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June 12, 2009 -- A sad update from Rich Sievers
Sunshine left us this afternoon at 2:30.
She felt better the last couple of days and had finally won her battle over the gas, and had been making up for lost time by eating anything and everything. Yesterday afternoon she spent several hours outside in the sunshine, munching on the grass. Last night and early this morning, she was given her medication protocol as usual, and when checked on every couple of hours or so, she seemed happy and bright, would take syringed water, and eat all the hay left in front of her. And of course, she'd eagerly accept snuggling and smooches, and give kisses in return.
These two photos - one of the front end, one of the back end - were taken while Sunshine was playing in the grass. In one, you can see the shadow of our rabbit weather vane. The little sign in the grass has two rabbits on it and says, "Bunny Crossing."
At 7 AM she was taken from her cage for her normal morning exam that includes having her temperature taken. She seemed a little sleepy but not in distress. But her temperature registered only 99.5 degrees, cause for great alarm. She was immediately given 100 cc's of warmed Lactated Ringer's, plus 1 cc of Torbugesic. Afterwards, she was wrapped in a towel, then she snuggled on my chest under a wool blanket with a heating pad on top. She seemed comfortable and relaxed, slept easily, and of course gave lots of kisses.
We stayed like that for hours, but shortly after noon she seemed to become progressively more uncomfortable. Her temperature continued to drop - at 12:45 it was down to 99.1 - so 50 more cc's of warmed fluids were given, then we got under the blanket again. She continued to deteriorate, and by 2 she was lethargic and mostly unresponsive, although she would blink her eyes at me when I talked to her. She crossed peacefully at 2:30 while being held and snuggled, all the while being told how brave a bunny she'd been though all this, but that it was alright for her to go, that she'd be able to run and hop again.
Dr. Harvey has been asked to do a necropsy, so that anything that's found may help other bunnies in the future. Afterwards, she'll be cremated and her ashes placed in a special urn that's fitting for a special bunny.
In all the years that I've been working with bunnies, there are but a handful that are so special, that they make an indelible imprint on the humans through whose lives they pass. Marinell Harriman, founder of the House Rabbit Society, calls them "Shooting Stars." Although I only knew her a short time, Sunshine was truly that. Her sweet and gentle disposition, and affectionate personality - always ready to give ya a kiss - endeared her forever to all those she shared her short life with. I will miss her deeply.
Thank you to Dr. Carolynn Harvey, Chabot Veterinary Clinic in Hayward, and the House Rabbit Society for providing her with wonderful care, and to her friends at the Oakland animal shelter (especially Anne and Julie) for their concern for her. Anne's the one who's been posting these recent updates, by the way. And of course, Sunshine wouldn't have gotten this far if not for the kindness and compassion of Marcy Schaaf and Save A Bunny. I encourage you to make a generous donation to Save A Bunny, so that other bunnies like Sunshine can receive the help they need.
/s/ Rich Sievers
June 11, 2009 -- UPDATE and new photos from Sunshine's foster home
Although she still has an excellent appetite, Sunshine continues to lose weight, body mass and muscle tone, and the last couple of days her G.I. system has had some trouble properly processing food. She eagerly accepts pellets, veggies, hay, canned pumpkin and Oxbow Critical Care whenever offered, although smaller, more frequent portions are now given to allow for better digestion. Her water bottle has been removed (she was falling asleep with her nose under the spigot, causing the water to run constantly onto her face) so she's now being syringe fed water every few hours, plus before and after eating. She's taking anywhere from 15 to 45 cc's at a time.
The new photos show her eating Oxbow Critical Care / canned pumpkin from a wooden spoon, drinking water from a syringe (there's no needle in it, just the plastic syringe) and being given Lactated Ringer's subcutaneously.
Dr. Harvey has restarted the Amikacin and Sucralfate, and she's receiving 100 cc's of Lactated Ringer's every 12 hours. Torbugesic is being given 2 or 3 times daily for pain control.
She's acting somewhat more uncomfortable than before and is usually "pancaked" but can hold her head up. She always perks up when someone approaches her cage, still loves being held and pet, and gives lots of kisses in return. However, "quality of life" is now being factored into her continuing treatment, and our main goal is to not allow her to suffer.
June 7, 2009 -- UPDATE and new photos from Sunshine's foster home
Sunshine continues to fight the good fight. Unfortunately, she's continuing to lose weight (she weighed 7.2 pounds today, down from 8.5 eight days ago - she should be in the 9 to 10 pound range) and there's severe loss of muscle tone and body mass in the lower half of her body. Her appetite remains good, and her regular diet of pellets/vegetables/hay is being supplemented by canned pumpkin. Although she has enough strength to raise her head to drink from a water bottle, she's still receiving subcutaneous fluids twice a day. But through it all, she remains her sweet and gentle self, loves to be held and snuggled, and gives lots of kisses in return.
On Saturday her friends Anne and Julie from the Oakland shelter came to visit her, and brought her some new veggies and toys. She thinks the mint is especially yummy! They all spent a pleasant afternoon outside in the grass, and had a good time.
On Sunday, she went to see Dr. Harvey, who gave her a thorough recheck. Blood and urine samples were taken for lab work. Dr. Harvey gave her an acupuncture treatment, and a Vitamin B-12 shot. There was some voluntary motion reaction from her front legs, but little strength. The left hind leg was very weak, with no discernable response from the right hind one. Her gut sounds were good, but her Secum is full of gas. It's causing the fur on her hind end to become soaked as the gas expels in a gooey liquid form, so Dr. Harvey shaved the area. That'll help keep her dry, minimize the likelihood of urine scald, and allow Silvadene cream to be applied to the bare areas. There is still no obvious reason for her deteriorating condition. Dr. Harvey's also concerned that she's not able to transfer and dissipate body heat through her ears, and that we're not making much headway with resolving the gas. Dr. Harvey has prescribed Xiao Zhang San herbs to be sprinkled on her vegetables, and may change her medication once the urine and blood work comes back.
