PDA

View Full Version : What quality of life does your rabbit really have?



Jenova
24-06-2010, 05:13 PM
Okay, first I should go into the context behind this. After I almost lost Grimlock a week ago I've been really thinking about everything he's gone through. Some people know his story, but for those who don't (in italics if you want to skip it.):

In July of last year his front teeth were removed and two jaw abscesses were found. The vet who did the operation phoned me up and suggested I let him go under the anaesthetic as it was too hard to treat, and that I should 'think about his quality of life'. Well I said no and another vet did some research and saved his life. We treated him with depocillin injections every three days for eight weeks which I did at home and they cleared up beautifully.

Since then his eyes have been playing up. I travel up to Manchester every few months to see my family and because Grim is how he is I always take him and Smoo with me. His eye got really bad one time I was there and I took him to rabbit savvy vets there. The vet I saw was really good but was shocked how bad his eyes were and mentioned 'his quality of life' and what I should do if they didn't improve...

So this is my point. What is Grim's quality of life? He has awful teeth that shock vets. I've been asked 'How is he still eating?' His eyes constantly run and are nowadays constantly infected. He's on medication pretty much every day, if it's not injections it's baytril or painkillers. He doesn't eat much other than pellets and anything else has to be chopped into tiny pieces. And he has to have excell as science selective are too big. His stomach is weird and he's doing all sorts of weird and wacky poos. He has molars growing sideways and falling out, he's going blind... and he's only coming up to four years old.

But... he absolutely loves his food. He goes crazy for his medicine and when I put baytril in bread he races out of his hutch and halfway across the garden to get to it faster. And then begs for more. He loves his Smoo (Samus) and the way she cleans his eyes for him and sits on his right side (the side with the bad sight). He loves to laze around in his hutch or in his plant pot in the sun. He loves to sneak into the house and hide under my bed. He loves to chase or be chased by Smoo up and down the stairs. He loves life.

And then I think of healthy rabbits and the sad fact that most of them spend their life trapped in tiny hutches with their teeth and nails overgrowing who die of diseases that their owners don't notice or don't care about. And I think to myself, Grimlock has a damn good quality of life!

He may be falling apart and be held together by metaphorical duct tape. We may call him a zombie bunny after he stopped breathing for five minutes under general anaesthetic. But he's a happy bunny, no matter what's wrong with him. So next time a vet asks you about your pet's 'quality of life' you can turn around and say that it's good thank you very much.

Now don't get me wrong, when it's time to let them go it's time. I had to have my Lopsie put to sleep and it was the hardest and most horrible thing I've had to do. But I know it was right. He couldn't walk, he wouldn't eat, or swallow recovery food. I still miss him. I'm just angry at vets who rush to suggest it when there's no need. So what's your rabbit's quality of life?

donnamt
24-06-2010, 05:25 PM
they aint stuck out in a tiny little hutch with no run and no love and no joy.

id say my pair have an excellent quality of life...

Pearl was poorly but i doubt she would of clung to life the way she did if the quality wasnt good enough, she was an incredibly happy and loving bunny and in return for her being so wonderful she was given the best life i could provide :D

She also lived the longest from a litter who were destined to die

*lily*
24-06-2010, 05:33 PM
A lot of people would probably say Louie had a dreadful quality of life as he lives alone.

Jenova
24-06-2010, 05:38 PM
A lot of people would probably say Louie had a dreadful quality of life as he lives alone.

No not necessarily.

When Grim was an only bun I cleaned his eyes, I cuddled him, he went to sleep next to my chair and I played with him. Now Smoo does all that and he only comes to me for food. :lol:

Debster
24-06-2010, 05:44 PM
Jenova I didn't know Grim's history - what an amazing bunny, but how unfair he has had to go through so much in his short life? I agree with you though, bunnies have great ways of showing when they are happy and his enjoyment of life must overcome any pain or difficulty he may (or may not) experience.

I guess vets can only judge "quality of life" from a medical point of view, rather than an emotional (is that the right word :?) one, simply because they can never know the rabbit and its circumstances well enough.

Jenova
24-06-2010, 05:55 PM
Jenova I didn't know Grim's history - what an amazing bunny, but how unfair he has had to go through so much in his short life? I agree with you though, bunnies have great ways of showing when they are happy and his enjoyment of life must overcome any pain or difficulty he may (or may not) experience.

