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Just taken on a very fat 'dwarf' lop

(32 Posts)
MaitlandGirl Mon 14-Nov-16 03:38:02

Yesterday we got a very fat (supposed) dwarf lop ear rabbit (5 year old female, not desexed) and I have questions!! I say supposed as when she's lying down she almost fills a cat litter tray so I'm thinking the 'dwarf' part is wrong!

She's always been a house rabbit, fed on very brightly coloured rabbit mix which I understand isn't ideal, so we've taken that off her during the day and she only gets a bit at night - I don't want to change her diet too quickly in case it makes her sick. She is used to eating grass, but not much. She loves veggies and has been happily munching through kale, red cabbage and mixed lettuce leaves today.

We've currently got her in a hutch and run outside (have a very handy FIL who built this with half a days notice!) outside on the grass. We can't let her have free run of the garden because of snakes and I don't want her inside so she's now an outdoor rabbit!

She's so overweight she's got a large fat roll round her neck that she rests her chin on when she snoozes.

How much weight should we be looking at her dropping each week/month? I don't want her to lose too much too quickly but she really needs to lose about 1/3rd of her body weight - if not more. You can't feel her ribs at all and she's a short haired bunny.

She's used to being handled every day (was a pets as therapy bunny) but we're leaving her in peace for a few days to settle in before we handle her too much.

As she's 5 are there any health issues we need to be aware off as she gets older? Ideally I'd like her desexed but she's not fit enough for the anaesthetic at the moment.

Finally - does she need a friend? The local rescue centres have desexed rabbits for adoption - if she needs a friend would another female be better?

MaitlandGirl Mon 14-Nov-16 03:49:01

The run is 18in wide but she can't lay across the width as she's too big!!

FernieB Mon 14-Nov-16 06:53:11

Firstly, that run is far too small for a rabbit - they need so much more space (huge hutches are required too). To really lose weight, she needs to exercise and she won't be able to unless she has proper room to run, binky and generally enjoy being a bunny. If you provide the proper amount of space for her no don't overfeed, the weight will take care of itself.

She's 5 which is a good age for a bunny. If a rescue has a similarly aged neutered male that she gets on with, it would probably make her happier (then you'll need more space for them). She has to choose her own friend and it takes time - rabbits can be picky about their companions.

The muesli based food is not ideal, but at her age I'd be inclined to let her still have it. If you wish to switch her, then mix it with some pellet food, gradually decreasing the amount of the muesli over time.

If she's been a housebunny, it may be difficult for her to adjust to being outdoors all the time, especially as she'll have very little company.

FernieB Mon 14-Nov-16 07:00:46

BTW. An 18 inch run is not wide enough for any Rabbit. A young dwarf bun can be that long when they stretch out (which they love to do).

KingJoffreysRestingCuntface Mon 14-Nov-16 07:04:29

Going from indoor to outdoor suddenly and in this weather won't work. You'll make her ill.

The swap needs to be a summer thing.

MadHattersWineParty Mon 14-Nov-16 07:05:57

That run is really tiny for a bunny.

if she's been a house bunny she's going to be missing the company, I wouldn't put a house bunny out permanently. if she can't have the run of the garden would she get more exercise indoors? Often they're litter trained but they do like to chew. If she has to be outdoors please consider a companion for her and definitely more space.

MadHattersWineParty Mon 14-Nov-16 07:06:43

If there's snakes are you in Australia? It's summer there right?

Aliveinwanderland Mon 14-Nov-16 07:09:52

The term dwarf comes from the size of their ears not the size of the rabbit. Obvious small ears usually makes for a smaller rabbit and so the true purebred dwarf breads are tiny. However most dwarfs you get these days are crossbred so many times they bare little resemblance to a true dwarf rabbit.

VodkaValiumLattePlease Mon 14-Nov-16 07:11:11

You call that a run!?!

Artandco Mon 14-Nov-16 07:14:41

I thought the rule of hutches and runs was a minimum space to fully hop 5 times in a row? That's about 8ft (96 inches) square run min.

Aliveinwanderland Mon 14-Nov-16 07:15:40

The fat under her chin is called a dewlap. It's common in slightly overweight female rabbits and is hormone related so not all fat.

Females are at high risk of developing ovarian cancer and so having them desexed young is recommended. You will have to speak to your vet about whether she is fit for the surgery now at her age.

