Ever since we got Willow (or Willow Chops as she is affectionately known), it has been a source of amazement as to how much she poos compared to Parsley and in fact every other bunny I've ever owned! Whilst she is an adorable friendly and affectionate bunny she is known to Hubby as the "eating and pooing machine".
I couldn't resist making him this special gift for Christmas. It doesn't show brilliantly on the photo but Parsley's present is filled with smaller chocolate caramel digestive nibbles. Willow's present is filled with four large sharing bags of Maltesers. I can't wait to see has face when he opens it! Obviously, Hubby doesn't read my blog.It feels like bunny central here right now. We had got the bunnies booked into boarding over Christmas but unfortunately they can't take them due to Parsley's illness.
For several months Parsley bunny has been getting a thick white discharge from his eyes. It clears up with eye ointment but comes back within a week. Left untreated it develops into conjunctivitis and eye ulcers which is painful for him. Bramble was never affected by it and Willow hasn't developed any problems. About a month ago we took swabs from both his eyes (not easiest thing to do!) and got some eye drops that were bacteria sensitive to try. A week of those and no improvement.
We then tried another week of the eye drops, some anti inflammatories and some oral antibiotics. We also noticed that he was losing weight and so along with his medication twice a day he also gets an extra feed of porridge oats soaked in warm water in the evening. Still no improvement and so he had his tear ducts flushed and his tear production checked (all okay). We started him on a alternative recommended eye drops from the swabs and my vet spoke to the referral opthamologist for advice. As you can imagine this has been a relatively expensive exercise. I had to laugh at the eye drops - I took the information leaflet out of the packet so I could tell Mum what the antibiotic in them was. Emblazoned across the leaflet was "May cause blurred vision. If affected do not drive or use machinery". Can't remember if I told Parsley not to drive, oops!
On Monday Parsley was admitted for a general anaesthetic so that they could take X-Rays of his head and bloods. Fortunately, he did well and I went to collect him in the early afternoon as he was "bouncing off the walls in his kennel " at the vets. I almost fainted at the size of the bill though - £348 and a few pennies! He's worth every penny of course.
The vet phoned me on Tuesday with the results - the thought was that a tooth root could be obstructing something, but the consultant radiologist said that everything was fine. All his bloods were normal, apart from his white blood cell count. I'm not sure what the normal level is for bunnies but I'm pretty sure that it shouldn't be one!
Something is obviously affecting his immune system, a possible cause could be E.Cuniculi which is thought to be caused by a parasite and classically presents with neurological symptoms such as a head tilt. The test for this is £130. We therefore agreed to treat him for this as it won't harm him if we're wrong. He's now on a wormer, Panacur daily and a high dose of anti inflammatories twice a day and more antibiotic eye drops to prevent the discharge developing into conjunctivitis. Willow is totally unaffected by this, but as E.Cuniculi is contagious of course he couldn't go into boarding and place other bunnies at risk. We'll come up with a plan B, even if it means just visiting family for a few hours.
As Parsley comes into the house every evening for his meds and porridge, Willow obviously wonders where he goes. When I put him back she wants to escape into the shed for a nose at what's going on. To keep her in one place, I've started to give her a treat when I open the door into their area before I put Parsley back in with her. Willow has now got this routine sussed. As I go out of the back door with Parsley, Willow is always sat on the step in the run watching for us. As I get up to the run she runs back into the shed and is waiting by the door for me. Most times she has her front paws up on the door so that she practically falls out as I open it! She's such a cheeky bunny!
Gratuitous bunny photo - Parsley is the black bunny and Willow is the grey bunny. As ever I failed miserably at trying to get them both to look in the same direction, even with a bribe!