Bunny, Bailey and Binky
29 September 2008
Beginning of August 2008, a myxomatosis outbreak started here, between our and the next village. It's left me feeling so incredibly sad. I saw one myxi rabbit and tried to catch it but it was still fit and ran into a field. The next day I saw it dead on the road (I recognised it because it had scars). Then on Friday 8th August I found another rabbit while I was out cycling. I put it on the verge and told it to stay there and I would get the car and fetch it. So I raced home and got the car and Bunny still sat where I left her. Took her home, she had problems breathing and was so thin. I put her in a box with some Vicks vapo rub (as I read on a web site), wrapped her in a cloth, and put in some dandelions. I thought if she's not dead by Saturday then I'll take her to be put to sleep. Saturday morning she'd jumped out of her box and was sitting in the hall (where I had kept her, quiet and away from other animals) and I saw she'd eaten all her greens so I did some more research into helping myxi rabbits and decided to try and help her.
I'd come across a really good web site, the "Myxomatosis Helpline", and had read about myxomatosis survivors. I was also in touch with Sue and Mick from Sue's Rabbit Rescue and they were a great help, I even talked to Mick on the phone. They had had 2 rabbits with myxomatosis and had a lot of tips. I started cleaning Bunny's eyes and nose and genitals 4 times a day with chamomile tea and used colloidal silver, too. I also took her to see the vets and Michaela prescribed her injectable Baytril, she said the puss in the eyes is not from the myxi but from some bacteria that almost all rabbits carry. The Baytril worked wonders although there still remained some puss for about 6 weeks. She stayed on the Baytril for 5 1/2 weeks. Since it is injected, it doesn't affect the intestines and good bacteria. So no diarrhoea problems.
(Update 04.06.2012: The "Myxomatosis helpline" does not seem to exist any more but this page is good: Myxomatosis Malcolm’s Diary – sharing Malcolm’s experiences).
Bunny had some fleas, at least I saw one on her. I have Frontline for the ferrets but checked online whether it was safe for rabbits and found it was not. Luckily I also had Stronghold which I used and I also used it on all the ferrets, skunks, dogs and cats.
I soon only cleaned the eyes twice a day. The scabs kept coming off when I bathed the eyes and nose(especially the last 2 weeks of the illness) and the tissue underneath was so sore and infected with puss (especially the nose). I stopped cleaning the nose for a week or two at the end of August/ beginning of September to let it heal but the scabs just got worse and one day I carefully picked at a scab and it came off very easily and had lots of puss underneath. So then I picked off all scabs that came off easily and the scabs came off every 1 or 2 days and then the skin quickly healed. But that was towards the end of the illness.
Bunny had also a scab around her genitals, it was dark and I thought it was from diarrhoea so I washed it well a few times a day to wash the pooh off and one day the scab started coming off and I noticed it was a scab and not pooh. That was the first scab to come off and heal.
But throughout the illness, Bunny never developed bad breathing problems, the worst episode was the first night she was here and after that she was okay. Her appetite remained very healthy throughout, she loves the Excel rabbit food pellets and I either picked dandelions for her or gave her slithers of carrot, sweet potato or swede. I read a few cases of myxi survivors and somebody mentioned doing slithers of carrot with a peeler and that worked very well with her. I have now done some more research into feeding rabbits and read that dandelions are high in calcium and should be fed sparingly and sweet potato seems a no-no. And Bunny loves dandelions and sweet potatoes...
Bunny is very young and I think that played a big role in her survival so far, I'm surprised a wild rabbit is okay with being handled and injected etc. She loves cuddles and in the beginning she always wanted to cuddle after her eye cleaning, I would try to put her on the floor and she would try to stay in my hands and cuddle into them.
Bunny soon started to put on weight, her tummy filled out and the spine wasn't prominent anymore. When she was weighed at the vets on 14th August, she weighed 610 g so she probably weighed even less when I first had her. On 26th September she weighed 840 g. :-) At first I kept her in a carrier, then when I realised that she was going to be a long term resident, I bought rabbit supplies and put her in a cage and now she has a lovely cage with a hidey place and all. She loves it and looks very relaxed and happy.
