Lesson(s) I've Learned While Trying to Take Care of a Sick Bunny

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by BunnyMommy, Apr 18, 2004.

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  1. May 4, 2004 #41

    Buck Jones

    Buck Jones

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    We're all pulling for you and Sherman, Bunnymommy! Although I've never met Sherman, I almost feel like I know him because your posts about him are so vivid and real.

    You and your spouse are simply great people to be so loving and caring about one, not so little (LOL) sweet bun. Our Missy survived when odds were extremely stacked against her. We're praying for a similar healing of Sherman.

    If the vet does a culture on him Saturday, perhaps, then you will know exactly what it is that you're dealing with and what avenues to investigate. We spent a lot of money on Missy, but neither Helen, nor I, regret one single cent.

    I'm happy for Sherman that you guys seem willing to go the extra mile and I'm a firm believer in the aphorism, "what goes around,comes around." You will be rewarded some day, some way for the love and attention you are giving Sherman today.

    Buck
     
  2. May 4, 2004 #42

    BunnyMommy

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    Thanks so much, Pamela! :)

    I'll keep everyone updated.
     
  3. May 4, 2004 #43

    BunnyMommy

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    Buck, you are so wonderful. Thanks so much for those beautiful words. It means so much to have people like you and the rest of the "angels" of this board rooting forus while we're going through this.

    I just really appreciate you for all of the guidance and encouragement that you give.[​IMG]

    And as I said, I think on another thread, I can't thank you enough for having the integrity, honesty, and courage to giveme the"heads up" a couple of weeks ago to prepare me for the eventuality that Sherman might get ill again. Because I had time to prepare myself I've been able to deal with this situation with a cool head,develop a Plan B to ensure his health, and make appropriate decisions. Thanks again.
     
  4. May 5, 2004 #44

    Dawn

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    Bunnymommy I feel for you!! I wish you all the best with your bun bun. Its amazing how these littleguys and galswork their way in to our lives and hearts.



    Thanks all for the good advice on caring for a bunny!!:D
     
  5. May 5, 2004 #45

    BunnyMommy

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    Thanks so much for your encouragement and support, Dawn! :)
     
  6. May 6, 2004 #46

    batbunny

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    ditto...there's not much that i can say that hasnt been said, but bless you & your little guy. he is very lucky to have such a wonderful mom that loves him like you do!
     
  7. May 6, 2004 #47

    Carolyn

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    As they say here in the States: "You ain't whistlin Dixie!" Batbunny.

    Noooo Doubt, Sherman's hit the pot of Gold when Bunnymommy rescued him from the shelter months ago.

    -Carolyn
     
  8. May 6, 2004 #48

    BunnyMommy

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    Thanks, batbunny! I appreciate that. :)
     
  9. May 6, 2004 #49

    batbunny

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  10. May 9, 2004 #50

    JessicaRabbit

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    Sherman has lounging to do, so he better just get better!
     
  11. May 9, 2004 #51

    BunnyMommy

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    LOL! Thanks, JessicaRabbit! :D
     
  12. May 9, 2004 #52

    JessicaRabbit

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    I kind of have a love affair with your bun & Tucker, so I send out little bunny prayers. I really hope he's well soon.
     
  13. May 9, 2004 #53

    BunnyMommy

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    Ohhhhhhhhhh ... you are so sweet, Jessica!!! Thank you so much.[​IMG]
     
  14. May 10, 2004 #54

    Cher

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    Perhaps the greatest Birthday wish that we can all make as a group for your Sherman is HEALTH, HEALTH and a little bit more HEALTH- and with you as his most caring and well informed mother, he couldn't ask for anything more in life BunnyMommy! Your devotion and love is amazing, and most of all inspirational- I keep up on this thread and wheneverI thinkofsomething in a negative light, I only have to think of what you are doing... And it reminds me that there are indeed wonderful,thoughtfulpeople left in this world.

    Thank-you again and a gigantic hug (with some hidden raisins..) for Sherman

    xo Cher
     
  15. May 10, 2004 #55

    BunnyMommy

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    Ohhhh, HB104, thank you so much. You are so sweet. Your kind words are greatly appreciated.

    Sherman sends a hug right back and thanks you for slipping him a few of his favorite raisin snacks! ;)
     
  16. May 14, 2004 #56

    BunnyMommy

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    UPDATE! The test results are back, and Sherman gets a clean bill of health! :D

    DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical practitioner, so any observations in this post should be interpreted simply as a matter of my personal opinion. Any symptomatic treatment regarding your bunny should be done in affiliation with a licensed veterinarian under the auspices of established medical practices and good common sense.

