Cancer and tumour help.

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by Lati, Dec 13, 2016.

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  1. Dec 13, 2016 #1

    Lati

    Lati

    Lati

    Morgan

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    Hey fellow bunny lovers!

    Well, how to get this post started. What I really need is help and advice, anything you can think of that might help.

    This is a long post, my apologies and greatest appreciation.

    My darling angel of almost 6 years has cancer. She's spayed and has had it for about a year now, so here's the story. I hope you can help, if not maybe it will help others to look out for signs in their rabbits.

    One day I noticed what seemed to be a drooping sack of skin under my bunnies armpit, it came out of nowhere and was instantly visible. It's hard to describe, one day it wasn't there, the next it was, touching the floor when she stood normally. Instantly we took her to the vet who then told us some pretty bad news. It was cancer, BUT, it was localised to her chest (breast tissue) and leg area, so he could operate. She went in for the op and we were all very optimistic that she would be okay.

    A few hours later he called us and we went to pick her up. He told us that when he opened her up it was a completely different story, what he initially thought were just two large lumps were in fact two large ones, surrounded by a lot of small ones. He did his best but couldn't get everything. It was a long surgery, much longer than it should have been but he also said she was a fighter and obviously wanted to live. After talking about the many options and all of us outright refusing chemo, we were left with two options, take her in for monthly visits, if after 3 months it had grown substantially then we would have to let nature take its course. However if growth was minimal she could have surgeries and still lead a perfect and happy quality of life. (My partner and I decided that the moment it affected life quality, we would stop)

    We arranged for monthly visits to the vet - which obviously bunny hated - but we did it, for about 7 months, and for 7 months the vet said minimal to no change, in the 7th month we had a scan and he showed us the tumours, we could barely see them. So again, we were very optimistic. She was full of energy, happy and content, the vet decided to arrange a surgery for the next month.

    Then the 8th month comes around and we take her in, maybe an hour after we leave we get a phone call and this time it's the worst news. The cancer had suddenly grown and spread all over her chest, inside her lungs and into her leg and bones, there was nothing they could do.

    Distraught we went and collected her, amazed at how happy and joyful she seemed, even the vets commented on how she'd been a funny bunny, running around and exploring. He showed us the scans, he showed us the tumours, it was everywhere and bad. None of us could believe it. We decided there was no need for monthly visits, if she needed something or was ill we would take her in, but if not she didn't need the added stress.

    I came home about 3 weeks ago and noticed a teeny, tiny spot of blood on her nose, freaked out but managed to get her to scope so I could see her chest and belly - she is incredibly fluffy and it's impossible to pick her up. That's when I saw the ping pong ball sized lump coming out of her chest and leg and the matted blood and fur. Again, rushed her to the vet. He looked at her and told us she had been scratching and biting them because they are so itchy. Luckily it only seems to be this one, I don't think she can reach the others. We were worried about infection so he gave us some medicine - a painkiller and an antibiotic.

    So we gave her that medication for a week and took her back it, it still wasn't any better so he prescribed an anti-inflammatory as well as the others, for 10 days. The antibiotic is a pill we have to hide in a biscuit otherwise she won't eat it, the painkiller she loves and gobbles it from the syringe, but the anti-inflammatory, boy does she hate that, it's like trying to spoon feed a kid broccoli, she's having none of it. So I have to syringe 'force' feed her, the word force is a bit strong, it's very gentle and I've become quite good at it. But she still hates it.

    She came off the meds for about 5 days then we noticed blood on her nose, a proper smudge. Called the vet and got more meds, she's been on the meds about 32 hours. I've just come home and found blood on the floor, not like pools, but enough for us to see it easily, like smudges on the floor. We've never seen anything like that before, the odd drop but not smudges.

    I should point out that she is now and has been through out all of this, all her life, an incredibly happy, strong and playful bunny. None of that has changed, she is the same as always, and doesn't have a clue. The vet has assured us she feels nothing but a mosquito bite type itch. She stuffs her face and loves her cuddles. She just won't stop picking, she's making it so much worse.

    The advice I'm really looking for is if anyone has ever had an experience like this with a past bunny?

