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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > DIET & CARE > Ear Flush/Suction
Last Post by LittlePuffyTail at 8/07/2012 1:20 AM (5 Replies)
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User is Offline xnovalentine
Peoria Heights, IL
309 posts Send Private Message
8/04/2012 7:08 AM

For the past year, I have had Lullabelle in and out of the vet's office with severe to mild ear infections every couple months. We've tried an assortment of different antibiotic ear drops, oral antibiotics, and pain medications. It seems that after each infection, it clears, and returns a couple months later worse than it was before. 

I clean Lullabelle's ears out at least once a week with a dog ear cleaner with aloe that the vet recommended that I use. As you probably would guess, she hates this and I have not been very persistent on cleaning the ears if they appear normal. Wednesday, I checked them as I normally do, and noticed a red gunky build up in her left ear and immediately put some left over Baytril in them and had her in the vet Friday.

The normal vet that she see's was not in today, so we saw the vet who actually owns the place. He did her spay about 5 years ago, and he poked his head in the room before he examined her to state he wanted to review her file and do a tad bit of research on ear infections as shes been having the problem since last July. When he did come in, he pulled out this fancy machine that had a tv looking thing that allowed me to see down her ear as he stuck the thinger in. It looked pretty bad, but I guess I was also looking on a big tv screen, too.

He told me that he usually only sees chronic ear infections of Lulla's magnitude in rabbits who have ear mites. Lulla does not have mites, and never has. She's indoor, solo, and I am extremely picky about her health anyway. He stated that since this was not the case with her, he suspects that there is something, such as infection, going on somewhere in her head. He showed me a picture of the ear canal of a rabbit and showed me that he was unable to see past the middle ear with his scopey thing and suspected that there may be an infection thats never been fixed going on in the middle or inner ear. He also stated that it could be in her jaw, throat, or brain. He requested that x-rays of her head be performed. Then he stated that he wanted to put her under anesthesia and perform a real ear cleaning that he referred to as a "ear flush/suction". He performed an ear smear, and came back to say that there was little to no bacteria in her ears and there was also no present of yeast. This is what is sort of confusing me. What would be causing the problem if there is no bacteria or yeast? This is where I began to lose it. lol

So i discussed the options with him. He stated that the alternative would be to send her home with pain medications and she how she did. At the moment, shes not showing any signs of distress and was actually quite relaxed at the appointment as in she was lounging on the floor with her big feet sticking out behind her chewing on the vet's pants. She's eating, drinking, and playing normally. Not that I don't think shes experiencing any pain or discomfort, I just don't think that giving her pain meds would be the best option for either of us. Getting down to the problem and hopefully fixing it is what I want.

So I discussed the risks of anesthesia with him. Lullabelle is 5 years old and besides her chronic ear infections and some hoo-ha infections due to her being too fat to clean herself, she's otherwise healthy. He stated that she would be a good candidate for anesthesia as she is otherwise healthy and death under anesthesia occurs generally when organ shut down has already started. He stated that there would be blood tests performed before surgery to ensure all organs were functioning normally. He stated that this would be the best way to treat the underlying infection that keeps returning. So I agreed.

The vet gave me a quote on the procedure. Lullabelle has had an ear cleaning before that they charged around $50 for, but it was a quick trip to the back and she was back with clean ears so this is entirely different. They quoted me a high price of $630 for the procedure, or if there were no complications around $430. I have the appointment scheduled for next Wednesday, which yay for me, also happens to be my birthday. 

My boyfriend has offered to lend me money for the procedure and then they have agreed to let me make payments. Cost is kind of stressing me out at the moment. But to be honest, I'd do anything for her so I have no problem with it. I am thankful that my boyfriend is here to help. Though I don't really think he understands. I was having a mental breakdown yesterday, and I told him "I am not ready for her to die, yet." and he proceeds to reply with, "It will be okay. If anything happens, we can get another one." Does anyone know what it feels like to want to murder someone who just offered to lend you a large sum of money so your bunny can have surgery? lol.

Anyway, I've been researching the topic all day today and have found very little that seem to fit my same circumstances and wanted to ask you all for your opinions/experiences on the matter. Am I making the right choice? Are there other options I'm not aware of? What are your experiences? Anything else you guys can think of? 


User is Offline RabbitPam
South Florida
Forum Leader
10568 posts Send Private Message
8/04/2012 7:29 AM
It sounds like you have a clear plan and a boyfriend whose heart is in the right place. I don't have experience with this so I can't give you better advice on this particular medical condition.

What I can suggest is, if you would like a second opinion or additional medical input, that you copy your post above and include it in an email to Dr. Dana Krempels, who is an advisor on this site:


http://www.allexperts.com/ep/703-35...s-Ph-D.htm

She is very familiar with BB and many of our members, and has given great advice as well as written very helpful articles on a variety of conditions. Since you have until next Wednesday, you could contact her by following the instructions in the link, and see if she concurs or has anything else to say on it. If she does get back to you soon, I'd be interested to know what she says.
 photo CarrotCrop100x500BBSiggy_zps0f2147e4.jpg Have your people call my people. We'll do carrots.

