View Full Version : Advice on adopting a senior rabbit

07-31-15, 09:39 pm
Previously my local SPCA has run a pet therapy program where they had 3 rabbits that live at the shelter and go out on various visits. Just the other day the CEO decided that the bunnies were using up too much of the shelters resources so they wanted to downsize from 3 rabbits to only 1. It was decided that the other 2 rabbits would be put up for adoption.

I'm so sad with the decision, I've been a summer employee and a year round volunteer for the past 3 years. Through the years I have grown to love the one rabbit so much. He's a little lop eared bunny and has lived at the SPCA for approximately 5 years. The sad part is that the on staff vet (I'm not sure of her exotic knowledge) thinks he's 10-11 years old, making him quite the senior!

This brings me to the possibility of adopting him, he is the nicest, sweetest guy ever and I want to be sure that he goes to an amazing home that will let him live out his golden days in relaxation. I'm heavily considering bringing him home on Sunday once he's available for adoption but I don't know all that much about rabbit care. Obviously they require hay, veggies and pellets just like guinea pigs but I'm not very experienced in highly detailed care. I was hoping that members with some rabbit experience could give me some general links to resources or advice. I have a few questions and it would be great if anyone could take the time to answer.

I obviously have my guinea pigs. These guys wouldn't spend any floor or cage time together but they would be housed in the same room, is this ok? As far as I know the bunny Joey has been given a clean bill of health he's neutered and has been vaccinated. They would need to be housed in the same room though.

He's been a single bunny his entire life, is it ok if he remains that way? I know that rabbits are social animals but is their need for companionship as strong as guinea pig's? He is elderly and I am not interested in acquiring another rabbit. Unfortunately I have no idea if he would go to a home with more bunnies (chances are he wouldn't) so would he be ok with just human companionship? He loves people and is very friendly but my company of course is very different from a rabbit's.

Does any one know of a quality rabbit pellet that could be available in Canada? I order KMS timothy pellets for my guinea pig's, would those pellets be acceptable for him or should I buy a separate brand? Also are rabbit's as sensitive to calcium as guinea pigs?

Is house training difficult? I believe he is pretty well litter trained but I want to get him out of his cage. He has lived in a "large" sized pet store cage his entire life. I want to build him a grid pen with his basics (litter box, food, hides) but be able to have it open so he can come and go as he pleases. This way he could have almost 24 hour access to my bedroom (it's already pig proof, I would obviously add additional rabbit proofing) I just can't have him urinating all over the floor so I would love for him to be litter trained and be able to use the entire room.

I think that's it for now, I just feel so bad for the little guy being completely uprooted from his life and I wish I had more say in the situation. I've never really thought of having a bunny but I think I could give him a great relaxing retirement. It really wouldn't be a stretch for me to feed him as I already have all the supplies for my guineas. My landlord is perfectly fine with it and so are my roommates. I just want to be sure I'm ready and prepared for the little guy!

08-01-15, 06:52 am
Oh gosh, I've been looking up rabbit care on google for almost half an hour now but I can't find anything useful. Useful as in reasonable, like a big cage/space in general and so on...if a site says a 2'x1' pet store cage is good for a rabbit, I refuse to even look at it.

This one from the aspca is a good one though, and at least answers some of your questions, I think: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/small-pet-care/general-rabbit-care
And this one seems to prove, at least diet-wise, they are similair enough that you can feed him a similair diet to your piggies: http://www.spca.org/page.aspx?pid=430

I unfortunatly don't have much knowledge outside of guinea pigs, but I really want to try and find a reliable source to help you. :( It's just hard because, not being a rabbit owner, it's hard to tell what's good info and what isn't. I'm glad you are willing to take this rabbit and figure out what it needs, but I can't find much without giving you possibly incorrect information. I sure hope someone else can help you out though, so the most I can do is bump the thread back up and wish you the best of luck.

08-01-15, 07:44 am
Thanks wombats for using your time to search things up! I spent quite a while reading up on different websites last night, I'm fairly certain I'm going to be adopting the little guy :)

I've found some good information on different websites and am looking forward to getting him from the shelter tomorrow. He is the absolute sweetest bunny ever, he willingly will hop over to sit in your lap and will always give kisses to your hands.

Once I have him I'm going to take him to my exotic vet for a wellness visit just to make sure everything seems good with him. He is fairly old for a rabbit so I want to make sure he's healthy and I will talk to my vet about different medical resources. With him being his age I want to be sure I'm well aware of possible medical issues and their symptoms so I can keep an eye on him.


stray hares
08-01-15, 08:24 pm
Googling information on "house rabbits" will probably yield better information rather than just searching about information on rabbits in general. :)

http://www.boingonline.com (An Australian website, but has lots of easy to read information on various topics. Some of it may not apply to you in Canada though, the Myxo and Calici virus information might not be relevant for instance)

Is that a recent photo of Joey? He doesn't look 10 to me at all! Hehe, but then it can be hard to tell from photos, and he might be a very youthful 10-year-old bunny.

Neutered rabbits are usually pretty clean, but after living in a pet store cage he might not have the best toilet habits. The best thing to do is work out where he prefers to go to the bathroom and then place a litter tray there. Unfortunately, being able to go everywhere and anywhere might be habit now, but you'll work out what works best for both of you soon enough.

He looks very sweet. I love rabbits a great deal, they can be super naughty but also super lovely and affectionate. But then naughty again, ha.

08-01-15, 08:46 pm
Thanks, and yes that picture was taken early last week! He does have a litter box in his pet store cage and from what I can tell he does a decent job of using it. I'm still on the fence if I want to make the commitment of adding a rabbit to my crew as I already have 4 piggies. My heart obviously says yes but my head is a little hesitant.

I'm going to go in tomorrow to find out how his medical exams went and if the vet feels hes healthy and then I will go from there.