Sophie and her head tilt
On Saturday, August 18, 2018 we found Sophie struggling to move. She had been active and eager for food the day before. We hope to document the journey of Sophie and her human to help others learn about rabbits with head tilt.
You can better search for keywords like medication, set up, grooming, eye care, feeding, vet by using CNTRL + F, or ⌘ + F
Please note that we are not an authority of animal health care, nor claim the treatment we are taking to be the best solution. Negative comments regarding Sophie's condition will not be published on this post.
Day 0- Initial vet visit, antibiotic meds start
Day 6- Sophie starts licking paws to wash her face (first coordinated movement)
Day 9- Rolling intensifies.
Day 10- Vet check up, anti-nausea meds and eye antibiotics prescribed
Day 11- Anti- nausea meds start, rolling stops and appetite picks up.
Day 12-Sophie lifts her head
Day 28-Sophie is able to momentarily stop herself from rolling by standing on all fours
Day 30-Sophie gets a butt shave
Day 33-Sophie starts to spend the majority of her time on all four paws
Month 3: Sophie moves into a soft sided pen
Month 4: Sophie is given soft hay as she beings to eat on her own
Month 5: Sophie begins to be able to drink water without getting dizzy.
Month 6: No more 3am night feeds! Sophie is left overnight
Month 9: Sophie moves into a larger pen that allows her to move around more
August 18, 2018
Keyword Search: Medication, set up, Vet
There had been no indication of Sophie's condition the night before, however we found her beside her litter box, about 4ft from her usual sleeping spot. It is very shocking to see a healthy rabbit suddenly affected by head tilt. The most concerning thing was how confused and scared she looked. We are lucky that we have an amazing vet—despite them being fully booked, they were able to sneak us in between patients. Napoleon travelled to the vet as well, as keeping them together would be less stressful to the both of them. We also placed a large stuffy in the carrier with them, so Sophie could lean on something for balance.
The vet recommended treatment for both an ear infection and E. Cuniculi Infection (affects the brain), as it is difficult to determine which is the cause. Based on Sophie's weight, we were given Enrofloxacin (.035mL every 24h for 14 days), and Fenbendazole (.23mL every 12h for 21 days)
Upon returning home, corners and walls were lined with rolled blankets, padded areas that needed grip, and I created a "donut" bed, by rolling a blanket in a circle. The regular litter box was also switched out for one with a lower side. Sophie currently can not make it to the litter box, so we have placed her on a mock-sheepskin bed, on top of a puppy pad. This should keep her dry, should she have an accident. Although confused, she is still her spunky self and we learned that when she starts pawing at the sides of her donut bet, she has to pee. I lift her and place her in her litter box, and she does her business quite quickly. It is important to hold her tightly and close to the chest, as she is very disoriented, especially when her feet are not on the ground.
Sophie in her donut bed.
Although not her usual food destroying self, Sophie did munch a bit of hay, and ate some hand fed parsley. She can not eat pellets, and water has to be syringe fed.
The most important thing we are focusing on today is that some rabbits fully recover, some do not. However rabbits can live happily with head tilt. Often things get worse before they get better. It is very hard to watch Sophie struggle, but rabbits are surprisingly resilient.
Her symptoms today were
- Tilted head
- Difficulty standing and moving
- Rapid side-to-side eye movement
August 19, 2018
Keyword Search: Feeding, Medication, Eye Care
I spent the night sleeping next to Sophie's donut bed to make sure she didn't fall out, and to make sure she made it to her litter box when she wanted to. 3-4mL of water was syringe fed every 2-3h. She didn't each much overnight, and only seemed interested in treats. She started log rolling more than circling. The vet suggested this may mean more ear infection than E. Cuniculi, but it's hard to say at this point.
In the morning, she got her dose of both Enrofloxacin and Fenbendazole. She takes them like a champ, and I do not have to hold her for her to take them. Sophie is the same as yesterday. Still confused and panics when she tries to move. The donut bed is really helpful, and provides a lot of support for her.
She will eat stemmed vegetables when they are hand fed. I find supporting her head helpful when she eats, and she will wave her head around quite a bit. Dandelion and parsley are going well, although she tends to stop when they get too leafy. She started getting used to being hand fed. At first, she panicked as she couldn't figure out how to eat, but now you can feed the stem into her mouth, and she will eat the rest (greedily!) on her own.
