Zoe update: the roller-coaster...

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by Jenk, Jul 31, 2011.

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  1. Jul 31, 2011 #1

    Jenk

    Jenk

    Jenk

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    Since bringing Zoe home from the vet's yesterday--and narrowly avoiding the euthanasia process--she's only passed three smallish fecals. They were moist and not bone-dry, which is at least a small plus.

    Still, by 7 pm, we found that she was again straining like before. I don't know if there's more fecal material to be passed (that moved farther "down the pipeline" after the other muck came out of her), or if something else (like the mass) is an issue.

    I know it's bad that she's not been eating much at all for days. And, yet, I'm scared to force anything down her. I've given her some very watery CC yesterday evening (15 mL's) and gave her a small bowl of some this morning. It's risky, though, since the protein content of CC irritates her digestive lining. (Talk about a Catch-22.)

    I see myself as having three options:

    1) have the vet give her another enema (maybe two) tomorrow (Monday). I'm not in love with this option because Zoe would likely have to remain at the vet's for the procedure(s), since they'd have to work it/them in around their schedule. And the vet giving them uses a catheter. (Yes, I tried talking her into using a pediatric ear-bulb syringe. She seems to think it important that the water enter the body in a timed manner and said that the syringe wouldn't allow for that like a catheter does. But to clarify, she told me she only inserts about 1/2" of the catheter; she's not been feeding great lengths of it into Zoe.)

    2) I attempt to give Zoe an emema (or two) at home today using the pediatric ear-bulb syringe. I admit that I'm scared to death to even try it. For one thing, I've never done it before and haven't even witnessed one given. My vet will not show me. (She lets me give sub-Qs and injectable meds. but draws the line at the enema; she's worried about the bowel being perforated. Can't say that I blame her for not wanting that error on her hands.)

    3) We leave Zoe to her own devices--only giving her sub-Qs, injectables, and a little CC today--and see how she is by tomorrow morning. If she's not improved, we could still make the same decision we'd originally made yesterday morning. :cry2

    Dear gravy, I am bone-tired from this roller-coaster ride. I used to think that things were up-and-down with Zoe's megacolon issues in the past, but I've never experienced such heartache, stress, and lack of sleep as I have been for the past week (or more).

    Jenk
     
  2. Jul 31, 2011 #2

    SnowyShiloh

    SnowyShiloh

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    I'm sorry to hear Zoe's rebound was short lived :( I remember reading a couple years ago that your girls tolerated fresh herbs pretty well. Could you maybe feed her some fresh herbs and hay? If she isn't eating hardly anything, it would make sense that she isn't pooping either.

    I too would be afraid to give one of my bunnies an enema :(
     
  3. Jul 31, 2011 #3

    Jenk

    Jenk

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    SnowyShiloh wrote:
    The only herbs Zoe's been fed are mint leaves and parsley. I stopped feeding her mint leaves long ago because it was impossible to find fresh ones consistently at the store. (They're usually over-drenched with water and going bad whenever I view them.)

    I can try feeding her more parsley today, but I think the only thing that will help is to fill her tummy a little. In terms of nothing coming out of her, I feel like I'd be adding to her blockage.

    I'm glad I'm not alone on this issue. I've gone further with her care than many people would, due to their squeamishness about working with needles. But when it comes to the thought of possibly puncturing Zoe's rectal wall, I get scared to take action.
     
  4. Jul 31, 2011 #4

    SnowyShiloh

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    Man, I have a giant peppermint plant in my garden that I would share with Zoe! Is there any way you could attach a soft flexible tube to the syringe for the enema? That way you could stick the very end in her butt and it wouldn't puncture her. Darn, I even have the perfect tubing for that leftover from draining baby bird crops last summer. If it works to empty a tiny baby bird's crop safely I'd imagine it would work on a bunny bum.
     
  5. Jul 31, 2011 #5

    naturestee

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    After a long stasis bout, I would expect her condition to go up and down for a bit before she fully stabilizes. So this is ok! So stick to fluids and any fiber you can get in to her. She will need fiber to help push the blockage out. Would she eat canned pumpkin?

