Saturday, April 4, 2009

Scout Freak Out

Okay, so Friday I went to the vet's in my PJs. Fortunately, my vet's office either know I'm a weirdo Bohemian, are used to panicking pet owners showing up early in states of weird dress, or well, probably a mix of both.

I finally got to sleep at six am. Most who knew me in my teenage years would be shocked at how "early" this is. Normally I saw the dawn from the wrong side. However, in the last couple of years I've been getting out of bed at 0630. It's frightens those who have known me most of my life. Fortunately, I'm nowhere close to coherant until 0900.

I've had about two hours of sleep when Scout, who typically sleeps curled up under my chin gets up to go investigate the foodbowl. I'm not really awake, I just notice something odd in how she lands. Opening my eyes further I watch her hop to the food bowl on three paws. She's not putting any weight on her rear right paw and it's sort of twitching as she hops. That's just not right. I sigh and get up, muttering impolite things about paying for Dr M's son to go through university yet.

See, normally when a bunny gets ill, or is injured, or just about anything, said bunny goes off their food. You typically don't get a warning of bunny illness until you notice output isn't normal. (Yes, it's true, all bunny parents are obsessed with rabbit poop.) But Scout's eating, so I'm not worried. I get up to go put the kettle on and glance at the clock to note I can phone the vet's in a few minutes. I hear a thump from the bunny room; which is occassionally also known as my bedroom.

This wasn't a bunny thump. Bunnies thump in warning, anger, excitment, or basically whenever they want to say something that requires an exclamation point. This is the point where, brow furrowed, I go back into th ebunny room. Sage is mounting Scout - not unusual, the stubborn Dutch won't get it through her thick skull that Scout's not gonna call her dominant even if she does get most of the grooming. Typically Scout just turns around and bites the nearest body part. But my little brown bundle of love is splayed on the carpet and her head is twitching back and forth and she doesn't seem able to get up, chase Sage or even MOVE. So I chase Sage off and crouch down by my Scout Scout. Her head is just twitching back and forth and she doesn't seem aware of me at all. I pick her up and she starts freaking out; that's okay, I was freaking out, we became a matched set.

I grabbed the carrier off the deck and a clean towel from the laundry room and put her and towel inside carrier and left her on the kitchen table (You didn't buy it for me to EAT off did you Mum??) while I phoned Dr M's office. I get a new lady who doesn't know me or my bunnies. I explain the symptoms and she says bring Scout down pronto for an emergency appointment. I say, well, uh, unfortunately I can't afford to pay until the 22nd. (Pesky rabbits wanting me to buy them food and things!) She says she'll talk to Mandy and see what the usual procedure is. I say okay. (What am I gonna say?) While I'm on hold Scout starts circling.

What's freaky about that is she's been lying on her hip, something Scout never does. As she starts to circle, head still twitching back and forth along the horizontal, she's not lifting her back paws at all, she's just pivoting on her left hip. It's like she's just become paralyzed at just before her back legs on her spine. So when the poor new lady comes back on the phone, I'm even more panicky and I was probably louder than necessary and I know I was near tears. I apologized for yelling, she said it's okay, she understands, just come down.

So off we go. Scout keeps circling even once I get the car on the road. Normally she hunches up into a little ball and fears the evil world outside. Nope, I don't think she's even registered we're in the scary outside world where there's big slobbery doggies that try to harm cute little bunnies. (I'll point out now that every dog Scout has met since she adopted me has been more interested in licking her than harming her but she's had a traumatic past.) When we get to the vet's office, Mandy is very reassuring, as always. The poor lady's been up all night with her daughter who got a trip to the hospital with a 105F fever and here she is babysitting nervous nelly me.

Dog comes out, Scout gets to go in. Fortunately by this point she's stop circling. Dr M hmms and haws. Dr M is not primarly an "exotics" vet. Many bunny people say they will only bring their babies to rabbit experts, but hello, how does a vet become an expert? Dr M cares and is willing to learn and is always open to "owner" feedback. (We all know who owns who when it comes to me and Scout.) Anyway, he watches her twitch back and forth and then tries to put her on the ground to see if she'll hop for him since it was such a dramatic progession. It really was a matter of minutes from bad to OMFG. She sort of limps a quarter of a step and looks up at him with big brown bunny eyes. He says its probably either an infection or problems in the brain. The former is treatable and he'll take her into the back to do some neurological testing. I generally take this to mean "I need to do things to your bunny that's for her own good but I know will make her overprotective human want to snatch her away form me." I trust Dr M implicitly and off the two went.

