Thursday, June 26, 2008

the expensive rabbit

For the most part, the rabbits have been low maintenance pets; just give them rabbit food and water, and some fresh greens now and then, and they're happy.

But early this week I noticed something wrong with Cocoa, Starflower's rabbit. Its right eye was bulging out and the eyelid was red. A little pinkeye, I thought, maybe it will go away and I can avoid a $45 vet visit. But today when the eye was still red and bulging I decided maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to give the vet a call. Come in for a $45 visit and get the $5 eye drops or whatever.

The first obstacle to that plan was finding a vet who worked with rabbits. One would think, in a rural area like this, vets would come out in the middle of the night to treat an eggbound chicken. Nope. My first call was to the local vet ten miles away, who has spayed and neutered a few of our canine and feline companions and euthanized one. I set up an appointment with the assistant, but she called back about half an hour with the news: "Dr. Vet does not see rabbits." Okay. Maybe she will not see any of our other pets in the future, even those that are her preferred species.

Next I called a clinic in the next nearest town, twenty miles away. "Do you see rabbits?" I asked. "No. You could try Cloquet." 45 miles away. So I called. "Do you see rabbits?" "Yes we do! But...we can't get you in till Monday. Two of our vets are on vacation. But the Moose Lake clinic does take rabbits."

"I already tried them, and they said no."

"Did you call Arrowhead Lane clinic?"


"Oh, call the OTHER one!" Little did I know the small town of Moose Lake, MN supports two vet clinics. I called the other one, asked if they saw rabbits, and the receptionist said she'd ask the doctor. She came back and said "Yes, but he says he's no expert on them, he'll probably be reading the book while he examines it. We can get you in at 4."

"Good enough", I said. At least he was willing to give it a try. Conjunctivitis isn't that hard to diagnose, I thought.

So we arrived at 4, and the vet was actually at the front desk waiting for us. A younger guy, and obviously enthusiastic and eager to help us. We went into the exam room. They ruled out glaucoma, did some X rays (cha-CHING!) to rule out a tumor, then he came with the news:

"It appears her eye may have been pushed out of its socket." Ugh. Poor bunny. POOR BUNNY! But bunnies are great at hiding things like that. They try to go on with life as usual.

But there is hope. He consulted with a friend in Wales who apparently is a rabbit expert, and he can put the bunny under anesthesia (cha-CHING!) and attempt to poke the eye back in. Ouch. But what are the alternatives? Surgery to remove the eye, euthanasia, or nothing. I can't do anything but the best for Starflower's pet bunny. Sigh.

So I'll be bringing Cocoa in at 7:30 AM for eye-poking surgery. Please pray that all goes well! And thank God it's The Hermit's payday Monday.


barefoot gardener said...

Let me begin by saying "eeew".

I hope the *shudder, gulp* eye-poking surgery goes very well.


LauraHinNJ said...

Awww... poor bunny.

I'm lucky to have a bunny expert closeby, but he doesn't come cheaply.

I think a lot of vets don't want to deal with rabbits because they find that owners aren't willing to spend as much $ on a bunny as they would a dog or cat. Plus bunnies are so fragile... there often isn't a successful outcome.

Poking the eye back in sounds kinda strange to me (what made it poke out to begin with?), but I hope it works. My inclination would probably be to have it removed... assuming that poking it back in will cause all sorts of future infection issues and the probability that it'll poke back out again.

I'll be thinking good thoughts for Starflower's bunny and rubbing some lucky bunny feet here for you.


Starflower said...

Hey this is starflower thanks for the wishing it'll go well I've prayed for my bun-bun too. Barefoot Gardener yes it is gross I feel sorry for my poor bun.Best wishes to your problems too with whatever.

Deb said...

BG- That was my first reaction. And my reaction to the option of eye removal. I hope this works.

LauraH- Yeah, I guess in this economically depressed area, it wouldn't pay to see rabbits. But I would think there would be a place for an entrepreneurial vet to do what others won't. Or maybe the startup costs are too huge. I don't know.

Cocoa lives with two other bunnies, and she is the runt, which means she gets picked on. I think they're all females (otherwise we would be up to our ears in baby bunnies by now, and we were prepared to separate them at the first sign), but the bigger ones do tend to be aggressive sometimes. I think one hit to the face may have done it. They plan to stitch it shut for a while and put on an eye patch, in the hope it will stay in. Thanks for the good wishes.

Laura said...

Glad to know that I'm not the only one that's willing to spend money on things that can be fixed. Could be worse than a bunny though - I spend $90 to fix a chicken that I ended up giving away...

Lynne said...

Poor Cocoa! I have to say it- EEEWWW!!

I'll be saying that special "eye-poking surgery" novena as soon as I get off work. ;)

you know us Catholics...we have a novena for everything...

Hang in there Starflower!

Jayne said...

Ack! Nothing eye poking sounds good at all. Hope it stays in the socket once it's reseated. All good bunny healing thoughts ascend.

Anonymous said...

Deb, this is Lisa in Moose Lake. We had our bunny to see Justin and ML Vet Clinic. He was great! Unfortunately, our bunny (age 5) died while we were there. But they treated us well. It was not long ago that no one saw rabbits here and we went to the emergency vet clinic in Duluth. Anyway, glad to hear that the rabbits condition was not so dire. Great Blog by the way.

Deb said...

Lisa- Hi! I thought Justin was wonderful, and even though we have a vet clinic nearby here in Askov, I'm thinking of bringing our animals there from now on.

Glad to see you're reading my blog! Hope the Honda is running well. :)