Deja vu, groundhog day; either way I’ve been here before. Yes, another bun has come down with myxomatosis, sigh. This time it’s Sprungli, a rabbit known affectionately as ‘the resident psychopath’. She was born here in March 2015 – her mum arrived here one day, and when I got up the following morning, she’d had 4 babies – and has been here ever since. For a while she was with her sister Lindt, but Sprungli started getting dominant with her so I split them up. Lindt was bonded to another bunny and has since been rehomed, but Sprungli has remained waiting. I had been thinking about trying to bond her with one of the boys who have just been castrated, and then this happened.
Last week, I noticed that she was wanting to be fed on the floor rather than on top of her little house where she usually jumps for food. She seemed absolutely fine other than this so while I thought this was a little odd, I didn’t really register anything further about it. It was only when I saw her swollen eyes yesterday morning that I suddenly put two and two together. So, off to the vet we went. As of yesterday afternoon, Sprungli has lumps and bumps around both her eyes, on her nose, one on her lip and one on her anus. Other than that, she seems fairly lump free. Even now, over a day later, her ears look clear and she doesn’t seem to have developed any further lumps. In this respect, she’s way better than Delilah was at this stage.
The big difference though is in their temperaments. Delilah is a very feisty bun, but it was just her way of articulating her displeasure. She was actually a very relaxed rabbit who wasn’t bothered by car journeys. Medicating her didn’t particularly stress her out, it just annoyed her. Sprungli is a completely different kettle of fish. She doesn’t cope at all well with change, she gets very stressed by vet visits and she doesn’t tolerate interventions well. So even though her symptoms don’t look as bad at the moment, she won’t tolerate the nursing anywhere near as well as Delilah did. This means I have to hope beyond hope that she continues to have a good appetite and hold her own, as she is mentally in a very different place to Delilah. Maybe it’s their backgrounds – Sprungli has only ever lived here whereas Delilah came from a horrendous background before she arrived. Or maybe it’s just inherent in who they are as individuals. A bit of both, no doubt. I’ve brought her indoors though – myxi rabbits are said to survive better if they are in the warmth, and though our house is anything but warm, it’s more consistent than outside and we are starting to move to that time of year. Plus of course it’s easier to medicate and keep an eye on her if she’s in here, and it reduces the risk of her being a reservoir for the other rabbits if she’s further away from them.
So, the obvious next question is why has this happened here again? Surely this can’t be right? I do wonder whether they’ve been exposed to low level RHD2 for some time; has this potentially impacted on their immune system? Sprungli had her nobivac booster in April and she seemed fit and healthy at the time – the RHD2 was diagnosed in one of my other groups in June…but was it lurking around in the environment earlier than that?
Today I bought 30m squared of enviromesh and I’ve spent the afternoon covering as much of the bunnies’ accommodation as possible. It’s completely impossible to cover every nook and cranny, and much as I hate to think it, there’s always the possibility that rabbit fleas will find their way in from the local wild population (the area is fenced to stop the wilds getting too close, but even so), but the mesh should at least stop the vast majority of the pesky mosquitos. Part of me feels that I shouldn’t have to shroud them all like this, because they’re all vaccinated and they should be safe, but on the other hand, there’s clearly something going on which means that they aren’t safe, so it’s better to do it for their sake. Ho hum. I will try and keep the blog up to date as we travel along with Sprungli, as it gives a helpful point of reference to see how things are going. Until next time.