Sunday, June 14, 2009

Question from the Audience: Paw Flicking

A question from Elsie C. in Manchester, UK:

Q: My one year old house rabbit keeps flicking his front paws, one at a time. It is a kind of flick/shake. Any idea why? He is also quieter than normal instead of running around.

A: Rabbits usually flick their paws right before they plan to groom their faces or ears. Is he flicking his paws for a few seconds and then grooming himself? Is so, that is absolutely fine. If he is just flicking his paws repeatedly, then it would be worth it to have a closer look at his paws (is there something stuck to them? does he have a splinter or something of the sort? are they hurting? are they numb? do his nails need to be trimmed/getting caught in the carpet?). If you can't determine anything off about his paws, it might be a good idea to have a vet take a closer look at them.

I'd actually be more worried about him being "quieter than normal." Rabbits, being prey animals, really work to hide their symptoms. Once a rabbit is exhibiting unusual behaviors, you really want to pay close attention. Is he eating the same amount? Bathroom behaviors changed/droppings look the same? Acting depressed? Listless? If you said yes to any of these four questions, then don't wait to make an appointment with a rabbit-savvy veterinarian. These are surefire signs something is not right with your bunny, and when it's reached a stage with any of these symptoms, things can go very fast.

1 comment:

Elsie said...

Thanks for the reply! We took him to the vets, had his claws clipped. His mood is back to normal and he is running around the place like a mad bunny (back to normal). He is still flicking his paws but it is just before grooming.
Thanks for the advice.