Roy recovering from a vet visitFebruary 26th, 2007 by Michael Kwan
As many of you already know, I have a pet bunny named Roy. Generally speaking, he’s been a pretty healthy rabbit. I got him neutered when he was still quite young, but while at the vet’s, he suffered a mild infection on his rear foot. That healed up without too much trouble. This little bunny is also missing a toe on his front left paw because of an unfortunate accident. Other than those two little things, he’s always been in tip top condition with a healthy appetite, lots of energy, and a whimsical, curious personality. Imagine my shock last Friday evening when I saw him in the corner of his cage, a little lethargic, with his head cocked to one side.
Upon further research by Susanne, we discovered that this was a very common condition among pet bunnies, particularly those who are lightweight and live indoors (because they stay closer to the litter pan). Head tilt, also known as Torticollis or wry neck, can be caused by all sorts of things, but the most common are inner ear infections, head trauma, strokes, tumors, and cerebral problems. Symptoms include a lack of appetite, loss of balance, discharges from the eyes, circling, and the tendency to lean on the sides of the cage. Naturally, we were very concerned for our poor little rabbit.
I haven’t had the best of experiences at Atlas Animal Hospital on 41st and Fraser, despite the fact that they are supposed to be known for providing world class care at a price that average people can actually afford. I’m not going to get into details, but it seems that their facilities (and care) are far from “world class.” As such, for this rather serious problem, we sought out a different veterinarian. Based on the recommendations from the House Rabbit Society and a couple of REVscene members, we decided to take Roy to Anderson Animal Hospital near 70th Avenue and Granville in Vancouver.
My initial impression was that the office itself was cleaner and more organized than at Atlas. The doctor (Dr. Anderson) was very kind and explained everything very well. You might even say that he explained a little too well, telling me things that I already knew about the inner ear affecting balance and so forth. Anyways, we had to leave Roy there for about five hours as they sedated him, did up a bunch of x-rays, and looked at his half-asleep body from just about every angle.
When I went to pick up Roy, the doctor told me that his suspicions appeared to be true. Some resident bacteria (Pasteurella) from the back of the throat had migrated to the middle and/or inner ear and caused an infection. The resulting inflammation (seen from the x-rays) was what was causing Roy’s loss of balance (and head tilt). They had shot him up with some antibiotics and provided me with some Baytril in pill form to administer to our little bunny over the course of the next two weeks. Obviously, Roy won’t want to pop these on his own, so I’ll need to mash it up with some yogurt, banana, or diluted apple juice to get him interested. After all was said and done, Susanne and I had paid over $400 to the Anderson Animal Hospital for their help. This covered the sedative, the radiographs, the patient care, the shot of antibiotics, and the take-home medicine. Not exactly cheap, but I wasn’t about to go frugal over Roy’s health and well-being.
As you can see from the video above, Roy was pretty hungry when he got home, but he had not yet fully recovered from the anesthetic (they needed to sedate him in order to take the x-rays). Even as I write this (five hours after taking Roy home), he’s still a little groggy. I’ll keep you posted on Roy’s progress.
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