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Thread: Palliative care for an elderly rabbit

  1. #1
    Mama Doe Boots's Avatar
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    Default Palliative care for an elderly rabbit

    Hey friends,

    Illy, my remaining darling bun, is 11.5 years old and time is catching up with her She has an enlarged atrium and arthritis, and is on vetmedin, meloxicam and bisolvon to help with both issues. Her eyesight is also failing, but she gets around okay. Her heart issues were diagnosed last November, after her sister Chinook suddenly passed away.

    She seems happy in herself; she spends most of the time sleeping in various positions around her area, loves treats, hay and dins and still has good poops.

    I've changed her litter box to be very low entry, her food bowl is now a hedgehog bowl (much lower sides) and her whole area is covered in absorbent reusable mats to catch her urinations when she doesn't make the litter tray (which is often). She's a fully indoor rabbit and has her own space.

    I suppose my question to all of you is, how do I give her the best care for her remaining time? Is there anything I'm missing?
    I'm sad because she is frightened of me these days, as I'm the mean medicine lady so I try not to bother her too much. She loves my OH though as he is nice treat man I hate stressing her out when I give her her meds, though I try to make it as speedy as possible and we have a routine now.

    I want her to be as comfortable and as happy as possible for whatever time we have left, but I'm worried I'm not doing a good enough job. All advice and thoughts welcomed, wise RU!
    Chinook and Illy are my wonderful buns

    Crumpet and Elmo, you'll always be my best friends x

  2. #2
    Warren Veteran tigerangel's Avatar
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    I canít offer any concrete/Ďprovení advice, nor any broader suggestions as Iím mostly making it up as I go along over here!

    My Smudge is 13 next week. His eyesight started failing (cataracts) when he was about 11.5 the same age as your bun and Iím sure he has almost no clear vision now, so I treat him as if he is completely blind. We make things as easy as we can for him by simply keeping his living room exactly as it was when he last remembered it and we donít move anything at all (or if we do it only moves tempoarily for a reason, such as hoovering or access, and then it gets put back). This helps him feel confident that he knows his way around without his sight and he still lollops around slowly inbetween his long sleeping sessions.

    With arthritis I find it helps to keep the living room a little warmer than the other rooms. My heating bill does not like this at all(!) as we put the heating on more for Smudge now than for us But he is worth it!

    Finally, try making enquiries about any physiotherapy vets in your area. My OH started looking in to this a week ago and to our surprise we found someone at a very local vet practice who is trained for rabbit physiotherapy and we had the first session today. She has given us some suggestions for light stretching and balance exercises to see if he will cope with them and if they improve things at all for him.

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    Wise Old Thumper joey&boo's Avatar
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    Mousey isn't so old (estimated to be 10+) but she has similar issues. But has poo & grooming issues on top. She absolutely loves heat sources - she has snugglesafe 24/7 even through summer.

    tigerangel thats exciting about the physio. i'd love to get mousey some. is it expensive? Please keep us updated on how it works out for Smudge

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    Warren Veteran tigerangel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joey&boo View Post
    Mousey isn't so old (estimated to be 10+) but she has similar issues. But has poo & grooming issues on top. She absolutely loves heat sources - she has snugglesafe 24/7 even through summer.

    tigerangel thats exciting about the physio. i'd love to get mousey some. is it expensive? Please keep us updated on how it works out for Smudge
    Oh I would love if Smudge would use his snugglesafe, it would mean we only had to heat that and not so much the whole room. But whenever I put one down, he shuffles off in the opposite direction it somehow offends him!

    Iím actually not sure how much the physio costs our first session yesterday was completely free. I think they want to mainly see if there IS anything that can help him with first, and also they seemed a bit excited about having their first bunny patient (the staff are trained to do rabbits as well as cats/dogs, but to date have had no bunny owners come forward to take it up) so I think it was as much benefit for them as it is for us But we have some money leftover from our saving-up for new windows, so we are really fortunate at the moment that we can afford it. I will let you know what they charge us at our second appointment

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    Warren Scout Preitler's Avatar
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    "The mean medicine lady"?

    My boy has athrosis in the hip and I give him his Meloxamin and whatever medicine on a little soaked pellets, mixed with a little oatmeal and some drops of sunflower seed oil. It is a treat for him, he's waiting for it in the morning.
    When I have to cut matted fur, brush or bath him he always gets one or two haselnuts, it's a sign for him that the ordeal is over.

