Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Rabbit Trauma

My coffee has gone cold. Just like when the girls were tiny and you never got a hot cup of anything. Today is a bit intense.

So to catch you up, in case you are interested in rabbit issues, Betsy's lump seems to have been a reaction to the vaccine. She was prescribed antibiotics initially in case it wasn't - apparently the same sort you get for children (banana flavour). Funny then that it cost £8.90 for about 140ml.

Getting her to take it wasn't easy. The vet suggested one of us hold her lower back down to the table and the other give the medicine by syringe. It worked once or twice but overall I wouldn't recommend this method. Unless you want a) biting, b) kicking and c) a great sense of frustration. At one point she jumped out of my arms and onto my shoulder like a parrot. I couldn't use my tried and tested child medicine method and give her a Chewit afterwards. She isn't allowed.

Google advised wrapping her in a towel and holding her legs under and forward which was more successful. By the end of the week we had the method down which was typical because of course the antibiotics did nothing whatsoever.

So yesterday it was back to the vets and he decided it was necessary to remove the lump (at the cost of the people who make the vaccine apparently, which is a good job taking into account the cost of the medicine). So I left her there. I felt like a bad mother on all sorts of levels and spent the day achieving little and fretting a lot.

At 3.30 we picked her up. The girls did well I thought - they didn't seem horrified by the large bald patch and sewn up wound. The nurse told us we have to keep an eye on her to ensure she eats and drinks, and to keep her apart from Petal as her sister might try and bite her wound. She assured us Betsy couldn't reach her own wound to bother her stitches.

Wrong again. This rabbit is like Houdini. She is stretchy and bendy and on returning home I realised she was not going to leave them alone. When she started pulling at her back with her teeth I rang the vet and he advised trying to stick a plaster over the wound. This advice, it turned out, was not wholly sound. I managed to scare the living daylights out of Betsy chasing her round her hutch trying to stick plaster after plaster to the patch of skin. Each one I put on she tore off in seconds. Eventually I built up a sort of plaster patchwork - I used everything I had. Tiny round ones to hold on massive big ones, joined together by normal long ones. She ripped them all off. I hoped the kids didn't choose that moment to fall over as our supplies were running low.

Then she managed to rip a stitch and I stuck the final plaster over the bleed while I checked the opening times and rang the vet again. By the time I was back downstairs she had ripped it off and there was no sign of it. So now I was  panicking about the stitches and the fact that she has clearly eaten a Boots plaster. Which I'm sure doesn't fit into the category of only hay, grass and nuggets.

The nurse was amazing. She agreed to come over on her way home, bringing with her a cone even though they don't normally put them on rabbits. Apparently the situation she has had is extremely unusual being so little and she has to leave the stitches alone. She explained everything, chatted to us and put the cone on Betsy, then went home.

At this point everything got a bit out of hand. Betsy, as predicted, hated it. She threw herself about and generally looked extremely stressed. The kids got upset. It was awful.

Eventually the girls went to sleep and we decided to trim the cone down so she could drink and eat properly. This we did and we left her for a while to get used to it, feeling extremely guilty.

When we went back outside before bed we discovered she had managed to push the cone up so her mouth was sticking out, but the cone was over her eyes and ears. It was a bit of a surprise (I told you she was like Houdini) and the approach did have it's merits. She couldn't reach her stitches but could eat and drink. Of course it was stuck around her eyes so she couldn't see and it was still fastened round her neck so we decided her plan wasn't a great one. The decision was made to bring her indoors and take off the cone. Not least because we'd worked out we might have to hand feed her her own poo. 

Paul stayed up until 2am working next to her, with a window open on his laptop showing a webcam. Everytime she went for her stitches he stopped her, until he came to bed exhausted. At 4am I came downstairs and took over. I've never slept on the kitchen floor before. It reminded me of camping. What with the sound of the pouring rain on the roof and me wearing more clothes than I had worn in the day including a pair of hiking socks. I'm not sure being down here helped much with the stitches but it did at least make me feel like I was trying to help.

And today? Well today I still can't bring myself to put the cone back on. It's too distressing. So instead I am doing things that take place in the kitchen. Blogging and minute writing, cleaning, I might even stretch to a bit of ironing. Interspersed of course with telling Betsy off every three minutes for biting her stitches. And for eating the carpet. She really hasn't a clue about this restricted diet for junior rabbits things. Deep joy. I'm hoping the sound of the washing machine will make her fall asleep like it used to for Tilly, although so far it's not looking promising.

Oh well it's only for a couple of days until she will apparently lose interest in the stitches as they start to properly heal.

It's just as well I like a bit of camping. 

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