BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > DIET & CARE > Help with Sick Bun
Last Post by NikitaSue20 at 10/13/2012 6:05 AM (35 Replies)
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User is Offline joen05
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8/28/2012 6:34 PM

Recently, our bun Leo started not eating and wasn't pooping.  We got him on critical care immediately and scheduled a trip to the vet.  First vet said she thought it was impacted cecum, and gave us some meds for her GI.  We kept her on this for about a week and kept up the critical care, but to no avail.  A second trip to the vet was much more traumatic, the vet said he probably had cancer and we should just put him down.  Perscribed cisapride and sent us on our way, after being quite confrontational.

I wasn't satisfied with that (we were bringin him to a vet my sister was bringing him to), I sought another opinion and found a highly recommended bunny vet nearby, and brought Leo there.  To our surprise (and a bit of anger at the previous vet for not mentioning it or checking), Leo was actually female. Not what we expected.  Well the vet took some xrays and found a mass in her abdomen, and says she thinks it is uterine cancer, which had not spread according to the xray.  She perscribed meds to help with the bout of GI stasis, gas, and pain, and said she must start eating before we can do bloodwork and a spay.

Well it has been about 5 days since our visit and Leo is still not eating regularly.  She has pooped some, but it is generally very dark and not like it was before.  I don't see any blood in the urine, but she is grinding her teeth and seems less active than she was before.  I try every day to get her to eat some fresh greens, and have tried many types, but I can't intice her to do more than just chew a bit before she turns her back to me and wants no more of it.  She will generally lick food and then stop.  She is getting plenty of critical care but we need her to start eating! 

Should we try the spay regardless?  Not sure what to do, my dad really loves these buns and doesn't want to lose her! 


User is Offline LittlePuffyTail
New Brunswick, Canada
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8/29/2012 1:08 AM
I'm sorry to hear your Leo is so unwell. It's very frustrating dealing with a bunny who won't eat. Have you tried offering some fragrant herbs like parsley or cilantro? You could also try mushing up some pellets with water and mixing it with applesauce or baby food.

Whether you go ahead with the spay will ultimately have to be up to your vet. The vet will have to determine whether Leo is strong enough to undergo surgery. Definitely get pre-spay bloodwork done ahead of time.

I wish that I could be more helpful. Please keep us updated.

((((((Get Well Leo))))))))
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User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
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8/29/2012 2:06 AM
You are in a tough situation. Did the vet give you pain meds? She sounds like she is in pain.

I think you really don't have many options if she has uterine cancer, you can either have her spayed and hope they get all the cancer or let her go if she is suffering - it's a tough thing to do and you really need to have a very honest talk with the vet for Leo's sake so she doesn't suffer one way or the other and the sooner the better since she sounds very ill.

Vibes to Leo.

User is Offline joen05
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8/29/2012 2:33 AM

To answer some of the questions, yes she was on metacam for 5 days, got her last dose yesterday evening.

When checking in on her this morning, she had pooped more than she had been in the past few days, but it was still much darker than usual.  I do not know if this is because she is only eating critical care.  No interest in regular food this morning either, so we syringe fed her again.  She's very squirmy and seems to be quite strong when it comes to that.  She was also more active this morning than she has been in a few days.  She was especially active for a little bit when I introduced her to a new room yesterday.  I am going to try to get some new hay, to see if that will pique her interest.  I may also try the applesauce trick, is there a brand that I should be using?  I imagine some sort of sugar free applesauce?

I have tried parsley, cilantro, basil, green leaf lettuce, green pepper, broccoli, and dandelion greens.  The first day I got each of them she would eat a little of it, then stop.

Thank you for your support!


User is Offline IsabellaRobyn
Scotland
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8/29/2012 3:42 AM
((vibes for leo))

I wouldn't give her broccoli as I've read a few times it can make some bunnies gassy.
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User is Offline RabbitPam
South Florida
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8/29/2012 3:50 AM
I'm so sorry Leo is in such a bad way. I was glad to read that you took her to a much better vet for a second opinion. I agree that it's a tough call and must be made between you and your vet.

