A bunny developed a dark side after a parasite infection changed her personality overnight.
Poppy the white rescue rabbit, who has found herself a loving new home with experienced bunny enthusiast Deb Hough, suddenly developed red eyes and went from being loving and sweet natured, to biting and attacking her new owner.
But luckily the team at the Laurels Veterinary Surgery in Runcorn managed to get to the bottom of the problem and thanks to treatment, her snappy alter ego is no more.
Owner Deb from Runcorn said her pet, who came to live with her after being abandoned in woods, changed almost overnight.
The 52-year-old customer care coordinator said: “We ended up with Poppy not long after one of our rabbits died.
“I’d gone to the Laurels Veterinary Surgery to return a blanket, when they asked me if I was interested in rescuing another rabbit that had been found in the woods by a delivery driver.
“She just ran up to him and started chewing his laces and luckily he had an empty box and put her in it before taking her to the vets.
“They took me straight upstairs to see her and as soon as I opened the hutch, she came out for cuddles and I fell in love with her.”
Deb added: “She had really long teeth and a lump on her back that needed seeing to.
“The lump grew over the weeks and it turned out to be an abscess, which she was treated for.
“But a few weeks later, her personality suddenly changed in the space of an hour and she went from having cuddles to not being able to settle down.
“It was as if she was on high alert, standing on her tip toes with her ears pricked up.
“She just went a bit blip blop, the whites of her eyes turned red and she started biting our hands.
“The vets discovered she had developed a parasite infection that had quite literally changed her personality.”
Vet Claire Worrall thought Poppy might be suffering with E Cuniculi – a tiny parasite which can cause brain lesions and lead to behavioural changes.
Claire said: “When Poppy came to us as a stray, we treated her for the abscess on her back but when she came in to be neutered, the whites of her eyes had turned red so we decided not to go ahead at that time.
“We treated her for E Cuniculi – which mainly affects rabbits, mice, guniea pigs and rats – after her owners reported a change in her personality over a few weeks.
“She became a completely different rabbit, biting their hands and being aggressive, which can happen with this condition, but she soon started responding really well to the treatment and is now completely back to normal.
“Poppy is such a lovely rabbit and we’re so pleased Deb has taken her in.”
Deb and her partner Chris now have five rabbits and two dogs with Deb admitting her ultimate dream would be to retire and run a rabbit rescue sanctuary full time.
Deb added: “Poppy is the sweetest rabbit I’ve ever known, so loveable and friendly she’s a real character.
“She lives in the house and has free roam when we’re at home and loves to run around the sofa making a noise that sounds like a lightsaber.
“The thing we love about rabbits is that they are cheeky little characters and each one of them is different.
“We spend quite a lot of money buying them play tunnels, ball pools, chewing sticks and large hutches and we have lots of rabbit ornaments.
“My dream would be to have a house full when I retire.”
Deb added: “I can’t thank the vets enough for putting their trust in me and letting me look after her, it makes me feel quite proud.
“They’ve been absolutely wonderful in getting her back to normal.
“Since then, I’ve even adopted one more from them meaning we now have five.
“It’s nice to know that staff at the Laurels think enough of me to trust me to look after them knowing I will always do my best for them.”
For more information about Laurels Veterinary Surgery go to www.runcornvets.co.uk or call 01928 575515.