Photo Copyright: Maggie May
This is the way two healthy bunnies should be, munching their breakfast. However, if a rabbit becomes lethargic and stops eating for very long, the outcome can become very serious and sometimes fatal.
Their digestive systems are delicate and they need to be eating much of the day to keep everything working well.
When Lily went off her food last Thursday evening, I thought she must be suffering from the heatwave as we have no air conditioning in Britain. I opened all the doors but obviously couldn't leave windows or doors open when we went to bed and I wasn't sure how safe it would be to leave a portable fan running all night unattended.
The next day, she seemed worse, so I made a quick decision to take her to the vet because they aren't open from Saturday lunchtime till the following Monday. The large after hours emergency practice is in a different area so that I wouldn't have been able to get her there.
I set off with my animal carrier to my local vet and considered myself very fortunate that I erred on the side of caution and nipped things in the bud. She needed four injections and the bill was fairly hefty.
Within 24 hours she seemed back to her normal self.
I was quite pleased with my quick thinking.
On Saturday evening, I noticed Ash was very off colour and he appeared to be completely disinterested in food or drink. He sat hunched up with his eyes half shut and his fur looking very unkempt....the picture of abject misery. His ears were trembling uncontrollably.
My son and a friend who I can count on, who both have cars were away on holiday. In fact most people who would normally help me were on holiday. I thought there might be someone at Church who might take the poor animal to the emergency vet. There was nothing for it but to leave the bunny until the next day.
I had a very sleepless night. I expect most of you will be groaning with boredom and impatience if you have got this far, but I am very attached to these two furry creatures who are part of my extended family.
I got up at five am and crept down to see the state of the patient and noticed that he had moved and was using his tray.
Relieved to see he obviously wasn't dying, I managed to get two hours sleep.
Needless to say, Ash did recover by himself and he ate some breakfast when I offered it to him later on. By then, I could have throttled him because of all the worry that he'd caused.
Now the point of this account is...... that many people I spoke to said they wouldn't pay for expensive treatment for a rabbit. They would take their dog or cat to a vet, but anything small and furry must take its chance without treatment. I was fortunate that Ash recovered without any injections but it could have got really bad by the time I got him to the vet and then might have been too difficult to treat as rabbits illnesses have to be caught early. As the rabbits live indoors, anything wrong with them is noticed earlier than a rabbit left in a hutch outside so that was an added bonus.
Surely, if one takes on an animal as a pet, no matter how small, then it is one's responsibility to get it treated if it gets sick. Otherwise maybe that animal should not have been taken on in the first place.
What do others think?