I guess vets can only judge "quality of life" from a medical point of view, rather than an emotional (is that the right word :?) one, simply because they can never know the rabbit and its circumstances well enough.

That's exactly what I was getting at. Although you said it in two paragraphs and it took me eight. :lol:

I think you have to find a vet who sees rabbits as part of the family like a dog or even a child rather than a vet who - no matter how good they are - sees them as replaceable.

I know a lot of people have to go through the heartbreaking decision when their rabbits are ill and I think that everyone who has posted on here about it has made the right decision for their rabbit. It's so hard to think what to do in the circumstances as you feel torn apart, but every time I think back to the vet who found the abscessed I just get so angry! There was clearly a treatment out there as it worked and Grimlock is here today. In fact there is more than one as many people have used the antibiotic bead treatment as well with good results. I always think what if I'd listened to him just because he was a vet? But I didn't and I found a new vet who does everything she can for Grim and as a result he's happy and alive. :)

*lily*
24-06-2010, 06:00 PM
When Tinkerbell had her large jaw abscess, I was told the prognosis was very poor but treatment could be given. She had the operation and the antibiotic beads and lived for a while longer before passing 2 days after suffering a headtilt :(

TBH, when she had the headtilt/vacant moments I did wonder how long I would allow her to get better as, even though she was only ill for 2 days, her quality of life would have been severely compromised as she was such a bouncy little girl. Luckily, in some ways, the decision was taken out of my hands.

Elena
24-06-2010, 06:24 PM
I think vets can only surmise based on what they see in a short few minutes. The owner gets a more rounded picture. When Mischa was ill I was told to put him to sleep after a couple of weeks' treatment. But we refused. He was eating, trying to move around and we were seeing improvement. Look at him now! Bounding up and down his run, scampering round the house, going crazy for food, no sign of his illness and with three bunny friends.

Overall, as long as the owner is informed and thinking about the animal and not themselves then the owner is best placed to decide.

Rachie
24-06-2010, 06:25 PM
I was just thinking about this earlier. I'm quite harsh to myself and always think that I'm not doing enough to give my buns a happy life in but in actual fact; they free range all the time. I can open the patio doors for them and they have free run of the garden. They get cuddles when they let me and a never ending supply of food and fresh hay. The only time they're actually is confined is in during the night and that is in the kitchen & dining room which is the same width as the house

I don't know your bun so I can't offer any real advice but he sounds happy :) I'm a true believer in animals letting us know when they're ready to go so I'm sure you'd know if it was time for him.

Everything in Debsters post was brilliant, I couldn't put it better myself!!

Tracybeakerisland
24-06-2010, 06:26 PM
Got to admit I have always gone by my buns behaviour.

If they have joie de voire and are still interested in life fine. Its when they hit that pain wracked or withdrawn distant state I take that hard decesion.
If they still want to race for life I let them run it.

All my buns are rescued so I feel I owe them as good a life as I can for as long as they want it.

clutterydrawer
24-06-2010, 06:27 PM
They're ok, I hope. They are safe indoors and but I put them out onthe grass regularly; I wish they never had to be caged but it's only during the day when they're usually asleep anyway. :)

poppymoon
24-06-2010, 06:28 PM
grim sounds happy:)

i can't really comment as i've not had to make 'that' decision. even my doggy passed naturally from old age (she was 17).

as far as my buns tho - their quality of life........ i'd like to say that they're happy and they too enjoy life. they are always up to mischief (both are free range) and i do my very best for them healthwise, foodwise and attentionwise.

TeflonsShadow
24-06-2010, 06:35 PM
I dont mean to be big headed, but I think my two have an excellent quality of life, it could be better (if I had a garden) but they are catered for in every sense of the word, they have treat hays, plenty of food, cuddles if they want it, water, roaming space, interaction with another of their kind, even the pen is bigger than a hutch. I also allow them to be who they want to be so I am not always running around wanting to cuddle them, they actually come to me, which is nice :love::love:

They also have unlimited access to health care should they need it, courtesy of a bank if needed!!! Haha.

