Monday, September 26, 2011

Bunny Bathroom Problems?

I read online somewhere that rabbit owners are obsessed with their rabbit’s droppings. I, of course, thought that was gross. Why would I want to investigate Walter’s litter box all day long? Ew.

As a rabbit owner, I pay a decent amount of attention to what’s going in Walter’s litter box. At the vet’s office, Dr. Pilny asked if I noticed excessive urination or if the litter box felt heavier than usual when I went to clean it. I answered honestly that I had no idea; the box could feel heavy due to a greater amount of urine… or I could have just been a day or two behind schedule in cleaning the litter box.

But in the last twenty four hours, I’ve been paying really close attention to Walter’s droppings, and this is where I need some help. I’ve noticed the color has changed. Normally, it’s a dark brown. In the last day, it’s been gray. Aside from color, everything else is the same – same size, same consistency, same amount and frequency. What could be causing the color change?

I’ve also noticed that Walter is not eating his pellets. I gave him some mint on Saturday that he was only mildly interested in, but his pellet intake is much lower than usual. He’s done this before – in the past, it’s been his way of telling me he wants a new variety of greens, and that could very well be the case this time. I’ll pick up some fresh veggies on my way home tonight to test this out.

Aside from the color of his droppings and Walter’s disinterest in pellets, he seems to be normal. He’s been hopping around, snuggling, trying to dig his way into the bedroom (which is occasionally off-limits, though he’s been known to sneak his way in), and chewing on his honey-hay log.

So, any ideas what’s going on?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Walter’s First NYC Vet Experience

I took Walter to meet his new veterinarian on Saturday. Dr. Anthony Pilny was listed as a recommended veterinarian on the NYC House Rabbit Society’s website, and as he was the closest vet to my apartment, I decided to check him out. Fortunately for me, he’s available on some Saturdays for appointments, which works out well for my schedule. I thought Dr. Pilny was great – he’s very knowledgeable about rabbits, took time to truly listen to my concerns, and really communicated with me about Walter’s health, behavior, and steps going forward. With pets, patient care is about not only the animal but the owners, and I thought Dr. Pilny was really tuned in to this.

Dr. Pilny said that Walter looks really good, aside from gaining a little too much weight. So now we’re on a bit of a diet – reducing his pellet intake from being not measured (but approximately 1 cup a day) down to half a cup a day. Walter will still get a heap of veggies and hay, and hopefully now that he’s able to run around the apartment, he’ll lose some weight rather quickly. We only need him to lose about a pound, so it shouldn’t be that hard.

While waiting to see the veterinarian, I met with a woman who works with the NYC HRS. She came in with two of her buns, and I was envious of how well they dealt with being picked up, cuddled, and otherwise handled. She offered to give me some tips if I stopped by the Petco on the Upper East Side, where she organizes rabbit adoption events, which I might just take her up on. She also tried to talk me into adopting a second rabbit, which I’m still on the fence about. I’m not sure my landlord would like it, seeing as I had to talk my way into getting just Walter into the apartment.

Does anyone else know of people or places in NYC that help rabbit owners learn how to handle their bunnies? I would love to meet with someone in my home who can show me how to work with Walter so that I can pick him up, trim his nails, get him into his travel carrier without chasing him around the room, etc.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Live, from New York!

Well it took a few months longer than I anticipated, but Walter and I are finally moved into our new apartment in New York City.  So far, Walter seems to be enjoying our new home, taking time to explore, finding his new favorite nap spot (underneath a console table), and taking advantage of his newfound freedom.

For the past few months, Walter has been locked up in a small playpen in my brother’s basement, which meant that he rarely got a chance to stretch his legs and hardly ever had any visitors. I felt badly about this arrangement, but my brother was giving us a free place to live until we found a permanent home, and I wasn’t going to let my rabbit be my source of complaint.

As a result of living in a suburb of New York, carless for the last month, Walter has not been to the veterinarian for many months. His nails are extremely long (I found the nail scissors, but of course he won’t let me trim them myself!) and he’s started showing signs of e. cuniculi again.  Argh!

I’ve noticed he’s been drinking excessive amounts of water (this could be due to the summer heat, though) and shaking his head a lot (this could be due to two flies who also live in my home).  I am hoping to get him to the vet next week; there is one just a few blocks from my apartment.

In the meantime, here’s five seconds of Walter jumping in celebration of the new living room rug:

(This is for you, Olivia, since you don’t believe he ever plays!)