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Odin and Freja catchup


Alpha Buck
I can't remember when I last was able to post about my big guys, but it's been a big year for them, so now I'm back it's time to catchup.

Freja is, well, Freja - feisty, opinionated, but inwardly quite a little worrier. She's grown up into a beautful big girl but solid muscle, not sure there's an ounce of fat on her!! In the summer it took 7 weeks, not kidding, for her to speak to me again after I dared to pick her up to take her for vaccs - she is an absolute angel at the vets! - but the past few weeks with spending so much time with Odin she has mellowed a lot, and even started climbing on my knee briefly again like she did as a youngster. She spooks easily, but she will let us groom her a bit now. Her only real oddity is nails that double as talons - despite a 50ft run on concrete or sandstone to get to her grazing hill each day, they grow like the clappers.

Odin, my beautiful boy, has had a tough year. He has an old badly healed fracture that we discovered a couple of years ago, so has had arthritis most of the 3 years we've had him. He had a wobble at the start of the year, losing his back end a bit, but recovered well with laser and hydro. Before anyone says anything - we weighed the pros and cons for hydro, I'm an ex-hydro nurse and my best friend is his hydrotherapist so his first swim we were both in the water with him, took it so slowly, hand on his heart the whole time and one monitoring his breathing from the front. But he genuinely loves it, he just floated and floated and stretched and stretched, and the difference was miraculous. He governs the sessions himself, launches straight into the water from the ramp by himself, chooses how long he swims and when he rests, sometimes he just floats around and sometimes he just swims, usually a bit of both. Then when he's had enough for the day he walks up the ramp to come out, then gets lifted down to get a warm shower and blow dry. It's not something either of us would push for most rabbits, but for him it is the very best, and if he could swim every day then I honestly think he would. Sadly we can't replicate it at home, he gets very stressed about being in the bath at home, but he goes every fortnight.

The wobble at the start of the year came from Freja's hormones, she was gripping him and he wasn't strong enough to get away, so we split them at night (they were fine during the day) for a few weeks, just wire between them so they could still snuggle against each other, until spring passed. He was doing fine, but stayed on hydro and metacam.

Then a couple of months ago he started going downhill again, losing his back end, losing his continence, long story but he was either off his left leg because of it's arthritis, or off his right leg with some weird neuro type thing. He's had x-rays, but they don't show any obvious spinal stuff, slight reduce space at LS, but his legs are in a bad way. More detailed scans would mean a big journey and we don't feel it would change anything so it would be a lot of stress for nothing. So we've just been managing him, getting his pain under control, and keeping him happy. We made him some wheels so he could do better physio, once on his wheels he is away at speed, he can still bounce he just doesn't stay upright so the wheels just stabilise him. We got him to the point of being painfree with acupuncture, meds, laser, massage, but he's lost so much muscle mass I'm don't think he'll recover now. He's 4.5yrs, and much as I can't believe it he's apparently an old boy now. He was doing great, then a week ago we found ear mites and a big ear infection. So he's had drops twice a day and jabs, and it's improving but honestly, just now, his QOL is not good enough. Just before his ears kicked off he was great, so happy, so vibrant and cheeky and expressive, just not great at moving by himself. His ears are making him miserable, and though it's improving I'm not sure how long it will take to get better completely, and whether it is fair to wait that time out just to see if we can get him that happy again for just a bit longer.

So my boy is counting time, every day I question myself, but as winter draws in and we have to start trying to keep him warm as well, I know we get closer to helping him go. He's been such an incredible boy, he is singlehandedly responsible for me being here, having rabbits, learning so much, and his character is so strong that it breaks my heart to see him struggle. He has so many appointments every week but he genuinely enjoys them all, he gets in the car and brightens up, waiting to see where we go next. Every time I think we're done, we take him to an appointment and he surprises me by bouncing around the room (old man style!), being nosy, exploring, nudging us out the way. There is no way I could do all of this with Freja, I wouldn't even consider it, but for him it has been the right thing to try. But he's getting tired, and I don't know how i'll survive without him.

I'm not looking for health advice, there's a lot of detail I've missed out but we have covered all the bases that are possible or ethical, this is just where we are right now. I'll get some photos up as soon as I work out how to do it now.
I’m sorry to hear Odin is struggling but you are doing everything you can for him. It sounds like Freja is very good at making sure you know what she likes and doesn’t like!
Sadly ear problems are very common as a result of any type of hind leg mobility issues. The effected Rabbit being unable to scratch at and clean their ears. I hope the nasty condition can be better controlled soon. I suppose he can’t have hydro whilst he has an active ear infection.. He is obviously a very special boy and I am sure that you will always try to do what is in his best interests. Only you and your Vet are in a position to judge what is right and ethical in his individual case. IMO there is no one size fits all and what is right for one Rabbit would not be right for all Rabbits. The decisions you and your Vet have made for Odin must be right for him as he has been happy within himself until very recently 😀❤️

I am glad that Freja is doing well 😀
You know your bunny best. It sounds like Fraja took advantage of Odin's weakness to get the upper hand last Spring.
I am glad he enjoyed his hydro therapy. The water must feel good on top of slowing the atrophy of some of his muscles due to his disability.
Sending vibes he can recover from his latest set back and you can both have more happy time together.
Gosh, Odin has been through a lot... It sounds like you and him are managing the best you can, and it's lovely that he enjoys his appointments so much, especially the hydro therapy. That's wonderful that he does so well with his wheels, too. I'm really sorry he's struggling so much with his ears right now, though, and that he's getting tired. I hope you can get on top of the ear mites so things will at least be easier for him. I'm sending him so, so many vibes.

