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Home Forums HOUSE RABBIT Q & A Thymoma (mass) and Radiation for Buns

This topic contains 7sd replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Gravehearted 3 years, 11 months ago.

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    Hello Everyone,
    I’m a former Binky Bunny regular and when one of my bunnies recently became ill I couldn’t find much information on the internet about it. Since I know how popular BB is, I wanted to share our experience here in hopes it may help others in the future.

    Our bunny Viktor Krum is a 10 year old house rabbit, adopted through Rabbit Haven in the SF Bay area. He’s gregarious, very active, loving and out-going. He’s also a very devoted husband to his lady wife Pandora. We now live in Houston and our vet is Dr. Antinoff at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists.

    Initially I brought him to our vet since he was sneezing and making some odd noises when breathing. When he checked out physically, our vet recommended a blood test, both his lipid and white blood cell counts were a little high. She recommended a follow-up a month later and he counts were much higher, an x-ray confirmed he had a mass. A thymoma is a mass that grows in the area near the trachea, lungs and heart. In Viktor it had started to seriously impact his trachea and he was making odd snorfling sounds. In some bunnies theirs eyes bug out of their head. The treatment is the same if the mass is cancerous or not and there are risks associated with the biopsy, so they actually don’t take one.

    She offered us two treatment options – the first being a CT scan and series of 4 radiation treatments. The other option – steroids is much less expensive, but are tough on their systems and rabbits often get abbesses and the mass grows back as soon as the steroids are stopped. Since rabbits tolerate radiation pretty well and our vet’s treated a number of cases successfully, we opted for the radiation.

    He did a short course of prednisone, which started before the first radiation session. Fortunately he liked it and took it willingly. Our first visit was for the CT Scan, which was a looooong day – Pandora (his wife) and I were there waiting for 6 hours! They use the data from the CT scan and feed it into the radiation machine to know how to focus on the tumor. With the CT scan and the 4 radiation sessions, they have to put him under anesthesia, which is the scary part. Dr. Antinoff had to switch up the anesthesia protocol to ensure he was out for the whole time, but not crazy groggy afterwards. By the 2nd session she’d sorted out a protocol that seemed to work well.

    We went back weekly for a radiation session, each of the 4 session getting progressively shorter, but it still took a long time for him to wake up and maintain temperature before he could be released. After each session, he was groggy and we’d limit his space / make it so he couldn’t hop too much. However, by the next day he was hopping around, eating well and doing great.

    One amazing thing was that some truly wonderful bunny people happened to also be there with their own bunnies and we really helped support each other. That was a big relief and good for the soul, bunny people are the best!

    Viktor had his last of four radiation treatments on Tuesday. I’m very relieved to share the news that the mass has shrunk considerably! The results of his blood test indicated his white blood cell count and lipids are within the normal range. The hope is the mass won’t grow again in his lifetime. We will have to have him checked every 3 months or so. Special thanks to Dr Antinoff and the wonderful staff at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists here in Houston.
    We feel incredibly grateful he’s doing so well!! 



    That’s is absolutely wonderful! When I first started reading your post I began to fear the worst, but I am so relived to hear Viktor is doing well! Do you have any photos of him?
    Sending lost of good vibes for both your family and Viktor,



    So nice to see you!!!!!!! XD

    We had an absolutely amazing radiation experience with our dog Mandy (they said the treatment would give her two months to two years, she had eight years) -I’m happy to hear it went so well for you and Viktor!! Such a relief to have it done. Were you able to get the radiation done close to home or did you have to travel? It sounds like your regular vet was able to offer the treatment?



    Here he is    You can see his shaved spot and the radiation X.  



    @Liv – thank you! I haven’t been around for a while, so it took me a minute to sort out how we add photos these days. We are VERY thankful that he’s doing ok.

    @Kokaneeandkalua, it’s nice to see you too! Wow, that is a very positive result for your Mandy, how wonderful! I’m so glad to hear you were gifted with 8 more happy years with her. Thankfully our vet’s office has a radiation / chemo department. Most people with dogs and cats have a regular vet and come to the clinic for special things like cancer treatments and surgeries. However, they also have a great avian and exotics department, so many of us use them as our regular vet. It was fantastic having Dr. A who we trust implicitly on hand during the anesthesia, to monitor him as he woke up and such. The downside is they’ve rightly earned the nickname of Gold Coast, but to me I moved here with 3 elder buns and it’s well worth it to ensure they get top notch care. I know a lot of people have to travel long distance to go to a clinic for radiation, but it’s only about 30 minutes from home!

    Poor Pandy, she didn’t lay or even loaf the entire time he was in the back getting treatments. We were there at least 4 hours each visit. She’d nibble a little hay and WAIT standing up. She couldn’t be back there with him, since he’d be in an incubator and obviously we didn’t want to expose her to the radiation too. However, Dr. A would come get her as he was waking up, and she even tried to jump in the little incubator with him. They are so devoted to each other. We are so happy for ALL our sakes our little Krummy is ok.



    Gravehearted, I just want to thank you for sharing this story. It’s very interesting and useful and can give hope to many bunny-owners. It’s amazing really what vets can do even for bunnies these days.

    They both look adorable on the pics. Krummy’s little white nose is just too cute!



    That’s so wonderful you are so close for the treatments and its with a vet you know and love!! And lovely he could go with his Pandy
    Thanks for sharing the story too-Cancer treatment is starting to become available for pets, and it’s not something most have heard of so I think it’s a wonderful success story



    @bam, thank you for reading and commenting. Our vet was actually relieved it was a thymoma, since she’s treated them successfully and some other forms of cancer / masses, aren’t as often treated successfully. We are incredibly fortunate! We have come sooo far with vet care and are very lucky to have vets out there who are passionate about doing research and expanding their knowledge about bunnies. I’m biased, but they are super cute! They also have no idea they’re elderly, so are both really active!

    @K&k, it may be that it’s a bit slower coming up to Canada too, I’m hopeful this kind of treatment will become more available and hopefully less $$ over time. I felt bad that Pandy was anxious waiting without him, but couldn’t see leaving her home alone to be anxious. All around we were very, very fortunate for the vet, treatment and the Krum’s vibrant spirit. Thank you!!

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