It occurs to me that if you went ahead with the spay, your vet would be able to determine if the cancer is contained and there is hope, or if it has metasticized. In that case, where she is indicating she is in pain by grinding her teeth, you may need to decide to let her go right then. Or, if her pain persists even while on metacam, it may indicate that the cancer is too far gone to risk trying a procedure with anesthesia. I'm sorry to sound so hopeless, but I think her level of comfort and well being in your loving home might be the determining factor for what you decide to do for her each day. If she is eating the critical care and doesn't want other food, I would let her eat what makes her comfortable.

She is very fortunate to have a family like you and your Dad who love her. Sometimes it's all we can give them. Consult your new vet and ask her assessment of Leo's condition and options, and let her help you decide.
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User is Offline joen05
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8/29/2012 4:08 AM
Well, according to the xray that was taken, it hadn't spread yet. I believe that the vet has not proceeded with the spay yet due Leo's lack of eating, she wants her to regain some strength before putting her through it. We are doing our best to make her comfortable, keep her fed and observe her behaviors. The vet has said that we will give it a little more time, but if she does not start eating normally she thinks it may be best to let her go. :-(

As for the broccoli, I had heard that as well, I am just going through the list of greens the vet had said would be ok for Leo.

I am glad people are so responsive here, I wish I knew about this earlier! And on better terms. :-/

User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
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8/29/2012 4:25 AM
Broccoli is fine - rabbit's gi tracts are not the same as humans and the most important thing is to get her eating. It sounds like you have a very good vet that you trust. I hope you can get her eating and treated...it's so difficult to make the decision when it is time to let them go, but it sounds like you can trust your vet to help you make that decision.

User is Offline IsabellaRobyn
Scotland
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8/29/2012 4:29 AM
Posted By Sarita on 08/29/2012 07:25 AM
Broccoli is fine

Are the websites just misinformed?  I stopped giving it to Belle just in case but if it is fine I might give her it again, she really liked it.

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User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
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8/29/2012 4:37 AM

I'm not sure which websites you are referring to - I do know that this has been a long time misconception - here is the most updated article on Veggies from the House Rabbit Society written by Dr. Susan Brown DVM and she discusses this:

http://www.rabbit.org/care/veggies.html


User is Offline mocha200
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8/29/2012 4:50 AM
My bunny has had some GI problems and had to be on critical care. She would do the same thing, she would take a treat in her mouth and then drop it as if she realized she can't eat it! What I did was leave her in a cage most of the day to monitor her eating and drinking. I left tons of different wet veggies and treats throughout her cage all day and hoped she would eat something. I cleaned the cage every day or more then once a day so it was easy to spot pee and poos. I would try some other herbs from the store that come in little packages. Its worth a shot. Also offer her favorite treats! You want her to eat anything she will take!

I hope the best for your little bun and you will be in my prayers!
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User is Offline mocha200
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8/29/2012 4:54 AM
I also forgot to mention exercise is important to help their digestive tract to start moving! Let her hop around if she wants too! Its a good sign if she wants to do more then sleep!
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User is Offline joen05
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8/29/2012 5:05 AM

She was pretty active after I brought her into a new room yesterday, and was hopping about a bit this morning.  I would feel best if she would just eat some hay though!  



User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
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8/29/2012 5:08 AM
Can you ask the vet about a different pain medication - I think it's due to discomfort and pain from the tumor more than anything else.

User is Offline joen05
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8/29/2012 5:11 AM
I will call this afternoon and ask, thank you for the suggestion!

User is Offline jerseygirl
Australia
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8/29/2012 5:56 AM

Posted By Sarita on 08/29/2012 08:08 AM
Can you ask the vet about a different pain medication - I think it's due to discomfort and pain from the tumor more than anything else.

Ditto. I was thinking that would be worthwhile also. Something other then meta am or one that can be given with metacam. See if a larger dose helps?

I'm guessing the xray was of the abdomen only? Have either of the vets checked her teeth or mouth for ulcerations? If not, I highly recommend you ask they do a thorough oral exam. As there could be a chance she physically cannot eat as it is painful to do so.

