Last Post by CupcakeandDizziesMom at 11/02/2012 12:29 PM (9 Replies)
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User is Offline CupcakeandDizziesMom
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11/01/2012 7:35 AM

Hi Everyone! My vet squeezed Cupcake in yesterday because they felt like it was an emergency, so I didnt get to ask him all of the questions I would have liked to. (I was so grateful that they fit us was amazing!! He is amazing!!) Cupcake has been having issues hopping, so I took her in last week. She was diagnosed with a UTI and put on some meds. The vet and I both hoped that her hopping problem was due to the pain "down there." He said if the hopping problem didnt improve, that he would like to take some x-rays. So yesterday, I was visiting with her on the floor and noticed that she was dragging her left hind leg a bit. I called the vet frantic and brought her in. She is healthy otherwise (teeth, ears, etc.) but the x-rays showed that she does indeed have some arthritis in her hip and that some of her little spine is fusing because of the arthritis. She is on metacam now, which seems to be helping a bit. She has been moving around more and just looks better in general. (She had been having some potty accidents too...and still is, but they are less frequent.) How is arthritis in bunnies treated? What is her life going to be like? Is she going to be on meds forever? Will the meds she is on help to stop or slow down the process of her spine fusing? I have another appointment with her next Tuesday, but I am just so worried about my little peanut! She is only 4, but from what I've been reading, some others have been diagnosed with arthritis at 4. He didnt want me to close her in her pen, so she still has the run of my living room. Do any of you have any ideas to help make her feel a bit more comfortable? I also started giving her the Oxbow Join Support "cookies." Does anyone else use them? Do you think they will help her?

Thank you to everyone in advance, who helps out!! You guys are all amazing and so helpful! I dont know what I would do without you all!!

User is Offline tanlover14
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11/01/2012 7:40 AM
I don't have much to offer in this realm as I've never had an aging bun bun -- but just wanted to wish you good luck with Cupcake and sending LOTS of healing vibes for your little girl.

Many others, especially Sarita (from what I've seen), has dealt with aging bunnies and will probably have some awesome advice for you!
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User is Offline CupcakeandDizziesMom
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11/01/2012 7:44 AM
Thank you, tanlover!! She has been through so much and I just feel so bad for her! Sometimes I think that its me!! Am i doing something wrong!?!?!

User is Offline Sarita
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11/01/2012 7:57 AM
I have definitely dealt with many arthritic rabbits at many different stages and you are correct that it is not uncommon at 4 years of age for a rabbit to have arthritis, my rabbit Mango was diagnosed at that age and as he aged it became very debilitating and also my rabbit Maxine had debilitating arthritis.

There is nothing you can do to stop the process but a glucosamine treatment can help in some ways and I believe the Joint Support may have that in it - will it help? Maybe, maybe not, anything that says "support" is not scientifically proven to help and as far as I know these Oxbow treatments don't have any scientific support - this does have glucosamine though and that has some scientific support as a supplement - NOT a cure though.

The metacam is a non-steriod anti-inflammatory (a pain medication) and it will not help cure arthritis either - there is no cure - only supportive care for this particular disease. I think you should see how she does with this and without it - you may not be able to see any difference but if you do then I would use it as needed. I've tried metacam in conjunction with tramadol and with buprenex and I could really only hope it helped so I continued as I felt my rabbits needed it.

With Maxine, I did try a laser therapy and that seemed to work (for awhile) and I also did accunpuncture and I don't know if it helped (it may have had I been able to continue - had problems with vets going on maternity leave or moving out of state who were certified with accupuncture so I can not know if it would have helped with the pain).

I wouldn't close her in her pen either - let her decide if she wants to run around (it would be good for her) or not.

It may eventually get to a point where you cannot treat it and it becomes way to debilitating (but that's not the case with all rabbits). I did end up eventually putting Maxine and Mango to sleep because it was so bad for them (they were probably around 7 or 8 at the time). Maxine was a very large rabbit and her one of her legs became atrophied and she was just not doing well at all. Mango eventually was very bad as well and could barely move - he also contracted a URI which is why I ended up putting him to sleep along with the very advanced arthritis.

So basically from my experience you can certainly try different options and she can live a long life with this disease. You may have to eventually change her litter box to encourage her to use it but eventually she may not be able to (but that is probably a long way off at the age of 4).