Donations are still urgently needed for Sunshine, to help her get the medical care she needs to recover! She is a very brave and strong girl, but she needs financial support to help with her ongoing medical expenses during her recovery. We will continue to update everyone with her condition and progress. Please donate to Sunshine's medical expenses today by clicking on the "Sponsor Sunshine" link at the bottom of this page.
May 31, 2009 -- UPDATE and new pics from Sunshine's foster home
Sunshine has now been in foster care since 5/27. When she arrived she was "pancaked" nearly all the time, not having enough strength to raise her body up - the photos of her eating dandelion greens in her cage and playing outside in the grass show this - but after two days she was showing some signs of slow progress.
Just when she started being able to get up and do some limited hopping around - you can see her doing that in the photos below - she crashed. She was seen on an emergency basis the next day by Dr. Harvey.
X-rays showed some gas accumulation in her stomach which was making her very uncomfortable and had caused her to mostly stop eating and drinking on her own. She's been restarted on Critical Care to supplement her food intake. She'll eat it off a plate if it's made thick, and will also eat it mixed with Timothy hay. Although she loves vegetables, she's now being given just a small amount. She'll drink water from a feeding syringe - often up to about 55 cc's at a time - and that's being supplemented by subcutaneous fluids. She's being given infant's Simethicone to help break up the gas, and receives some manual help in expelling it. Besides Simethicone, she's also receiving TMS and Carafate orally, and every other day she receives a Bicillin injection. And it's still unclear what originally caused her to lose her mobility.
She's in a wire-floor cage that her foster home uses for immobile rabbits. It has soft under-carpet padding covering most of the wire, with an area towards the rear that's left uncovered. The bunny is placed on the padding in a way that allows urine and stool to fall through the wire, keeping the bunny clean and dry. It's working well for Sunshine.
Sunshine is a very sweet, gentle and affectionate bunny. She loves to snuggle and gives lots of kisses and tooth purrs in return. She's also very cooperative about taking her medicine - that's very helpful when working with a bulky 9 pound bunny! She'll stay in foster care for the foreseeable future. She's not out of the woods yet, so please think good thoughts for her.
All of Sunshine's medical expenses are paid by individual donations to SaveABunny - please consider making a donation today to SaveABunny to help Sunshine. Your $50 or $100 will pay for the medications that Sunshine needs to help in her recovery, and your contribution is tax-deductible.
May 26, 2009--UPDATE from Dr. Harvey
"Sunshine is continuing to improve! She eats greens on her own and eats critical care "meatballs" from my hand. Her poops are firmed up. Today she lifted her tail and urinated in a glorious 2 foot arc when we had her out in the garden. She is getting some voluntary movement back in her back legs. She holds herself sternally with her head up now. but can't really propel herself along."
Tomorrow she is going to be transferred to her special needs foster home, where she will continue her recovery.
May 24, 2009--UPDATE from Oakland Animal Services Volunteer
Anne M. on Sunshine's behalf
I have had a really scary week. I was adopted from the Oakland Animal Shelter a week ago,to be bonded with a bunny named Zelda. We got along great at the shelter, but didn't get along very well at our new home.
On Friday, only 5 days after being adopted, I was found in the morning with my legs paralyzed. No one knew what happened. I was rushed to the vet and they ran some tests which eliminated poisoning. The vet kept me overnight for observation, and I was supposed to go home on Saturday for home care, being newly special needs. But the people who had just adopted me a few days before told the vet they didn't want me back and asked the vet to euthanize me.
This vet saw that I want to live and saw how special I am and that I needed a second chance, and called SaveABunny. Without that wonderful vet and our friends at SaveABunny and the Oakland Animal Shelter, I wouldn't be telling you this story. SaveABunny found a foster home that is experienced with special needs bunnies, and I will be soon going there where they will love me and care for me and help me get used to my new special needs. However, SaveABunny desperately needs YOUR help for my medical expenses.
Much is still unknown about my condition. I am eating from a syringe, and grooming myself, and showing everyone how strong I am in the face of adversity, but I am not mobile at this point. It is possible that I might recover, but this will probably take a long time, a lot of medical attention, a lot of gentle care, and a lot of love. First things first, I am probably going to need x-rays and other tests to try to determine what caused my condition, and these are not cheap. If you have ever wanted to help animals, please help me - I am a gorgeous, wonderful, sweet and loving BIG bunny girl, and I need YOU to help save me by donating to SaveABunny. I need contributions for my medical care, so I have the chance that my adopters never gave me to live, to heal, and to recover from whatever happened that caused my paralysis.
The other rabbit, Zelda, has been returned to the shelter and is looking for a wonderful loving home. If you are looking to adopt a single rabbit, I think you should go to the Oakland Animal Shelter to meet her.
Please make a donation to SaveABunny to help me! I will give updates once more is known about my condition. Scroll to the bottom of this page and click on the "Sponsor Sunshine" link to donate through PayPal. Your donations are tax deductible.
I am a gorgeously large French Lop girl. The volunteers are just getting to know me, but I like to just lay about and relax. I am mellow and love to be petted, love sitting in someone's lap, and love how everyone oohs and aahhs at how BIG and beautiful I am. I would be a great first house rabbit.
"Reflection Of Compassion" is a lovingly commissioned series of original watercolor and gouache illustrations created especially for SaveABunny Rabbit Rescue by artist Elizabeth Koval Maffeo. (All images copyright 2008 SaveABunny. All rights reserved.)