Question First, let me apologize for how lengthy this is. I recently told you about my 9 yr. old lop rabbit. We had been told by the first vet we took him to,to get Critical Care. We had been trying to syringe feed it to him along with Metacam for pain and Simethicone drops. we had been doing this for about three weeks when I contacted you. After reading the articles you suggested, we were planning on seeing the vet again but that night he passed away. He was bonded with a 9 yr. old Lionhead. The whole time my lop was sick the other rabbit seemed to keep his distance. a few days before he passed, the Lionhead was grooming him- hard. That was the last time they were together. The Lionhead began to eat more than normal, and right after my lop passed, he started to rip apart the phonebook- which he never did before. Was this him greiving? Why would he not be by his buudy's side while he was sick? We also have a 3 yr. old female lop. When we brought her home the boys did NOT like her, but we were hoping that the Lionhead would accept her now. Do you think it's possible to bond them? If so, do you have any tips?
Answer Dear Kristin,
I am very sorry about the loss of your friend. I wish your Lionhead bunny had had a chance to visit with the body so he had closure. The ripping of the phone book was very likely his way of acting out his confusion about not having his pal.
Yes, there is a good chance your bunny might accept the girl now. But the bonding must be done with care, in neutral spaces and with lots of patience. Try taking them on a car ride together with someone with them in the back seat to make sure they don't scuffle, and to help them cuddle together during the scary ride. Times together in the house should be short, and always separate them immediately if there is any sign of aggression, and let them have a time out.
You can find lots of information on bonding at various sites such as:
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
If your rabbit is PHYSICALLY INJURED (including broken bones)
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