I had such high hopes for the month of April. This was to be the month of getting my fitness regime on track. March was all about getting caught up routine medical stuff, and reintroducing myself to my doctor, whom I hadn’t seen in four years. Everything checked out fine and dandy, so the next step was to work with a personal health coach on the exercise stuff, and then in May I was going to start working with a nutritionist. Yup, those were my plans. And you know what they say about plans . . .
Instead, April became all about Binkles (and I could totally hear him saying “and that problem with that is . . .?” (and yes, I realize rabbits don’t talk, much less read, much much less read my blog)). You see, on April 1 (no joke), much rabbit drama ensued.
It was about 6pm on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I noticed the Binks was laying on his stomach stretched out. Warning sign number one of possible GI stasis. When I leaned down to check on him, he dashed into the bathroom and behind the bathtub. Warning sign number two. And finally when he rejected his most favorite treat in the whole world, a banana chip, I knew I had yet another case of stasis on my hands.
Thanks to my friend Judy, the Bunny Bodhisattva, I’ve learned how to treat this life-threatening condition myself at home: take his temperature, then sub-q fluids, heat, medication, and the most fun part, force feeding him this liquified hay goop. Then I confine him to his carrier and wait for his appetite to come back and some poops that tell me his digestive system is once again working. It’s nerve wracking and scary, but I’m getting more confident in my abilities to pull him through these episodes. But, this time something went wrong.
Who knows how the hell he did, but when I was in the bathroom, he attempted to escape from his carrier and in doing so apparently injured himself. I didn’t notice it until after the stasis had cleared and he was free to hop about. He was only using three legs. When I caught him to check it out, I knew it wasn’t just a sprain that he could simply hop off. Nope, this called for a visit to the emergency vet.
His x-rays confirmed a fractured metatarsal, as well as a dislocated toe on his left rear leg. The game plan was to keep him overnight to monitor him (especially since he just came out of stasis) and to have a surgeon take a look at him in the morning. It was a sleepless night for me. I was completely obsessed with the thought that the stress of his environment and pain would throw him back into stasis and that he would die. (And no, knowing that he was surrounded by veterinarians who could recognize and treat stasis did not alleviate my worried mind. Nor did it occur to me just to call and check on his status. That would make far too much sense!).
The vet called me in the morning and told me that Binkles had had a good night and that he was eating and pooping like a champ, which was more than good be said about me.
When I picked him up that morning, I met with a surgeon to discuss my options. He seemed like a nice enough man, but like most surgeons I’ve met, there was a bit of macho bravado about him. He said I basically had two options: 1) do nothing – his foot will never be the same, but there are lots of very happy, healthy tri-pod pets; or 2) surgery with the hopes of recovery of full functionality of his foot. Binkles is a very active rabbit who enjoys jumping up on furniture so he can hang out close to me. Being a tri-pod would probably mean he wouldn’t be able to do that anymore. I asked the surgeon for an estimate.
$3,000 – $4,000!
While I love my animals and try to do the best by them, I needed to think hard about this one. If it were to save his life, and he had an excellent chance at a continued good quality of life, I would totally do it. But, happy gimpy bunny vs happy non-gimpy bunny? I dunno.
My next stop was to my vet who has been taking care of my critters for close to 20 years now. While not exactly a warm and fuzzy kind of guy, it’s clear he cares about the animals (though I think people bug the shit out of him). He gave me the same two options, but at a substantially more reasonable cost. We scheduled the surgery for the next day.
I left his immediate post-surgical care in the hands of Judy, the Bunny Bodhisattva because I knew I would be hovering over the poor creature, forever fretting if he was in pain, or if he was going into stasis. His total recovery time was estimated at eight weeks – I would have plenty of time to obsess him after he recovered from surgery.
It’s been a long four weeks. For two of those weeks, he had that big ass bandage on his leg. And for the first three weeks he had to stay cooped up in a small cage to restrict his movements. At first I think he appreciated the cozy, close quarters. But, towards the end, you could tell he was frustrated and wanted some room to move. Just this week I was able to transfer him to a pen – not as much room as he normally would have, but a far cry better than the cage. So what does he do the first day I leave him alone in his pen? Well, let’s say I came home to naughty bunny greeting me at the door. Little stinker lept over his three foot high pen to make his great escape. So much for keeping him calm and letting him slowly get used to using his foot.
As I write this, Binkles is at my feet, happily chewing on an old magazine. I have to keep him sequestered from Honey, his former bonded partner. During his convalescence, their bond has been broken. When they see each other, one or the other gets aggressive. And the last thing he or I needs, is some lagomorphic domestic disturbance turning violent. I’ll worry about rebonding them later.
It’s been a tough for a lot of people I know – death, dire diagnoses, addiction – so I really don’t have much to complain about. Binkles may be a little pain in the ass, but he’s totally worth it.
(And apologies for the overly long post. Apparently I’ve forgotten how to edit during the last three months since I last posted.)