Tigger Visits The Vet

Tigger on phone book

So Tigger, are you looking for your vet?

Since I hadn’t planned on bringing a bunny home, I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to find a good vet.  It actually turned out that a rabbit savvy vet was close to where we lived.  I set up an appointment.  Then I had to find another larger pet store to get a proper carrier for Tigger to travel in.  The original pet store had not had one and we had to bring her home in a cardboard pet box which was no way for a bunny to travel, dark and scary and easy to chew through if a rabbit got motivated enough.

I picked out a small kitty carrier where the top could be separated from the bottom allowing for easier storage and cleaning.  The top and front had metal grille doors allowing for putting Tigger in through either opening and checking on her from the top to help prevent really easy escapes out an opened front door.

After making the appointment, we put the carrier in Tigger’s running space in the kitchen to get her used to it, so that it wasn’t completely unfamiliar when she had to go into it for the trip.  Right away, as little as she was, she hopped up on top of it.  That was an early sign of things to come with Tigger.  First she sat up and looked at something and then she jumped on top of it.

Tigger on carrierOn the day of the appointment, I put Tigger into the carrier and put it on the passenger seat next to me with the door facing me so that we could see each other on the trip.  I used the seatbelt and shoulder harness to strap in the carrier to keep it in place should any sudden stops be needed which unfortunately occur a lot in busy metro Atlanta traffic.  I drapped a small towel over the carrier top so that the sun wouldn’t shine in her eyes, but made sure the side vents were clear for enough air circulation.  Then we were off.

There wasn’t a whole lot of Tigger for the vet to examine.  I don’t remember her exact weight, but it was somewhere between 2 1/2 and 3 pounds.  She was just a handful of bunny.  The vet checked her over giving his opinion that it did indeed look like we had a little girl.  The best news was that she was an otherwise healthy bunny who was malnourished due to a bad diet.  He gave me a brochure for the Oxbow Company and suggested that I order some Alfalfa hay and pellets to fatten up our baby.  Then we would add greens in upcoming months and switch to Timothy hay and pellets later on when she was full-grown.  We discussed spaying her in about four months when she would be about six months old.

Tigger and I both left happy, she to be leaving the poking and prodding behind and I with fears of larger health problems relieved.  I ordered her Alfalfa hay and pellets right away.  When they arrived a few days later and I opened the package, it was like receiving a box full of meadow.  The smell was wonderful.  If I was a rabbit, I would have been all over that food.  So, great new hay and pellets on board, bunny is about to be fattened up shortly.

That is when we started to get the drift that Tigger had a very stubborn little bunny mind and did not want to change from what she was used to which was the awful guinea pig pellets.  I followed suggestions from rabbit sources online to mix the old pellets with the new.  Tigger would pick out all the bad stuff and leave her good rabbit pellets behind.  It took weeks and we were down to the very last spoonful of the guinea pig pellets before she decided that she liked her new Alfalfa pellets and switched over to eating them.  Fortunately while she was arguing the pellets, she was liking the new Alfalfa hay.  Slowly our bunny baby started losing some of her very bony feel.

Coming next, there’s a Tigger in the kitchen!

Welcome to Bunny Dickens

Bunny TwistHello Bunny Twist.  Both rabbits are haunting the kitchen and begging for food every time I set foot there to get a meal or snack for myself.  So now everybody is on a diet whether they want to be or not.  Granted, I need to lose some weight.  However, I wasn’t planning on having a couple of rabbits as my diet buddies and monitors.

So now we are all sharing the diet grumpies.  No one is starving.  It is the difference between having an open buffet and just a salad bar to choose from.  If you are used to the open buffet, the salad bar seems like deprivation of the worst sort.  Sigh… I hope we all reach better weights quickly.

Bunny Tastes

Shadow Loving His HayYesterday I wrote about diet challenges with Tigger. Shadow has been a completely different bunny when it comes to eating. He hopped into our lives a couple of months after Tigger and has been such an easygoing little fellow.

We call him “Buddy” and “Bubba”, because he is such a personable little guy to hang out with.  For the most part, you put food in front of him and he will eat what he needs.  He doesn’t over or under do it.  He has always loved to race around, so has maintained a sleek athletic figure throughout his life.   

