How do I care for a disabled bunny?

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**SRonchi1

Shaan Ronchi
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Oohh love his cart :) all I did with Cocos is put a strap going over her shoulders joined to each side of the cart and it worked wonders- I didn't need to pop her in a harness aswell as she felt really consumed by it all. I attached foam under the cart to support her belly and she was off! I will see if I can find a picture of it- I did about 4 different types of carts but ended with the simple type as she preferred that.
 

fannymanson

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Azerane

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Wow, Bobby does look so much better. There is still a tiny wobble there, but it's hardly noticeable. I hope you at least see some improvement with Big Brown too. Thank you for keeping us updated.
 

fannymanson

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Today I made a little puff quilt for Big Brown to lay on. It's basically a bunch of tiny pillows sewed together. I though this way he would be elevated and his droppings would fall away from him as he relaxes. It turned out really cute and now I want to made more.

I made a run to the big city fabric store for some Sherpa, Nu-Foam, and a little piece of calico just for me. I now have have several options for surfaces for him including towels, carpet, his quilt, and a brand new bath mat. On the way home I saw a Target store and that reminded me of my conversation with Suaz from Rabbit Wranglers. She cares for several disabled rabbits and she recommended a bathmat called chenille fingers, so I wanted to see whether they had it. Sure enough they had the mat for $20, so I decided to splurge and get it for Big Brown. The product information is as follows: UPC 040773060597, by Mohawk Home, 20x34 inches, machine wash/hang to dry. The furry fingers support the bunny, but urine and droppings go down in the mat. If I could afford it I would buy 3 more.

I also included a picture of Big Brown enjoying his massager.

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fannymanson

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Today I wanted to shared some of the life enriching things I do for my bunny. I have noticed that rabbit are particularly sensitive animals. Every experience seems magnified in my bunnies perception. Some of these things I have read about other people doing and some I just stumbled upon. As limited as he is, I don't want him to feel depressed or discouraged. I am probably anthropomorphizing, but if I can help him, I am bound to do so as his guardian.

I give him ice cubes in his water. I like ice in my water, so why shouldn't Big Brown? I also want to encourage him to drink more because his urine is frequently a bit too dark in my opinion.

I burn a little incense. I have an excellent incense called Super Hit that I burn in moderation. Maybe 1/2 inch to an inch at a time. Bunnies have quite a musky smell and their cecotropes are as funky as they come. I am hyper sensitive to odors myself, and I can smell the animals all through the house, so the incense was mainly for my own benefit, but I have noticed Big Brown perk up when he smells the fragrance.

I help him with his grooming activities. Yes we all groom our pets from time to time, but it really is an important bonding opportunity. Big Brown enjoys his evening grooming session which consists of being misted with water from about 2 feet above him. Then I take a dry washcloth and buff him briskly. During this, he often helps by licking and attending to the parts he can reach. If I find a bit of poo matted in the fur, I spray it directly and keep buffing him until it works itself loose. Occasionally I do have to trim the fur away, but I find that preferable to giving a bath for every little thing.

I massage Big Brown both by hand and with a little handheld massager. He lays primarily on one side, so I try to stimulate the down side and also rub his feet. I'm sure he is stiff and sore at times, but he cannot convey his pain to me, so I give him gentle massages and he loves it. I use the battery operated massager on his back and hip and sometimes his shoulders and feet. I sit him up in his stanchion for as long as he likes and let the massager do it's work. When he is done, he climbs off the stanchion and then I move him back to his other enclosure.