I have started a warm, wet towel wipe of both her eyes twice a day, as they are getting a little weepy.
Napoleon does not seem to have noticed any difference with Sophie. He hops in, out and around her donut bed like everything is normal.
Napoleon and Sophie in the upgraded donut bed. Hay is on the side, but Sophie cannot eat it unless it is hand fed.
Her symptoms today were
- Tilted head
- Difficulty standing and moving
- Rapid side-to-side eye movement (better than yesterday)
August 20, 2018
Keyword Search: Set up, Hygiene
Sophie is fairly similar to yesterday. She is still pretty confused. The circling from the first day has completely stopped, and has changed to rolling. I think she gets startled by the rolling, then more startled as she continues to roll.
Her personality has come back a bit though. Her head butts when she doesn't want something have come back strong. The spot she likes rubbed at the base of her ears often sends her into her tooth purr, even after she is startled by too much movement.
She takes water and her medication really great, and had a lot of parsley through the day. She didn't want any dandelions or any thing else. I will start on a bit of critical care tomorrow, as she is not taking any hay.
Although the mock- sheepskin fleece and puppy pee pad are doing great at keeping moisture away, Sophie is getting a bit off a pee stain. We are planning a butt bath in the next few days to prevent scald. Also looking into bunny diapers to keep her clean. I'm not too worried about access to ceocs, as she cannot get them as it stands anyways.
It's a slow process, but we are celebrating all the small victories each day. Today, she seems to have found her a bit of her personality again, and it is so relieving to see it!
August 21, 2018
Keyword Search: Set up, feeding
Sophie has definitely got her appetite back. In fact, she has trouble eating sometimes because she gets so excited that she starts thrashing around. We got her a new pet bed today with higher, stiffer walls to provide more support, and to make sure she stays in her bed. I read about using laundry baskets or boxes and lining them with blankets, however Napoleon and Sophie are very bonded, and not giving them a chance to snuggle doesn't seem great. Napoleon actually likes to sleep beside her donut bed, and often goes over to give her a sniff.
Sophie hasn't had pellets in years due to her weight issues, however she is not getting any hay because she can't grab onto it yet. I started her on about 5 feedings of critical care at about 4-5h intervals (Yup! One at 4am!). With this new bed, I feel like there is less need to check on her as it is much harder for her to roll out. I might be able to get 3h chunks of sleep, instead of the usual 1.5h that I have been getting for the past few days!
I am feeding about 1tbsp critical care morning and evening, 1tsp as overnight, afternoon, and bedtime snacks. She is still eating parsley and cilantro really well, so I am feeding under the Oxbow recommended servings.
I am feeling a bit more optimistic today, as her personality is really showing through, she seems less confused, and she is so excited for her food. Symptoms are still the same, no noticeable improvements, but it's a big step towards normalcy when she is less confused!
Sophie and her stylin' new bed.
August 22, 2018
Keyword Search: Hygiene
Of course the day after I write Sophie can't eat hay, Sophie starts eating hay! Sophie's regular diet has pretty much resumed, although probably less hay than she normal eats. She is usually a hay machine, and being hand fed piece by piece has definitely slowed her down. She has been eating cilantro, parsley, and dandelion as she seems to do well with leafy/ stem vegetables. I'll try some arugula and basil tomorrow, as those are also her favorites.
Sophie got a butt bath today. I would be hesitant with a healthy Sophie, never mind a flailing, rolling Sophie, so we had a professional come in. She was washed, some baby barrier cream applied to her sore hocks and areas with a small amount of scald. She has modified newborn diapers now, which will hopefully keep scald down in the future. Plus. They are Winnie The Pooh printed.
I don't know if this is any indication of anything. Perhaps I'm just being very optimistic and looking for tiny things, but Sophie did manage to lick her paws and wipe her cheeks—the first coordinated paw movement I've seen so far.
Symptoms are otherwise all the same, no notable improvements.