I hope you can get her eating and well again soon. (((Vibes))) for Leo.
Whoever says "It's only a rabbit" has obviously never loved a rabbit.

User is Offline joen05
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8/29/2012 6:31 AM

The xray was a full body xray, as the vet wanted to make sure that there was no spread in cancerous tissue.  As for her teeth, a full exam was done on her, and the vet said she had "slight" points in the bottom molars that she would take care of right after surgery,while she was still under anesthesia.

I'll see if I can get some answers to the pain meds question.


User is Offline joen05
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8/29/2012 8:59 AM
So I called the vet, and she ok'd us for more metacam as long as she is getting sufficient critical care, so we will be picking up more of that tonight. My brother observing her at home today says she seems pretty lethargic, but is making an ok amount of poop. Still has not eaten anything that he has seen today.

As for the surgery, the vet says right now she is not a good candidate for surgery because she is debilitated, which would reduce her chances for survival through the surgery. She says that since she is not eating, it could be an indication that it has spread and did not show up on the xray, which is why she is hesitant to just perform the spay. If she eats, it can be that it was just the GI stasis, and then she would become a more viable candidate for surgery. 

As for her teeth, the vet said she didn't see any bleeding when she examined her mouth, so she does not think it's the teeth that would cause her not to eat.


Here's hoping Leo can pull it off.


User is Offline joen05
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8/30/2012 3:52 PM
A small update: She is taking her critical care much more easily than she had been. I don't know if this is a sign of her getting weaker or just getting used to us syringe feeding her.

She is still refusing foods, and actually seems to get angry when it is offered to her. I tried getting some western grass hay, as it's softer and might be easier on her mouth. She nibbled a tiny bit, but generally has the same response as other stuff we have been trying with her. If i put enough in front of her face, she will tear at whatever it is and chew it a bit, but nothing more than that.

An observation that I am having is that she is spending a lot of time smelling what I am putting in front of her, but then when she moves her mouth over, she will start to open, then close her mouth and turn away. I'm not sure what is causing this. She also gets extremely excited when I changed her pellets and dug her face into the bowl, but seemed to come up empty. She is producing an ok amount of poop (albeit not consistently), and I can hear her abdomen gurgling slowly so it seems like her GI is moving somewhat.

Any other tips or advice?

User is Offline mocha200
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8/30/2012 4:40 PM
Has the vet mentioned anything about stomach messages? I know that when I messaged my bunny with GI once an hour and gave her baby gas drops that helped a LOT!
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User is Offline joen05
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8/31/2012 8:20 AM

Hey Mocha,

The vet did not mention massage, but I have been trying that too.  It seems like she is eating somewhat (the hay pile I left for her last night before I went to bed was much smaller in the morning), but she is still refusing most food.  I don't know if she is eating when we are not watching, but it doesn't seem like much.  I've been watching her all day and have gotten her to tear at a few things, which she will sometimes chew on and eat, but other than that she is just licking a lot of things and drinking some water.

It seems like she is pooping a little while after every time she eats, but as she is not eating normally she isn't pooping as much.

I'm thinking about calling the vet today to see what might explain her behavior of just licking things instead of eating them.


User is Offline joen05
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9/02/2012 5:13 PM
Welp, the vet has placed Leo on Mirtazapine to try to stimulate her appetite. She has had much more energy recently, and is still very accepting of her critical care. She is still kinda chewing on and eating some food that is offered to her, but it seems like she doesn't want to be seen eating on her own. I will sometimes hear her munching, turn to look, and she will look back with a "what are you looking at?" expression, and stop. She is still licking a fair amount of things, but will sometimes take a bite now.

She is having more bowel movements, and I think I saw a few that were normal colored, but still very small. She did injest a little hay with some coaxing, so those might be from that. We have taken her off gas medicine, but she is still on gut motility meds. We are out of metacam again also. I will be calling the vet to leave a message tomorrow (it's a holiday!) to see how we should proceed this week.

User is Offline jerseygirl
Australia
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9/03/2012 9:52 AM
It's good she's starting to eat more on her own, especially hay. It's like she knows what she needs. Clever girl!

