Monday, September 27, 2010

One Man's Neutering Is Another Man's... Uh... This Title Is Not Working

A few weeks ago I wrote about how Hoppy was behaving violently lately, mainly towards me.  Some people commented that we should consider having Hoppy neutered to solve some of the problems.  My wife and I were against it before, but we decided that we better take another look at the option.

After doing some research, my wife and I now have opposing opinions about neutering.  And it seems to be due to cultural differences in thinking.

I mentioned the nice people that suggested neutering.  In addition, I did some research on the Internet, browsing mainly American web sites that talk about the benefits of neutering, and how it is better for the owner and the rabbit (it helps prevent some cancers, etc.).

My wife also did some research of her own.  She consulted a lot of people she's made acquaintances with through her own rabbit blog (she does hers in Japanese).  Many of them are longtime rabbit lovers and owners, and they seem to be unanimous in their opinion about neutering: don't do it.  They say the surgery is highly risky for the rabbit and is just not worth it.

Talk about cultural differences.

I wonder why there is such a dichotomy between American/Western and Japanese rabbit owners on the subject of neutering.  I can't prove it, but I have a theory as to why there is such a difference.  Perhaps the medical technology is different between Japan and my country of birth, the United States.

I had a co-worker that had to have her appendix taken out when she was visiting her home in the U.S.  The American doctor did some kind of procedure where he took the appendix out of a small incision in her belly button, leaving minimal scars.  Shortly afterward, she did a follow-up checkup in Japan.  The Japanese doctor stared at her small scar in amazement.  "I've never heard of an appendix being taken out this way before!" He said.  It seems that the new and improved way of removing appendices hasn't yet caught on yet here.

Maybe it's the same with having a rabbit neutered.  Maybe in the U.S., neutering a rabbit has become less risky and a more viable option, while here in Japan it is still risky for the rabbit.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Sorry for the blurry picture; this is the best that we could do with our small point-and-shoot digital camera. This is a picture of what looks like a red sore the size of a penny on the bottom of Hoppy's back foot. It looks like very bad carpet burn or something.

We didn't know that it was there until we went to the vet yesterday. My wife was worried about Hoppy because he didn't eat his grass on Friday and early Saturday morning. We went to the vet, and during his checkup he pulled back the hair on Hoppy's foot and discovered what in Japanese is called a soahokku. I have no idea what the translation is; I looked it up in all the Japanese-English dictionaries I have access to, but to no avail.

According to my wife (I was in the waiting room during the checkup), the vet said that soahokku happens when a rabbit spends too much time on a flat floor. The vet said that he needs to spend more time on floors with ridges, something uneven that the rabbit can grip. We have a large rug in the living room, and our computer room is covered with carpet, but otherwise our condo has smooth, wooden floors. I don't know if the wooden floors may have given him soahokku, but it sounded like the vet was suggesting a radical change in our condominium. Floors with ridges? What does that mean? Are we supposed to replace our wooden floors? Does the vet know how much that costs? It's all confusing to me.

But that's beside the point. Poor Hoppy has a bad sore on his foot. For his part, it doesn't seem to bother him; he hops around like usual. He shows no pain, which goes along with what I've heard about rabbits, that they hide their pain. But I hope he gets better soon.
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Relax Time

Finally... after a hard day of hopping around and eating grass, I'm giving myself some Me time!
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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Can't We (Both) Just Get Along?

I'm sorry I haven't written much here the last week or so.  To be honest, Hoppy and I haven't been on the best of terms lately.  Need evidence?  Here it is.

Yep... that's a rabbit bite on my hand.  Yeah, it's not bad.  It'll heal properly.  But when a rabbit draws blood, there's something going on, in my opinion.

This bite was placed on my hand last night.  Hoppy was on the couch with my wife, who was watching TV.  Being a "teenager" (he's six months old, which is around 16-17 years old in human years), he's become quite territorial, and he wants to claim the couch as his own.  How does he do that?  He leaves a pile of poop on the couch.  Of course, rabbit poop is small and hard, like Cocoa Puffs, and it can be cleaned up very easily.  That is what I proceeded to do as I grabbed our hand broom and dustpan and made my way to the mess. 

What I didn't notice at the time was that Hoppy was busy courting my wife.  Lately Hoppy has had... uh... a big crush on her... and I'm in the way.  Usually when he's courting, and I come around, he'll stare at me like, "Get away, man."  He thinks I'm trying to "steal his girl".  If I try to pet him, he'll nip my hand a little, just to tell me he's busy and please leave him alone.  But he never attacked me before like he did last night.

Anyway, back to the story.  I went over to the couch to clean up his droppings, and Hoppy was right next to his mess, courting my wife.  Not paying any attention to him, I tried to sweep up his poop, and suddenly he lunged forward at me and bit my hand with such might that when I pulled my hand back in surprise, I actually took Hoppy with me!  He was hanging in the air, his teeth still firmly placed in the base of my thumb.  Luckily he wasn't hurt.

* * * * *

Last night was the result of a buildup of distrust, I think, over the last month or two, since he hit puberty.  This is probably because of two reasons:
1)  I'm "competing" with him for my wife, as I mentioned above, and
2)  I'm the "strict parent."  I'm the one that punishes him when he does something wrong.  For example, he likes to pick and dig at our carpet.  It used to be just the edges, but we hid those.  Then he moved to the middle of the room and began to pick there, pulling up strings and sometimes leaving small holes in the process.  We tried the positive approach, trying to give him toys and other things he can dig and pick at.  But that didn't work.  So we had to start punishing him.  Of course, you can't scold a rabbit like you can a dog or a cat, and you definitely cannot hit a rabbit.  What you have to do is find something humane that he doesn't like, and do it when he does something wrong.  For example, some people use a spray bottle and spray water at their rabbit.  As for me, I pick Hoppy up and hold him in my arms.  Hoppy hates to be picked up.  Perfect, I thought.  So that's what I do.  And usually it works.  But I think Hoppy hates me now because of that.

Whatever the reasons, we are going to have to find a way to coexist together in this house, because neither one of us are going away.