I did find another myxi rabbit and brought it home but by the time I had a cage prepared for that one, it had died. It was older so I guess the stress got to it. And now, 1 1/2 - 2 months after the start of the outbreak, no rabbits are left. I look every time I walk but nothing. It makes me so sad. All gone. :-(
Bunny's eyes and nose and face are almost completely healed now but her left eye is getting smaller and smaller because of scar tissue build-up. Michaela said Bunny may need to have the eye opened up surgically. Also, the right eye is cloudy/ milky and Michaela said the cornea is inflamed. It should heal by itself, if not, steroid eye drops will hopefully help. I am also now worming her with Panacur rabbit wormer as Michaela advised me to do so. Again I'm surprised that she takes the wormer without problems.
Some Bunny pics:
11/08/2008 - infected ulcerated eyes
14/08/2008 - lots of puss coming out of eyes
29/08/2008 - eyes slowly starting to open
16/09/2008 - eyes look gruesome but really started to heal rapidly at this point
25/09/2008 - only 9 days after the bad eye pics! and Bunny can definitely see :-)
28/09/2008 - cloudy/ milky eye, inflamed cornea
28/09/2008 - eye closing due to scar tissue build-up
For lots of Bunny pics throughout her illness, see HERE.
Bunny is very well and happy- and we're keeping her. I can't release her, her eyes are not 100% normal and she is so tame. And to be honest I haven't saved her life so she gets eaten by a fox. For a while I was thinking of taking her to a wildlife rescue but there are no proper wildlife rescues here. I even mentioned wildlife rescue to Michaela and she just shook her head. So Bunny stays put. She is doing okay, she had her little eye operation to open up both eye lids, the left eye lids especially had almost closed up because of scar tissue. It's not perfect but better now. In a few weeks I will book her in for a spay, rabbits should be spayed at 5-6 months old, if not spayed, 80% of females will get uterine cancer by the time they are 5-6 years old. When spayed they can live 10-12 years! I didn't know that, can you tell I'm on rabbit email lists, too, now??? If Bunny survives (I'm petrified...), I will get her a friend, a male who will be castrated, too.
Bunny used to be really scared and would barely run around when I let her out. She would just go to the nearest corner and just sit there. I was thinking it wasn't fair to keep her but who wants a myxi survivor, and it's not like there is a lack of unwanted rabbits... But then she suddenly became brave and loves the ferret play room now. Pete came to me one evening and said: "I don't know what you have done to Bunny but she thinks she's a ferret." Bunny was playing like mad on the giant hammock and jumping and running all over the cat scratchers and floor. Pete and I filmed Bunny playing on the hammock, and it is on YouTube:
For now a few more pictures of Bunny in the play room:
There's lots of pictures of her on Google+ again (same folder as the one with the myxi pics, just scroll down):
Bunny in play room
Bunny was spayed on the 16th of December. We hadn't had any heating for months and I didn't want her to be spayed without having central heating. We did have an open fire that we used and also some electric fan heaters but I wanted proper heating so she would be warm after her spay. The heating was installed the day Bunny was spayed and was running by the time she came home. :-) The spay went extremely well, Michaela was a bit worried that it would be too stressful for a wild rabbit but Bunny surprised them all. She was on Buprenorphine for 2 days and didn't need any further pain relief. She didn't eat much in the 2 days after her spay but did eat grass and bramble leaves that I picked for her. I was very surprised how quickly she recovered. I kept her caged for 5 days which she didn't like at all and she jumped on her houses in the cage and did binkies, I was supposed to keep her caged for 10 days but on day 5 I briefly let her out and again on day 7 and from then on she was out as usual.
A lot has happened with the rabbits. I wanted to get Bunny one companion but then all I could find were 2 bonded males and I couldn't decide which one to get and didn't want to split them up so Bunny got 2 friends on the 19th of January 2009... I got the rabbits from Pets At Home, they were returns to the shop and thus classified as rabbits for adoption, the money I paid went to an animal rescue. So I did some good. The boys came back from 2 separate homes but the store girl put them together and they bonded. Luckily they got on with Bunny immediately and Bunny was sooo happy to meet them and is more playful now. The boys are called Bailey and Binky, Bailey is grey and looks like a chinchilla with long ears, and Binky is brown and has got some lionhead in him.
Bailey rabbit developed a huge abscess. He was holding his right back leg and I took the boys to the vets for their VHD vaccine and Michaela had a look and he had an almost egg sized abscess by his right hind leg. I obviously didn't know and would never have guessed that he had something serious going on, I thought he maybe strained a muscle. He was put on injectable Baytril, and on the 9th of March 2009 he had an operation- which took almost an hour! The operation and excising the abscess took half the operating time and the other half was stitching him and Michaela put a continuous suture in. A very long suture! Bailey came through it really good. He is so much happier. On the 17th of March he had the stitches out, needed some more gas for that.
