I'm bringing Hops to the vet today and leaving him for a few hours so that the vet can squeeze in seeing him between surgeries. My poor boy's getting older... Here's the letter I'm sending with him to the vet:
Hops' sister, Ariel (not biological), also had a back/leg condition where her back legs got progressively more paralyzed. It was diagnosed as e. cuniculi (it may be worth pulling her record). She had a stroke last February (to anyone's best guess) and probably another one in April '08. She died at the end of August at the age of 7 years, 8 months, give or take a month or 2. She also had arthritis, an enlarged heart and cataracts. Maybe Hops got her e. cuniculi?
Over the past few months (probably since February), Hops has been showing his age. He'll be 8 years old this August 1 (give or take a week or two). I've had him since he was about 6-8 weeks old, so I know his history. He is not neutered, but his sisters are all spayed. After Ariel's passing, he now lives with Ariel's biological twin, Kayla, and SweetPea, another adopted sister. He is free-roam and hasn't been caged since he was a baby, and then only at night.
At any rate, I thought it was just Hops getting older (and it probably is, maybe something like arthritis?). He's lost weight over the past year, even though he still eats well and devours his salad every night. He wasn't moving like he used to. He couldn't clean his ears with his back feet anymore, for instance. So I've been keeping an eye on that and cleaning them for him when I can. He was my acrobat – jumping higher and easier than I ever thought possible in such a small bun. Now he still wants to run and jump, but he can't. When he gets excited and tries to run, he falls over spectacularly, often rolling over. It'd be cute and funny if it wasn't sad. The problem isn't that he falls – the problem is that he can't get up when he does, which started Easter morning (three days ago).
Yesterday, I had him with me almost all day. He had some diarrhea issues (I think bc he couldn’t get to his water, food, hay and when I put him next to them, he was so confused about what was happening that he wasn't interested), so I was cleaning and bathing his bottom a lot, then wrapped him in a towel and made him chill out. I figured resting his legs may be a good thing. And I seem to have been right – he was standing upright from 5:00 p.m. until I went to bed about 1:00 a.m. When he hopped last night, his legs seemed straight again on his body – they've been a little crooked for the last month or so. He had fallen over by 3:00 a.m. Rest and a little cuddle seem to help. When I put him down again, he seems to be okay for a few minutes, at least. There were times Monday and Tuesday where I'd put him down and he'd immediately fall over again. His diarrhea stopped last night, when he had the bout of standing on his own. He seemed to drink lots of water, which no doubt helped with that. He didn't drink water when offered when he was falling over regularly.
Hops' disposition: Hops is the friendliest, happiest bunny on the planet, probably. He's always the one to come up strangers and is my ambassador when someone wants to hold one of my bunnies. He's calm and loves being petted and held (rare in bunnies, eh?). He's never been scared of anything in his whole life, but he's scared of this. I can see it in his eyes. When he keeps falling down, he has no idea why or what's going on. He just wants to go run and play and cuddle with his sisters. He's still happy when I cuddle with him.
Hops is a kisser. He'll bathe my face in kisses for 10 minutes at a time. But when he wants to play and I'm cutting his nails or cleaning him, he'll let me know with a VERY gentle nip of the teeth. He's usually good about that stuff, but when he wants down, he wants down now!!
I'd like to figure out what's going on and ease the pain he's feeling (he's crunching his teeth more in the past 3 days than he ever has in his life).
Ariel was on metacam to ease her joints and I sprinkled cosequin on her salads. I also used cosequin on Kayla's and Hops' salads, but have recently run low on it. Maybe those two meds will do the trick for Hops? I think probably an x-ray is needed to figure out if something else is wrong with his back? Also, any tips on how to keep his weight up would be appreciated. His pellets are all alfalfa-based now to add more calories. All the bunnies are free-fed pellets.
Thanks for helping us!
Labels: aging_bunnies, Juniper_Hops