Sunday, August 28, 2011

Special Needs Bunnies



The bunny saga continues.

Yesterday morning was spent at the vet's office with Grace and two of our six bunnies.

A few weeks ago I finally let Grace get the bunnies out and play with them and noticed that two of them had a funky flipper foot that was all sprung out sideways. At first I thought maybe they had gotten injured since they are constantly swimming through the water bowl and into Dad's side of the cage. Then I thought maybe they had gotten their foot caught somehow and broken it.

It just seemed too much of a coincedence that both bunnies had the same foot with the exact same problem.

Grace has been ate up about veterinarians lately and I've checked out every book about them from three libraries and brought them home for her to read and pour over the photos.

When I pointed out the problem to her she went nuts wanting to take them to the vet right then. I told her I wasn't going to take them to the vet. She was persistent.

I went inside and Googled bunny leg problems and came up with this link which diagnosed what I thought was the problem ... splay leg. Apparently it's congenital and can be exacerbated by being raised on a slick surface. I did not know this. They did have a wooden box they were in for the first several weeks of their life until they finally began to venture out in to the wire bottomed cage.

The first batch of oops bunnies did not have this affliction and were raised the exact same way.

The link suggested a brace that might help which consisted of sports tape, two cotton pads and a cork.

I had two of the three things so I went back out to report to Grace on the possible solution. She was set to go to her Nana's the next day for a long weekend and wanted to bail out immediately so she could doctor the bunnies. I told her we'd wait for her and do it Sunday night when she got back because I still had to buy some sports tape.

She decided that would work so a plan was hatched.

I got some tender tape (non adhesive) from Walgreens and Sunday night we all three attempted to brace the back legs of the bunnies.

I was not an easy task.

We finally accomplished it and they were none to happy with our efforts to "correct" their problem.

I checked them several times over the next couple of days and I was pretty sure our plan was not going to accomplish anything other than handicapping them even further so I took off our contraption.

I told Bryon we would just have to keep those two bunnies and sell or giveaway Cocoa and Bean since I was pretty sure no one else was going to want our two little messed up bunnies no matter how cute they were. Bryon thought that was fine until they got together accidentally at some point and produced an entire litter of messed up bunnies.

He just always has to foil my plan with logic.

Still, that was the plan I was going to go with. There are two swap meets each month through October; one in Marshfield and one in Fordland. It costs $5 to sell something and I thought I would try to sell them for $5 each or give them away if I had to. Bryon has a lady at work that wants one of them for her three year old so at least one is spoken for. One of the non goofy ones.

The yesterday morning I went out to take care of them and noticed the white one's legs were red and looked like all the fur was gone off them. The tape we had used was not adhesive and hadn't pulled off any hair so I was trying to puzzle together what was up with them. I picked up the little brown one to check out too and was disgusted to discover it's flipper leg was missing. As in gone. As in chewed off and gone.

I couldn't quite get my brain around the missing leg. It was all healed over and the knuckle of the bone was dry and it didn't seem to be in pain but it's LEG WAS GONE.

I went in to tell Grace (Bryon was out all day). Grace went nuts and ran out in her jammies to see it. She was excited and upset all a the same time. She begged and begged and cried and begged for me to take it to the vet. I was just debating over the value of taking it to the vet but she finally played the "If you love animals and care for them then you have to take them to the vet when they are hurt and suffering" card. I caved.

We loaded up both of the goofed up bunnies in the cat carrier and they rode on Grace's lap to the vet. 

Do you know how busy the vet is on a Saturday without an appointment? Very.

The receptionist said that only one of the three vets there that day was the "bunny guy" and asked if we wanted to just drop them of or wait. I contemplated the drop off option because then I could have gone to Freda's for breakfast at least but  let me tell you I would have never heard the end of it if Grace had missed the examination.

We waited. For about an hour. Dogs came in, dogs went out. Sometimes in multiples of three at a time from the same family. We saw a lot of dogs.

Finally we were up. Dr. Messick was great with Grace. I told him she was really interested in vets and he filled her in on the whole scoop and told her when she's in junior high if she is still interested she could come and shadow at the clinic. He also told her that the small animal vets field is primarily composed of women so that was a cool thing. And there is only one school of veterinary medicine in the state and it is in Columbia at MU. It takes eight years to become a vet. She had better get good grades ... and a scholarship.

Dr. Messick checked out both bunnies and said it was totally a congenital defect and there was really nothing that could be done to correct the problem. Most likely one of the parents had chewed off the leg and was working on the other rabbit's legs as well.  It was pretty gruesome to think about. Bless his heart he only charged us $20. Grace had offered to pay for the vet from her own money. I didn't make her.

He is pretty sure they are both boys. I have heard this before. I just hope he is more correct than the 17 year old girl at the swap meet who sold us Cocoa and Bean.

Grace has deemed them both "her" bunnies and we have them separate in a big dog crate outside by the rabbit hutch for now. I don't know what's going to happen to them but for now they are doing okay. They are cute. It's a good thing.

Another good thing about a three legged rabbit is that it doesn't hop away as quickly and Grace has been playing with that poor little rabbit like crazy. The other one doesn't know how lucky it is to still have both legs which makes it slightly less attractive to her.

Now I think they are mostly just in danger of being loved to death. That's got to be a better fate than having your legs chewed off.


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