Bailey rabbit got over his abscess okay, it healed and the abscess didn't return. But now Bailey thinks I'm a wicked witch and bites. He still hasn't forgiven me for injecting him twice a day for 2 weeks... On the other hand Binky is sooo sweet. And Bunny has bad teeth. They started breaking end of January this year, suddenly the 2 top incisors were gone. Then one bottom incisor had broken off. At one point it looked like neither of the 3 incisors were growing back so I made an appointment for her to see Michaela and by the time we were there, the 3 incisors had started to grow to some length. But now 1 top one has crumbled away again, she chews the bars of the cage sometimes but I don't know why they're so weak. The one bottom incisor has grown back somewhat crooked and I think they're just not ever going to go back to normal so I may have to have them removed. For now I trim either one or both bottom incisors but I am so scared when I do it as she tries to push the clipper away with her tongue so I'm trying to hold her mouth on both sides and try to keep the tongue in the mouth, away from the incisors so I don't cut it... So I think if her teeth don't get back to normal the best long term solution is to have them taken out. And there I was thinking wild rabbit, at least she won't have teeth problems!
Bunny has also taken a dislike to Binky... About 3 weeks ago she started bullying him in the cage. They'd been out in the garden, I put them back in the cage and Bunny decided she now hated Binky. So she's been in the spare cage since. She adores Bailey and will sit with him and groom him and get him to groom her when they're out and she'll chase Binky on and off but at least he can keep his distance. I wonder if this will get better again, it's sad that I can't keep all 3 together. And I have no idea why this happened, they were okay in the morning and at night Bunny didn't want Binky around anymore...
Rabbit Bunny has problems with her top incisors, they keep breaking and the right top incisor stopped growing. She had a skull x-ray to see what's going on and one incisor especially is not growing, it looks like the pulp/ root has died. There's still some tooth left though. I can't remember Michaela's exact words except she'd never seen anything like it. So anyway, all incisors kept breaking and then suddenly started growing again but crooked- and the top right incisor is dead. So Bunny'll need her incisors cutting for the rest of her life.
Rabbit Bunny has misaligned incisors which I have been clipping weekly because they keep growing and not wearing down and now I just found out that you shouldn't do that because you can cause tiny fractures that can go down to the root and cause infection and pain. ( "Never trim the incisors of your rabbit yourself !!!") My vet clipped her teeth like this and told me to continue. Now I read that rabbit's teeth should be burred by a vet and most rabbit people have misaligned incisors removed.
I can't have them removed, yet, because I'm going away next month so can't risk anything going wrong while Pete looks after the animals. So she will need to have her teeth burred for the time being. I'm dreading having the incisors removed though...
Bunny had her incisors removed today! My vet phoned me and said that Bunny was anaesthetised and was wondering what we had decided to do- burr the incisors or remove them... Since I was put on the spot and am all over the place, I decided to have them removed. I thought I will have them removed anyway and then Pete won't have to worry about taking Bunny to the vets to have her teeth burred and she won't need multiple trips to the vets and anaesthetics which are all stressful while I'm away.
Bunny is doing great, she's eating all the foods she was eating before she had her incisors removed. I don't think she knows that her incisors are gone... She still goes after Binky, I laughed when I saw her “chew” the bars of her cage, and she tries to eat grass outside, she tries to get hold of it with her lips or gums and then pulls it. I did have a scare with her though early this week, she went or was going into GI stasis... I can't remember all, I think she didn't eat her veg from Saturday to Sunday and maybe left some dry food and then Sunday evening she didn't touch her food at all. No dry food and no greens. No pooh or pee from her, either. So Sunday night I gave her Metacam and subcutaneous fluids, Monday morning she hadn't eaten anything at all and produced only very tiny droppings. I looked online a bit and then gave her Infacol (simeticone) as well. Off to the vets, too, of course, and she got some Metoclopramide and Baytril. I also got this Recovery diet that you mix with water and also pre- and probiotics. She didn't eat the Recovery diet at all but luckily ate dandelions that I picked for her and eventually she ate her dry food again. Last night she ate a huge pile of dandelions, grass, plantain and bramble leaves and all her dry food. But she won't touch cabbage anymore, not even white cabbage which was her favourite. She never had problems with cabbage, either, and used to get it almost daily. But this was scary, you read so much about digestive problems in rabbits and how quickly it gets very severe. But Bunny is a real trooper and looks like she's okay again.
