Elderly Bun help/health

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Akzholedent

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My little girl, Ellie (she's 8.5 pounds, and 9 years old.. haha. Not so little) is getting up in her age. She has arthritis really bad, and until recently, it seemed like her 0.7 mL dose of Meloxicam was working pretty well. Over the last month, I've noticed a bit of a decline. Throughout her life, she's always had a verrrry sensitive tummy. If I give her anything fresh, she will certainly have some piles of runny/moosh poops... so we don't give her fruits or veggies as treats. She had a hard time with eating Timothy Hay, so we have her on orchard grass hay now instead. Usually, the soft poops will straighten up if she has more hay available, but recently, it seems like that's not helping either.

We already give her limited amounts of Oxbow pellets, along with the Kaytee Timothy Hay cookies. My latest "experiment" is going to be to see if just giving her the "carrot and dill" cookies helps her out (as opposed to the "apple and banana" ones). The biggest problem is that with her arthritis, she can't clean her back end (and who wants to clean mooshed poo off of themselves anyway), and I'm having to give her butt baths more frequently. Fortunately, she's the most easy-going rabbit when it comes to those things (butt baths, ear checks, nail trims, etc).

I'll be taking her to the vet in October for her yearly checkup, so if you have any advice as to what I should ask her, that would be great. I know my folks would say, "well, you know she was raised as a meat rabbit, and she's long outlived her intended lifespan..." but I just want my little sweetheart to be as happy and comfy as possible. ❤️

(Photo: Ellie (brown) with her twin brother Butterscotch (brown and white). Butterscotch passed away in October 2020, and honestly, I'm impressed with how well Ellie has taken his loss)
 

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JBun

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For an almost 4kg rabbit, she could be getting a higher maintenance dose of meloxicam. Right now she's getting about 1mg from a 0.7ml dose(if that's the 1.5mg/ml suspension). Hopefully that's twice a day? A rabbit her size can get 1.2-2.4mg(0.3-0.6mg/kg), twice a day. Though 2.4mg for a 4kg rabbit(0.6mg/kg) is mostly short term dosing. I would ask your vet about increasing the dose to 0.8-1ml, twice a day, and see how she does with that, provided her kidney function is still good.


Another possibility is starting Adequan injections. Past RO member MikeScone, talked about how well it worked for his elderly rabbit. Said it got her moving and running around again. It does take a few weeks before you might start seeing improvement though. If you do decide to try this, you might want to move up your vet appointment to something sooner, so you can get the injections started right away. I tried the adequan for my elderly rabbit, but started it too late and her arthritis had progressed too far, so it wasn't helpful for her. You might also ask the vet to clip the fur around her bottom, to make cleaning off the poop easier.


Medirabbit: arthritis in rabbits

I would suggest cutting the cookies out of her diet completely. There's no need for them, and they're likely contributing to the mushy cecals developing. Anything with high carbs/sugars, can contribute to an imbalance of the microflora in the cecum, resulting in cecotropes that aren't formed properly and becoming mushy. Lots of good medium coarse grass hay is the best food to help correct this digetive imbalance in rabbits.

 

Akzholedent

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Thank you so much!

A year ago, they had me giving her 1.5 mL, but when I took her in in October, they knocked it down to the 0.7 mL. Throughout last year, they would get really confused that I would run through a bottle so quickly... my other older bun (Pippi, 3.5 pound Holland Lop, 8 years old) has a 0.3 mL dose, and it seems to be serving her just fine. We have been doing the medicine once a day, but I will definitely ask the vet about increasing it (or doing twice a day). It definitely seems to be wearing off pretty quick and affecting her.

She's going to be heartbroken about the lack of cookies.. 🤫 Once I see if that helps her out, I'll let her go outside into my garden to eat grass, and see if that still affects her as much. She loves being outside, but only if the humans are close. We might even be able to *gasp* have green leafy things for treats again... oh, she'd love that.

I'll definitely start with the cookies first, and I'll give the vet a call in the morning.

Thanks!
 

JBun

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Based on the current information on rabbits, at least 1mg/kg per day is suggested as the effective therapeutic dose for rabbits. Which would mean your rabbit(at 4kg) could get up to about 2mg twice a day, which is 1.3ml(of the 1.5mg/ml suspension), twice a day. Rabbits metabolize it so quickly, faster than other animals(eg. dogs) metabolize it, that if once a day dosing is used, it's likely for rabbits to start showing signs of pain before the end of the 24 hour period, especially if less than the therapeutic dose is given.


Maybe ask your vet about trying twice a day dosing of 0.7ml, and see how that goes. Getting double of what your bun is getting now, should make some difference. But if not enough, you could ask about further increasing the dose to 1ml twice a day. If your vet doesn't want you doing twice a day dosing, then 1.5ml once a day should be the minimum for a 4kg rabbit that was still experiencing pain on a lower dose.

If you continue with once a day dosing, I would suggest to try and monitor how your bun is doing towards the end of the 24 hours, to see if she starts to show signs of the meloxicam wearing off and having pain again. If she does show signs of stiffness and pain at the end of the 24 hour period, then I would definitely discuss doing twice daily dosing with the vet, so the pain relief is consistent througout the 24 hour period.
 

Akzholedent

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Oh gosh, I never did update... but the Vet told us to increase her to 0.7 mL twice a day, and it has been helping her so much. Thanks for the input, JBun!
 

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