I'm sorry Freja and Odin had to be separated at night for a while. It sounds like Freja's doing well, though, even mellowing a lot and climbing on your knee for a little bit like she used to, aww. Her nails must grow really fast!

I'd love to see some photos of your beautiful Odin and Freja when you work out how to upload them. I always loved seeing them. ❤️
Well, the last couple of days have brought a good change, Odin is much more himself, expressing his wants and desires very clearly, I think he's gone deaf (possibly as a result of the canaural, it's a known side-effect but hopefully short term) so he sleeps very deeply but he's happy again, and mobility has improved back to pre-ear levels at least. I think he's clear of ear mites now, just got to try and keep his ears clean for him a bit better, will speak to his vet when we go back for second jabs next week.

I don't think Freja was humping because of his illness, he wasn't showing any signs of weakness, she just always gets humpy in the spring but this year it took too much toll. But they have a very tight bond, she is beautiful at looking after him but they still very much care for each other.

He had acupuncture on Thursday, a couple of days later than usual as we've been doing every Tuesday but had to change, and it's really perked him up, even when he's not on his feet he's moving all the time, I've got a bunnycam on them and watch their overnight activity every day so I know how he's feeling. It's good to see, reassures me that we are still doing the best for him and he's not done yet!

He is due in hydro on Monday, but talking to his acupuncture vet and our hydrotherapist, we all feel the benefit far outweighs any risk - he literally never gets water in his ears, so there really isn't any risk, it's not a like a dog who tend to dunk their ears and then shake into the water. And I don't see any signs of active infection now, been checking his ears with a torch every day and they are almost clean, and his behaviour suggests they no longer bother him.

And just in case anyone thinks we're wrong for giving him wheels - I have always been quite wary of wheels for animals, because much of the time I feel it is more for the humans than the animals. We started them to try and give him chance to strengthen up and recover, I'm not sure that will ever happen now but having the hour or two in wheels each day (some days he chooses much less, other days he enjoys a lot more time, but it's always his choice) gives him time to move freely, he explores and climbs and runs like absolute normal. He even comes flying up the shallow steps! Then he comes in and goes to sleep, just as he has done all his life. Their entire indoor area is now vetbed, and he can move around that at surprising speed, sometimes he can flip himself to get up on his feet, and if we help him up then he often stays up for quite a while and moves around a bit, but he is happy. This morning he made it clear he wanted to go back to bed rather than have wheel time, so he did that instead, but was offered the chance later on instead and said yes. As soon as he says he doesn't want it any more then we will include that in our decision making.
It is wonderful Freja looks out for Odin and they enjoy being together.
It is great that he gets so much therapy from the acupuncture, hydro herapy, and wheels.
I'm really glad to hear he's doing much better and is happy again. I hope the deafness is only temporary. It's so good that the accupuncture helps him so much, making it easier for him to move, and that he enjoys his wheels so much. I think not every animal copes well with them, but they certainly sound like the right thing for Odin and like they give him a lot of freedom, which is wonderful. I think the way you leave the decision to use his wheels or not up to him is definitely the right way to do it, and it's really great that he communicates what he wants so clearly.
Well I think his hearing has improved, he still sleeps a LOT but when he's up he's up! He's been quite feisty the past couple of days, refusing his paracetemol a few times which I'm taking as him saying he doesn't need it right then - we offer it to him through the day at intervals and he always takes it at night no bother, just not always morning or midday - and making it very clear he wants a duvet day by disappearing into the tunnel at high speed. It's amazing how fast he can move when he wants to, and if he's up on his feet then he pretty much just launches across the room and covers the distance before he flops to his side.
I'm a bit worried about his fluids, he wasn't peeing as much but I've been giving him extra fluids in various ways and it's improved, but we'll talk to the vet tomorrow and maybe take samples again.
Freja is amazing at looking after him, keeping him warm, cleaning his face and ears, and it breaks my heart a little each time I see them grooming each other and snuggling, can't bear the thought of her being left alone. But hopefully Luggage will step up and help her when she's ready.
This is him at laser the other day - he loves basking in the halogen lamp, so I've bought him his own to use as heat therapy at home, he doesn't like heat pads much but hopefully he can warm up in front of a supervised heater. I've got some videos of him but I don't have a way to share them :-(