    We can't operate and it's just going to continue growing. How big is the tumour going to get? She is so happy and full of life, I can't bear the thought and sending her to the rainbow whilst she's still so young at heart, just because of a growth. Are there any signs I should look out for except the usually pee, poo and not eating ones? Is there anything I can do to reduce her access to the tumour? I thought jumper but she'd never go for it. Can anyone recommend any salves or ointments safe for bunnies that can soothe the itch? Must be edible as she's chewing at it more than scratching. Or has anyone been through this and can just give me some ideas on what to expect? She's my world, and I know I'm going to lose her so I want to be prepared and know what to look for when it's 'time'.

    I have pictures of it that I can post if needed to help you guys see location, but, it's not very nice to look at and I didn't just wanna put that out there incase it upset anyone.

    For now, here's one of her :)

    Thanks so much, and sorry again for the super long post.

    IMG_0402.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
  2. Dec 14, 2016 #2

    Aki

    Aki

    Aki

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    I'm really sorry for you and your rabbit. It sounds pretty tough. I haven't lived through this, but I've had a bunny who was picking at a wound and making it worse. It was on his leg and I've tried lots of stuffs that didn't work or made him crazy (like high socks ^^). Have you tried putting organic aloe vera (pure) on it? It works wonders on the skin as it hydrates, has antibacterial properties and it really relieves itching (I can attest of that, I use it on myself when I burn myself and not only does it speed up the healing process but it really stops the itching). It's also completely safe if your rabbit licks it.
    Some people use manuka honey in that kind of case. It seems to work well and is safe, but it's too messy for me. I try the aloe vera first, because it dries super fast and doesn't become sticky.
    If the wound gets infected or if the aloe vera doesn't work, the most efficient way to close the wound (and so stop the itching) is to use a cortisone based cream. I've used it in the past on a rabbit who had terrible sore hocks that he was constantly licking and that just wouldn't close and it was over in a few days with cortisone (I'm not a fan of the product, but it sometimes comes to a point where you gotta do what you gotta do and have to bring out the big guns).
    I hope you find something that helps!
     
  3. Dec 14, 2016 #3

    Lati

    Lati

    Lati

    Morgan

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    Hi Aki!

    Thank you so much for your suggestion, the aloe vera sounds like a fantastic idea. I have an aloe vera plant so I can take the liquid straight from the plant, would this be safe for her if she eats it?

    Also, the idea of cortisone sounds good, like you say if it comes to that. If I used this though, would it harm her if she digested it? Would you recommend getting it from the vet or would any local pharmacy be okay?

    I also thought of socks! But the same thing as you, wouldn't work!

    Thanks again so much for your advice and ideas, it really helps!
     
  4. Dec 14, 2016 #4

    Aki

    Aki

    Aki

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    Hello,

    I'm glad if i could help a bit.
    I think it's best if you don't give the leaves to the rabbit. For some weird reason, the gel isn't bad for rabbits but they are not supposed to eat the plant in itself (it's in the 'no' list of the most reliable website I know about rabbits, but they don't explain why...).

    About the cortisone, I used a cream that was prescribed by my vet. Maybe I still have some somewhere - I can try to find the name for you if you want. I don't know if you can find the equivalent in a regular pharmacy (but considering you have seen the vet several times for the problem, you can just go at the counter at the vet and ask for the cream without having to pay for a consultation or bring the rabbit with you... at least you can do that in France, so I'm guessing it's the same where you are?). The cream I used seemed pretty safe. I'm positive my rabbit licked some of it, but it penetrated the skin pretty quickly so I don't think he swallowed a lot of it even though I put it on him twice a day for about 10 days. Anyway, it had no adverse effect on him whatsoever.
     
  5. Dec 21, 2016 #5

    Maureen Las

    Maureen Las

    Maureen Las

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    I just want to say that I admire the quality of life and care that you are giving to your girl ! You are devoted and an excellent bunny mom !
    I had a bun with cancer but it was a fast growing fibrosarcoma and he succumbed to it really quickly.
    I would guess that the blood smearing on floor is probably from a larger tumor hitting the floor when she moves. Aloe vera sounds like something really worth trying.
    I think that you will know when the time is right for her to go to the bridge . You will know when she becomes subdued, stops eating or doesn't look comfortable. :cry1:
    She is lucky to have you as her mom !
     

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