I spent a nerve wracking ten minutes in the front office. I'm sure I drove Mandy nuts with my pacing. I text messaged Criss with an "Ahhh, I'm panicking!" I paced some more. Then Dr M appears to say "Yup, it's an infection." Scout had pasturella ("snufffles") when she adopted me and we spent a lot of time getting her all better. Unfortunately, it seems it was just sleeping and has reappeared as an infection in her middle ear. He said he could see it. He said it's a long and painful process to treat her and hopefully get her better. Once he said "head tilt" i knew what he was talking about. Head tilt rarely kills a pet bunny, but is uber high maintenance to treat. He said prognosis is "guarded" and that, he has to say it, euthanization is an option. I must have given Dr M a look because he said "Okay, maybe not for you two." and I pointed out Scout was the bunny who fought back from the worst case of Stasis he'd ever heard of.

So he prescribed an antibiotic for her to take for two months, said to give her a couple drops of metacam (anti-inflammatory painkiller) a day, and also some dry eye goo in case she can't clean her eyes properly. He said good to go, I asked if I get my bunny back since she was still in the back room he laughed and said he GUESSED I could have her back.

So back she came, and I signed my life away promising I would pay them on the 22nd and Scout already seemed better since she wasn't circling even if her head was still twitching a bit. And home we went.

Sage was VERY unimpressed when the small cage got closed on her nose with Scout on the inside. "Hay, that's OUR litterbox, how come SHE gets it to HERSELF??" She rattled the bars and I chased her off. I set up a second cage in the master bedroom (aka the guest room) and dropped Sage in. She immediately hopped out (Cages only get closed when bunnies are ill or injured) and gave me a dirty look. Sage is very talented at dirty looks, I think it's all the practice she has in giving them. Sage promptly went back to the bunny room (aka my bedroom) and started rattling the bars again. Scout had her nose in the foodbowl and ignored her. I chased Sage off. This process repeated for about an hour before I gave up and moved the litterbox into the bedroom along with a crock of water and pellets. "There, in your room, quit complaining!"

Sage studied the matter and took up guard position beside the cage. She was obviously putting thought into her next plan. I decided it was noon, I'd had very little sleep and I was going get some. So I not-quite-passed-into-a-coma. Sage may or may not have rattled the bars to the cage, I was too out of it to notice. After a couple hours of sleep I got back up and decided I may as well get some work done.

All was quiet and mostly behaved until my bedtime at 9pm. I went into the bedroom and laid down. Every time my head hit the pillow, Sage rattled bars and thumped. "I want IN!" I said words my mother wouldn't approve of and at one point threw a pillow at Sage. Don't worry for the bunny, safest place to be is where I'm aiming. Sage gave me one final thump and sat at the door meatloafed glaring at me. Deciding I'd won the round, I picked up my pillow and went to sleep.

I woke up about half an hour later thinking I'd peed the bed. The bunnies hop on and off the bed all night, unless they make an effort to wake me, I'll just ignore them. It took me a few heartbeats to realize that it was bunny pee, and a rather lot of it. Sage had peed on my chest, my abdomen AND my legs. I sighed, got up, stripped the bed and dumped my clothes and the bedding in the washer, took a shower, and then went to sleep on the couch. The bunny won the war. Sorta. I turned up the radio so I couldn't hear her rattle the bars on the cage.

This morning I took Scout out to see how she was hopping and give her her daily meds. Since I got the classic "Drop dead!" look from her, increased by several degrees when I told her she just looks so darn cute when she's disgruntled, I decided she must be feeling better. No twitches, no leg problems, pupils the same size. It almost like she'd never had a fit the day before. So after medication, I put her on the floor in the bunny room and rigged the cage perma-open once more. Sage immediately hopped over and tried to mount Scout in another farcical "Who's the Boss?" routine. Scout turned around and took a chunk of fur out of Sage's nose. Sage thumped and hid. Sage, by the way, its two and a half times larger than her older 'sister.'

Yup. Scout's feeling better.. and Sage will probably still blame me.

It's a good thing they're cute.

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