    If you can get her to eat fresh herbs on her own, fantastic! If she would be willing to eat something like that on her own, it would be a great sign. The strong scents can make them more enticing even when the bun is sick, and stuff like parsley or any of the mint types are good for the tummy. You can also try stuff like basil or thyme, which are related to mint. I don't know what you have in your area, but I have a better time finding decent fresh herbs at Asian grocery stores than normal grocery stores.

    Even if it's something that would previously cause mild diarrhea for her (like fresh greens, if she had problems with them), it's not like that would be a bad thing right now, you know?
     
  6. Jul 31, 2011 #6

    Jenk

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    SnowyShiloh wrote:
    Actually, what I've read is that tubing is the more risky thing to use to give an enema. At least that's what Dana Krempels says and why she recommends using a pediatric ear-bulb syringe. But if my vet won't use the syringe, I have to go with what is.

    I have to keep in mind that Krempel's is not a vet. I wrote her more than three years' about about Zoe's condition, and she guesstimated that Zoe wouldn't live more than 1-2 years'. And here we are, four years' time from when we got her.

    Sadly, Zoe's urinating all over the place. She has urine covering her hind legs, butt and undercarriage. I'm patting it off with paper towels; I've read that wetting the area isn't good because the urine then gets to the skin that much more. I don't know what to do for her. I wanted to encourage her to gently exercise this morning, but it's hard to let her out into our living space when she's covered in wet urine. :(

    Someone advised that I give her 1 mL of olive oil to help break up and move along whatever fecal material may still be causing her blockage/pressure issues. I'm on the fence about this option. But I'm still not in love with the giving-an-enema-myself option, either.

     
  7. Jul 31, 2011 #7

    naturestee

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    Don't give oil. That's old thinking that rabbit "hairballs" are like cat hairballs that just need oily lubrication such as hairball remedies to help it slide through the system. Olive oil isn't as bad since it's digestible, but the indigestible petroleum or mineral oil remedies can actually make the problem worse by coating a blockage and preventing water from getting in and softening the mass.

    If you have cornstarch, that is what I use to give butt baths to dirty rabbits. Rub it into the wet fur, then brush it back out.
     
  8. Jul 31, 2011 #8

    Jenk

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    naturestee wrote:
    I was told that olive oil should, in theory, help to soften the mass. I've also read that that's what mineral oil does, which is why it's recommended for use in an enema.

    I'm so confused; no one has a clear-cut answer. Some say oil of any kind simply coats a mass; others say that it does help to soften it/break it down.

    I do have cornstarch and will use it on her fur today.
     
  9. Jul 31, 2011 #9

    Jenk

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    naturestee wrote:
    I've just given Zoe a lot more Italian parsley than normal. (She usually gets about 8-10 leaves, no stems.) So I gave her a good-sized bunch and included some stems; she ate all of it.

    I want to exercise her, but her urine issues are preventing me from letting her out into the house. Well, my only option would be to put a blanket on the kitchen floor for traction and let her hang out there.
     
  10. Jul 31, 2011 #10

    Jenk

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    So I'm iffy about giving Zoe olive oil or an enema.

    If you're bun were stopped up and peeing all over itself, would you still wait until the following day when the vet could give one or two enemas? I want to help Zoe as best I can and soften up the material still inside of her--assuming this is just an impaction issue and not the mass. At the same time, I don't want to inadvertently hurt her by trying to give her an enema myself. Ugh...


    Jenk
     
  11. Jul 31, 2011 #11

    Jenk

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    I gave Zoe 55 cc's of sub-Q's, along with her injectable meds. (Metacam, Reglan, and Baytril). She drank a small dish of Critical-Care (CC) flavored water and ate parsley. But she hasn't touched any hay but for a few pieces. Literally. She also didn't eat any hay except for a few pieces after coming home yesterday.

