In December, I left Cowboy at Star Gazing Farm in Maryland while I went on a trip. The staff members at this farm, which bills itself as a "haven for retired farm animals," are experts when it comes to pet rabbits.
A few days after I returned, the owner emailed me saying Cowboy's behavior was very unusual compared to the other rabbits they had cared for over the holidays. He seemed disoriented, confused and inactive, she said.
While these things aren't always an issue on their own, she explained, they can often be symptoms of a larger health problem or disease.
Her concern led me to get him tested. During a very scary visit to the vet, the doctor confirmed that Cowboy was blind and deaf as a result of a neurological parasite called E. cuniculi.