Respiratory infection- HELP

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rabbit_friend

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My, you have had a lot to deal with! It is hard enough to care for a beloved bunny when there are good vets and support systems in place--your situation is so much more discouraging.

First, find out what the one-time injection is that the vet gave for e.c. If it is ivermectin (the only thing I can think of that a vet might use, although there is no one-time treatment for e.c.), it should never be given to a dutch rabbit and may have caused some of her problems. See, for instance, this thread: https://www.rabbitsonline.net/threads/no-longer-urgent-ivermectin-sensitivity-overdose-treatment-info-needed.58601/

I have had a rabbit who had head tilt, as it is called in the U.S. (also called wry neck). Strangely enough, he got it every time he went on antibiotics for an upper respiratory/sinus infection, but after 3 months on the antibiotic (marbofloxacin) he was normal again. He would curl up like a fox due to extreme vertigo from the vestibular disease. I had it around the same time as he did and it feels terrible. It feels like the whole world is spinning. We were both exposed to mold, which I'm sure brought it on. I wonder if Penny's "seizures" are actually just rolling episodes from vertigo. Meclizine would help if that's what it is. I cut a pill into the right portion for my bunny, then crushed it and syringed it in his mouth with some water.

I worry about the vet giving further steroid injections. That may have been what triggered the head tilt. Steroids are known to suppress the immune system and allow things like e. cuniculi to pop up if it's been dormant. That's why most vets say never to use steroids in rabbits, since most rabbits are thought to carry e.c and their immune systems are very sensitive to steroids.

I'd be careful with the panacur. First, most head tilt/vertigo is caused by ear infection (vestibular disease), not e.c. Secondly, for a sick bunny, Panacur can push them over the edge (that has happened with two of mine--they went downhill extremely quickly after the first dose). Those types of meds usually say not to give to a debilitated animal, though sometimes you have no choice. Supportive care, including subcutaneous fluids and anti inflammatory pain meds, is a must. If the seizures are really seizures from e.c., it means the organism has already migrated to the brain. Killing it with panacur causes lots of inflammation in brain tissues. Steroids can help with that short term but suppress the immune system which usually keeps e.c. in check -- a double-edged sword.

Please post what all these meds are that the doc has been giving, including the antibiotic (is she only getting these occasional injections for antibiotic, or also oral daily?).

There is a group called "On the Wonk" (or used to be) that is all about head tilt. They can give lots of advice, if still around.
 
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Penny's Mom

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Hey everyone,

It would make sense that she has vertigo, rather than seizures. Her head would tilt up and her eyes would scan the ceiling in a circular motion before she would end up curled up on her side.

This morning, she had about 5 episodes between 6 am to 11. Then, for some reason (I suspect that it corresponds with when she got meds yesterday), her episodes slowed down tremendously.

She’s had a handful of episodes between 11 am and now ( 9 pm), but they are much shorter. I’ve been able to just prop her up softly and gently help her straighten her head so it’s not tilted towards the ceiling and she breaks out of her spells quickly. Record time, like in the span of a few minutes verses 20 minutes or more earlier this morning and yesterday.

She’s being her sweet self (giving kisses, seeking pettings), albeit with less energy and with a tilted head. She’s eating her hay pellets, leafy greens, drinking water and using her litter box. She’s been semi-successful with making it to the litter box in time, she’s had no pee accidents but some poop accidents.

I will text the vet with updates tomorrow. She does seem better now than she did even this morning. I suspect, like some of you said, that she has vertigo and her head tilt came from antibiotics that she got from her respiratory infection.
 

Donna Standar

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Hey everyone,

It would make sense that she has vertigo, rather than seizures. Her head would tilt up and her eyes would scan the ceiling in a circular motion before she would end up curled up on her side.

This morning, she had about 5 episodes between 6 am to 11. Then, for some reason (I suspect that it corresponds with when she got meds yesterday), her episodes slowed down tremendously.

She’s had a handful of episodes between 11 am and now ( 9 pm), but they are much shorter. I’ve been able to just prop her up softly and gently help her straighten her head so it’s not tilted towards the ceiling and she breaks out of her spells quickly. Record time, like in the span of a few minutes verses 20 minutes or more earlier this morning and yesterday.

She’s being her sweet self (giving kisses, seeking pettings), albeit with less energy and with a tilted head. She’s eating her hay pellets, leafy greens, drinking water and using her litter box. She’s been semi-successful with making it to the litter box in time, she’s had no pee accidents but some poop accidents.