August 23, 2018
Keyword Search: Hygiene
We underestimated Sophie's rump. She is not newborn diaper size. She's infant size 1. The package says "up to 14lbs". Yikes! She was on a diet too! :)
Sophie hasn't shown any improvements, but it's still only day 5. Her new diapers have a bunny print on them, which is very fitting. They seem to be doing the trick in keeping her dryer. She doesn't seem to mind wearing them either. It's been a difficult to figure out how to get them on her, since her body movements are similar to a fish. I have made sure to move her back legs and clean areas with a wet paper towel to make sure blood is circulating and to keep things clean.
August 24, 2018
Booked a checkup appt for Tuesday. Sophie's top eye seems to have a dent- very odd as it is the eye facing upwards (usually it's the bottom one rubbing against things that has problems). It's not red, inflamed, wet, or bothering her, so the vet's office doesn't think it is an urgent issue. It could be something she had before the head tilt. Regardless, Tuesday is the 10 day mark, so it will be a good time to check in.
Sophie is still eating really well. Cut back some of the critical care as she is eating quite a bit of hay. I did notice that she is able to move her head to grab at food now. She can also pick up food that has been dropped on the side of the donut bed. Small achievements!
At night, I did catch a fair bit of face grooming with her paws on the night camera. It is quite a bit more intentional movement than I've seen in a while!
Otherwise, everything seems the same. Her new sized diapers are working well. It's been extremely disturbing to feed her the cecos from her diaper and watch her eat them with joy.
Napping together at night
August 25, 2018
Well, we are at the one week mark! Sophie was a bit restless today, shifting back and forth in her donut bed. She is eating really great, and it can be hard to keep up with how much she eats!
Although Sophie was already one of those rabbits who had stranger danger, and hated being picked up, we are very lucky that she is also one of those rabbits who eat everything. This way we know that if she is not eating it is because she is ill, not because she is picky... unlike some small bonded mate dwarfs whom shall remain nameless.
Movement wise, she is cleaning her face with her paws quite a bit, and uses her front and back feet to push off her bed and stuffie to shuffle further back. I'm not sure if she's attempting to stand, but she is moving around a bit.
We have one week left of the enrofloxacin, and two weeks left of the fenbendazole!
A romantic lunch date
August 26, 2018
Keyword Search: Movement, Eye Care
Had a bit of a restless night, as Sophie kept rolling in her donut bed. While she panics while she rolls, she is definitely returns to normal much faster. I've cut down on all critical servings to 1tsp 6x daily, as she is doing so well with eating hay.
In the evening, her top eye had a bit of cloudy, thicker liquid, so I suspect the dent I saw a few days ago is an ulcer. It's still so odd that it's the top eye. The bottom eye is shut, so I can't see too much of what is happening there. We will probably get some drops for the top eye during our appointment on Tuesday.
August 27, 2018
Keyword Search: Movement
Sophie had a pretty restless day. Despite the past few days spent being quite content and passive, Sophie started rolling aggressively in her donut bed. It seemed very unprovoked and unintentional, almost as if it were a reflex kick that would start a roll. It got to a point where I spent hours lying on the floor next to her, with a hand on her, to get her to stop. She eventually was able to fall asleep, which I think she was very grateful for. Because she had a stressful day, we are taking a night off from the diapers, as this can sometimes be uncomfortable for her. I am hesitant to do this, as urine scald is an issue, but I will be sure to clean her up tomorrow morning before we head off to the vet.
Even though Sophie is tired, she ate really well. Hopefully she'll feel better after her check up tomorrow!
August 28, 2018
Keyword Search: Set up, Vet
Sophie rolled all night, to the point I woke up every hour to check on her. The car ride to the vet was okay. Just a few rolls, but not too bad. The vet was pretty optimistic about her tilt, saying that any changes are good changes, as it means she is still "progressing" through her tilt. Both her eyes were stained to look for ulcers, but they were both fine. I got some antibiotics for her eyes anyways, as they will both be rubbing a lot from her rolling. For future check ups, the we are allowed to call or email the vet if possible, as car rides can be quite distressing for tilties. It was necessary today though to make sure her eyes were not damaged. Besides that, we were prescribed an oral anti-nauseant, but a very frustrating lack of communication between the vet and the human pharmacy that has to put it together means that we won't get it until tomorrow morning.
