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Dear Sir/Madam,

My 4 year old female, Netherland dwarf rabbit, is acting odd. First she jumped out of the sink, covered in soap. Then she refused to be dried. Every time I picked her up, she'd jump out of my arms. I have also noticed her pebble stools are a reddish brown. I'm not sure what's going on with her. Normally her pebble stools are brown and she loves cuddles and being picked up. But tonight she is acting weird. She even jumped out of my mums arms too. I am really worried about her. She has a small ear infection that the vet is treating.

Any help you can give me, will be very greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,

Mikaela

Answer
Dear Mikaela,

Jumping out of the sink covered with soap and running away when you try to dry her is not "acting weird" for a rabbit.  It's survival instinct kicking in and making her want to get away from what she perceives as a dangerous situation.

A rabbit should never be bathed.  A sick bunny might need her bum cleaned up with a butt-bath, but a full-body bath is not necessary, and can be very dangerous.  I've known of rabbit who have died from the stress of a bath, and/or from the chill afterwards if they are not properly and thoroughly dried with a blow-dryer on "medium".  Best policy:  NEVER bathe your bunny.

She may be jumping out of your arms because she feels insecure and is not comfortable with your handling her.  This, too, is normal for a rabbit.  It is best to interact with a bunny *on the floor*, at her level. She is a prey animal, and being held and carried is so unnatural for her that she will take life-threatening measures to get away.  So far you've been lucky.  But jumps like this can cause serious injury.  Please don't insist carrying your bunny.  

Please read:

http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/shybun.html

for complete information on this.  

I cannot guess why her stools are reddish, but I hope it's not from blood and an internal injury.  Please find a good rabbit vet here:

http://www.rabbit.org/vets

and have a full check done if she seems ill.  To know that, please read:

http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/sickbun.html


And for all the best, most accurate information on the care of your rabbit, please see:

http://www.rabbit.org

Dana

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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.

Expertise

I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

RULE #1:
THE INTERNET IS NOT THE PLACE TO SEEK HELP IN AN EMERGENCY.

...it is an EMERGENCY.

Find a rabbit vet at www.rabbit.org/vet for immediate help, and don't risk your bunny's life by spending time asking questions online! If you can't get in touch with your vet, read these Emergency Sick Bunny Instructions.

If you have found a wild baby rabbit, please read these EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS FOR WILD BABY RABBITS and then use this link to FIND A LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR who can give you the right advice.


RULE #2:
Help me help you! Please make your subject line informative if you have an urgent question. then LET ME KNOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE so I can give your question highest priority over non-urgent questions. If you don't do this, then I can't guarantee timely assistance!

For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.

Experience

I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Organizations
Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Publications
Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Education/Credentials
Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology
(http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare)

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