Monday, March 28, 2011

NOT For Weak Stomachs!

The photos are at the end of this post, if you have a weak stomach, please don't read the rest of the post! The reason I am posting this is to provide information about abscesses to other hobby farmers who might have either rabbits or bunnies. I'm not posting to gross anyone out. My blog is also my 'Farm Journal', to remind us of what we did when, what obstacles we were able to over come, and what we were able to learn.

I debated even posting this, but my 10 year old niece thought it was interesting and she learned alot from it. So, I decided it was okay to post.

Vet2Be's 4-H leader told him a long time ago that if you have livestock, sooner or later you will have dead-stock. We've been pretty lucky and not lost too many animals. Probably because we've been diligent about learning what we can about them.

The photos that follow are of Vet2Be's bunny, Darcy. In the winter the bunny's cages are protected with wood on all sides so that they can stay warm. We also don't take them out very often in the winter. They seem to like to bed down in the winter and be left alone.

The weather has been warming up a bit and we took the boards down. We didn't notice over the past few weeks that Darcy had only been sitting with his left side (and good eye) towards the front of the cage. We found Darcy with a huge abscess! Abscesses in bunnies are soooo hard to get rid of! We know, we've tried before.

This one had just ruptured, and it was quite large. It took Vet2Be about 90 minutes to clean out the wound.

I would never in my wildest dreams thought I would be able to handle something like this 6 or 7 years ago. We've learned so much about animals and how to take care of them. We've also learned it is our responsibility to do the best we can and learn as much as we can to take care of the 4-legged friends in our care.

The following pictures are very graphic--if you have a weak stomach and don't like the look of infections, then stop reading right here and come visit us another time. I promise to always warn you if I think things might be too graphic.

Just so you understand our choice of words..... bunnies are pets. Rabbits aren't pets. That's how we, as hobby farmers, tell the difference between the two words. We have bunnies that were orphaned when their previous owners couldn't take care of them anymore, we have never raised rabbits.

Here are two links to information about abscesses in rabbits that have no photos.

Ontario Rabbit Education Organization

Use of Penicillin to Treat Abscesses in Rabbits

Here come the photos.....





















Bunnies don't have the same enzymes that we do, so their infections can't drain the same way ours can. It is about the consistency of toothpaste--really. Vet2Be took out quite a bit.

This was a large abscess.... especially for a tiny bunny. How did it get so big? The bunny sat in the cage and only looked out of his left eye. Since it is winter, we never saw the other side of his head until we removed some of the boards that were protecting the cage during the winter. We never noticed that he always looked at us with his left eye.

This is about 1/2 way cleaned out. Vet2Be used Chlorhexidine 2% solution on the Q-tips. That's what they use at the vet's office to prep for surgery as well as clean out wounds. The wound itself is about 1/2 the length of a Q-tip. Chlorhexidine is the same antimicrobial found in Hibiclens.
Darcy (the bunny) put his head inside the towel about 2/3's of the way through the procedure. He needed a break. He was a really, really good bunny! He sat very still for almost all of the procedure.
After the wound was cleaned out, Vet2Be put neosporin inside. We've been keeping an eye on it and will continue to clean it out daily.

Nope, this didn't gross Vet2Be out at all. He's watched so many surgeries at the vet's office, and watched them treat so many wounds that were worse than this, that he just did his job and it didn't bother him at all. In fact, he looked up at the clock about 50 minutes after we started and it surprised him that so much time had passed! He said that now he understands how a vet can do a surgery that is long and repetitive without going crazy. The techs get tired because they aren't doing as much .

By Thursday morning Darcy was hopping around his cage like he does every spring. He acted as if there was nothing wrong with him and hadn't been through such an ordeal on Sunday. It was great to see him standing on his hind legs and begging for a treat! Bananas and carrots for the sick bunny! Yay!

It was interesting to read about penicillin being used to treat these infections. Vet2Be will check with the vet he volunteers for to see if it would be okay for us to try penicillin on Darcy. When we took care of an abscess on a bunny a few years ago we never ran across anything that said we could use penicillin on them. I'm glad that people are continually able to find better ways to help animals heal.

3 comments:

Marie said...

Great post. I don't have any bunnies (or rabbits), but I also think it is important for anyone that has any type of animal to be able to care for it. The photos were very good and I think if someone that does have rabbits, they would gain alot of knowledge from this post.

~Tonia said...

Oh my!! Good Job! i didnt even think of the rabbits getting abcesses. Are they caused by anything in particular?

TJ said...

Thanks Marie, I was worried that someone would be upset that we are taking care of the problem ourselves.

Tonia, bunnies often develop an abscess from a small nick or cut, sometimes from an broken or infected tooth. Our first case years ago was on the bottom of the bunny's jaw, probably due to a broken tooth.

I'll be posting some follow ups in the next few days, hopefully there will be some useful information for bunny owners (and rabbit owners, too!)