    I'm scared that if she doesn't already have ulcers forming, she will; she's not been ingesting nearly enough food for many days. And I've been scared to syringe-feed her the typical thickness of CC, since it badly irritates her digestive tract. And how do you keep pushing food when nothing's coming out the back end?

    She started acting blocked early yesterday evening and has not been passing anything and has been peeing on the floor while lying down. I'm scared to rub her lower gut. I tried it last night, which resulted in her straining harder as I did it; I quickly stopped.

    I'm also scared to try giving her an enema; I've heard too many warnings against it to attempt it myself. I'd rather that procedure rest in the vet's hands, even though the vet inserts 1/2" of a catheter. Still, I know it's bound to be a long, uncomfy day for her if I do nothing else for her.

    I feel helpless in the face of this situation once again. :(

    Jenk


     
  12. Jul 31, 2011 #12

    Nancy McClelland

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  13. Jul 31, 2011 #13

    Jenk

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    My DH and I wonder if Zoe's digestive tract has reached the point at which it--or at least a portion of it, likely the colon--has stopped working.

    With buns who have genetically-caused megacolon, it's thought that the nerves along the intestinal wall are missing, degenerating over time, or both. So it's possible that even though we're pushing motility drugs and fluids, things still may not work right.

    Oh, how I hate to even type that....


    Jenk

     
  14. Jul 31, 2011 #14

    naturestee

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    If she's willingly eating, that's great! Let her eat as much parsley as she wants. Don't do an enema, just see if letting her eat will help push things through. Patience!
     
  15. Jul 31, 2011 #15

    gmas rabbit

    gmas rabbit

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    broad leaf endive lettuce has lots of fiber but is not strong. Our vet used to give Timmy B vitamin shot and a cortisone shot to get his appetite moving, and therefore filling his gut and getting things moving. Their attitude was anything that he would eat to get the gut moving, romaine lettuce, parsley, endive anything, anything.
     
  16. Jul 31, 2011 #16

    naturestee

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    Yes, I have heard of B vitamins for that purpose too. My vet was of the same mind- any safe veggie that the rabbit would willingly eat was good in whatever amount the rabbit wanted. The bulk of the fiber is needed to push things through. It helps the rabbit's intestines work the way they are supposed to.
     
  17. Jul 31, 2011 #17

    Jenk

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    naturestee wrote:
    But on a good day, Zoe's developed very bad gas and even mucous from eating greens of any quantity. I realize that mucous is actually helpful in her current situation in terms of helping to move along the fecal material. Still, I worry that irritating her gut further will also make her not want to eat.

    Still, I'll consider it. And I know that my vet does use Vit. B to help with appetite. Honestly, the subject of it has fallen through the cracks this time around, it seems. I will ask about it tomorrow.
     
  18. Aug 1, 2011 #18

    gmas rabbit

    gmas rabbit

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    Okay if you ask about the B vitamin shot, as shots will not irritate the gut as bad as actually giving B vitamin supplement, why not ask about the cortisone injection at the same time. If takes the inflation out of the gut. Long term over several years it breaks down the cartilage and bones a bit but you are not looking at 5-10 years of injections. If muscous is a problem in her case childrens probiotics containing several different Lactobacillus and bifdobacterium should help. Part of the problem with colitius is the mucous, which is the antimune part of the disease.
     
  19. Aug 1, 2011 #19

    SnowyShiloh

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    Jen, have you tried the pumpkin like someone suggested up thread? Rory's the only one I've ever had to think about giving it to and he hates it with the fury of 1,000 suns but from what I understand, most bunnies like it. Wet and fibrous = good!
     
  20. Aug 1, 2011 #20

    Jenk

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    SnowyShiloh wrote:
    I haven't ever offered her pumpkin out of fear of how her gut would react to it. Megacolon buns definitely do better without fruit.

    I've been offering her a lot of parsley today. In fact, I'll give her another small handful tonight. But she's not touching any hay, which is perplexing, since she loves hay and still accepts parsley.

    BTW, Emma, too, dislikes pumpkin. Maybe we just have picky eaters.
     

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