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One of our boys is sneezing

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Cyber-Wizard

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We adopted Bert and Ernie from the local humane society almost 5 years ago. They're neutered, and from the same litter. They just turned 8 in July and have been the best of buds for the last 5 years.
A few weeks ago we noticed that Bert was sneezing occasionally. We'd hear one or two a day but some days we'd hear 6 or 7 in a row along with some occasional coughing. We did the usual stuff to see if we could help him. We increased the household vacuuming schedule, put a HEPA filter in their bedroom, and brought in some fresh hay. When that didn't help we took him in to the vet. We live in a town with a university vet program and we've got a really great rabbit savvy vet at Campus Estates Animal Hospital. We got a 7 day dose of Baytril and it looked like it was mostly cleared up by the end. A week or two later the sneezing and coughing increased again and the vet gave us a 14 day dose of Baytril. We have about 3 days left in the medication and we're seeing only a slight reduction in sneezing. Of course we aren't always home during the day but we try to watch him pretty closely when we are. We've noticed that he's making more old man noises when grooming or retrieving his cecals. He was wheezing a bit when we picked him up to give him his medication but that seems to have cleared up.

Equally strange is Bert's newfound fascination with humping Ernie. He won't leave him alone. When they're in the living room with us in the evening he chases Ernie around and we hear them scrambling about under our bed at night. Bert is behaving normally in all other respects. He eats and drinks normally and still runs around exploring all the time. He doesn't seem in any discomfort even when he's sneezing. He often grooms his face right after a sneeze but we haven't noticed any discharge from his nose.

If we haven't seen significant improvement at the end of our 14 day course of meds he has to go back in to the vet for another look see. Given that we're so close to the end and seeing only slight improvement, I thought I would ask here to see if anyone had any additional insight.

If you've made it this far you deserve a treat. Here's a rare poop-free photo of the boys.
 

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Mariam+Theo

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I would say ask your vet, but you already have, hmm. Maybe get a second opinion at a different vet?

@JBun will probably be able to help.
 

Cyber-Wizard

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I suppose I'm really just being a nervous papa and fussing more than needs be. I have the info from the vet, I'm not sure I expected any better info anywhere else. Maybe I'm just seeking solace.
I did notice this morning that the Baytril bottle states that they will refill after 14 days if there are still symptoms. The vet explained that Baytril is only good for about 14 days once prepared so they can't give out a larger dose. I guess her plan is to finish the 14 days, reassess, and issue another batch of Baytril if required. Sounds like it's normal that we might do this for an additional dosage period and my brain is just expecting everything to be fine after 14 days and worrying that he's not already completely better after only 11.
 

Maki_p29

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Hmm maybe they should try a culture of the infection to see what medicine is best to fight the infection. Maybe also a tear ducts flush. Sometimes dust or stuff can get into their tear ducts and cause infection/ sneezing.
 

Cyber-Wizard

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I'm thinking that I might build a hay box this weekend that has some small fans and a filter in it to see if I can't minimize the dust in our hay. Ernie is unaffected but that's not to say that it's not still affecting Bert.
We did see a very small bit of discharge from one of Bert's eyes a week or two ago. Since we didn't see it again we didn't give it a lot of thought.
I'm really hoping that we get it cleared up soon and that whatever discomfort he's feeling is the underlying cause of this sudden behavioural change that has him humping Ernie all the time.
 

Cyber-Wizard

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We finished out two weeks of Baytril without any significant change in the sneezing. On our return visit to the vet they did a tear duct flush and when we got home he was in tip top shape. A complete change in his behaviour and he was back to normal. We got a two-week course of Metacam and some antibiotic eye drops for Bert to endure.
At the one week mark Bert had a complete relapse. We woke up at 4AM to him sneezing in what sounded the most painful manner. We counted between 20 and 25 sneezes together in rapid fire.
Yesterday morning when we got up he wouldn't eat or even come out from under our bed where he and Ernie sleep. We eventually got him out but he was incredibly skittish. We couldn't get anywhere near him to give him his medication. This isn't uncommon if one of them is in GI stasis so we tried giving him water. By mid-afternoon he still hadn't eaten anything and was most adamant that he didn't want any more water so I called the vet and got him booked in.
They flushed both tear ducts again and said that the right one unplugged but the left one wasn't flowing as well as it should. Clearly there was still some inflammation.
They sent us home with some motility drugs and Critical Care. He took the drugs and the Critical Care eagerly and ate hay throughout the evening finally using the litter box after a few hours.
Bert and Ernie both slept under my chair last night (and they are none to happy about that!). We roused Bert to give him his medication but he said it was too early for breakfast so he pooped and went back under the chair to the little nest of hay we built for him.
We're going to finish the week of Metacam and eye drops and then go back for x-rays and a better look for any dental problems if he hasn't made a full recovery by then.
 

Maki_p29

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Wow, what an ordeal Bert, Ernie and yourself have been through the past few weeks 😞. I hope each of them feel better soon!
 

