Shadow’s Allergies and Respiratory Issues

Elder Shadow with Allergy & Breathing ProblemsThe last year and a half of Shadow’s life, he had trouble with allergies. During the spring and fall seasons when humans would be sniffling, sneezing and having a post nasal drip, Shadow would be sneezing too. We could tell he was also experiencing a post nasal drip, because like many humans, he would put his nose up higher in the air, stretching out his neck and then we would see him swallowing.

Shadow started to lose weight during the allergy seasons.  Blaine and I both have allergies so we could sympathize with a rabbit who either was dealing with things not tasting right or having trouble chewing, swallowing and breathing at the same time.  He went in to the vet at least every six months and we learned  the dose of antihistamine to give him as needed.  We monitored his weight and watched his eating more closely.  On the vet’s recommendation, we added some alfalfa hay back in to his diet to help him keep from losing more weight and put some weight back on.  We also started to feed him some old-fashioned oats as a treat from time to time and he appreciated the taste change of that too. Tigger in old age was packing on the weight, so we would sneak tasty treats to Shadow when Tigger wasn’t around to help perk up his appetite while keeping her access to treats down.

The difficulty with allergies in humans and animals is that the excess fluids that sit around can lead to infection.  So we kept on the watch for any signs of a sinus or inner ear infection: teary eyes or mucous in the eyes, blocked tear ducts, swelling of the eyes or around the eyes, wet nose or mucous around the nose or on the paws from rubbing / blowing his nose on them, holding the ears close to the head, pawing at the ears or shaking his head a lot. We also kept on the watch for any signs of respiratory distress or infections: again wet nose or mucous around the nose or on the paws, trouble breathing, wheezing, not moving around as much or lack of appetite.

The last six months of Shadow’s life, we dealt with a round of on again off again respiratory infections and he was on and off antibiotics on a regular basis.  The vet was very honest with us that his care at that point was hospice care. Shadow was too old  for some tests or treatments to be done safely anymore. His care was focused on keeping him comfortable and happy. He would have some times when his breathing was more labored due to congestion.   Most of those times did tend to hit on evenings and weekends when the vet was not available.

At those times, we did for him what we do for ourselves to ease our own congestion. We would turn on the shower with water warm enough to create a warm mist in the air without it being a hot sauna like steam. Once we had the bathroom air nice and misty, we would turn off the shower and take Shadow in for 5 to 15 minutes depending on how well he tolerated it. The first time it scared him, but after a few minutes we could see him swallowing and knew it was helping to clear some of his congestion.

After that first time, he was more at ease being there and each time helped him breathe more easily again. We double checked this treatment with the vet and she suggested continuing with it as needed and also adding a humidifier or mister to his main living area. She said that if these treatments along with the antibiotics didn’t continue to help ease the congestion that we might need to add some inhalation treatments. Inhalation treatments weren’t needed for Shadow. The misty bathroom along with the added moisture of the humidifier helped to keep his congestion under control.

It might seem like this time period in hospice was a really sad time. It was in the sense we knew our time with Shadow was nearing an end. It was also a very happy time, because Shadow was a sweet and very happy rabbit who was still quite active, bouncy and playful when he was feeling like himself.  He was his happy self most of the time until just that final week when things finally started to really shut down for him. We had so many fun times with him in those final months, enjoying his play and caring for him when he needed our help.

Tomorrow a gallery of images of Shadow and next week begins the stories of Portia and the challenge of bonding Tigger and Shadow.

Slight Delay …

🙁 As happens with humans, the fluid congestion from Shadow’s allergies has led to a slight infection.  We have been giving him Benadryl (in vet determined dose) to try to cut down the sneezing and congestion.  There must have still been a bit too much sitting around in his sinuses and he started to have some thick nasal mucus last evening.  So he got a trip to the vet first thing this morning.

Stay tuned! Tomorrow I will have the promised Etsy treasury full of items from some of our international Etsy Rabbits to lead off a total of six treasuries I will do showcasing one item each from the active Etsy Rabbits shops.  A few shops are currently on vacation or hiatus, but there are currently almost 100 shops from over a dozen different countries. 

There are so many wonderful items available from the Etsy Rabbits with a variety of  styles in art, crafts, jewelry, accessories, clothing, home decor and more …

Ahhhhhhhh Choo!

Hay Fever


Evil pollens are in the air!  Little Shadow and I are beginning to feel the effects of fall allergies.  He was sneezing on and off all day today.  I am having trouble sleeping and then my daytime energy level really suffers.  We switched out the filter on the air conditioning system today and hopefully that will help out a lot.

After Shadow had a really bad time in the spring allergy season, we consulted with the vet.  We now have the an allergy med dosage to try for him and will work to see if there is a level that will help him out without making him too sleepy.  I intend to take some allergy meds myself tonight with the hope they will make me sleepy.

On the Flip Side

Nap time for Tigger & Shadow

We pulled the sheet off our cage and now we are napping on it.

Tigger is still on the mend.  She is eating a bit more on her own each day and is a great deal more active.  She went from a flopped out zero speed to full out run last night.  She wanted to take advantage of an opportunity to zoom into the gate opening when we were coming into her area.  She took off upstairs for a while.  She has started to use the litter box again and has lost the poopy butt problem.

So, why did we go to the vet first thing today?  We had to take Shadow in.  Shadow has allergies and Georgia is having big time problems with high pollen counts this year.  The poor boy regularly sneezes and swallows a lot so we know he has a post nasal drip.  He has been in a couple of times this spring to be checked out for the allergies and ear problems.  The sneezes are usually dry irritated sneezes.  Late yesterday they switched over to very wet sneezes with a wheezy sound on the end.  We don’t need to have a bunny go from allergies to bronchitis or pneumonia, so off to vet we went.

The good news is that Shadow’s lungs are clear.  The vet says a lot of animals are having issues with pollen allergies here this year.  That doesn’t surprise me at all, since the human animals in our house are having a tough time with it too.  So we have all the doses for human and animal antihistamines now.  We have a prescription for antibiotics in case he becomes a great deal more congested.  There aren’t any exotic vets at any of the animal hospitals in our area, so they are helping us to be prepared in case he should get really sick on an evening or weekend.

Everybunny is now going to be getting feedings of Oxbow Critical Care.  It will aid Tigger to keep her GI tract moving.  The vet suggested some feedings of it for Shadow now too since he is having problems keeping his weight up.  He has lost a little more weight each visit the past few months.  His appetite is terrible which I can completely understand.  The allergies are probably making everything taste awful or he might have an irritated mouth and throat.  Poor bunny!