Last week was a week of heart attacks. Firstly, Toffee hurt his back leg, he was holding it up & not really using it. Immediately, I thought he’d broken it, heart attack time! Fortunately though, it is looking like he has badly sprained it. He is currently on painkillers for the next week possibly to be extended by another week. So far the painkillers are working & he is using it more & is now weight bearing a little on it. He is well in himself & is eating & drinking normally.
As if that wasn’t enough of a scare, Teddy started to show signs of gut stasis so I immediately medicated him, he perked up & things were looking good, but within 10 mins of my last check of him he had a rapid deterioration. The vet saw him within the hour & he was given more painkillers & a gut stimulant but unfortunately, when I was handling him before the vet visit I found a huge lump on his side. The vet checked the lump & it was hard & felt like it had twisted slightly. From the feel of it, it was suggested it was a tumour. That was heart attack time as the prognosis was grim. He was booked in for an op the following morning to open him up & see exactly what was in there. We had gone beyond X rays & ultra sound due to his deteriorating state.
The following morning came & it was nothing short of a miracle he’d survived the night. As I lifted him into his basket, I thought I’d have a quick feel of his lump – I couldn’t find it!! That was impossible if it was a tumour. At the vets Teddy’s lump was confirmed as still being there but it had significantly reduced. It had also moved position. This meant a change of plan as it was looking like the tumour was less likely & a blockage was now the front runner. Teddy’s Caecum was found to be very swollen too. As per usual my bunnies do not do text book as normally a lump that hard would not go squishy overnight. It was thought that the syringes of water I had managed to get down Teddy the night before had helped to move & possibly breakdown the blockage.
Teddy stayed at the vets all day having an X-ray, bloods & was put on a drip. He looked terrible when I left him. He improved slightly throughout the day & was doted on by the nurses & vet gaining many fans. He had improved enough to come home that evening but was still very poorly. Armed with my instructions & drugs for him we headed home & began what hopefully was going to be his recovery.
Teddy’s symptoms were:
- Not Eating.
- Lump. (Swollen Caecum).
- Really uncomfortable in any lying or sitting position.
- Not passing any faeces.
- Not drinking.
The medication area was set up & it was a full onslaught of his medications. These were:
- Pain Killers.
- Gut Stimulant.
- Syringes of water & potentially mixing in some Critical Care.
All were administered orally much to Teddy’s disagreement. We hoped now he was home he’d perk up but he didn’t. It seemed to me to be the pain that was not under control, I decided to even out his painkillers. I administered them 3x a day not leaving more than 8 hrs in between, this was in the hope he wouldn’t have a dip in his pain. So his first was 7am, then 3pm & last at 11pm. I also started to let him outside as he would eat grass & move about. Moving about helps stimulate the guts. It seemed to work. He improved day by day so after a chat with my vet I decided to back off some of the meds, the gut stimulant first as he was passing some faeces now. Administering them was stressful & not really helping matters, so reducing Teddy’s stress could only be a good thing. The first time I backed off, Teddy deteriorated so I increased the dosages back to the original. I booked him in with my vet as I wanted to know if the blockage was still there.
At the vets, the blockage was possibly still there, but perhaps it has shifted & reduced. It is not easy to tell, one thing for definite was that there was food in his guts. With the faeces not being normal it suggests there is still a blockage there. He didn’t show any signs of pain when he had his tummy felt. I asked if we could reduce his mediation, it was agreed we could reduce his medication to twice a day, so that would leave him 12 hours between each session. I was also to keep him moving & eaten as much grass as possible so more back garden time. Grass & hay is the best thing for him at the moment. I also needed to weigh him everyday as he was having a huge weight loss. We are looking for a trend in is weight rather than analysing the day to day weights.
Teddy’s symptoms 10 days on have significantly reduced & he is more or less back to normal. He is booked in at the vets on Tuesday for a check up of his guts. We need to know if his guts feel normal or is there still a blockage. All throughout this saga I have tempted Teddy with every food possible, I gave him small handfuls of veg throughout the day to peak his appetite & remind him to eat, which it did. The other bunnies also helped stimulate him to eat at feeding times, because everyone gets really excited, the ‘fever’ passed on to Teddy & he’d tuck in albeit giving up quickly.
One thing you need to remember with bunnies, when they are ill they can have a tendency to give up easily. So it’s up to you as a bunny parent to stop that from happening the best you can, keep at them but tailor it to your bunnies personality. Teddy is a fairly laid back bunny & needs a routine so he knows when to relax & this was good for his guts as there was no tensing all day. As he already knows that the medication desk means something is going to be done, he accepted something was going to happen, he did still fight me but knew he had to have whatever it was, he just didn’t have to be happy about it. I would highly recommend grass to any gut stasis bunny as it’s the most naturel food for the guts to process & has the added benefit of hydrating the bunny too. Obviously, this can be quite difficult in winter, I was lucky we had some grass that had not been mowed from last year so it was still quite long. If you can’t get them to eat grass, try all their favourite food & if that doesn’t work then I am afraid it is down the Critical Care route which requires making up a batch & syringe feeding them. Try to keep as calm as possible when doing this otherwise it can turn into a major stressful event for everyone involved, take your time.