So one more night of watching Sophie go through some pretty terrible rolling. Eventually she gets so tired she falls asleep, only to wake up and start all over. It's been really difficult to watch, knowing I can't do much else for her. I did switch her into a large fabric carrier so she can roll without being caught. I have a pad on the bottom, rolled blankets on the side, a pee pad, then a fleece blanket wrapped around and tucked underneath. This makes a smooth, seamless surface so when she rolls she will not get caught on anything. The fabric carrier also means there are higher walls with a bit of give in case she rolls into it.
Sophie had a few nibbles of parsley, but her rolling is so bad that she couldn't chew much else. She did eat her critical care with enthusiasm so that is a good sign.
The pharmacy said her meds will be ready at 10, but I will be there when they open at 9. I'll be that person. Paws crossed the meds work, and that tomorrow will be a better day!
Sophie in her (hopefully temporary) new rolling set up
August 29, 2018
Keyword Search: Medication, Feeding, Set Up
It was a pretty rough night, knowing that Sophie was exhausted and really aggressively rolling. The new set up in the fabric carrier worked great though, and allowed her to safely roll as needed. Since her head tilt started, this rolling has been the toughest to watch. I left the house early in the morning to wait for her meds, knowing I would be nothing but a ball of anxiety watching over her if I stayed home. I picked up meclizine (2x daily for 2 weeks), very graciously flavored with banana. Apparently it's commonly used for people with motion sickness too! The human pharmacist was very confused on why a rabbit would need this.
I don't think I have ever put to down my purse and go to Sophie's area faster than I did when I got home with her meds. Within an hour, she had stopped rolling and had fallen asleep. With a full day and a half of uncontrolled, very violent rolling, Sophie was so exhausted. Keeping the blinds closed and sounds in the home very quiet, we mostly let her sleep for the rest of the day.
In the evening, I decided to try her again on some vegetables. Since the rolling, she has only been able to eat her critical care. Even water was pretty difficult. There are few things in life that I will ever cause the squee sound of relief when Sophie enthusiastically grabbed a parsley leaf. Then another. And another. A serving of parsley later, she wanted more. She got some dandelion. She wanted more. She got a helping of hay. She wanted more. This girl probably thinks she has been starved unfairly for the past few days and is sure making up for it!
I kept her in her 'rolling' carrier set up for the night just in case, but she already seem so much better. Paws crossed it continues for tomorrow!
August 30, 2018
Keyword Search: Movement, Eye care,
After a restful night, clean up, new diapers, and a fresh blanket, Sophie seems like a completely new rabbit. I moved her back into her donut bed, as she is almost not rolling at all anymore, and the donut will provide a bit more support. I did adopt the set up with the rolling carrier though, and placed a blanket over the entire donut, to prevent her from sliding under the padding and getting caught. She can still roll in the donut, but is a bit more propped up which discourages the rolling.
Sophie ate so much today it was hard to keep up. I did notice movement in her head- when I would approach her with her syringe of water, she would actually lift her head, and move towards it. She did the same with her hay and vegetables. At one point, she even reached forward to grab some hay that she had missed that had landed on the side of the donut. When Napoleon came to nap beside her donut, she even reached upwards to sniff him. Small itty bitty steps, but still steps!
Sophie's top eye is a bit watery, but they are not red, bulging or seem to be bothering her. I'll keep an eye on them (pun very intended). The new meds are amazing, and I really wish I had them a few days ago! The side effects for people include drowsiness and dry mouth, so I still try to let her sleep and make sure she gets enough water. All things considered, I'm feeling so much more optimistic.
Having a snooze in her newly renovated donut bed with her buddy (She likes to lick its butt)
August 31, 2018
Another really great day. Sophie eats like crazy and gets very excited when I approach, as who knows if I have food or not?! They say pets are very different from children. I don't know about that. I have to feed her every 3-4h, change diapers, and watch for pee while I do it, as she enjoys peeing on me while I clean her up.
I'm feeling very optimistic with how she is now. She's not in distress at all, eating really well and moving her head quite a bit. I'm still watching her top eye, which is still weepy. Sophie does still honk quite a bit when she eats, or has a really great nap. The vet said lops are more prone to this, as they were bred to have excess skin (makes the ears flop). The skin somewhere in her nasal/ windpipes are just making her snore a bit more. Just being an old lady I guess. As long as her nose stays dry and there is no nasal discharge, I'm not worried.
