Anyone has experience with recovery after choking?

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by Zephyre, Oct 19, 2019.

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  1. Oct 19, 2019 #1

    Zephyre

    Zephyre

    Zephyre

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    Background: My 2 y.o. girl choked two nights ago after eating some pellets. After a stasis episode this spring with another bunny, we decided to reduce their pellets to the bare minimum so they get enough fiber. However, that made them get really really excited when eventually they would get their pellets. So excited apparently, that she choked.
    For the first few minutes she just made noises like coughing /throwing up and wheezing. She actually did throw up a bit, but through her nose - that threw me for a loop since I was convinced that bunnies cannot throw up. I had no idea what was going on, and seeing her run around just making coughing noises I couldn't tell she was choking and needed help. Dumb me.
    After about 3-5 minutes she went soft on the ground and I panicked and finally realized things were not ok. I tried giving her the human version Heimlich maneuver, by pressing on her abdomen to hopefully dislodge whatever was bothering her. Not sure how well that worked, she made some weird noises but didn't cough out anything.
    We went to the vet then (a one hour drive) and she was a fighter and managed to endure the ride but by the time we got to the vet she was starting to thrash around, probably because of the lack of oxygen. They sedated her and put her on oxygen. Also did blood tests which showed some tissue damage because of the lack of oxygen and an xRay that didn't show any bits stuck in her lungs. She spent the next 24 hours on oxygen and antibiotics and last night they released her home.

    Today I gave her the antibiotics (subcutaneous, and I hope to God I administered them correctly) and she has one more round of antibiotics this evening.

    My problem is that I don't know what is normal in a recovery after such a bad choking.

    She is not very active, just kind of lays down in her cage for hours.
    Her breathing is still a bit labored and noisy. She sounds like her nose is stuffed. I am thinking it could be because of the irritation after throwing up through her nose and maybe there is some mucus because of that? The vet said her lungs sound good and I feel bad to bother them again for a stuffy nose.
    She made some poops (small and black, but at least they exist) and eats a little bit of hay every now and then.

    Any advice? Thank you!
     
  2. Oct 19, 2019 #2

    John Wick

    John Wick

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    What a scary experience. You are correct, at least based on what I've heard, which is rabbits cannot vomit. Similar to spitting a drink out of your nose when you laugh while drinking, I imagine the pellet and other fluids exit from their nose in response to choking. I think your thought of irritation still being there makes sense. It's good that she's eating a little and pooping.

    I don't think there's an estimated time for these types of things, but mainly monitor if she gets worse.

    Do you feed pellets in a bowl? Some rabbits are frequent pellet chokers because of their enthusiasm towards food, and so there are some strategies to prevent choking. Some owners scatter the pellets across a large area, some put them in ball toys so only a couple come out at a time.
     
  3. Oct 20, 2019 #3

    Zephyre

    Zephyre

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    I usually feed them by hand, it is a cute bonding experience since they both are really happy when eating. I will try to only give them one at a time, hopefully it will prevent choking in the future.


    Today her nose is still stuffy and the breathing still labored but she seems a bit more alert. Her condition doesn't seem to be getting worse, but it is also hardly better. I will just try to be patient for a few more days.
     
  4. Oct 21, 2019 #4

    JBun

    JBun

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    If she is still having noisy breathing, I would request from the vet to keep her on antibiotics longer. The biggest risk from a choking episode is aspiration pneumonia developing. So any possibility of bacterial growth with signs of stuffiness or respiratory issues, needs continued treatment. If she does't seem to be responding well or worsens, get her right to the vet as she may need a different antibiotic and/or additional treatment.

    If the vet didn't give you meloxicam to give as well, you may want to also request that as it's an anti inflammatory. If she isn't eating well then she will also need to be regularly syringe fed a feeding mix like oxbow critical care which you can get from your vet. It's important to keep their digestion moving so they don't develop GI stasis.

    For future reference, here is some info on treating choking in rabbits. Though careful consideration has to be taken as serious injury could occur if done incorrectly.
    https://www.vgr1.com/choking/
     
  5. Oct 21, 2019 #5

    Zephyre

    Zephyre

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    I was thinking about that too. But the vet seemed pretty confident that 3 days would be enough since her lungs seemed ok when he listened to them. I will give them a call tomorrow to ask about that though. My worry is that they will request a new appointment to see how she is doing and 2 hours on the road might do her more harm than good since she is very easily stressed.

    She is pretty lively and eats well. The only problem is something seems to be stuck in her nose. She sneezes a lot and has a lot of mucus.
     
  6. Oct 21, 2019 #6

    John Wick

    John Wick

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    What color is the nasal discharge, if any?
     
  7. Oct 22, 2019 #7

    JBun

    JBun

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    Sneezing a lot and sneezing white or colored mucous means she has a respiratory bacterial infection, which means she definitely needs to stay on antibiotics.
     
  8. Oct 22, 2019 #8

    Zephyre

    Zephyre

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    As far as I can tell, the mucus seems clear. But there is a lot of sneezing, about once every few minutes.
     
  9. Oct 23, 2019 #9

    Zephyre

    Zephyre

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    Seems like she made no poops overnight and possibly not yesterday either (I clean her litterbox before bedtime). It is time for a vet appointment :(
     
  10. Oct 23, 2019 #10

    Zephyre

    Zephyre

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    Nevermind, she just let a nice pile of poop in her litterbox. I still think she should go see the vet since it is way less than what she usually did, but I have to see how I can convince my parents to give me that 2 hour ride.
     
  11. Oct 23, 2019 #11

    JenGibs

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    Good luck! I agree she needs to be seen. Keep us posted!
     
  12. Oct 26, 2019 #12

    Zephyre

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    In the next hours she made more poops and ate more so we decided to take a watch-and-wait approach. I also called the vet and explained the stuffy nose and he seemed unconcerned, just told me to get her in for a check-up whenever I have time.
    So far she seems better, the breathing is less noisy but she is still sneezing.
    I didn't expect her to still have mucus a week after the choking happened, but here we are. Overall she seems fine though.
     

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