Have you ever tried something new only to realize that you aren't half bad at it? That's how it has been with me for the past two days, only it's a skill that I certainly did not want to develop. Car Guy's pet bunny, Nibbles, has fallen ill, and since Car Guy is a seven-year-old boy, I seem to be the rabbit's main nursemaid. Apparently, I'm not too bad at caring for a rabbit. People, however, are a completely different story. My husband, Patrick, repeatedly points out that I was not the sweetest human caretaker when he had shoulder surgery in November. He seems to forget that animals are kind, not grumpy, when they do not feel well.
Nibbles' health issues began on Thursday night when Patrick woke me up about 12:30am saying something was wrong with Nibbles. The bunny kept rolling around like he couldn't control his head or body. After doing some hasty research in our bunny book and online, we determined that he had head tilt, and it was serious. Luckily, I was able to speak with someone at the 24-hour emergency vet to make an appointment for 9am Friday morning.
By the time the kids and I got Nibbles to the vet, he was extremely lethargic, in addition to the frightening head tilt. An expensive vet trip later, Nibbles was diagnosed with a pasteurella infection which has infected his eyes (looks like he has pinkeye), an ear (bunny ear infection), and caused the head tilt (from vertigo-like symptoms due to the inner ear infection). To fight the infection and symptoms, Nibbles now receives eyedrops, prednisone, and an antibiotic two times a day. The kicker, however, is feeding and giving him water with a syringe every four hours. I even had to make a schedule to keep track of when to give Nibbles all his medicine and food on schedule.
So why go to this much trouble for a $29 pet store bunny? Car Guy adores his pet bunny and, to tell you the truth, I am rather in love with the small mammal, too. When well, Nibbles loves to snuggle, play, and perform his bunny dance. He usually has so much personality, so it is very hard to see him so sick and pitiful. Honestly, can you imagine anything worse than having a pet rabbit bite the dust at Easter? If you read my February Valentines Schmalentines post, you learned that I detest Valentine's Day due to a series of bad experiences on the holiday. So I certainly don't want my children to always remember that their pet rabbit died at Easter. To head that off, I have spent much of the last two days hand-feeding and holding a two-pound Netherland Dwarf rabbit.
Water seems to be Nibbles' favorite thing at the moment, and he easily takes it from the syringe. He will also happily eat timothy hay from our hands. The bunny gruel has been a bit of a challenge, however. We can't quite get the correct consistency of mushed food pellets, water, and yogurt which is compounded when we try to squeeze it through a syringe. After Nibbles' last so-so feeding, Patrick and I tried giving Nibbles plain old vanilla yogurt. He loved it, so I think we'll stick with that just to keep him eating so he can get his strength back.
Because of the vertigo, Nibbles is very unstable. He can't sit up straight and his head tilts precariously to the side. To help him feel more stable, we have taken to swaddling him in a towel like a baby. He is so lethargic that he has spent most of the past two days being held and carried by assorted family members. Nibs even got a visitor today when my mom came to check on the patient in his sick bed.
We're all hoping that Nibbles feels better for his big Easter holiday. So we can keep an eye on him, he is even going with us to Easter lunch at my parents' house. The entire family, even our 14-year-old dogs, are concerned about year and a half old Nibbles. Please send lots of positive thoughts Nibbles' way. It will certainly be very difficult over here if Nibbles doesn't spunk up soon.
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