September 1, 2018
Keyword Search: Medication, Food
Sophie has been happily honking all day when she's not sleeping. She's about the same today.
Now that her rolling is under control, things have got much more regular. Here is what our day looks like:
Note: hay and water through a syringe are given throughout the day.
Medication- Fenbendazole, Enrofloxacin
Feed hay, 1tsp critical care
Feed hay, 1tsp critical care
Feed 1tsp critical care
Feed 1tsp critical care, hay, arugula
Feed 1tsp critical care, hay
September 2, 2018
Keyword Search: Hygiene, Movement
It was quite the spa day for Sophie today. Her underside has been clean, but quite damp. I've been using a wet paper towel to wipe her down, then dry her off with another paper towel, but it hasn't been doing the job well enough. I'm going to try using baby wipes to control how much moisture I'm putting on her and see if that helps in the future. Sophie did get a butt blow out today with the hair dryer set to the lowest setting on the lowest heat. I kept my hands in front of the moving air at all times, to make sure the heat did not build up at any time. She did not seemed bothered by the noise or air at all which was great.
Sophie has started wiggling around a bit. A few times she moved from laying on her side to having all four paws down, and lifting her head. She gets a bit disoriented when she does this, and this leads to panicking. I noticed her eyes have been tracking when she does this (nystagmus).
September 3, 2018
Keyword Search: Movement
Sophie seems to be moving much more, but is also a bit more disoriented because of this. She hasn't rolled out of the donut bed, but has moved back and forth in it quite a bit. It feels like a good thing that she is trying to stand, but I can't help but feel bad that she gets so confused. She hasn't eaten as much hay as usual as she flails around too much to eat, so I upped the amount of her critical care servings slightly to compensate.
September 4, 2018
Keyword Search: Hygiene, Eye Care
I will be getting in touch with the vet tomorrow, as Sophie's eye has been getting more watery, especially when she moves around. Occasionally, a cloudy discharge appears as well. The antibacterial ointment we have for her eyes haven't seem to been doing anything.
I was able to get a hold of the Huggies Natural Care Baby Wipes. The wipes are fragrance-free, alcohol-free, and hypo-allergenic. Bonus is that they are fortified with aloe and vitamin E to prevent irritation. Hoping this will keep Sophie cleaner, and less damp.
September 5, 2018
As usual, whenever I say Sophie is doing something, she does the opposite the next day. Her eye is looking so much better today, so I may just hold off for a day or two and email the vet regarding her continued care, as her antibiotics end this weekend. From the people I spoke to, and everything I can find online, antibiotics usually are administered for 1 month+. Sophie only has them for 21 days. I'm hoping we can get more! Not much change today. Still eating, a bit of kicking her legs, but nothing new in terms of movement.
September 6, 2018
This morning when I was changing her diapers, I put the new on on her, then went to go wash my hands. In the thirty seconds I was gone, Sophie managed to spring out of her donut and travel almost five feet across the room. She wasn't hurt, and more importantly wasn't that frightened. I don't know how she got there, but I presume a furious roll. There were no other accidents today, so I think she got all her adventuring out of her system.
She got another butt blow out today, and seems to be getting used to them. When she is being fed hay, she has started knocking my hand away with her paws when she has had enough. It's pretty cute!
September 7, 2018
Keyword Search: Medication
Nothing too new today. I emailed our vet who was kind enough to re-evaulate Sophie with out the stress of having to bring her back in. We will be getting a refill of the Fenbendazole and Meclizine, and continuing her eye ointment. She is still eating well and really enjoying head pats. Her teeth purr after big meals or when she gets some ear rubs! When her diapers are being changed, I try to stand her up and support her to gently give her chance to stand on all four paws. She does okay, but eventually gets a bit tired out.
September 8, 2018
Keyword Search: Hygiene
It's been a few weeks since Sophie had her first butt bath. That one was needed, as it was before we put diapers on Sophie. Now, she is not as soiled, but for bunny butt health, I think it is time for another one. I'm feeling a bit more confident about doing this one on my own, as I have been handling her a bit more. She's like a noodle-y fish. Very floppy and wriggly. After some research, I purchased a study paint tray like the one below. I'll set up rolled towels for Sophie to lean on in the higher area, and fill the bottom with warm water so I can wash her bottom. I think this will be the most comfortable option for her, and allow her to still keep fairly sturdy.