Speaking of enclosures, I have it pretty much figured out. I use 2 separate spaces for him. He needs one area for feeding and eliminating waste and another area for resting and chilling out. I use the baby pool with a piece of carpet on the bottom, then a pee pad, then the feeding stanchion and sometimes a towel for the kitchen/bathroom. Then I move him back to his cage which has pee pads on the bottom, them a 1/2" wire mesh framed screen, then his puff quilt, then a pee pad, then a layer of Sherpa. Sherpa is a synthetic fabric that looks a bit like sheepskin. It somehow allows the urine to pass through to the pee pad, but the fabric itself stays pretty dry. It's quite a few layers and I probably don't need the bottom 2, I could put the quilt right on the floor of the cage, but the flexibility is there if I do need it. My goal is to feed and wait for him to potty in the pool before he goes back into his living quarters, but he does have to eliminate waste in his bed sometimes, but it is fairly easy to clean.

I take Big Brown outside. He loves the sunshine and the breeze on his face. I have a simple sling made from a 9" cut of rib knit fabric. It is soft and stretchy and I loop it beneath his loins and hold the ends up and let him wander where he pleases. He needs some amount of mobility and I can see that he really enjoys it. An added benefit is that going outside and moving around almost always inspires him to urinate. This way, there is no clean up needed as he is correctly postured so the urine flow goes out behind him. It's a win-win! Here is a video of him walking in his sling:

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As I said earlier, Big Brown enjoys a nice breeze from time to time. I put the fan on low and point it in his general direction. He will position himself so that it's blowing right into his face, then he closes his eyes halfway and just relaxes.

I also play music, mainly for myself, but I like to think he enjoys it as well. Again I could be anthropomorphizing, but since he can't tell me any different, I would rather give him a lesson in music appreciation.
 

pani

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I can't imagine how much going out in his sling means to him. He's gone from mobile to very stationary, so being able to use his front legs to guide himself and explore must be a great experience for him. That video gave me the biggest smile.
 

lovelops

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You are doing a GREAT job. Never doubt it. I think you are a wonderful bunny mommy and keep up the good work. Never get discouraged. I took care of a paralyzed mother for years that was bed bound and know what you are going through with your bun. It difficult at times, but the pay out is worth it!

You are the greatest!

Vanessa

PS I put ice cubes in all my animals water bowls, rabbits and dogs included!!!
 

lovelops

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Opps forgot to post also, fans are important. Paralyzed animals and humans have problems regulating body temp. I was speaking to Coco Puff's mom about this in one of the posts, so keep an eye out and make certain they have enough air! I know my mom would over heat all the time and I would have to keep a fan going in the room to keep her comfortable, same goes for paralyzed animals... so you are on the right track!


Vanessa
 

fannymanson

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Here's an update of the recent happenings around here. First, I got laid off work last week. So there was some panic and scrambling and terror but now I have a plan and things seem more manageable. I will be staying home for a while and working on quilts and other sewing projects to sell. The nicest thing about this is that Big Brown is living in my sewing room with me and we are best buddies.

I take him outside every few hours for a potty break and it is practically the highlight of my day when he pees outside! It means one less pee pad I have to buy, and that is a big deal for me now that my income is less reliable. Plus it is a glorious sight to see how happy he is outside. He loves it!

Bobby is on a similar but different routine. I feed him in the enclosure with the 1/2" wire cage floor. He eats and relieves himself in there for 2-3 hours at a time. Then he goes to the backyard for most of the day, then back indoors for meds and dinner. Then he spends the night in a huge dog kennel that has a carpeted floor and a litter box. He will urinate in the litter box but not defecate so he can have a bit of a poopy foot and bottom problem. Bobby's balance is still wavering, and although I am still treating them with Safegaurd, I don't know if it is helping. I like to think that it is, but there's no way to know for sure.

I have found that managing their meal times helps me manage their potty situation. With Big Brown going outside to pee, it's almost like training a puppy. You know when to predict what.

Big Brown's skin is finally healed after having Fly Strike. I will update that post with more recent photos. For now though, here are some photos of my handsome boys hanging out with me..

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Azerane

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I was coming here today to ask about these two, it's great to know that they're doing well :) I'm really sorry to hear that you got laid off at work, that must be quite stressful.

