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VIDEO: Meet the giant swimming bunny
SHE’S taken to swimming like a duck – or should that be rabbit – to water.
Four-year-old continental giant rabbit Heidi is making a real splash at a local hydrotherapy pool with her twice weekly sessions for arthritis.
The bunny was diagnosed with the condition in her hips and knees, as well as spondylosis in her neck, after visiting a specialist when she stopped moving and eating around Christmas last year.
Owner Amanda Williams, from Highcliffe, said: “The specialist said I should try hydrotherapy and I was looking at him laughing. I saw my local vet and mentioned it and he laughed as well.
“She was officially referred to Paddy’s Pool in Milford on Sea and when I phoned them up they thought it was a wind-up – there was just silence on the end of the phone.”
Heidi was booked in for a session, supervised by a veterinary nurse, and loved her first brief stint in the pool, staying completely calm throughout, and even managing 90 seconds of doggy paddle.
Mature student Amanda, 44, said: “We took it very slowly, just getting her used to wearing a life jacket and sitting on the shelf in water up to her chest.
“Rabbits are quite gassy and quite naturally buoyant. The minute she went into the water she immediately started doing doggy paddle.”
Heidi now has 30 minute sessions in the 4ft pool, including seven minutes swimming, wearing a fetching red hair scrunchie to keep her ears dry.
Amanda, who owns two other continental giants, Herman and Greta, said she has become a different rabbit since she started swimming in January.
“I’ve noticed a huge difference. She’s much more lively, she’s been jumping in the air and she hasn’t done that for about a year. She’s certainly more cocky and nosey.
“I never, ever would have thought that hydrotherapy for bunnies would have worked, but it’s brilliant. She’s just a much happier bunny.”
Please note: We have been asked to make it clear that under normal circumstances, rabbits should not be put into water as they are not natural swimmers and it can be dangerous for them. Thanks.