We realize we are not out of the woods yet, both with regard to Bunya's long-term good health and with the trio's bonding. Here's what we've done and where we are.
Bunya was to be released Saturday afternoon. In the morning, Lucy & Ethel joined him at the vet and the three of them were put into a large pen together (out of ICU, i.e., in a different pen than Bunya had been in that week). Our objective was to reduce the "re-bonding" element of bringing them home. Bonded bunnies apart can "un-bond", at least in our experience (with both Alice and this trio). The hope in this strategy was that all three would be on neutral ground, smell the same and be somewhat "shaken" up (since they don't like car rides).
As part of Bunya's health report (these bunnies get incredibly detailed medical reports), it was reported that when the three of them were together, Bunya displayed "amorous" tendencies, mostly towards Ethel. Of course, since they are all fixed, this behavior is only a dominance display; Bunya wanted to let them know he was still alpha bunny. Ehtel's response was that all day, the whole office heard loud THUMPS. Lucy is too big for Bunya to get away with much with her; they have more of an "understanding". Poor Ethel ... as if she isn't traumatized enough by the car rides.
We picked them up and met with Dr. Mike for the report and follow-up care instructions. Since the ride home is quick, we extended their time together in their carrier by driving around some.
|The trio in their carrier, stacked like little bunny logs|
At home, both litter boxes were freshly changed, so it would not smell only like Lucy & Ethel. A few extraneous poops were vacuumed.
Release the hounds! Well, bunnies.
We opened the carrier and Bunya was first out of the chute. For some time, he hopped around chinning everything from the new Blissful Bunny Einstein toy (more on this in a later post) to the same old boxes and toys that he had left behind. Ethel went to go huddle by herself, hiding away from everyone in the warren; this is her typical behavior and she can take until the following morning to "recover" from car rides (and to compound matters, there was Bunya's overly attentive behavior at the vet).
It was nice to see the twinkle back in Bunya's eye and see him hopping about.
We watched them all evening, broom handy to break up any altercations. There were a couple of short chases, but nothing that required our interference. After we put them to bed, we hung around in the dark with them for a little while, until they settled down.
This morning, I really expected to see some tufts of pulled hair in the pen but so far, haven't found any. When I opened the gate, they all poured out and ran around the basement playground. Bunya's nibbling cardboard; I don't know how high fiber that is and hopefully, he will focus on his hay diet soon. Part of the vet report was that Bunya was chowing down on his hay smorgasbord (but didn't seem to like the oat hay as much as the others). If we can, we will try to sneak the girls some of their crumbles.
As to bonding, we are on the lookout for casual flops and the return of the Bunmuda Triangle, in which all three of them are piled together.
We have medicine to continue to administer; one is a twice a day dose and the other three times a day. Of course, he will get lots of hay and we will continue to monitor his behavior, which is what tipped us off to the problem in the beginning. Finally, we will be on poop watch; while the size has increased and is closer to normal, we are on the lookout for increased production. In 30 days, we take him for new x-rays to make sure the mass is reduced or (hopefully) gone.
This post is longer than usual. One reason it is so is to report to the overwhelming number of Rabbit Ramblings' readers who sent their good wishes for Bunya's recovery and asking about how he was doing - we felt you deserved the scoop. The other reason is so bunny owners might anticipate what might be involved in caring for bunnies, and what to look out for to do so.