    Now, that being said, let's get down to the nitty-gritty! As you all know, Sherman was adopted. Because I only had a marginal picture of his past medical illnesses and medical care, I became greatly concerned when he started sniffling on the day that we brought him home. In all of the research that I'd done before we got him, a common theme emerged in regards to sniffling and sneezing: Respiratory illness is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in bunnies if left untreated. Some may think that it was overkill to take as many steps as I did and to spend as much money as we have to ensure Sherman's health, but my personal philosophy is that he is now a member of our family, and it's our responsibility to make just as much effort to maintain his health and curry his longevity as we would for any other family member.

    I'm writing this very long narrative in the hopes that it will help others who have sneezing/sniffling bunnies and will give them a road map of the steps that they might need to take to restore their bunnies back to full and optimal health.

    Sherman started sniffling on the ride home on the day that we picked him up. I assumed that since he was outdoors when we went to get him and that the pollen count was extremely high that he was just having an allergic reaction. However, he continued to sniffle and eventually started sneezing too. I continued to check him for discharge from eyes, nose, ears, paws (from wiping his nose), but none ever materialized, so I continued to operate under the assumption that he just had "allergies". The sneezing and sniffling began to increase in frequency and finally, around the fifth or sixth day or so,I was on the floor playing with him. He sneezed and five or six droplets of thick yellow mucus were excreted onto my leg.

    Since one of the most definitive indicators of infection is a thick yellow discharge, I got on the phone to one of the 24 hour animal emergency rooms here, one of the best in the city, and spoke to a nurse and asked her if she felt that his symptoms warranted an emergency visit or could we wait until the next day during normal business hours. The nurse stated that rabbits were classified an exotic species and as such their physiology was very delicate. She confirmed that potentially a respiratory infection could indeed be fatal to our bunny and that he could decline quickly without warning. In anyways, they couldn't make a definitive diagnosis without actually seeing him.

    So at 11:00 p.m. that night we packed up my sweet baby and whisked him to the emergency room. There he was examined and diagnosed symptomatically. The vet was able to see signs of the discharge in his nasal cavity. His official diagnostic impression was "potential respiratory infection". He was prescribed Baytril suspension 20 mg/ml. We were instructed togive 1.0 ml orally every 12 hours for 10 days. The antibiotic was to be kept refrigerated, and we were to shake it well before each use.

    A word about Baytril (generic name:enrofloxacin): My research indicates that Baytril is one of the few antibiotics indicated to be well tolerated and effective with no negative side effects to the bunny. It's my understanding that the bunny's digestive system is very delicately balanced and any disruption in its normal operation can lead to death. Baytril can even be used long-term without detriment. For more information about Baytril, visit
    http://www.baytril.com .

    On the night of his ER visit, Sherman was also given a subcutaneous injection of fluids (in his ear). His discharge instructions stated, that "Sherman should be rechecked immediately if you see any signs of difficulty breathing, rapid breathing, lethargy, depression,diarrhea, or not eating/drinking."

    (*I must also emphasize here as an aside that the best veterinarian for bunnies is one who sees high numbers of exotic species as their physiology is so unique that it requires specialized care.)

    Sherman's symptoms cleared completely two to three days after starting his medication regimen. Fortunately for me, when I posted this to the board, Buck and Carolyn had the courage and integrity to tactfully inform me that there was a real possibility that his symptoms might recur and may even be incurable. Painful as this revelation was, I processed it, and filed it away for future reference.

    Sherman did very well for a week to 10 days after his recovery. Then it happened again ; a sniffle. I got a little apprehensive, but my husband told me not to lose my cool. It was just one sniffle. The next day it happened again; more than once. The day after that he was sniffling and sneezing, approximately four to five times in total that day. I again looked for signs of discharge.Nothing.

    The next day I called the vet. I was able to keep calm because I'd had time to prepare my mind thanks to Buck's and Carolyn's warnings but still, a little voice in the back of my head kept whispering, "Pasturella". Those of you familiar to the rabbit world know that this is a word that holds the resonance of many consequences, especially for those who breed rabbits. This is the dreaded of the dreaded in terms of respiratory infections in bunnies. For more detailed information on Pasturella, follow this link:
    http://www.rabbit.org/care/pasturella.html .

    I had three primary objectives in getting Sherman to the vet:

    � Treatment
    �A blood culture to definitively ascertain whether he had Pasturella or not
    �To discuss long-term therapy options if he did indeed have the disease(euthanasia was just not an option for me).