I will text the vet with updates tomorrow. She does seem better now than she did even this morning. I suspect, like some of you said, that she has vertigo and her head tilt came from antibiotics that she got from her respiratory infection.
I wish her all the best, sounds like she's doing better and that's a good sign.
 
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Ok, at this point your bunny needs you. And I mean it. Show your rabbit how much you care about it, give it love and affection, you may have to set up a cozy area with pillows and healthy rabbit treats. Just show your rabbit you love it and you won’t regret it one bit!
 

Penny's Mom

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Good afternoon rabbit parents,

Yesterday morning, I texted our vet updates, saying that she got really bad on Saturday night and Sunday morning, but got better Sunday afternoon through the evening.

We made an appointment for yesterday afternoon. As I go to put Penny in her kennel, she has another episode that lasts all through her vet appointment.

My vet shows me the impressive stack of books that he has consulted to try and help Penny. He gave her an anti-inflammatory injection, along with antibiotics and vitamin B. He said not good for Penny to be on her side, how her dizzy episodes could cause her internal damage by her losing control and rolling around.

He also mentioned how he's never seen this rabbit before I brought her in, which I did within the first month of adopting her just for a well-visit. This means that all of her previous owners (I am at least owner #4) never took her to the vet because he's the only vet available to the public in this country.

He said that her chances of survival were not good when she got her respiratory infection, and they are even worse now. He advised me to consider the welfare of my bunny by putting her to sleep if she does not get better soon.

I had a feeling that he was going to have this conversation with me, but I am optimistic. This bunny has the strongest will to live. Not once during her time being sick has she refused to eat or drink. Her curiosity and energy went down for sure. But she was still her sweet, affectionate self.

I take Penny home, feeling like she could possibly defy the odds. I drop her off and she's sort of able to stand on her own (wobbly and with an unnaturally bad head tilt). I come back home a few hours later and she has managed to roll across the room, she is on her side/back with her front paws in the air, poop coming out right next to her butt, barely breathing.

I thought she was dead.

My husband and I had a long talk about it and made the heartbreaking decision to put our beloved bunny to sleep. I texted the vet and we agreed to do it today.

We stayed with her all night, taking turns helping her eat and drink water (because her head tilt was so bad that she couldn't drink normally). She didn't go more than 10-20 minutes without getting a dizzy spell and ending up on her back or side. She would seem to forget where she was, but she would never forget me. She would seek pettings and always give kisses.

I woke up early this morning and spent time with her. She laid on my chest and I told her how much I loved her and wanted better for her. I wanted to take her with us to our next overseas location, I even started reaching out to airlines asking about how to transport her, and bought a flight travel kennel. I didn't want to give her up. She helped turn our house into a home, she brought such love and joy to me every single day. All I wanted was to make her as happy as she made me.

When we went to bring Penny to the vet together, I didn't bother putting her in her kennel. I swaddled her in her favorite blanket (it was originally my husband's throw blanket, but Penny claimed it) and held her to my chest. As I pet her, she put her head down to get more pettings and she would kiss my hand. We got her to the vet and even as he put her to sleep, she was kissing my hand and as I rubbed her little cheek, she would grind her bunny teeth in contentment. I told her how much I loved her and how sorry I was, that she was my little girl and she was the best bunny. I kissed her forehead and cheek and pet her a few more times. The vet found us after the second injection (as he didn't want us in there for that) and said that she did not suffer, that she passed away peacefully.

There was no option to cremate her, nor could I bury her at the house we live in (as it's a landlord's property). My sweet, wonderful little bunny will be buried at the local wildlife refuge. Once they are ready, they will show me where her final resting place is. Maybe I can plant a flowering tree nearby, though getting anything to grow in the desert will be difficult.

I am donating her kennel, food, pet supplies and the Panacur that will arrive by mail in the next few weeks to the vet. Maybe I will put a note with it to the new owners of her things. I haven't decided yet.

I wanted to thank everyone on this forum for reading my long-winded narratives and offering well-wishes and advice. You all made me feel like I wasn't alone during some of the hardest weeks of my adult life. I've never put a pet to sleep before today. It's by far the worst feeling in the world. I took this picture of us yesterday at noon, and it's one of the very few pictures I have of the two of us. I couldn't bring myself to take any pictures of her today.
 

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Marcella-Jaine

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Crying so hard right now.....I feel like I know you both and my heart is aching. I am SO SORRY. Penny will meet up with you again someday on the other side....until then, you were definitely loved by her and she knows you loved her....that is the best thing ever. To be loved. Binky in Heaven, sweet Penny....
 

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