  6. #6
    Wise Old Thumper keletkezes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boots View Post
    I want her to be as comfortable and as happy as possible for whatever time we have left, but I'm worried I'm not doing a good enough job. All advice and thoughts welcomed, wise RU!
    Yes, always the biggest worry! Anything obvious is, well, obvious! Sounds great to me I think we're approaching the time when Lopsy might have to move inside and Chibbs won't complain, but we try and keep them as active as possible. We do medication on pellets as well, Lopsy's still fighty enough to struggle out of the OH's hands and OH also isn't the best medicator! He's still damn strong for a half-wasted back end bun

    I think food, warmth and lack of pain are the keys, and activity if they're still active (see a reader of books' two )
    The geeky one... Pronouns: she/her.



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    Wise Old Thumper joey&boo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigerangel View Post
    Oh I would love if Smudge would use his snugglesafe, it would mean we only had to heat that and not so much the whole room. But whenever I put one down, he shuffles off in the opposite direction it somehow offends him!

    I’m actually not sure how much the physio costs our first session yesterday was completely free. I think they want to mainly see if there IS anything that can help him with first, and also they seemed a bit excited about having their first bunny patient (the staff are trained to do rabbits as well as cats/dogs, but to date have had no bunny owners come forward to take it up) so I think it was as much benefit for them as it is for us But we have some money leftover from our saving-up for new windows, so we are really fortunate at the moment that we can afford it. I will let you know what they charge us at our second appointment
    That worked just perfectly then, thanks for the extra info. Someone on here recommended those self heating blankets foil backed blankets - I just bought a big sheet & leave some under parts of mouseys floor coverings. Maybe Smude would find that more acceptable than a big bulky plastic disc. Or maybe he just likes central heating

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by keletkezes View Post
    Yes, always the biggest worry! Anything obvious is, well, obvious! Sounds great to me I think we're approaching the time when Lopsy might have to move inside and Chibbs won't complain, but we try and keep them as active as possible. We do medication on pellets as well, Lopsy's still fighty enough to struggle out of the OH's hands and OH also isn't the best medicator! He's still damn strong for a half-wasted back end bun

    I think food, warmth and lack of pain are the keys, and activity if they're still active (see a reader of books' two )
    Absolutely this, plus perhaps a feeling of security.

  9. #9
    Mama Doe Boots's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigerangel View Post
    I can’t offer any concrete/‘proven’ advice, nor any broader suggestions as I’m mostly making it up as I go along over here!

    My Smudge is 13 next week. His eyesight started failing (cataracts) when he was about 11.5 the same age as your bun and I’m sure he has almost no clear vision now, so I treat him as if he is completely blind. We make things as easy as we can for him by simply keeping his living room exactly as it was when he last remembered it and we don’t move anything at all (or if we do it only moves tempoarily for a reason, such as hoovering or access, and then it gets put back). This helps him feel confident that he knows his way around without his sight and he still lollops around slowly inbetween his long sleeping sessions.

    With arthritis I find it helps to keep the living room a little warmer than the other rooms. My heating bill does not like this at all(!) as we put the heating on more for Smudge now than for us But he is worth it!

    Finally, try making enquiries about any physiotherapy vets in your area. My OH started looking in to this a week ago and to our surprise we found someone at a very local vet practice who is trained for rabbit physiotherapy and we had the first session today. She has given us some suggestions for light stretching and balance exercises to see if he will cope with them and if they improve things at all for him.
    Oooo physiotherapy sounds intriguing, thank you! I don't suppose you're in London are you?! I'm also searching to see if there's an acupuncturist who does rabbits, as I imagine that might help too.

    I do keep the flat nice and toasty for her! But having read joey&boo's suggestion then maybe I'll try a snuggle safe in there with her and see if she wants it or not. Recently she's taken to lying in the sun, toasting her butt
    Chinook and Illy are my wonderful buns

    Crumpet and Elmo, you'll always be my best friends x

  10. #10
    Mama Doe Boots's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Preitler View Post
    "The mean medicine lady"?

    My boy has athrosis in the hip and I give him his Meloxamin and whatever medicine on a little soaked pellets, mixed with a little oatmeal and some drops of sunflower seed oil. It is a treat for him, he's waiting for it in the morning.
    When I have to cut matted fur, brush or bath him he always gets one or two haselnuts, it's a sign for him that the ordeal is over.

    Haha yes, she knows that when I'm close and the light comes on in the evening, it's time to hide That is a brilliant idea re mixing the meds into a treat! Do you have any tips on the right consistency and ensuring they eat all of it?
    Chinook and Illy are my wonderful buns

    Crumpet and Elmo, you'll always be my best friends x

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