Metacam can be tricky... It might help relieve any pain she might have, enough for her to be interested in food but then it's not that great on the gut. I *think* its a med that shouldn't be given on an empty stomach. Another side effect can be suppressing of the appetite. Something you certainly dont want in Leo's case!
Continued (((vibes)))
Whoever says "It's only a rabbit" has obviously never loved a rabbit.

User is Offline joen05
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9/05/2012 10:06 AM
So currently Leo is back on all the meds, as the vet suggested a refill. I have been able to get her to gnaw at some hay sometimes, and she ate some parsley yesterday. She is becoming increasingly finnicky at syringe feeding time, and the vet suggested that we cut back on the critical care, to see if she is not eating because she constantly feels full. She is still pooping after we feed her, so her gut is apparently moving ok. She is also pretty active still, hopping around, digging at the ground, and can still pack quite a kick when she is annoyed.

She has a weigh-in and checkup on Saturday as well.

User is Offline LittlePuffyTail
New Brunswick, Canada
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9/06/2012 12:56 AM
Wishing you luck at your vet visit.
Proud to be a Bunny Hugger and a voice for the voiceless
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User is Offline littlemissflip
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9/06/2012 4:01 PM

Oops, I'm editing my post, because somehow I didn't see about half of the replies before I posted...  Most of what I posted is no longer relevant - but I do still want to send healthy, happy bunny vibes your way!! 


User is Offline joen05
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9/11/2012 10:05 AM
Sooooo, an update after bringing her to the vet. The vet says that she has lost a good amount of weight (not a good thing), so at the time, blood work will only reveal a bad liver and would not make her eligible for surgery. She did say that she looks healthier than before, and I had gotten her to eat some parsley the night before. Well the vet tried some carrot tops while we were there and she LOVED the tops. Vet sent me home with a large bag of them and instructions to get her weight back up so we can get the blood work done. Since then, she has been eating a very good amount of fresh greens (parsley, cilantro, carrot top) and has been very active. She even ate some pellets last night. However, she still seems averse to hay, and since we have cut back on the critical care she has produced less poop.

She seems to be making a turn for the better, but I am somewhat worried about the lack of poop. She does seem to grind her teeth a lot less so maybe the pain has subsided, but it may come in waves, so I am going to monitor her more.

User is Offline Binky91
England
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9/11/2012 11:49 AM
I've been reading all the posts here and I'm so pleased she's starting to get a bit better, sending healthy vibes to her, I'm sure she's a fighter! Sounds like you've got a good vet on your side too which is always good!
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User is Offline joen05
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10/11/2012 6:36 AM
Just wanted to update here, it's been about a month, and Leo is pretty much off of critical care now and eating on her own. We are working on getting her weight back up and then going to bring her in for a spay. Thanks to all for your vibes and advice! :-)

User is Offline jerseygirl
Australia
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10/11/2012 7:09 AM
That's great! She's responded to your TLC.
Whoever says "It's only a rabbit" has obviously never loved a rabbit.

User is Offline bullrider76543
Joplin MO
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10/11/2012 7:50 AM
Awesome!!! All that love you gave her probably helped her fight to keep going dealing with the stress of all that was going on. sending continuing ((((((((Healing Vibes))))))))
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User is Offline LittlePuffyTail
New Brunswick, Canada
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10/11/2012 9:58 AM
I'm glad to hear things are improving.
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User is Offline bunnygirl
Western Australia
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10/11/2012 2:58 PM
Good to hear things are improving! Good luck with her spay, and I'm glad she's doing better. Good girl Leo!
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User is Offline Memarie
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10/11/2012 5:55 PM
I'm just getting caught up with this thread now... Poor Leo. I'm really glad she pulled through! Good luck with the upcoming spay. I will send healing vibes her way =)

User is Offline tanlover14
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10/12/2012 7:28 AM
So glad to hear your girl is doing better!! Sending vibes for her spay! Definitely keep us all up to date on whats going on with her.
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User is Offline NikitaSue20
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
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10/13/2012 6:05 AM
Good Luck! This has to be so stressful on you

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