Christmas at the Emergency Vet's


I spent almost two hours creating a very long post about this past week, which has been pretty difficult (hence my lack of activity on here and social media). About 2/3 of the way through the lengthy post, I decided to break it up in to smaller chunks.

This week has been incredibly stressful and filled with depressive anxiety, but instead of blurting out everything that has been going wrong over the past week, I am going to focus this post on just one source of stress this week: my bunny Holly.

Holly, at the beginning of the month

Well, Holly as a bunny is not stressful, but a recent incident involving her health really stressed me out. Holly is about 8.5 years old and she has been in my care since she was just a few weeks old. She is bonded to my other rabbit Fluff Muffin who was estimated to be about 2.5 years old when I adopted him, which will be exactly 9 years ago this Thursday.

Holly and Fluff Muffin

Christmas morning I had to rush her to the emergency vet before work. I believe she choked on a pellet because she was sort of gagging up saliva after she ate. Rabbits do not truly vomit like humans or cats, which is why I think she had choked. She gagged a few times and although she had stopped by the time I got her to the emergency vet, she was still having difficulty breathing because her nose and mouth were then covered with mucus and saliva. The vet was not a rabbit specialist so he was unsure of what was going on with her and wanted to be cautious, so he wanted to keep her there and give her some fluids and oxygen therapy and take some x-rays.

baby Holly

Since I was working that evening, my boyfriend had to leave his Christmas dinner early to pick her up from the vet. They discharged her with antibiotics, which I was weary of giving her, but did not want to go against the DVM's orders. The bill was harsh.

I monitored her all the next day (luckily I had the day off) and gave the antibiotics as prescribed and fed her Critical Care every few hours. She wasn't eating normally or pooping yet, being very particular about what she would eat. The next morning I held her antibiotics and took her to her regular vet after observing her continue to be ambivalent about food.

The regular vet agreed with me that the pellets may have been the cause of her reaction and that the antibiotics should be stopped. She asked how much I feed the rabbits (about a tablespoon of pellets) and recommended I cut down to no more than 1/2 a teaspoon. She looked at the x-rays and palpated Holly tummy and reported that there was some build-up that needed to pass (rabbits won't eat when hurt, sick, or stressed which is bad for their GI system, which needs to be constantly moving food and poop through). She prescribed pain meds and a gut motility drug, both which I was happy to receive since the combo has been helpful in the past with both rabbits after illness or injury.

As of yesterday she has returned to her normal self. I am relieved that she feels better, and now my only rabbit-related anxiety is paying off the vet bills. I have insurance for both of my rabbits, but I never know how much I will get back after submitting a claim. Hopefully her insurance covers a good chunk of her bills. It was really disheartening to see the numbers, because up until then I was trying to get through the week by reminding myself how I would be able to put some money aside for a better birding lens after working Christmas and New Years (2.5x holiday pay!). I was really excited about that, but now I think I will have to put it all towards Holly's vet bills :/

Oh well. Fluff Muffin's girlfriend Holly is OK and that is most important.

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