QUESTION: Hi, our 2 house rabbits are female and picked from the same litter.
1 unfortunately has had a lot of problems with her mouth and teeth
causing our vet to advise it may be neccessary to have her put to
sleep. Horrendous as that will be for us I really worry for her mate
as she has never known life without her. I have been advised on line
the remaining rabbit will need to see the dead body to accept
shes gone. I need advise on how to handle the first few days abd
wether to introduce a new friend.
ANSWER: I'm so sorry you're going through this. I had a similar experience... it's never easy, but we make a promise to provide a good quality of life.
The excerpts you've read are correct, it is often easier if her mate gets a chance to see her. What they don't mention is that this process can take hours for them to come full circle. If you can bear it, you can always bring the pair to the vet and once everything is done, give her some time with her friend. If you can't bring yourself to do this, don't feel bad. Her mate will still recover with time.
The first few days will be important to watch for changes. Smaller or softer poops, less appetite, reclusive and/or lethargic... these are signs of depression and stress. To avoid this, make sure to spend lots of extra time cuddling (or if she's not a cuddler, on the floor talking and petting and paying attention). You can also provide a stuffed toy (preferably in the shape of a bunny) in the enclosure to give her something to cuddle up to.
In regards to a new friend - she'll tell you if and when it's time. If she's unable to kick her depression, that's a sign she needs a friend. Some bunnies do ok as a single, so don't feel obligated - let your bunny tell you what she needs.
If you decide to pair her up again, do so with a reputable rescue - one that allows you to "bunny speed date". I'll stress here that your bun and the bun's you try out MUST be fixed and at least a few weeks out after surgery for this. The process involves a small enclosure with some hay and water, and your bun. For the record, it's not a fast process. One at a time, try introducing a new boy to her in the enclosure (she can be paired with boys easier than girls). You'll know if it's not working - chasing, nipping, aggressive grunts are all bad signs. If they're digging each other, you'll see them relaxed, maybe nibbling on some hay or sniffing, and if you get really lucky you'll see a cuddle right off the bat. Don't rush this, and if you don't find a match, don't get stressed. Keep trying. There are bunnies everywhere that need homes.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: One last thing. Our rabbits teeth our hooked and keep needing
filed down or her mouth bleeds and she cant eat obviously she
loses a lot if weight. Every 4 weeks or so she gets knocked
out so the vet can file them down which costs £50 each time.
Ive been told its too hard on the rabbit to remove her teeth.
I can continue financally for now but wonder would it be wirth
trying to remove her teeth. She is my daughters much
loved rabbit so any suggestions would be such a help. We
really dont want to lose her.
Hello again! I'm assuming the hooked teeth are in the front? If you decide to go with an extraction, I'd make sure you have the vet check her back teeth as well. It's not uncommon for them to have trouble with more than the front. If they do end up taking any of her back teeth, you'll need to continue the monthly treatment to file down points - their teeth will shift.
My rabbit Jessica had all her front teeth removed due to an abscess, and they ended up taking a back tooth as well since it was showing signs of rot. She was okay for several years after, though we did have to pay attention to certain things - her greens were chopped up smaller so she could use her lips to pull the food to the back teeth. No more big pellets. No more willow wood toys or baby keys - she was relegated to balls with bells in them for enrichment toys.
The thing I want to mention here, and I can't stress this enough, is that you will need to pay extra attention to your bunny's overall well-being. Remember that, above all else, her quality of life is what's important.
I actually wrote a small story about this very topic: http://ilovemyhouserabbit.com/when-its-okay-to-let-your-rabbit-go/
I hope this helps. Please feel free to follow up if you have further questions.