Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hurricane Stress Induced Bunnies Sickness...

Hello there,

My apologies for not posting sooner. I haven't done much for a myriad of reasons. One of which is the cause of other reasons. Hurricane Irene. The hurricane didn't turn out to be as bad as it could have, although it did do its share of devastation.
 In our own situation, it downed a huge old tree just down the street.(Here is my amateur YouTube video of the damage.). The day before the storm, (changes were already occurring weatherwise), Grumbellina stopped eating and drinking after thumping over and over and over, etc. She didn't stop until I came and cuddled her in my arms.   The vet was closed. Her breathing became more rapid, but not to an extreme.  I was getting very anxious over seeing her this way and felt helpless. We were also fixing up things to prepare for the hurricane-such as putting away deck furniture and bringing in the outside bunnies.
Grumbellina, who usually never met a piece of food she didn't like, was refusing everything-bananas, carrots, raisins, pizza crust (we don't give it to her, but she has scooped it up like a dog when it's dropped on the floor), cilantro, other greens.  I was persistent through the day.   At least she didn't refuse cuddling.  I coddled her several times through the day and force fed her a few things such as apple sauce. I also syringed her water and benebac. She was somewhat more relaxed during the hurricane, but wouldn't eat. 
Grumbellina (8 years old)

After the storm was over, she seemed even more relaxed and nibbled a little banana, hay and water. I was relieved over that.  The day after she was nibbling on hay when I woke up and was drinking water. As that day went on, she started pigging out like her normal self and then some, as if making up for "lost time".  I was happy through this that she does have extra weight on her so in case she lost some, it wouldn't have hurt her too much in that regard. Thank God for answering all my prayers for her.

Then the other poor little bunny to have suffered and is presently still dealing with his illness is Tribble. He is a 1 year old Lionhead. He is really sweet, but it's hard to earn his trust. He is extremely skittish. My husband used to joke that we should have named him "Cowardly" , after the Cowardly Lion in theWizard of Oz.  I am glad to have prevented that from happening.  He is not as bad as he used to be.
Tribble, the lionhead  

Tribble started grinding his teeth  loudly(this is one way that rabbits express pain, as opposed to the gentle tooth purring which expresses contentment) the day of the hurricane and was not eating much or drinking much.  He would take pieces of soft food such as a little piece of banana, which made me think that perhaps he was having tooth issues.  I tried to pet him a lot and keep doing lots of checks on him the day of the hurricane. I brought him to the vet on Monday (the day after the hurricane) especially when I started seeing diarrhea.  Even though we didn't have power at that point, we had a regular landline phone (my husband's grandmother's rotary dial) plugged in-we could've used a cell though, but wanted to conserve on power in the cells. The vet was booked with appointments and emergency visits, but we decided not to wait the day they had asked us to wait. Diarrhea in rabbits is not something to mess with. They can go downhill  quickly.

The vet thought that he probably had coccidia (an infection caused by a protozoan parasite) and prescribed Albon. He has been nibbling only a little and still grinding his teeth though til today.. Today, he seems a little better. Getting medicine into him is a major chore. We have the materials to syringe feed him just in case for force feeding.  That usually isn't fun with bunnies. I have been trying to tantalize him with other things such as banana, applesauce, fresher pellets, different types of hay with strong scents, different greens.  He isn't grinding his teeth much at all so far today. I do have some pain medication, just in case, though which was prescribed by the vet last night.

I hate seeing him going through this, but I am happy to see some improvement.  I hope it keeps going in this direction.  I would hate to see something  happen to him. He is only a year old with so much promise for a happy full life.  He does generally appreciate anything that one does for him, except giving him medicine. I will keep you posted.

This seemed to come on with the hurricane in both rabbits. The vet and some people on Etherbun (a great yahoo listserv on the health of rabbits) thought that it all was very well possible that these episodes could have been brought on from the hurricane.  I know they all seemed very frightened of the thunder the night before the hurricane. It shook the house much like the earthquake that happened earlier in the week and the electricity was already flickering the lights also.  No matter what we do, there is only so much we can do to create a comforting environment for them.  We can't control thunder and the weather. I think we lessened the stress for most of them with comforting food and constant reassurance.  Grumbellina surprised me because she doesn't seem too startled by much usually, but you never know.  Perhaps they felt our stress as we scurried around trying to prepare and prevent issues as well as the changes in the weather. The coccidia may have been dormant, but was triggered into action in Tribble, by the stress of the hurricane.
I am thankful it is not worse.

I have to go check on Tribble now, but I look forward to seeing you next time. Have a wonderful day. Hope you and yours are doing well.

Thanks for stopping in and sharing part of your day here!
Mary Ellen
The Rabbit Hop Shoppe


  1. Glad you made it through though, even though it was a bad experience.

  2. Glad there getting better!

    Bunny Hugs,
    Bunny Boy

  3. We live on the Gulf Coast and during our last near miss the low pressure cell was pretty significant and Keating got stressed and stopped eating and pooping so one of the things I did was put him on the IFR heating pad. That way he could stretch out and relax and it made a big difference, really calmed him so I'm adding that to my bag of tricks for stress. I know everybun is different but it worked for us. I'm glad your two made it through despite all the complications.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts and experience. I hope that it is helpful to someone else who reads this. Glad that your bunny Keating did well. We definitely could all learn a lot from each other. Bless you and your bun pal!
      Mary Ellen