Yeah, I think my inside two do ok :D

Blackberry & Co
24-06-2010, 06:37 PM
Sounds to me like Grim is still enjoying life, and as long as the pleasures are outweighing the time needed for treatment then you're giving him a good life.

It sounds like with all his problems he could have quite easily just given up, but he's still fighting.

I hope my buns have a good quality of life - they can't free range but they have huge spaces to play in, good food, lots of attention, medical treatment as soon as necessary...when I think what they'd be living in if I'd left them where I got them from it makes me really sad.

donnamt
24-06-2010, 06:47 PM
A lot of people would probably say Louie had a dreadful quality of life as he lives alone.

he dont know what hes missing so he has an excellent quality of life :D

if you had seen Alvin after pearl died now that was a miserable i need a female bun rabbit ;)

happybun
24-06-2010, 07:18 PM
matthew and tabitha are in great condition. they have the largest indoor hoppery i can provide and have fresh veg and hay morning and evening, with the odd few pellets as treats. i try to change their toys and 'landscape' a bit from time to time. but they must be bored. they have a better time than rabbits who are always in a hutch i suppose, but not as good a time as some of you can give your animals, because you are at home and i'm out most of the day.

Grace65
24-06-2010, 07:26 PM
A lot of people would probably say Louie had a dreadful quality of life as he lives alone.

No he dosent he has you! xxxxxxxxxxx

wally4eva
24-06-2010, 07:35 PM
Grim obviously loves his live and I believe if a rabbit didnt have a good life they would not be so strong and they would not wan to hold on to life but with Grim, he loves his life, so he tried his hardest to hold onto.

The quality of live for my bunnies... well it is the best I can give them a huge area to play in, unlimited hay and other foods and love care and attention, and medical care if needed (hopefully not needed), I'm always thinking about ways to make their lives better because thats what they deserve.

Everybody on RU, i'm sure gives, the best quality of life to their bunnies as they can (which means lots of spoilt bunnies!!).

You made the right decision to keep Grim alive and the best person to make that decision is the owner themselves, the person who know and spends most time with the rabbit, not the vet.

nursecroft
24-06-2010, 08:57 PM
I have strong opinions on quality life... i give mine the best i can, they have 14ftx8ft total with shed and run and supervised free range time most days in our 90ft garden. I try to spend as much time as possible with them.

happybun
24-06-2010, 09:52 PM
your bunnies are very lucky and i'm tempted to don big ears and a fluffy tail...;)

BattleKat
24-06-2010, 10:34 PM
I think you have to find a vet who sees rabbits as part of the family like a dog or even a child rather than a vet who - no matter how good they are - sees them as replaceable.

I think that sometimes it's not that they see them as replaceable (although in some cases it definitely is) - it's that they only see them for the short time they're with them. They don't see how happy and bouncy they may be at home, all they see is a rabbit on their table, probably still shaken up from the car journey there, in a poor physical state and it's understandable they may question the rabbits quality of life.

I think as an owner you have to (and you have) put a lot of faith in your own judgements, it can be difficult when a professional is telling you otherwise but if you feel that you know better you should persevere - even if it turns out you were wrong you're safe in the knowledge that you did what you felt was the best possible thing by your pet, and that's the best you can ever do.

Elena
24-06-2010, 11:34 PM
I'm sure there are things I can improve on, however, their quality of life is pretty good. It'll be even better once I get the spare room decorated and they can come and go in here as well. Then they'll free-range in virtually all of upstairs for over 12 hours a day. I don't buy treat hays as they go crazy enough for their meadow hay, they don't have loads of toys because they tend to ignore them, they have plenty of human and rabbit contact.

VickiP
24-06-2010, 11:48 PM
Mine are totally spoilt, they all see each other and have lots of attention and interaction, they have lots of toys all of which are grassy natural things to chew and toss apart from Ness she has her bell toy which she likes to ring for attention and it never fails to make me laugh and go and see her. I will have to get another couple of those I think, I have been swapping that one around for scenting purposes and it deffo seems a hit, I think they like to make a bit of noise :lol: They are treated as well as I would treat any of my pets regardless of species, they are equal and I try to meet all their needs, I am hoping they will bond as a group and that will be the icing on the cake as they say.