Delilah bit me yesterday. Hard. And she wouldn’t let go. More ‘mature’ readers may remember that outtake from years ago of Richard Whiteley from Countdown handling a ferret when it locked onto his hand? It was like that. She finally got fed up of having her eyes cleaned and decided to retaliate. On the one hand, this is a good thing as it means that she’s got plenty of fight in her…on the other hand it suggests that she’s (understandably) very grumpy and quite sore. Oh yeah, she weed on the bed too. Brilliant.
The past couple of days have been really difficult. She’s been mouth breathing a lot so consequentially hasn’t really been wanting to take anything very liquidy, presumably for fear of choking on it. Her eyes have been very sore and sticky so she hasn’t wanted to move round much either. As a consequence she hasn’t been eating as well. I have basically spent every waking hour of the weekend either cleaning her, waggling bits of food in front of her face, or cleaning/feeding/looking after all the other rabbits. I feel really guilty that everybun else has not had the attention they deserve, but I just haven’t had the time or energy to do anything beyond the essentials for them. There have been times when I’ve questioned whether it’s been fair to keep her going, but she honestly seems to have a lot of fight about her. I’ve always cringed at hearing terms like ‘she wants to live’…it’s so subjective and I’m not really sure how you tell that. And also it implies that other animals (or humans) who don’t fight in the same way don’t want to live. And I’m not sure if either is accurate. But having said that, I find myself now saying the same thing. She is putting up so much fight that it seems that she really does want to live. While she’s fighting and eating and moving around in spite of her laboured breathing, I can’t give up on her. If I’d had a crystal ball 2 weeks ago and been able to fast forward to this point, would I have kept going? Possibly not. But we’re here now, and I feel that I owe it to her to keep on pushing through. We must be nearly there now…surely…
We’ve spent a lot of time going backwards and forwards to the vets for assistance by the nurses with cleaning and giving some extra fluids while she isn’t drinking. I just don’t have enough hands to do it properly at home, and as she travels well and my vets is only about 20 minutes away, it’s better for her and me if we go and get some help. Every time I go, they say that she’s looking/sounding better, which is really encouraging. Today, another of the nodules fell off as the nurse was cleaning around her face, so we really are moving into that phase now. I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to have a good vet practice – where the whole team pulls together to support you and help in any way they can…while at the same time having to juggle having a potential source of infection on their premises. The vets have been great at giving her a thorough check over and prescribing a myriad of medicines; the nurses have been amazing at cleaning her up and giving her fluids, and the reception staff have been flexible at working out how best to fit me in, often at short notice, among a busy diary, especially when there are other rabbits booked in. With a shed load of communication, care and barrier nursing, we’ve managed it.
As her breathing eases, I’m getting more worried about dehydration and flystrike as the main risks. What has been her ‘good’ eye is now very sticky; unfortunately the eyelid on that side has crusted over and is going to fall off, but in the meantime it keeps on scraping on her cornea which has caused an ulcer. It’s not quite ready to come off yet, so it’s a case of continuing with the eye drops and pain relief and hopefully it won’t be too long.
Overall, I’m now feeling slightly more optimistic than I have been about whether she’s going to make it through. I still couldn’t say for sure, and I don’t know whether we’re going to have ongoing problems for instance with her kidneys because of the extended period of high pain relief. But we’ll have to cross each of these bridges as we come to them. It saddens me that if she does make it, she’s going to be extremely difficult to rehome – a beautiful dutch bunny with so much personality who has been through so much. She really deserves a wonderful forever home, where she can get the love and attention that she deserves. I’m not counting my chickens yet though, there’s still a long way to go. Maybe it’s just me anthropomorphising – she doesn’t know that she’s in a rescue home after all. I’m sure that as far as she’s concerned, this is where she lives and that’s it. She probably likes all the delicious treats she’s being fed at the moment but all the fuss and attention, not so much.
Reeling back onto the original topic of this diary, there was a Sky News article about RHD2 on Sunday. Regardless of what I thought of the coverage, it has at least generated a lot of interest and people are starting to seek out sources of information. As a consequence, our Facebook group has exploded, and I’m struggling to keep up with the volume of traffic. It’s great, as it means that loads of folk are finding the information they need to get their rabbits protected, but it’s quite unwieldy with information being posted all over the place. The timing couldn’t have been worse with the level of care that Delilah is needing at the moment. It’s encouraging that more and more practices are being added to the vaccine map, as every one added is a step closer to other people being able to get their rabbits protected. I hope that in time, the map will become completely unnecessary as the vaccine becomes so widely available that it’s easy for everyone to access.
I can’t quite describe how tired I am at the moment, I really hope that we’re turning a corner with everything; I could do with about a week in bed attached to an IV line of sauvignon blanc. Until next time 🙂