User is Offline lmais
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11/01/2012 8:05 AM
Can't offer any advice either in this case but (((((((vibes))))))) for both of you!

User is Offline CupcakeandDizziesMom
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11/01/2012 8:34 AM
Thank you, everyone! I'll be sure to give Cupcake lots of snoggles for you all!

Sarita, were your bunns on meds for the rest of their lives?? was it a liquid or pill form? I have to burrito Cupcake to give her liquid meds now, which she hates, but tolerates. Will I have to do that to her everyday for the rest of her life?? Did you so anything for yours to make her feel more comfortable?

User is Offline Sarita
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11/01/2012 9:37 AM
I only gave them the metacam as needed. At the end I did give Maxine and Mango both different types of pain meds and they were all oral.

As for comfort - it really depends on the stage of the arthritis - how able is she to get around? If it's still pretty easy, then you don't need to do much - maybe change the litter box if she is having problems getting in and out.

I do understand as well that cold and rainy weather may affect arthritis and make it more painful so you may want to watch out for that.

Talk to the vet too about glucosamine - I think there are some glucosamine treatments that are better than others and if you can get it in powder form you can sprinkle it on her greens. It certainly worth trying this, but discuss it with the vet as I imagine he/she is up on the most recent glucosamine treatments.

User is Offline CupcakeandDizziesMom
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11/01/2012 12:40 PM
She is on metacam for the next week, then she is going into the vet and he is going to look at her again. So you just watched your bunns and when they looked like they werent moving well, you gave them the meds? I'm just trying to figure out what our life is going to be like together now.

She is able to move around fine, but you can tell there is something wrong. she just looks different and her hind end looks so strange when she is moving. We started to notice it awhile ago, but didnt think anything of it. my husband was giving her a treat and when she stood up on her hind legs to get it, she toppled over. he thought it was that she just lost her balance, but now i see that that wasnt the case. She seems fine when i pick her up also...she doesnt whine or seem at all like she is in pain. What kind of litter box did you use for yours that had this? Did you do something when it was cold or rainy to help them to feel better? its getting colder out here (in the 40s for now) so i worry. I have her in my living room about 4 feet from the door and window. is that too close?

User is Offline Sarita
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11/02/2012 2:31 AM
Pretty much at the beginning that is what I would wasn't really anything scientific.

As for litter boxes when they were using them - for Mango who was smaller - I would take those 2 piece cat boxes and just use the actual box piece which was short. But really at the end of his life, he was not using the litter box at all and the only thing I could do was use some area rugs that I could throw in the wash daily. You can try sheepskin as it will wick the wet away from them but it's not always easy to use as it moves around and doesn't stay in place and when your rabbit is unable to move it just slides around - so those are options in the future. Also may want to make sure that she can balance on the litter you use - for instance the pelleted litter is cylindrical and seems to be difficult for some older rabbits to get traction on.

As long as your living room is warm enough she will be fine.

You will manage but it is going to be more work as she becomes more disabled and it can be frustrating. I had to most days try to clean urine scald from my arthritic rabbits (ask the vet about safe shampoos and maybe some silvadene cream). Also since she will not be able to posture correctly when urinating there is the possibility of bladder sludge as she may not be able to empty her bladder normally.

User is Offline CupcakeandDizziesMom
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11/02/2012 12:29 PM
My living room is warm and she hangs out in her pen that is carpeted and covered with towels (in case she pees). There is also a rug in my living room that she spends time on. I think I will just keep an eye on her and if it seems as though she isnt warm enough, or comfortable enough, I will move her stuff to the opposite wall where she wont be by the window or door.
She has a high back, but low front litter box right now and she seems to be ok with it. I am using the Carefresh litter (its like crumpled cardboard) so I think I should be ok there. Later on, I might try a large rubbermaid tub, with the front cut out for her so she has more room.
I feel bad for her because when I give her the medicine, i put her down in her box afterwards and because she is so mad, she hops out and pees all over. I just hate to make her so uncomfortable, but i know that its for her own good.
At this point, all I do is worry about her. I am spening as much time with her as i can, but my other bunny, gets mad and needs attention too. I just hold Cupcake and cry on her and tell her how much I love her. I know that someday I am going to have to make a very difficult decision. it breaks my heart to think about it.