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?