The bunnies are doing well, Bunny still doesn't like Binky so Binky and Bailey are caged together and Bunny is on her own but they all come out together which works out okay. I call Binky my ragdoll bunny, he doesn't mind being held at all and loves to cuddle. Bailey, on the other hand, isn't cuddly at all. :-( But Bunny *adores* Bailey which is so lovely to watch. :-)
Some more pics:
There's more pictures of Bunny, Bailey and Binky on Google+.
I have some positive (and sad) news to report. When I first had Bunny, I wanted to get her one companion but also ideally wanted to take in an unwanted rabbit. Then Pets at home had two boys in their rescue animals section, they were already bonded so I didn't want to split them up and got them both. They were Bailey and Binky. Bunny got on fine with both of them until one day, a few months later, she decided she didn't like Binky. And she wanted Bailey all to herself. So Bailey and Binky were in a cage together and Bunny on her own, and when they were all out, Bunny always stayed with Bailey and chased Binky around every now and again. Then Bailey unfortunately died while I was in Germany (mid September - mid October) so I had two single bunnies on my hands who didn't get on. I thought with time Bunny may come to the conclusion that Binky is better than no friend at all but she just kept chasing him around. Then I decided to take Bunny to the vets last Tuesday 06.12.11 because she has lesions in her eyes, I thought they may be from when she had Myxomatosis or may be ulcers so I took her to the vets- and I put Binky in the carrier with her, I thought maybe she'll appreciate the company and be grateful for his presence. I also read about the car trips to bond rabbits but wasn't sure whether it was a bit cruel. I don't know if I had done the car trip if it hadn't been necessary to go to the vets. But getting desperate I decided on taking both. They got on, Bunny did not once try to go for Binky so once I got home I put both in Binky's cage. It went well for so long and then Bunny started chasing Binky around. Not too bad though so I decided to stick it out. The chasing got less and less and three days later, Friday, they started to really get on. I feel like the two are from different ethical backgrounds and speak different languages, like we do things that are polite here but if we did them in China or Japan those things would be considered rude. Bunny kept going up to Binky and put her head down but Binky never groomed her or anything, it was like he was oblivious to what Bunny wanted, and then Bunny got angry and tried to bite him (she does not have incisors) and he'd run off and she would follow. Eventually Bunny started to groom Binky... And now at least they sit together, even when they are out. So maybe it was a bit stressful for Binky but the end result is what matters to me, two bonded rabbits that live together and keep one another company. The only good thing was that Bunny could not hurt Binky and that Binky never attempted to bite Bunny.
October 2010 - August 2011 (not in order)
Bunny and Binky are still friends, really good friends! I never would have thought that they would end up as a bonded pair. They snuggle together and get on 100 % fine. Binky is ecstatic, you can read him like a book and see it when he's happy and he's so happy to have Bunny as a companion. She keeps running to him, too. I guess all is well that ends well. I'm glad I just tried them together. I don't think I wrote about the result of the vet visit when I took Bunny in with Binky. I took Bunny in because of her eye, I thought she may have have an ulcer on her eye but my vet looked at it and said it looked like a lesion from EC. I wormed all the rabbits when I first got them and because I didn't know much about EC, I thought that was enough. Obviously not although of course we're not 100 % sure that it is EC. I've put both rabbits on wormer, my vet recommended this aniseed flavoured wormer that rabbits apparently like but the dose was so big, Bunny needed 1 ml and Binky 2 ml of suspension. Needless to say they both hated the stuff and would not swallow it. I gave up after 2 attempts and bought the 10 % Panacur suspension. The dose works out at 0.2 ml for Bunny and 0.4 ml for Binky. They are taking it much better and I give them some kibbles after.
Bunny and Binky are BFFs now. :-) They groom one another, sit together, Bunny snuggles up to Binky, it is so lovely and I never would have thought this would ever happen. The downside is- both are getting, well, podgy because Bunny is not chasing Binky anymore which was something that kept both lean and fit. Now they are more sedentary and it shows, sigh. But they are not fat or anything, just got a bit more padding than before. If it doesn't get any worse then they should be okay.
