Question I have a 1 year old DM lionhead. I got him from a less than ideal situation where it was either I take him or he was to be fed to a dog. He isn't in terrible shape he is healthy and mostly "groomed."
But his back left leg has a huge mat and his face has two giant mats on either side. He is EXTREMELY aggressive. It gets a thousand times worse when it comes to grooming. The vet refuses to groom him unless he is sedated and I don't have anyone willing to help me hold him and groom him.
Do you have any tips on grooming him or would it be best to just have him sedated at the vet and groomed? The only vet in my area that sees rabbits isn't hugely rabbit savvy but she has done well with my other two rabbits.
Answer Dear Cassie,
Poor bunny! He must have learned that the only way to protect himself from unwanted "attention" was to be aggressive. The bad news: until he's neutered, this might not resolve completely. The good news: aggressive rabbits are often the most intelligent, and once they learn to love you, they become the most loyal friends of all.
If this boy isn't neutered yet, then I would suggest that this surgery be undertaken as soon as the vet determines he is a good surgical candidate. While he's under, the mats can be "surgically" removed with a good Oster shaving tool that all vets use for pre-op shaving. This is probably going to be your best option for getting these mats off, and then starting a regular maintenance program of trimming the fur short where it tends to get tangled.
For dealing with the aggression in the short term, here are some good resources:
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.
If your rabbits is LETHARGIC
If your rabbit is NOT EATING
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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)
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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