Photo by Leanè Jacobs
Some rabbits have disabilities like blindness and deafness, and some have splayed legs. Caring for rabbits that don't have disabilities is challenging because of their uniqueness and playful personalities. But how about caring for bunnies with special needs? Can it get more difficult?
People who foster bunnies with special needs are blessings in this world. There are extra things they need to do when caring for disabled rabbits, and routines are different compared to caring for rabbits without special needs.
How to Care for Disabled Bunnies?
We will look at how we set the house and routines for rabbits with disabilities so they can have the best life possible. Regardless of their needs, we must be careful and patient in caring for them.
Age, glaucoma, genetics, or cataracts might be the reason for a bunny's blindness. The most common reason is cataracts. Rabbits can have cataracts from birth, or it develops while they're growing without evident causes.
Keeping the environment safe and away from dangerous objects is crucial. Some bunnies are partially blind and some can't see. They should be in a place where bumps aren't present. They can stay in a limited area or a wider playpen if you're not around to ensure they are safe.
Blind bunnies know how to use the litter box and can also find their water bowls and hay feeder because they smell them.
A simple reminder to you, do not lift a blind bunny because it can be scary because it cannot see anything. (Unless it's used to being carried.) Bunnies are intelligent; they can familiarize their homes even when blind.
Bunnies With Splayed Legs
Splayed legs in bunnies mean they cannot hold their legs properly because they are splayed outwards. This is common for obese rabbits as well. This type of disability can be cured by consistent treatment, like bracing the legs (for younger bunnies), depending on how severe the case is. The severity will be determined through radiographs or known as x-rays.
Bunnies can still hop on the litter box if they only have one splay leg. But it will be different for baby bunnies with multiple splayed legs. Put litter pads in their playpen and then hay in the corner, so the food remains accessible.
Bunnies with splay legs will poop anywhere in the playpen. Some bunnies with splay legs aren't able to lick their cecotropes, so it's our responsibility to wipe it with a clean dump towel so the poop will not get stuck on their fur.
Bunnies are known to have sensitive hearing. They can hear even a tiny scratch. And because they are prey animals, they are always alert in their surroundings and constantly look for something suspicious to ensure they are not in danger.
You can determine a deaf bunny if it doesn't respond to sound unless it sees something or someone moving. Bunnies flick or move their ears 180 degrees, so if you don't see this in a bunny, even if you're shaking a bag of treats, it might be deaf or in the process of losing its hearing.
Establish a caring and peaceful environment for a deaf bunny. Every movement is vital since deaf bunnies rely on their sense of sight, smell, and touch. Do not startle a deaf bunny by carrying it. Always make sure you show yourself and be careful in moving things around.
Disclaimer: We are not professional veterinarians or medical doctors. We created this blog based on our experiences with pet rabbits, volunteered hours in the rabbit shelter, extensive pet product research, and experienced peers. The purpose of this blog is to provide information about properly taking care of rabbits. Please know that it is still best to visit the vet regularly. For medical emergencies, contact a rabbit-savvy vet. Always observe your rabbits around new products or environmental changes.
Final Thoughts on Caring for Disabled Rabbits
Every bunny, disabled or not, deserves a loving home that will cater to its needs. Bunnies don't choose to live with disabilities but it's our choice to care for them no matter what. Let caring for all bunnies always be our choice because they need us.