun to alert them to your presence. And you could maybe use food to try and guide him to where you need him to go. You could also try walking just in front of him to see if he'll follow you by scent. Another option is using food to get him in a carrier to move him around.

Those are the few possibilities that I can think of that might work, aside from eye surgery to restore vision.

https://wabbitwiki.com/wiki/Elderly_rabbits
https://wabbitwiki.com/wiki/Special_needs_rabbits
www.disabledrabbits.com/blindness.html

https://www.rabbitsonline.net/threads/calling-those-with-deaf-bunnies.24674/
 
Not making changes to the rabbits environment is the main thing with vision impaired rabbits. Their territory is essentially all memorized and mapped out in their head, and any changes or even items left out in an unusual spot, could cause confusion or nervousness for them. The exception to this would be an older bun that shows signs of bunny 'dementia ' and is confused even without changes. For that I would limit the rabbits area. Which is what I had to do for my semi deaf, vision impaired, mobility impaired, 'dementia' confused elderly bun. Everything she needed was kept in a smaller space so she could easily find and access them.

With sound and vision mostly gone, it becomes more about using vibration and smell as guides. So maybe trying floor vibration to alert him to you approaching. Or an alternative suggested in the thread below is lightly blowing on the bun to alert them to your presence. And you could maybe use food to try and guide him to where you need him to go. You could also try walking just in front of him to see if he'll follow you by scent. Another option is using food to get him in a carrier to move him around.

Those are the few possibilities that I can think of that might work, aside from eye surgery to restore vision.

https://wabbitwiki.com/wiki/Elderly_rabbits
https://wabbitwiki.com/wiki/Special_needs_rabbits
www.disabledrabbits.com/blindness.html

https://www.rabbitsonline.net/threads/calling-those-with-deaf-bunnies.24674/
Thanks for the reply. I will check out the links. If he was younger I'd be looking into surgery. I just think it would be so hard on him now.

We definitely, don't move things anymore and if I do block an area I do it with pillows.

Up till last week he'd still occasionally make his trip down the hall, under the bed and back out to the living room. Sometimes he'd hesitate at the entrance to the hallway so I'd get down and move along next to him. I put night lights at both edges under the bed so he could find his way to the other side.

I like the suggestions for not sneaking up on him. When I put down a treat and he misses it he pretty quickly caught on to two following when I put two fingers in front of his nose.
 
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