Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Life and Times of a Paranoid Bunny-Mom

Mickey's been sneezing on occasion lately. It's the funniest sound in the world--sounds just like Donald Duck cussing. The first time I heard it, I didn't know what it was; I knew the sound was coming from the kitchen, I was pretty sure it was Mickey making the noise...but I had no idea what he was doing, and it was just weird enough of a sound to cause concern. I went into the kitchen; Mickey looked up at me with his "Unless you're here for treat dispensing, I am not interested." face. I waited to see if he would make the noise again. Nothing at first, then just as I was about to go back to the computer, he sneezed...and I laughed. He sneezed again, and I immediately stopped laughing and sat down to open the cage door for a closer look.

He seemed fine, nothing out of the ordinary, no runny nose or weepy eyes. His appetite clearly wasn't affected, as he was busy nudging my hands with his nose trying to see if I happened to be holding a treat. I checked the cage, particularly the hay/litter box; everything looked normal. I made a mental note to keep an eye on the situation.

Over the past couple of weeks, the sneezing has continued here and there; nothing on a continuous basis, but definitely more than usual. I've heard him in the morning sometimes, and sometimes late at night.  The sneezes come in intervals and last until I go over and wipe his nose clear and check him out, then he's fine. This morning, I could hear him as soon as I got up, and decided that it was time to have the vet take a look.

To a non-rabbit-owner, sneezing might sound like no big deal--and nine times out of ten, it's truly no big deal. Rabbits sneeze for the same reasons we do; to clear irritating stuff out of their noses. However, as I've mentioned before on here, rabbits are prey animals, and as such are way too good at hiding illness and injury. What seems to be a few innocent sneezes can turn into very nasty stuff (pneumonia, infection, etc.) completely without warning. This is why rabbit people appear to be completely out of their minds half the time worrying about things like sneezes, food refusal, poop quality, etc.--we're always afraid that if we let down our guard for a moment, we're going to wake up one morning and find Bunny keeled over in his cage, dead as a doornail..and unfortunately, it does happen like that sometimes, which is why I was calling the vet in a mild panic.

Fortunately, I have a rabbit-savvy vet who understands that I am not a nutcase, just a very concerned bunny-mom, so she had me bring him in. Mickey was not at all happy to find himself in his carrier and then in the car, but he was very good for the vet for the most part (except when she was taking his temperature, and I can't exactly blame him for that). The vet said that everything looked good; temperature was normal, heart and lungs sounded very healthy, eyes and nose showed no signs of infection, although his nose was a little wetter than usual. She said it was possible that he was reacting to the large amount of pollen that's been in the air lately, although it was also possible that if he was coming down with something, he was in the very early stages. She said to keep an eye out for any changes in his nasal discharge; if it gets particularly icky or turns green, bring him in right away. Otherwise, he was a healthy, handsome bunny.

Yes, healthy, handsome, and not-exactly-a-cheap bunny. The peace of mind is worth the cost of the vet visit, but considering the three visits in the past couple of months for an eye infection and the semi-annual molar grindings, let's just say it's a good thing he's so cute and lovable.

"I'd like to think I'm worth the expense,
thank you very much."


Anonymous said...

I routinely tell my bunnies it's a good thing they are so cute!

Heart of a Cowgirl said...

Oh yes, definitely worth it. He is adorable!