No lamb, no garden, no immaculate conception but there IS something about me.


Bunday SUNday: Crash course in bunny GI emergencies

If you want to know about my rabbit's latest "trying to die" escapade keep reading. If not, I'll be back later with a running update. Or maybe a clothes update. Or maybe both.

Last night was the second biggest scare I've had since I got the bun, following closely behind the time she tried to kill herself by eating my Macbook Pro power cord.

I was gone most of yesterday and she was completely fine when I left early in the morning. I got home around 5 and opened her hutch to let her out and sat down on the couch with my computer. I didn't pay attention to her much at first but she didn't come out right away and when she did she laid on my IT box (I have a fabric covered box I cut hole in the back of and have my routers and cable connectors in there vs being in a mess on the floor and she loves laying on it) for a while by the air conditioner, then got up shortly after and went into her crockpot box that she likes to hang out in (it's too funny for me to get rid of). She was in there for a little while and then came out and stretched out on the edge of my area rug. That's when I really started to notice her because she seemed really uncomfortable and she was stretched out and kept flopping from one side to the other. When I really took notice was when Trixie jumped over her and she didn't even move which never happens, usually that triggers Nascar laps around the coffee table.

Shortly after she went back in her box and I was now really worried so I got out her bag of yogurt drops which usually has her running and she completely ignored me. I pulled her out of her box and she was really listless and her eyes were glassy. I put her on her back in my arms to pet her because that usually comforts her and shortly after I did she had diarrhea all over my leg (FYI rabbit diarrhea doesn't smell like anything in case you were wondering). I put her back on her stomach on my lap and she just layed their not even trying to move.

Cue me freaking out at this point because diarrhea is extremely dangerous for rabbits. They typically have very hard, small stool (little cocoa puff pellets) so diarrhea means that they are losing fluids from their body very quickly. Rabbits have a very sensitive GI tract that needs to be kept moving at all times or else they will suffer from GI stasis that can turn fatal very quickly. Too much fluid loss will slow the GI movement down or stop it completely which can lead to necrosis (death) of their internal organs. Add in the fact that I had no idea how long this had been going on during the day or the last time she had eaten in with the fact that she is only 3.5lbs and it was a pretty serious situation. Rabbits, like horses and rodents, also lack the ability to vomit so if something is upsetting their stomach it has to move through vs out.

I have always prided myself in being calm and level headed in emergency veterinary medical situations as I had been trained to be for years but if it's my pets, forget it. Any knowledge or experience I have quickly goes out the door and I go right to assuming the very worst and want to get them to a veterinarian ASAP and am usually a blubbering, sobbing mess while doing so. I called the emergency hospital here in Syracuse to see if they would see her because I have been in there a lot recently for work and I know they sometimes have a doctor on who isn't necessarily trained in exotics medicine but who will be willing to see her anyway, otherwise I would have to rush her to Cornell which is about an hour away. Luck was on our side though and one of the doctors agreed to see her.

All told from start to finish I had her at the emergency room within 15-20 minutes of figuring out she was sick. The technicians there were really nice and ignored the fact that I was a crying mess and took very good care of her. She was really uncomfortable and I could tell because she kept digging at her blanket and sitting hunched up with her belly tucked in. I was really concerned that it was a foreign body since she does like to eat random things that I don't even know how she finds but the doctor said her stomach felt empty with no obvious mass which also ruled out trichobezoars (hair balls). She offered to do rads (x-rays, for the record, are the beams that take an image called a radiograph so it's been beaten out of me to call them x-rays) but cautioned me that she may not be sure of what she was looking at since the emergency hospital only took 3-4 rabbit rads a year. She thought that it was probably a bacterial infection or a virus (I am still suspecting hair balls issues despite her belly being empty) so I agreed with her that supportive care would be the best route and I would take her to her regular veterinarian on Monday (where I used to work so I know they are very familiar with rabbits) if it persisted. She got some subcutaneous fluids under her skin to help get her GI tract moving, some injections of pain meds and antibiotics that we were also sent home with and we were on our way, one stoned bunny and $250 poorer.

I cleaned her hutch when I got her home so that I could monitor any eating or pooping and she was pretty out of it most of the night. She ate a little bit of hay but not enough to make me happy so I syringe fed her Critical Care several times which is never her favorite thing. I checked on her several times during the night and she was bright eyed and happy at 3am and actually took a treat. This morning there is a lot of poop in the pan (really, aren't you glad you've read all about my rabbit's pooping?) and she is a happy normal bun. I think, cautiously, that the crisis was averted. Thank goodness.

For the record, rabbits are awesome and before getting one I worked with them for years and had no idea how much fun they could be because they have such awesome personalities when fostered properly. But good lord they are EXPENSIVE. She was actually a gift to me but the cost to purchase her was $39.95. Over the last year that I have had her I have spent easily $1000+ on veterinary care for her because she needed to be spayed or she broke a toenail at the base or she tried to kill herself or she tried to kill her GI tract...sigh. This rabbit.

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