A Picture Instead of 1000 Words

Tigger Kicked BackThroughout the month of September we were dealing with on and off stomach issues with Tigger. She would be on and off her diet and need gas meds, pain meds, and force feedings of Oxbow Critical Care at times and syringed water. On the 24th, we wrote that she seemed to have turned the corner. Since then she has continued to improve and the picture shows that improvement.

With bunnies, we have learned that subtle behavior changes can signal their health issues more clearly if you watch them closely. When Shadow spends a lot of time cleaning his ears or has one ear up, one ear down, we know it is time to have the vet take a look at his ears for an inner or outer ear problem.

With Tigger, a clear signal that her tummy is fine can be seen in this photo. She is kicked back with her back legs stretched out and is lying full-out on her stomach out in the open. When she starts pulling her legs underneath her and looking like a bunny hen all the time, she is starting to have some issues and doesn’t want to lay on her stomach.  Especially if she does that in places where it isn’t easy to reach her, we know she needs some help.

Our key to keeping our bunnies going throughout their ten and half years is keeping a close eye on their behavior, knowing quite well what is and is not normal for them.  We have learned to recognize the small changes in their daily activity that can be signals of changes in their health.  Since both bunnies are elderly now, we keep a closer watch on them now than we did when they were younger and act more quickly if it seems something isn’t right. 

Being able to have more pictures like this makes life so sweet.

Nursing a Rabbit Through Stasis

Unhappy Tigger

Not quite my usual perky feisty self

Any time a rabbit absolutely refuses to eat or drink, get serious about it right away. Rabbits are constant foraging eaters and need that to keep their intestines moving. Anything that stops movement through the intestines can quickly lead to the death of the rabbit. This is one of those times to get thee to a vet ASAP since the causes of GI stasis can vary. You might be dealing with a tumor, infection, hairball, tooth problems or something else entirely. 

Expect if you are dealing with stasis that there will be a time of nursing your rabbit. This can include medications, force feedings, forcing fluids, getting subcutaneous fluids at the vet or possibly being shown how to give them at home. You will have to monitor how much your rabbit eats on its own and how much bunny is urinating and pooping. This can mean adjusting the rabbit’s living space or possibly separating a pair temporarily so that you can know who is doing what.

At first while your rabbit is really ill, they may not be themselves at all.  It may be a real struggle to get the bunny to cooperate with being medicated, force-fed, having their tummy rubbed, being cleaned up, so basically being regularly picked up and messed with.  You know how you feel about people poking and prodding if you don’t feel well.  The bunny may be listless, uncaring, grumpy, irritable, scratching, biting, wildly fighting or any combination back and forth.  Keep your calm and your patience.  As your rabbit recovers, their usual personality will return.  They just may seem like they really hate you while you are trying to save them.  Again, think about whether you have ever chewed out the doctors or nurses when you were ill.

Tigger is currently on a number of medications and holding her own.  She is eating and drinking on her own now and alternating between very tiny or very messy poops.  She is very grumpy and irritable today which is pretty normal for HRH Princess Tigger.  She has another vet visit early next week.  We will see if she needs further diagnostic tests or treatment.  Last August, she needed to have some sharp tooth points filed down.  That required anethesia for a good exam and to do the filing.  Anesthesia is risky at her age.  So, in conjunction with the vet then and now, we decided on other treatments first.   

Here is a great article to bookmark:  Nursing Your Rabbit Through Gastrointestinal Stasis (Information And Tips To Be Used In Conjunction With Ongoing Care From Your Rabbit Vet).

Working Through Stasis

Human asleep at deskThis has been a rough week.  Tigger sometimes has tummy issues where she is a little off and gassy.  However, last Sunday, she went more than a little bit off and towards serious stasis.

A vet visit brought us home with lots of meds, a four page set of instructions and a lot of dread.  We have been through this before with her last August and almost lost her.

It has been a stressful and tiring week, fighting for a bunny and with a bunny to get meds and food and water into her, then watching for bunny poops.  We have kept her moving and thankfully at this point have her eating again, running around and have some poops coming back.

Later today, I will have more on nursing a bunny through stasis.