Ideally she should live in a pair but if she has been on her own for a long time she might not take to it. A good rescue would take her for a week and attempt to bond her with another bunny. They may want her to be desexed for this, but it depends how hormonal and territorial she is.

MaitlandGirl Mon 14-Nov-16 07:30:16

Yep - fully aware the run is too small, it's a temp job for 48hrs till Wednesday while FIL can come up and section off the garden properly for her. We live on over an acre but we have problems with poisonous snakes so need to get the fencing dug in properly and that needs time. And yes, sorry we're in Australia so it's spring here now.

Having her as a house bunny isn't possible as we've got dogs as the youngest is desperate to play with her. I figure that'll be too stressful as he's very insistent and has a very loud bark. He cried for an hour the other night because a fly died and wouldn't play with him! Her previous owner worked all day (I'm a student and DP doesn't work) so she's got more company here than she had before. We do bring her into the laundry at night and we'll do the same during thunderstorms.

So bigger run is being sorted on Wednesday, I need to do a slow change over on her dry food and maybe get her a companion - have I missed anything?

MaitlandGirl Mon 14-Nov-16 07:33:43

Meant to say - the new run is going to be about 20ft x 20ft and 4ft tall with a roof and additional fencing around to keep her separate from the chooks, pigmy goats and the dogs.

MadHattersWineParty Mon 14-Nov-16 08:14:53

That sounds good OP. I'm sure the weight will come off a bit and as pp say, 5 is a good age for a bunny and she might be too old to be desexed now. Bringing her in at night is a good call.

Make sure she's got something to gnaw on to keep her teeth short.

MaitlandGirl Mon 14-Nov-16 08:29:09

3.5kgs of bunny!!

MaitlandGirl Mon 14-Nov-16 08:31:45

MadHatters what's the best thing for her teeth? Apparently she's never had hay so that's going to be introduced at the weekend. I don't want too many changes in one week for her.

Aliveinwanderland Mon 14-Nov-16 08:50:45

She needs about 90% of her diet to be hay. You don't need to wait to introduce this as it's digested very easily so get her on it asap. Veg needs introducing one new thing at a time and changing over dry food should be done slowly.

KingJoffreysRestingCuntface Mon 14-Nov-16 08:51:57

Hay is best for teeth.

You can also buy wicker nibbly toys. And nibbly sticks.

My bun eats lots of hay and the vet said she has great teeth.

MaitlandGirl Mon 14-Nov-16 09:14:13

Right - so off to the animal feed store tomorrow for Timothy hay smile. When I can get to the decent pet shop I'll look for wicker toys for her to chew.

Spoke to FIL to see if he can get the permanent run sorted tomorrow but he's currently fixing BILs car so unlikely (it's a good job he's retired as he doesn't have time to go to work!). If not tomorrow then def Wednesday.

I've never had rabbits before so it's all totally new to me, but her original owners had to move interstate with work and bunnies are illegal there so they couldn't take her.

Wombat87 Mon 14-Nov-16 09:31:09

I would be cautious of how big she is and make sure she can clean herself properly. Sometimes when they are overweight they can't clean their bums. Poop gets caught up in the fur and that can lead to fly strike. Not a problem as much with indoor babies, but if she's now outdoor could be worth keeping an eye...

MaitlandGirl Mon 14-Nov-16 09:34:42

I hadn't thought of that - we check the dogs everyday (both long haired so plenty of potential for cling ons) so will make sure to check Miss Lunas butt too! Poor thing, there's not much dignity being chubby is there?!

furlinedsheepskinjacket Mon 14-Nov-16 09:42:47

she is so cute smile

Wombat87 Mon 14-Nov-16 09:54:43

One of mine was terribly over weight and I had to literally trim the shit out and keep him shaved. He was most indignant and I don't blame him

MaitlandGirl Mon 14-Nov-16 09:55:39

She's gorgeous - very placid and she enjoyed her walk in the garden on her harness and lead when DD2 got home.

For all the upheaval she's been through she hasn't once complained or shown signs of distress.

MadHattersWineParty Mon 14-Nov-16 11:00:56

Aw she seems like a lovely bunny.
Hay is good! And a gnaw-toy and possibly a salt bloc to lick when you can get to the shop. Carrots aren't that good for them u don't think, contrary to popular belief.

I don't know if you have access to any willow trees but we feed our old bunny (he's 7) willow alongside his normal food, it helps his joints apparently.

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