I just wanted to say, because Bobby still has balance issues it might not just be about whether his medicine is working or not, but because EC also causes swelling, that may not have gone down yet, even if you've taken care of the EC. I know you can't get to a vet, but an anti inflammatory may help as well as it could be the swelling that is still causing some of the balance issues.
 

fannymanson

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Thank you for your encouraging words everyone, because I never expected to have 2 bunnies with disability issues, this has been a trial and error sort of journey.

Bobby has had a dirty bum lately and has had up to 2 butt baths a day. His urine is dark orangy colored and stains his fur. He still spends time outdoors every day and goes into his feeding cage for a few hours and then into a carpeted dog kennel with litter box for overnight. I am actually going to stop using the dog kennel for a while though, because it isn't doing his hygiene any favors. Plus I want to get another of those chenille finger bathmats for him instead of the carpet remnant.

I ordered a 20lb box of hay from Small Pet Select and it was delivered in 2 days. Price was about $43. I am adding a layer of hay across the cage floor of the feeding cage. This will let Bobby graze freely and give him a nice place to lay. Plus his urine can drain away from him and the droppings will fall through the cage floor when I fluff the bedding. So far this is working out pretty well and Bobby hasn't needed a bath since I started doing his cage this way.

I love these boys and I think they are appreciative of the help I am giving them. They have always been independent rabbits with lots of turnout time. Now that they are in confinement a lot more, I have to experiment to find what works best for their special needs. And what works best is also subject to change.

I got the idea from Suaz at Rabbit Wranglers to make Big Brown a "cuddle cup". I use a small Rubbermaid container lined with a 6x6 mini puff quilt that I made. Then I cut a pee pad to fit the bottom and them lay a piece of Sherpa fabric on it (Sherpa drains urine really well). Then Big Brown goes in the cuddle cup and he can go outside for 1-2 hours in the morning. I set the timer and check him every 20 minutes. One of the benefits of being laid off work is that I can fuss over my pets! Big Brown also spends quite a bit of time in his cuddle cup, he can crawl out if he wants, but I think it gives him security. He is supported on all sides and then I refresh the pee pad and Sherpa as needed.

Big Brown is also in cart training. He goes into his homemade cart for 10-15 minutes 2x a day. The cart rolls really well on pavement, but the grass gives him a struggle and he feels discouraged I think. I am worried about his muscle atrophy. He can crawl a little but it is hard for him and he flips and rolls on his back sometimes which scares me to death. I don't want him hurting himself even worse! I still walk him outside for potty breaks and have let several kids pet him. He is pretty suave with the toddler crowd.

His balance is still off and he runs crooked and falls or skids out in a crash. I am

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fannymanson

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Here are a few pics of Big Brown in his cart.

We used PVC pipe, lawnmower wheels, a wooden dowel, foam pipe insulation, a little pet vest with Velcro closures, and piece of plastic canvas from the craft store and embroidery floss to shape it into loops.

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ivy

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That cart is amazing and you are an amazing bunny mummy x
 

lovelops

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What a wonderful cart. You should team up with other bunny and small animal disability groups and show off your cart for your bun to help others and possibly sell
some for people who aren't able to make carts for their bunnies. I know I sure don't have the talent to make one. I read all the past few posts you have posted
and think you are doing a tremendous job for these two guys. They know you truly love and care for them and it shows! Keep it up!!!

Vanessa
 

JBun

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I love your cart! I'm sure he is loving being able to get around again :) And it should help build up those leg muscles again.

What two lucky boys! You are doing a great job in taking care of two special needs buns. Thank you for continuing to keep us updated on their progress. I love seeing the pics and hearing how they are doing.

If Bobby is still having mushy poop problems, often this can be attributed to too many pellets, or in a few cases sensitivity to a particular veg. As long as he is eating his hay really well, you can try cutting back some on pellets to see if it helps. Just make sure he has access to unlimited hay so he doesn't lose weight.
 

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