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Very pleased to report that Odin's bloods came back actually better than 3 months ago! He does have a slight UTI so we have antibiotics for that and I'm going to keep up with the increased fluids because as we head into winter and we can't forage as much their diet naturally becomes much drier but I don't know if he can be bothered with the effort to drink out of the bowl. I've got him a new one that's wide and low just in case, but he's taking good amount of varying flavoured water by syringe so I'm happy to continue that anyway.
They're enjoying the new Rosewood pellets as treats, and Odin's become much quicker and more comfortable moving, as well as much more opinionated on things which I think is a good sign.
Good to read that Odin‘s blood results are better. Has the Vet shown you how to palpate his bladder and help him fully empty it if necessary ? This can be a useful skill to acquire when caring for a Rabbit with Odin’s type of problems. It significantly reduces the build up of calcium deposits and UTIs. If the Vet hasn’t shown you how to do it safely and when not to do it I would advise you not to attempt it as the bladder is very delicate and can rupture if the procedure isn’t done correctly. I have found that all of my Rabbits will drink a lot more water if I add Pro C Professional to it. Some Vets say it’s of no benefit, but it won’t do any harm and IME can do a lot of good 😀

Good to read that Odin‘s blood results are better. Has the Vet shown you how to palpate his bladder and help him fully empty it if necessary ? This can be a useful skill to acquire when caring for a Rabbit with Odin’s type of problems. It significantly reduces the build up of calcium deposits and UTIs. If the Vet hasn’t shown you how to do it safely and when not to do it I would advise you not to attempt it as the bladder is very delicate and can rupture if the procedure isn’t done correctly. I have found that all of my Rabbits will drink a lot more water if I add Pro C Professional to it. Some Vets say it’s of no benefit, but it won’t do any harm and IME can do a lot of good 😀

Thank you, yes, I've been expressing his bladder for a few weeks now though the past 2 weeks it became quite difficult which I'm hoping is due to the discomfort of the infection. I'm not sure that he doesn't have a bladder stone but we are not going to put him under again at this point (and certainly wouldn't be doing surgery), he's nearly 5 years old, so as long as he shows no signs of pain then I'm just making sure he drinks enough, has his cranberry juice/berries and monitor day by day. He takes quite large amounts my syringe with different flavours added, though only in the evening and nighttime, he will not take anything in the morning any more, he's made that very clear!!
I'll have a look at the Pro C, thank you for the recommendation :)
Odin is doing so much better since he started antibiotics, back to peeing freely which is a relief! I'm still offering syringe fluids which he enjoys but I might cut back a little and see how he goes - it's easy enough to tell when he's getting enough. The Pro C arrived today too so I'm going to offer that by syringe and see if he'll take it so I know he's getting it.
He's got quite feisty again recently, but seems to be doing better at standing on his own - not so much getting up (he CAN get up at times, he just doesn't seem to when we're at home though he does when we're out and about!) but staying up to eat when we help get started. He's certainly enjoying his food, and I've found a few new ones like chicory on my quest to keep his fluid levels up, he approves of that!
Freja is being so friendly and cuddly, it's really lovely. She'll happily have a snuggle with you from her bed, though when she's done, she's done. She does make me laugh, stamps her big feet at me with a "humph" when I don't meet her approval but then all soft and snuggly a few minutes later.
Odin had laser yesterday and enjoyed it as usual - he was asleep hanging off the edge of the mat til I moved. I've bought him his own little heater but not worked out how to plug it in safely yet, and we can't leave him unsupervised with it safely but I'm hoping it'll be a better form of heat therapy for him than microwaveable bags that he doesn't like. He can move towards the heater if he wants it, and move away when he wants to too.


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Their personalities are equal to their size!:love:
Can you put the heater in a metal dog crate or pen?
Yes, we can, though the issue is the wire rather than the heater itself - if Freja is shut out she's out most of the day anyway) it's less of an issue but I'd like to find a way to have it easily plugged in and accessible so we can use it quickly and easily. The heater itself has an incredibly sensitive cutout if it even gets touched, it's just making the wire safe really.
Odin is beautifully content just now, the past couple of weeks. It's really lovely to see, and a relief. He doesn't do a lot, but he seems very content to snuggle up on his double vetbed, munch the food in front of him, groom Freja (mostly her shoulder because it's the easiest bit for him to reach!) and be groomed, and have attention from us. We've got things sussed so he is rarely wet or dirty, he's got a beautiful thick shiny coat, and is eating brilliantly. He sleeps like the dead, to the point that our hearts stop a little every time until he takes a breath, but when he's awake he's really bright and wants to be into everything, giving us a nudge like always if he can reach us.
It's been quite chilly the past couple of days and Freja spends the day outdoors so he's had a light blanket over his back end to keep him cosy - he can wriggle out if he wants to, but he is mostly content with it.
Still enjoying his appointments and visits!!


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