Wednesday 11th, Bunny suddenly died. I let the rabbits out, put Bunny at the bottom of the stairs as we always do, she then hops upstairs and goes into the play room. I watched her hop up about two thirds up the stairs and went to fetch Binky. When I returned half a minute later, Bunny was at the bottom of the stairs facing the stairs. Immobile. Of course I *panicked* and thought she had fallen down the stairs and broken her back. I called for Pete to take Binky off me and fetched a carrier, put a blanket in, put Bunny in very carefully and rushed to the van, telling Pete to phone the vets to tell them I'm on my way with an emergency. I was half way there when Bunny moved and I was petrified she was in agony, she sort of ended up on her side squashed against the front of the carrier and I got so upset I swerved but luckily there was no traffic coming towards me. Bunny died at that point. :( I still had Michaela examine her and she said Bunny had not broken her back and she thought it was most likely that she had a stroke. Bunny's tummy was like a balloon full of gas and she had passed diarrhoea but when she was still alive her tummy felt normal. But I wonder if she had digestive problems because it seems she may not have eaten the night before. When I gave the rabbits their veg, they still had dry food which is normally gone by then. And Wednesday they still had veg left over. I just still wonder why and how she ended up at the bottom of the stairs, Pete said she could still move her legs but not walk or anything. I'm just glad she went so quickly, ferrets just suffer and suffer and rabbits often die suddenly without long periods of illness. She would have been 7 in June.
Binky and Bunny
Feel sad for Binky being on his own now, we have him in the living room now and not on his own upstairs, he only goes upstairs if we are out for some time. Logan quickly got used to him, he was always barking at the rabbits and Binky at first because he wants them to run so he can chase them. But within a week Logan has stopped doing that and can even be left unsupervised with Binky. Once Logan was unsupervised with Binky during the first few days and started barking so I put him into his cage while I finished hoovering upstairs. But he's been okay since. Now he lays on Binky's blanket a lot and the other day Binky actually hopped to Logan and sniffed him and all Logan did was wag his tail. :)
I got carpet for the living room so Binky can hop around. And I got a very large enclosure for skunk Sparky. I put Sparky's bed and toilet into his enclosure and it was closed when Binky was in the living room during the day. At night Binky was in a large cage and Sparky's enclosure was open so he could run around. He just slept during the day anyway. And when Sparky died, Binky became a free range bun. He's out 24/7, uses a small cat litter tray, has a tray with hay, a water bowl, and a carrier to sleep in which he likes. At night the dogs are in the kitchen and utility so they don't eat Binky's veg! During the day he has his veg while I supervise him. Unfortunately the dogs love broccoli and cabbage, carrots, everything...
Binky after the carpet was put down
Binky and Pippa
Sparky's set-up, one carrier is a bed, the other a toilet...
Binky finally had an x-ray done. He has severe arthritis in his hips. He has a photo folder if you want to have a look, I added photos of his x-rays: Binky x-rays
I didn't understand all Michaela said but Pete said the hip joints are displaced, the ball and socket are not close to one another and Michaela thinks the ligaments have calcified to keep everything stable. The whole back end is stiff. I now wonder how it could get so bad without us noticing earlier. He was hopping strangely but I thought that was because of his odd body shape... Anyway, he hasn't been eating his cecal pellets/ cecotropes in a long time and usually ends up sitting in them so his hind end gets dirty and I wash him when he gets bad which is almost daily now. Last night I fetched him in from the garden and he was full of fly eggs. :( I tried to pull them out with my fingers and they burst and were all squishy. I eventually got them all with a flea comb. I lost a rabbit to fly strike around 18 years ago and I never want something like this to happen again. Back then none of my rabbit books mentioned fly strike. :(
On the plus side, Logan has become very good friends with Binky and is doting on him. He looks after everybody, cleans cat Blob's ears, dog Lacey's eyes, and cleans Binky as well. :)
Binky after being cleaned by Logan
Binky has had an ear infection. Suddenly he was shaking his head and his right ear sounded like there was something fluid in it. He didn't have a head tilt though or problems with his co-ordination. He's on long term Metacam for his arthritis/ dislocated hips so had not shown pain from the ear infection. I took him to the vets and saw a vet who I had never seen before and she took a swab, found pus, and put him on Baytril. Of course I had read about horror stories involving rabbits and ear infections but his infection cleared up surprisingly quickly. He had 2 weeks worth of Baytril because he's so old (8). Binky *hated* the Baytril. :(
Binky March 2015