Bruno

Bruno is a curious rabbit. He is friendly, energetic, and completely uncontrollable.

Shortly after we got him, we noticed he had an odd tendency for his to drift to the side, then abruptly correct itself. Perhaps neurological issues?

He has never consented to sit still for grooming. I hoped early on that he would settle down with age, but it's not turning out that way. He had a couple small mats (tangles) in his fur when he came to us--mostly under his chin and on his chest. We were making progress with him--teaching him to let us touch his tummy and feet, working out some tangles, bribing him with dandelions--when he had another setback:

I had put the rabbit cages in the yard one sweltering August afternoon so the bunnies could try to catch a little breeze while sheltering in the shade of the apple tree. A friendly neighborhood dog wandered past. The dog didn't do anything to the rabbits--we were able to distract it before it reached the cages--but its presence freaked out the rabbits. They both ran wildly around in their cages, and Bruno injured himself.

Domestic rabbits have delicate spinal cords. They have been known to paralyze themselves simply by landing wrong after a jump. Bruno did not move for the next several minutes. Then he moved his back legs, then his front legs, and then tried to walk. He fell down.

Perhaps I should have taken to the vet for a diagnosis and a shot of cortisone, but I didn't. I decided to treat it as a minor spinal cord injury--a bruise, perhaps--and I prescribed rest. It's difficult to make a rabbit rest, so we packed him into the smallest cage we could find, and we made him stay there. For three weeks. He wasn't happy, and he REALLY wanted out.

I finally relented and released him. He bounded away gleefully--then fell over. He promptly righted himself and kept going. If there is any lasting damage from his injury, I can't distinguish it from his pre-existing abnormalities.

Now our crisis is to deal with the extensive mats in his fur. The tangles are pretty bad, after spending weeks without grooming. I'm cutting out huge chunks of angora felt, particularly from high-friction areas like between his legs and under his shoulders. Even with 2-3 grooming sessions each day, he's not getting much better, and he is sporting the worst haircut ever right now!

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