Shawnna

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Lost my younger bun a week ago and since then the 12 year old Sunday is doing the same thing as Bert. He also has hiccups. Quiet during the day and around 11 pm, gets what I call manic nut bun. Wants to chew walls, cardboard, super hungry. I know he cant miss the other bun, they hated each other and would fight.

As far as vets go, closest that will take a rabbit is 100 miles away. That stress of going for a drive I worry would kill him.
 

Cyber-Wizard

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As far as vets go, closest that will take a rabbit is 100 miles away. That stress of going for a drive I worry would kill him.
I know what you mean. Our vet is only 20 minutes across town and that drive with the boys buckled in the back seat is the most stressful trip I can imagine. I couldn't fathom having to take them further. We're super fortunate to have a Veterinary College right here in town so we have a good bunny vet and we also have the option of going to the college vet clinic if we have to.
Ernie whacked his head on one of the legs under our bed and knocked himself silly while running around in the dark at 2AM. We rushed him to the emergency clinic without Bert and they didn't speak to each other for a couple of weeks. Now we always take them to the vet as a matching set making the drive a little more stressful.
(I put large cardboard tubes around the bed legs and we have a night light for them now to avoid any future bonkings)
 

Momma Luvbun

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I would request blood work and x-rays.
When my bun began sneezing I tried finding out what the cause was to no avail.
She didn't show any signs of discomfort and did her normal bunny stuff.
Then a few weeks later I noticed she was always laying at my feet. (More than usual) then her appetite started to go.
I then noticed she began holding her head up and pushing her nose up into the air as if she couldn't breathe.. so it was time for the vet.
I was given critical care , some antibiotics and some pain reliever.
Home for 7 days then back to the vet because there was no change for the better.
The worst though was her mobility, or lack there of.
Sadly while waiting in the room for the vet to come, my bun kicked out so i ripped the top off of her carrier, put my hand under her head while I stroked her with my other.
She took her last breaths a few moments later 🥺
The vet came in, took my girl and came back to give me her condolences 😲💔

She told me she did take x-rays and saw there was gas buildup and sludge but couldn't tell me what caused her to pass and that she'd do blood work. I declined because it wouldn't bring her back.
So I brought her home to her husbun and feline for them to say goodbye before I took her to the crematorium.

I hope this isn't the same thing that is going on with your bun... But I wanted to tell you my story so maybe you can get blood work and x-rays done, and that it may tell you how to progress from there.
Good luck and keep us updated 🌼
 

Momma Luvbun

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@Momma Luvbun oh my you have me in tears! So sorry! I will get back on this. overcome
Thank you.
It was very heartbreaking to say the least. But I'm glad I was with her and after a yr of getting of my broken heart we opened our home up to a new little Lady for my boy, and he and their feline love her just as much 💙
 

Cyber-Wizard

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Bert has finished up his two weeks of Metacam and Tobrex eye drops. He quite enjoyed the Metacam, the eye drops weren't his favourite thing but he's a tough little bun.
5 days ago he had a violent sneezing fit that had me calling the vet to book in the dental examination and skull x-ray that they suggested. I was completely convinced that the medication wasn't doing any good. They are busy enough at the moment that we can't get him in for those procedures for at least two weeks.
Since then we've heard only a couple of sneezes from him. He seems healthy enough as he's eating, pooping, and playing but I don't want to wake up one day to discover him in pain again like we did a few weeks ago.
We spoke with the vet last night and they recommended we give him another anti-biotic in a different spectrum to try and kick this once and for all. Our next step will be to go ahead with the dental exam and x-ray or take him to the veterinary college for an MRI once there's an opening. Since we can't do either of those procedures at the moment the different anti-biotic is sort of a stopgap measure. COVID has the college all but closed so they aren't as available as they usually would be and the vet is absolutely swamped. Each time we've taken the boys there there has been a steady stream of people dropping off and picking up pets. Even the time we took Ernie at 2AM, when he knocked himself silly bonking his head under the bed, there were 4 patients waiting ahead of us and several came in behind us.
Since he seems to have been much better over the last couple of days we're going to pick up the new antibiotic today to see if that quells the last of the sneezes while we wait for a spot to open up for the dental exam and x-ray (or the MRI)
He eagerly gets up for breakfast now and will come running for a little bit of banana. We're seeing lots of poop so it seems like he's almost fully recovered. There haven't been any sneezing fits over the last few nights, or they've been short enough that they neither of us woke up to hear them.
 

Cyber-Wizard

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Bert has finished up his two week cycle of Sulfatrim (he disapproved strongly of that! Nasty stuff!).
The vet has called us a few times for updates on his progress. As of today we haven't seen a sneeze in about 4 days. The Mrs said she heard 3 or 4 from him in the middle of the night about a week ago but there were only one or two single sneezes after that.

The sneezes in the night are when they are cuddled up under our bed. Sometimes we forget to vacuum under there every day so the carpet can get a little fuzzy and they might just sneeze anyway.
I guess at this point we monitor for recurrence to see if he's better or if we have to start looking for a dental problem.
Fingers crossed!
 
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