There is only one recurring diet challenge with Shadow.  The poor bunny has seasonal allergies.  During the spring and fall seasons, he will sneeze and swallow a lot.  So you know he has a post nasal drip going on.  During those seasons, he gets a bit skinny.  I know from personal experience, it is hard to eat when your nose is stuffed up.  So after allergy seasons, we make sure Shadow gets a bit more food than usual to gain back lost weight. 

Shadow appreciates and savours his food.  He also has some well developed tastes.  He loves bananas.  If I crack the peel on a banana and turn around, I will find him right behind me begging for a piece.  Tigger loves bananas too, but Shadow actually hears that first snap of the peel and comes running.  Tigger only comes after she smells the banana.

He also gets particular tastes for things in mind.  We have given the rabbits dried fruit pieces as treats. Sometimes Shadow will have a particular flavor he wants.  One time Blaine put a dried raspberry down in front of Shadow.  He sniffed it and looked back up at Blaine.  Then Blaine put down a piece of dried mango.  Shadow looked at it and then looked right back up at Blaine.  So Blaine put down a blueberry.  Shadow wolfed it down. Nothing but a blueberry would do that evening.

Shadow stays active, so he needs more food than Tigger.  That can make feeding time difficult.  We have to make sure the bunny who needs more gets more while keeping the dieting bunny from getting too much.  At meal times they will be in the kitchen pushing and shoving each other to get to the plate or treat first.  Tigger is literally throwing her weight around.  Sometimes we put two plates down on opposite sides of the room to keep them from fussing so much with each other over the salad greens.  Other times we have to station ourselves as guards to keep Tigger from hassling Shadow and taking more than her diet allows.

It is a balancing act when you have multiple rabbits who have different dietary needs.  We have done lots of reading over the years and had good veterinary input.  By following guidelines to the best of our ability, we have been rewarded with two rabbits who are now both 10 years old.

Diet is a Four Letter Word

Face to face with a TiggerTaking Tigger to the vet for the first time was a huge relief.  He felt the only problem was that our baby bunny was malnourished.  Alfalfa pellets and hay were recommended to get her  to a good weight.  Then as she reached adult size, her diet would switch to timothy pellets and hay. We thought we were good to go with a great diet plan for our Tigger.

Diet became a four letter word for us, because we didn’t allow for Tigger not wanting to participate in the plan.  We bought the alfalfa pellets, but she didn’t want anything to do with them.  We would mix the rabbit pellets with the guinea pig food she had been eating.  Since they were two different colors, we could tell Miss Finicky Bunny was eating the guinea pig food and ignoring the rabbit food.  A month later, we were down to our last handful of guinea pig food when Tigger decided to give us a break and try out her new rabbit food diet.

That did not mean smooth sailing from then out with Princess Tigger’s diet.  For the first five years, we were constantly following our anorexic model bunny around with food begging her to eat.  She would go on hunger strikes and turn up her nose at things for no reason we could determine.  She would be on her food, off her food and stayed very slim.  We called her “weasel” and “hipless wonder”, because of her snaky thin body. 

One time a shipment of pellets and hay was from a season where the weather had really changed the taste.  Our other bunnies Shadow and Portia resisted for a couple of days and then accepted the new batch.  Tigger reacted for two weeks as if we were offering her poison.  We had to get a batch of old pellets from a friend and mix them in with the new.  We upped her greens to make sure she was getting enough to eat.  Finally, she started eating the new batch too. 

Then at five years old, Tigger the anorexic model bunny retired.  She has steadily been gaining weight for the last five years and  seems to be trying to make up for five years of starving herself.  We started restricting treats and pellets.  We also started keeping a close eye on Shadow to be certain he gets his fair share of the fresh greens since Tigger plows through things while he likes to save some for later.

This year has been the highest and lowest.  Tigger had a bad bout with stasis last August and almost died.  It could have been stress related.  Our property was hit by lightning in early August.  We lost utilities and air conditioning for a time.  Shortly after that Tigger went completely off food, needed a lot of veterinary care and had to be force-fed for a time. 

On the rebound from near death, she has dived into food again with a passion and has become quite chubby.  We are trying to severely limit or remove anything fattening from her diet now, make sure she eats lots of lo-cal hays and encourage her to move around more.  She is giving us four letter looks with her eyes about the diet.  I am staying away from her teeth when I can tell she is hungry.

Welcome to yo-yo weight issues and diet hatred, rabbit style.