I took my bunny to the vet on Monday to get a hormone-regulating chip implanted between his shoulder blades. It’s like Implanon for rabbits. Implanbun, if you will. Birth buntrol.
Mr. Henry James Bunman is a very adorable, stuffed-animal-looking 4-pound lionhead rabbit. He is a rescue – an Easter gift someone got bored with and dumped outside an animal shelter in D.C. – so I’m not sure how old he is, but I am sure that he’s neutered, and that he has been since I brought him home in 2008. In those six years, he’s never behaved badly beyond chewing some of my belongings that I would rather he not chew, so you can imagine my surprise when he spent last weekend trying to mount my cat.
Horny rabbits are a funny thing. Boys do this weird mating dance, where they hop in circles around their object of affection while making a soft, strange "honking" noise. After effectively communicating his desire, Henry gets up behind Sophie and starts sniffing her back, starting at the base of her tail and working his way up. And then he, you know, tries to get down. Sophie – also spayed! Are you reading, Bob Barker? – is decidedly Not Into This. I am also Not Into This, and spend most of it awkwardly walking around, flapping my hands and yelling, “NO ONE IS INTERESTED IN YOUR MAN LOVE, HENRY!” Sophie deals more productively, mostly by bopping him on the head and walking away, and as the rejections pile up, Henry gets more frustrated and thus more aggressive. The whole thing usually ends with me giving up and putting him in his cage, where he chews the bars in a way that reminds me of prisoners in jail scraping their tin cups back and forth against the walls of their cells.
It’s actually normal for neutered rabbits to behave like this occasionally, but since Henry never had in our six years together, I figured it wasn’t “normal” in our case. So I called the vet. And y’all, I can’t. I am a grown-up, everyone at the vet’s office is a grown-up, but I had to tell this story to three people and I could not get through it once without snorting. Only one of those three people – and not, it should be noted, the vet – managed to listen to the whole thing without laughing. ADULTHOOD: WE HAVE IT.
It turns out that this sort of sudden reversion to hormonal behavior is almost always caused by an adrenal gland problem, usually brought on by tumors (typically benign). The vet could have operated to remove the adrenal glands completely, but because it’s not a surefire solution, and because Henners is in the last few years of his life and is not in any pain, I don’t see the point in putting him through that long and difficult recovery process. So we opted for the implant. After giving Henry an awkward groin-region rub-down to make sure he didn’t have any “testicular remnants” (Y’ALL), they took him into a back room to insert the implant. Apparently it involves a very large needle, and apparently he was Very Brave. Four pounds of steel, my bunny is.
Three full days later, I can’t really tell if it’s making a difference. He’s still honking and trying to get all up on Sophie, and she is still Not Having It. He seems maybe slightly less aggressive about it (?), but still gets, shall we say, extremely amorous at night. My vet said it’ll take a week or two to kick in, so I guess it’s just a waiting game at this point. (An awkward, horny waiting game that nobody is enjoying.) If the implant doesn’t end up working, I will remain convinced this whole thing is a government ploy to keep tabs on the extremely important happenings around my house.
Joke’s on you, NSA. All that happens around here is a lot of snacks, books and ridiculous group text messages.
A good use of taxpayer money, to be sure.
For people like me who are interested in animal care costs - as vet trips go, this wasn’t too expensive. Total bill: $197 - $47 for the exam and $150 for the implant. I have pet insurance for Henry through VPI*, so pending approval of my claim, I should end up having to pay around $60 of that. Cheapest turning-my-bunny-into-a-cyborg trip ever.
*VPI paid me zilch to disclose that. I doubt VPI even knows I exist, minus the money I send them every month. Sup VPI.