User is Offline xnovalentine
Peoria Heights, IL
309 posts Send Private Message
8/04/2012 7:36 AM

thank you, I copy and pasted it and sent it to her.I will let you know what she has to say! thank you!


User is Offline LittlePuffyTail
New Brunswick, Canada
Forum Leader
11599 posts Send Private Message
8/05/2012 3:27 AM
Boy, can I relate to you. Lullabelle's situation sounds exactly like Bindi's situation the last couple of years. He's my Mini-Lop and has had so many outer ear infections I've completely lost count. They always presented themselves with a bad smell, visible redness in the ear canal, and/or mild scratching. He was never off his food or seemed overly bothered by these infections. My vet and I became exacerbated trying to cure these infections. She had never seen a bunny come up with so many. I call him the "Bunny with the Million Dollar Ears", because of the small fortune in vet bills I've spent. My vet took pity on me many times and didn't charge me anything for the visit.

Is your bun a lop?

I had quite a few cultures done and sent away for lab testing. Have you discussed this with your vet? It's usually more expensive than the quick check they do in the vet's office under the microscope. They actually let the ear bacteria grow and then examine it for bad bacteria. This method can sometimes detect bacteria that your vet can't.

Have you tried any other meds other than Baytril? With Bindi's infections, sometimes the Baytril worked, sometimes it didn't and we needed to find another med. The infections can become resistant to repeated Baytril treatments. I've also used Canaural and Optimyxin. We've even had to use both topical ear meds together with oral Baytril in particularly stubborn cases.

For a long while, my vet had me cleaning his ears out, weekly or twice weekly, with Aveeno Sativa, a bunny safe cleaner made for cats and dogs. It is truly unbelievable the gunk that I would flush out of there. I doubt he can hear much at all. After many, many months, we decided perhaps the over cleaning was only exacerbating the problem so we stopped the cleanings. Cleaning too often can actually make them build more buildup wax to defend their ears and can cause irritation. Also, the moist environment it creates is a favorite of bacteria. Now I clean less than once a month, only when the build-up is completely plugging up his ear and I just do a gentle flush.

We also started an experimental treatment. The last ear culture we did showed bacteria that was susceptible to a med called Optimyxin. We decided to try 5 days on, once a day and then go 10 days off. It's now been quite a few months with no signs of infection so this seems to be working and I'm very pleased.

Have you tried finding another vet for a second opinion? I would probably go ahead with the head x-rays before submitting her to the cleaning while put under. That's just my opinion, its really between you and your vet but I try to only put my bunnies under as a last resort. Bindi is 5 and he's been under recently for an abscess and was fine.

Have you ever had Lullabelle's teeth checked? I've heard that tooth problems can sometimes cause ear problems because they are so close together.

I hope I've been helpful. Please keep me updated and many (((((Healthy Ear Vibes))))) to Lullabelle.
Proud to be a Bunny Hugger and a voice for the voiceless
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User is Offline xnovalentine
Peoria Heights, IL
309 posts Send Private Message
8/05/2012 8:29 AM
All that does make me feel better, thank you. We have tried an assortment of different antibiotics on her, baytril was just what i used for the last one and i had a tiny bit left over so i used the last of it when i saw that the infection was back. Shes had 3 or 4 different kinds of oral medications and drops, steroids included. Lulla is not a lop, and also has million dollar ears. I have had a culture done in the past, but this last time i didnt. She told me what exactly she identified and chose to go with baytril, but i dont remember what kind of bacteria she said it was. As for her teeth, we have always had a difficult time getting a good look at them, and he mentioned wed be able to see if there was something going on with them with the xrays. As for other vets, there are only 2 exotic vets in my area. The other one i have never been impressed with, and they are outrageously priced. I definently prefer my regular vet to the one we saw on friday. Mine seems to be more knowledgeable when it comes to rabbits, but for some personal reason shes not working right now. She had mentioned this procedure in the past but wanted to try medications first and that route has only worked temporarily though its been 6 months since we last were in there. At this point, im willing to spend the money to get her ears properly looked at and cleaned. But i am weary of the anesthesia. Its making me incredibly nervous. However id rather just do this and get it over with, and give her better relief. I can definently tell when she feels good and when she doesnt. She eats drinks and poops just fine but she lounges around and is much more grumpy and tends to bite me more when i handle her when she doesnt feel good. When she does, its the bunny 500 and everything is destroyed in seconds. Lol also, she will pee on my bed while im away or sleeping if she doesnt feel good. Which has been happening much more often. So hopefully this make her herself again.

User is Offline LittlePuffyTail
New Brunswick, Canada
Forum Leader
11599 posts Send Private Message
8/07/2012 1:20 AM
When are you getting this done? Are you going to do X-rays first?
Proud to be a Bunny Hugger and a voice for the voiceless
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