Following Up On Follow Friday – Vet Visits

Tigger GhostHaving read through BunnyHugga’s guides on How to Train Humans, I swear that our Miss Tigger was the ghost writer for the one on Vet VisitsOne of the first suggestions, one rabbit to another, is to make as much mess as possible.  This had been Tigger’s hugely successful MO. 

In the carrier on the way to the vet, she lets loose with absolutely everything she’s got.  We always arrive at the vet with the wettest, stinkiest, messiest rabbit you could possibly imagine.  If they didn’t know us well, they would think we weren’t keeping her clean at all.  We have started to travel with the carrier bottom filled with litter, multiple towels and at least part of a roll of paper towels.  We know once we get to the vet, there is going to be a huge clean up needed to make Tigger even remotely touchable.  I would like to say that I am able to accomplish this clean up without any transfer of substances or smell.  However, Tigger makes sure that I get a good sample of everything.  Its guaranteed that by the time we reach home between my clothing and the bunny towels I take, there is going to be a washer load needing to be done.

The second thing suggested for rabbits is to let loose on fur, so much so that everyone thinks an Angora rabbit is in the room.  We have never been able to figure out how Tigger manages to open up all her fur follicles, but she does.  There will be fluffy floating clouds of fur in the room by the end of any vet visit and everyone is has a runny nose and is coughing and sneezing whether they have allergies or not.

Then there’s the aftermath, where the rabbit must observe a grievance period against humans. Tigger always comes out of her carrier and thumps, does that little head toss with the look and then turns around and does the flicky feet thing as she hops off with that aggrieved hare air. It takes awhile before she forgives us and we are allowed to approach HRH Tigger again.

There are a couple of things unique to Tigger’s vet visits that weren’t in the article.  So if she ghost wrote it, she held a few things back for her use only.  On one visit while we were waiting, after I cleaned her up, I gave her the cardboard roll from the now used abused and discarded paper towels.  I thought she would play with it or chew it and keep herself occupied.  She definitely kept herself busy.  She retreated to the back corner of her carrier and used the towel roll like a baseball bat to blast the sides of the carrier.  Thwack, thwack, thwack was repeated on and off the whole time we were waiting.  We were in an exam room at the end of a hall with the door closed, but she was making so much noise, the vet techs kept coming in every five minutes or so to check that we were okay.  Yeah, no problem, just a Tigger tantrum going on.  Thank goodness she isn’t a biter!

The other thing Tigger does is a huge guilt trip before we even get home.  Tigger hates to be picked up and held.  So at the vet, I would always get her out of the carrier, put her on the scale for the techs to weigh her and then try to put her back in the carrier until the vet would come in.  Tigger fastens herself to my shirt and makes it quite clear that I am not to put her down.  One time, I didn’t pick her back up fast enough and she leapt up into my arms.  Now I don’t flatter myself on this, she has clearly decided that I am the lesser of two evils.  However, it is a huge guilt trip having those big brown eyes looking at me as paws and claws cling.  Putting her down for the vet makes me feel like a hard-hearted beast of a human.

Good luck fellow humans.  House rabbits think it’s a bunny world, and we just live in it!

Tough Tigger

Tigger cleaning up

Must get the human cooties off of me!

Early on during this past weekend, it really looked like we might lose our Tigger.  She has had issues with going off her food throughout her life.  She has been in to the vet at least once a year all of her ten years.  There has never been a clearly defined reason or cause found. 

What makes it really hard is how quickly it hits.  She will be eating everything in sight, running around and playing with no signs of feeling ill at all.  Then she will go in for the night or  lay down for an afternoon nap and it is like a switch has been thrown. 

The next morning or after her nap, Tigger doesn’t want to eat, drink or move.  It has seemed like a gassy tummy issue on many occasions.  Per the vets instructions, we would give her Simethecone, extra water, tummy rubs, get her to move around and switch to hay only.  The problem would usually clear up in a few hours or overnight and she would be back to normal.  We have watched for any common denominator in foods or activities, but there seems to be no identifiable pattern. 

This past year, the problem has been more severe and she gets quite ill and takes days or weeks to return to normal.  She has seen the vet a lot.  She has been checked out head to toe, had tests, and been put under anesthesia twice for tooth exams and had a couple filed down to be sure they weren’t the cause.  The anesthesia makes me so nervous since that is riskier at her age. 

This weekend she took her afternoon nap and when it came time to wake up and run around again, she seemed completely unresponsive to everything around her. Poor Shadow was licking her from head to tail without any reaction on her part.  Then he pawed at her trying to get her to respond to him.  She opened her eyes wider, but that was it.  We separated them and went to work giving the pain meds and Simethecone in the vet prescribed doses and then syringe feedings of water and Oxbow Critical Care.  In between we would offer Tigger  parsley, a favorite, and a variety of hays.  She seems to eat when we offer things to her and hand feed her.  We have also been giving her tummy rubs.   

Late yesterday, she started to show some temper over being medicated, fed and cleaned up.  Our Tigger is coming back again, at least for now.  We are winning battles to keep her with us, but realize that at ten years old, losing the war is closer than we would like it to be.