Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Bit of an Abscession

"Well, it's a good thing we got those
Bunspace calendar contest entries in when we did,
that's all I can say..."

It's a long story, and it started this past Thursday.

I brought Mickey to the vet's on Thursday for his quarterly molar-filing. As always, they pop him on the scale beforehand. The scale reads 4.08 pounds.

Wait, what?!

He can't weigh 4.08 pounds, I tell them--he weighed 5 1/2 pounds the last time I brought him in and that was three months ago. The vet checks her records and then weighs him again. Sure enough, Mr. Mick has somehow lost 1 1/2 pounds in three months. (I thought I had combed a pound of hair off him the night before, but I really didn't think I HAD taken a pound of hair off him!)

All joking aside, both Dr. Shanahan and I were very concerned. She gave him a physical exam, but didn't feel anything out of the ordinary. It was agreed that, on top of the tooth work, full x-rays and blood work would be taken and that she would go over him again while he was sedated--just in case something was being tucked away undetected. (I went through that with Mickey's predecessor, Karnage--the tumor invading his intestines was hidden under his ribcage and not detected until he was sedated and his muscles relaxed.) The hope was that the teeth were the cause of the problem and that once they were filed, he would put the weight back on, but we couldn't assume that.

Teeth were done, and we went home to await test results. All seemed to be well; Mick's usual tooth-related issues (crusty eyes, moist nose, minor sneezing) had cleared up on the spot as always and he was his usual self...until last night (Friday).

Mick had been perfectly fine during the day--he tackled me for shredded carrots and chowed the romaine lettuce I gave him. The only odd thing was that he was suddenly lounging in his litterbox instead of on his throne. I didn't think much of it, just wrote it off to the fresh hay I'd put in, which was softer than what had been in there--maybe he was feeling like munching on some hay now that his teeth were fixed.

But he didn't budge from the litterbox once he went in there.

When the time came to let him out for exercise, he finally hopped out of the litterbox and went into the dining room. I thought ok, all is good--until he parked himself under one of the dining room chairs, settled down...and didn't budge.

No running around. No begging for pets and kisses. No nothing.

He wasn't hunched, not hiding, just lounging--but it wasn't right. I finally picked him up, checked him over, gave him a short tummy massage and then put him back in his cage. He hopped right back into his litterbox and settled down again.

No begging for treats, no interest in any food--I even waved a pinch of shredded carrots in his face. Nothing.

When the world's biggest treat-fiend isn't wanting treats, it's not good.

I took him out of his cage again, took him into the living room, snuggled him, gave him a couple of syringes of water, massaged his tummy again. He tooth-purred a few times, but there was some light grinding here and there as well, which didn't make me feel any better. Finally, I gave him another syringe of  water, put him back in his cage so I could get a couple hours sleep on the couch, then checked him again about 8am this morning (Saturday).

Nothing eaten. No poops in the litterbox, and despite the water I syringed into him, no pee either.

Called the vet on the spot; they had me bring him in.

Dr. Shanahan wasn't in, but fortunately all the vets there are rabbit-savvy to varying degrees. Dr. Leahey informed me that the x-rays that had been taken on Thursday didn't show anything, and they were still waiting for the bloodwork results from the lab. He weighed Mick again, took his temperature (98.4, a bit low for a bun), then started feeling along Mick's jaw.

Suddenly, he looked at me. "Did you notice this lump before?"

Lump?! What lump?!

I put my hands where he indicated; there on Mick's left jawline was a dime-sized lump. I hadn't noticed it before, not even with all the petting he got last night.

Fortunately, the lump was in the jaw muscle and not in the jawbone itself. Dr. Leahey and I pretty much agreed that it needed to be dealt with on the spot, so Mickey got sedated again and the lump was opened up, revealing lots of ick.

Hello, abscess. Goodbye, weekend plans.