    Sherman had an in-depth physical examination and the blood test. The blood test portion of the exam alone came to$74.00. To accomplish the test, the vet shaved a portion of one of Sherman's legs and drew blood from there. He warned us that there might be a little bruising in the area. Sherman seemed no worse for the wear. The blood tests were to return in three to four business days.

    The doctor told us that based on his physical exam findings that Sherman was in excellent health, and that we were doing a good job of meeting his nutritional needs. He checked his vital signs,his lungs were clear, and there were no signs of discharge at all. There was just the sneezing.

    We were told that possibly Sherman had "allergies". He said that this could be due to any number of factors, i.e. dust from his bedding or hay, exposure to environmental allergens, and that indeed it was quite normal for some bunnies to sneeze every now and then just because. During the course of our conversation and as I began to ask the doctor more and more questions, it occurred to me that there was a possibility that the majority of Sherman's favorite hiding places probably were (ahem) a little dusty. He likes to hide under the treadmill, behind some of the furniture, under the sofa, behind the TV, etc.

    When we got home I got down on my hands and knees with a flashlight and inspected. I wasn't surprised to see that these were particular areas were rather dusty. We got down to spring-cleaning, moving furniture, vacuuming and cleaning carpets.When the carpet dried and we began to allow Sherman access again his symptoms immediately disappeared.

    On this morning the vet called and informed us that Sherman's blood test was completely clear; not only did he not have the disease, but he had never even been exposed to it.

    The moral of this story: Although everything turned out well for us, as bunny owners I think that it's always prudent to err on the side of caution. I'd rather be safe than sorry any day. A bunny's system is very delicate and they hide their symptoms very well, sometimes until it's too late. The story could very well have turned in another direction.

    Some points that I think are important:

    - A relationship with a veterinarian should be established in advance of a bunny emergency so that he/she will already be familiar with yourpet's medical history.

    -More importantly, it's best to establish a relationship with a vet who specializes in the care of exotics. Bunnies require a level of medical care over and beyond the traditional.

    -When bunnies exhibit signs of respiratory illness, it's good to get the opinion of a medical professional. Sometimes diagnostic testing is required.

    -Look for signs of discharge from the eyes, ears, nose, or on the paws from bunny wiping his nose.

    - Is the bunny acting depressed or lethargic? Is he eating/drinking normally?

    - MAKE SURE YOUR VET DOESN'T PRESCRIBE AMOXICILLIN FOR YOUR BUNNY. IT CAN BE FATAL. (A vet with real bunny experience wouldn't do this anyway.)

    -Carolyn gave Sherman a bottle of a product called VetRx[sub]TM [/sub](
    http://www.compasnac.com/cvp/14/1438/1438009.htm ). This may be helpful in alleviating yourbunny's symptoms.

    -Your bunny's respiratory symptoms may not be serious; then too, they may be. Err on the side of caution.

    Many thanks to all of you for your prayers, encouragement, and support during Sherman's illness. You are greatly appreciated.

    Hope this helps!

     
  17. May 14, 2004 #57

    Buck Jones

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    What a great and happy conclusion to a series of worrisome events. Yea, Sherman! If any bun deserves to live a full and fruitful life, it is your bun. Kudos to the both of you for sticking with him. Thank you so much for posting that supremely interesting account of the whole episode. We can all learn a great deal from your trials and tribulations.

    I am so thrilled and happy for you!

    Buck:D:D:D:D:D:D:D








     
  18. May 14, 2004 #58

    BunnyMommy

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    Thanks so much, Buck! As you can imagine, I'm floating in the clouds right now. :)When the vet called I felt as if a burden had been lifted.
     
  19. May 14, 2004 #59

    Carolyn

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    I've Never been so happy to be wrong.

    I have tears in my eyes.
    I know how you and your husband adore Sherman, and how he's totally taken on the role of your child. I swear, I've prayed for you and was afraid of coming into this forum to find out that Sherman wasn't well.

    I can't begin to express to you my joy and relief. As you would say, "I'm full."

    You HOPE this helped????

    Thank God!

    You could almost submit this as a Thesis. Very well written.

    I applaud you.

    -Carolyn
     
  20. May 14, 2004 #60

    BunnyMommy

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    Thank you so much, Carolyn. You and Buck especially and the rest of this forum have been true godsends to me through all of this.

    I'm not exaggerating when I say that I think of Sherman as my baby, so when I finally got the word that his symptoms were manageable I was ready to turn a cartwheel! :)

    It was good to go through this process, though, both for the sake of others who may be able to learn from our experiences and for ourselves so that we are prepared for any eventualities that the future may bring.

    Thank you again. A huge hug from both Sherman and me!
     

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