Diagnosing/treating neurological symptoms? Has issues eating/drinking/moving

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by rabbitpeople, Jul 3, 2019.

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How long should we continue force feeding him, waiting for conditions to improve?

Poll closed Jul 10, 2019.
  1. A couple days

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  2. A week

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  3. Two weeks

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  4. A month or more

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  1. Jul 3, 2019 #1

    rabbitpeople

    rabbitpeople

    rabbitpeople

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    EDIT: Updated avatar to a screenshot from a video of Chewy eating hay all on his own yesterday!

    My wife and I returned from a vacation on Sunday to find our 8 year old half-Satin half-English Spot in a strange position in his hutch. He was hunched almost into a ball and his front two legs were splayed out to the sides as if he couldn't stand up properly.

    He was well taken care of by an experienced friend while we were out of town, and the only thing she noticed was when she came over Sunday morning, her last visit before we got back, Chewy hadn't eaten his Saturday night pellets. She gave him his morning greens.

    When we got home Sunday about 2 PM, he still hadn't eaten Saturday's pellets or Sunday morning greens.

    We gave him Critical Care (leftover prescription vet formula from an incident with a different rabbit) and water through a syringe until we could take him to the vet on Monday. We were convinced it would be GI statis, as we had two other rabbits with this. However, he was still pooping and peeing, though the poops were smaller, and he wasn't using his litter box anymore.

    The vet didn't feel any bloat in the stomach and didn't feel any tumors. She said it was likely a neurological condition from falling, running into something, or a stroke from age.

    I did some googling and found it could have been from any of those things as well as a number of different bacterial infections. Our friend watching him said he didn't fall or run into anything, and we trust her. I wonder if there was a loud firework on Saturday (almost the 4th of July) that gave him a stroke. Or it could be age-related.

    It's now Wednesday, July 3rd, and he had a blood test today. We won't have the results until Friday, July 5th. I'm actually hoping it's a bacterial infection because from what I've read, that has the best case scenario for getting better.

    He's lethargic, has difficulty standing up, difficulty moving, has a slight head tilt, and doesn't drink water on his own.

    He finally started trying to eat on his own yesterday after I gave him a small piece of a banana. It's his favorite treat, and he had difficulty finding it right in front of him. Eventually, he was able to get his mouth on it, chew it, and swallow it. He then started nibbling on his hay, and he has continued to occasionally nibble on his hay, but it looks like it's a challenge for him, and he doesn't eat as much.

    He spends most of his time with his head drooping and facing a corner of his cage. Sometimes it's a dark corner, other times it's a light corner, so I don't think he's extra sensitive to light or anything. He is not experiencing Nystygymus (darting eye), and his head tilt has not gotten worse since Sunday. It's still just very slight.

    If the blood test does not find any infections, or even if it does, what are our options? What are the chances he will start eating/drinking on his own again normally? My wife and I love him to death but don't feel he would have a good quality of life if we were having to force feed him with a syringe several times a day. He doesn't like it.

    We also can't let him out of his hutch because he will just run straight into furniture.

    If he isn't going to recover enough to eat/drink on his own and not injure himself, we feel his best option would be a gentle death with euthanasia at the vet's office.

    Does anyone have experience with this?
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2019
  2. Jul 4, 2019 #2

    JBun

    JBun

    JBun

    Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    Do you notice if one side of his body is weaker than the other(eg. right side not working as well as the left), and any facial droop on one side?
     
  3. Jul 4, 2019 #3

    rabbitpeople

    rabbitpeople

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    No facial drip or one sided weakness. Actually, less than 24 hours from my post, his condition deteriorated so badly that my wife and I are now at the emergency vet (it’s the 4th of July) to have him put to sleep while we hold him. This morning he was just flopping around in his hutch, unable to stand up and like he had no sense of up or down. He can’t even lift his head. He has had a great life, and it’s time to let him go peacefully since he has been suffering.
     
  4. Jul 4, 2019 #4

    Butterscotch

    Butterscotch

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    I'm so very sorry you and your bunny are going through this! I went through a similar scenario with my old dog three years ago. She went through numerous vet visits with several different emergency and regular vets, a neurologist, and finally a holistic vet before yet another emergency room vet begged me to put her to sleep. I tried so hard to save her but there was nothing that could be done and I just couldn't let her go. It was so selfish of me. Today it still hurts my heart terribly to remember what I put her through while trying to save her. Sometime we have to just let them go and it's so hard but it's necessary. You have put his needs above your own and that sometimes takes great courage. Again, I'm so sorry.
     
  5. Jul 5, 2019 #5

    rabbitpeople

    rabbitpeople

    rabbitpeople

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    Thank you so much. This has been the hardest day I can remember experiencing in a long, long time. This might be the hardest pet death I've ever gone through, and I've gone through nearly a dozen. He was "my" rabbit. We adopted Chewy from a shelter in Oakland, California in February 2013. He had spent 6 months there after first serving as a pre-school rabbit! I bet he was glad to get out of those conditions and into the shelter. All those kids poking their hands through the bars and being rough with him. When we adopted him, he was one and a half.

    Again, I really, really appreciate your kind words. My wife's dearest friend ever, her black and white Dutch rabbit, Tupelo Honey Bunny, whom she got for herself to recover from a personal trauma, had a pretty bad last week or two when she passed in 2016. She had GI Statis, two surgeries, and passed not long after the second surgery. We beat ourselves up over the decision to continue medical treatment, but she was our first rabbit, our first rabbit death experience, and we didn't realize how slim the chances were. We, like you, still hurt remembering what we put her through. We try to focus on the good times though, and there were many. She was the sweetest, most cuddliest rabbit.

    Chewy loved getting pets, and he bonded to Tupelo quickly, and later Lumikki after Tupelo's death, but he was a feisty one. He was guaranteed to give you a few punches now and then. He liked digging into our clothes...while we were wearing them. In retrospect, we are honored he would make us into his nest. He must have felt at home :D

    But he was also very sweet, grinding his teeth away and bowing patiently as you pet his forehead. He could lay there for nearly an hour at a time until he had to do his little head shake and start cleaning his ears. We will miss him greatly.
     

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