Right now, Mick has a good-sized hole in his cheek about a half-inch in diameter, give or take. My job is to administer banana-flavored Baytril once a day and keep that hole clean and ick-free. To put it in a hopefully not-gross way, it's been like trying to wipe a toothpaste tube clean, but the toothpaste keeps oozing out here and there. Fortunately, the dried veggie treats that I ordered from chose the perfect time to show up, so His Majesty the Impatient Patient has had nommy stuff to keep him entertained. He's sitting next to me as I type this, in his spare litterbox with his flannel sheet over him to keep him from getting too chilled by the AC. He's had dried veggie treats and a bit of romaine, and more syringes of water. He's been spending all evening trying to clean himself after each time I've flushed his wound with wound wash saline. Poor bunneh--he's not going to be posing for any pics for a while, that's for sure.

I'm just glad we got in to the vet when we did, as they are closed both Sunday and Monday because of the holiday. I have been living on caffeine and frayed nerves for three days now as is--I would have been a basket case if I had chosen to wait until after the holiday. We see Dr. Shanahan on Tuesday for follow-up, so hopefully things will be looking better by then.


Anonymous said...

Poor old chap! I hope that he feels better soon.

Michelle May (Shell) said...

Oh my gosh!! Thank goodness you got to the vet when you did! Thank goodness this vet found the lump! Whew!
Ok...gonna have another cup of coffee and send lots more happy light to Mr. M.
Sending hugs to you Jade. Hang in there.
xx, shell

The Fab Furs said...

You are such a good bunny nurse! Best wishes for Mr. Mick to return to his usual self!

SixBunnies said...

I had an error on my last attempt to post, so please forgive me if this is a duplicate! Thank you for taking such good care of Mick! Even the most dissapproving, crankiest, bunroyalty like Mick needs his mommy when he has an ouchy! Tell him he has friends who love him from a distance in Texas. I am so glad that doctor was thorough enough to find the problem in all of Mick's furriness! Get well, Mr. Mick! You are gorgeous, yucky, oozy spot or not!

SixBunnies said...

And, prayers and thoughts to you, too, Jade! I know it's so rough when your little guys are sick and can't talk to you about exactly what's going on.

The human said...

Oh Mickey! Be good and get better soon... What a stress. But you are so lucky to have such great vets. Thinking of you both. Lisa x (and Buttons and Bella of course!)

Lavender Rabbit said...

Major get well vibes to Mickey from all of us here. I hope this clears up quickly for him and never comes back again. So glad you caught this and got him into the vet. Many hugs, Donna and the fur crew

Clovie Boy said...

Hope Mick is much improved today and that he mends quickly!

Annette F Tait said...

oh deary me :(
so glad you managed to catch it though
kisses on the head to mr mick xx

Rabbits' Guy said...

Oh dear. Can't do the feeling for you, but I think we know what it is like - worry, hope, worry, hope, try this, try that, worry, hope ... let's hope the problem is found and being corrected. Hang in there all ...

Crafty Green poet said...

oh get well soon Mickey!

Yollie, the human of Fairy Castle Farm said...

Oh, thank goodness you know your bun so well! Bless you both and good luck, our thoughts and prayers are with you. bunny nudges to your lil' patient from all my buns and me!

d. moll, said...

You know how we feel about Mr. Mick and we are so grateful he has the best possible nurse. Plans be damned when a bun is involved, at least that's how it always works here. Sending wishes for speedy healing.
4Buns on the left coast

bunnits said...

Oh, goodness. Thankfully you found the cause of his lethargy. Here's hoping for a speedy recovery.

Lisa said...

Thank goodness you have such a great vet and found this so quickly! Flushing ick seems like such a hard thing for a bun mom to do, especially once he's feeling better and struggling. Good luck with that. Mickey is lucky to have such a great bun mom.

bunnythreads said...

does he need a collar(satellite) so he can't get at it? Can you suck it out with a syringe/ the kind you use for a baby to clean ears or nose?
I have used a spray that works well that you can spray on wounds to protect them, so flys,insects do not bother the wound it is $4-5 a bottle at most pet stores.

bunnythreads said...

prayers for you & dear mr mick
Do you have to suck it out with a like bulb syringe? or how are you keeping it clean, just flushing with saline? Ior helping to draw it out also?

Jade said...

Bunnythreads: I was just flushing it with saline and cleaning out any pus with medical swabs. A collar wasn't necessary; he couldn't reach it to lick it and fortunately wasn't inclined to scratch it.