September 9, 2018
Keyword Search: Hygiene
I never thought I would be a diaper snob, but I purchased Huggies after finishing up the pack of the store brand diapers. The store brand was half the price of Huggies, and I figured they can't be that much different. Turns out I was wrong! Do not skimp on the diapers! Had I started with Huggies it would have saved me so much clean up time.
1. Huggies are so much softer. The store brand were stiffer, and therefore did not conform to the shape of a bunny butt as well
2. Huggies leak guards are better. This is important as Sophie is on her side. The leak guard has prevented a lot of the urine to stop running out the bottom and onto her leg. Because these guards are more elastic, they also conform to a rabbit leg better.
I did purchased reusable diapers made for rabbits, but I will be saving that for when Sophie becomes more mobile. The leak guards on the disposable diapers are really important to prevent the leg she is leaning on from developing urine scald.
Sophie is still eating well, and taking a lot of pleasure in her food. She gets so excited when I slip a little towel under her head because she knows she's about to get critical care!
September 10, 2018
Keyword Search: Hygiene
After a bit of research, I purchased Zymox Enzymatic Shampoo for Sophie. It is a shampoo with naturally derived ingredients that will help soothe any irritated skin Sophie may have. Although I do not see any areas of concern, I do want to focus most on the underside of her tail. Often cecos rub against this area, and although the baby wipes do a pretty good job at clearing debris, the butt bath will be a good cleanse for that area. I will probably do the wash tomorrow morning.
Not too much developments with Sophie. Napoleon continues to sleep beside her donut bed to keep her company which is so sweet to see.
September 11, 2018
Keyword Search: Medication, Hygiene
Butt bath day! It went really well. The shampoo seems to have worked well. I lined the paint tray with towels, with one towel that rolled around the perimeter to support Sophie. I wet her bottom, applied the shampoo, rinsed, then switched out the water and rinsed once more. There was a lot of debris and urine that came off. It was a much needed butt bath! It took about an hour to dry her off thoroughly, but she was so fluffy after!
I did notice a few spots just around the tail where there was a bit of urine scald. The new diapers are preventing leaks really well, so there are not other spots, however this one is unavoidable. Because this area is constantly wet, and Sophie is sitting on this area, I'm debating on getting this area shaved completely.
We picked up Sophie's refill of fenbendazole today, so we have another 3/4 weeks of that to go—this will bring us to almost two months of antibiotics.
September 12, 2018
Keyword Search: Medication
Sophie got her refill of meclizine today. Even though I shook the bottle every time I gave it to Sophie, I did notice that the old bottle started developing a bit of settlement on the bottom, so I wonder how effective it was in the end. The new bottle did not have any settlement on the bottom. I set the new bottle on the counter at about 5.30pm, and by the time it was time for meds at 10pm, there was a thick sludge developing at the bottom already. This means I'll be shaking these meds every time Sophie gets meds or food, just to make sure the meds are effective. It's really strange, but just a tip for any bun on meclizine to shake constantly!
September 13, 2018
Keyword Search: Eye Care
Sophie was pretty tired today. She rolled a lot in her bed, but she still ate well. Her top eye is looking a lot better, although she has started loosing a slight amount of fur around her eye. Her bottom eye is pretty red and swollen. I'm hoping that the antibiotic cream will keep this down, and that her rolling will not irritate this redness too much. Our vet said that this redness and swelling isn't too much of a concern and to continue the ointment we have. Every time she rolls, she rubs the eye, so there is not too much we can do.
If there was a safe, non-choke hazard way to make her a protective pirate eye patch I would make one!
September 14, 2018
There was still quite a bit of rolling today, and I'm wondering if her urine scald spots are bothering her. I shifted Sophie to a different side and position in her donut bed and so far she seems to have settled a bit more. I'll be looking into some shaving of the really bad spots soon!
September 15, 2018
Still a bit of rolling today. We booked a butt shave for tomorrow and are keeping her clean as dry as best as we can in the meantime. Sophie is still eating really well and lots of "outputs" as well! I have noticed that when she does get out of her donut, she rolls, but can stop herself by standing on all fours. Of course, she eventually looses balance and rolls again, but this is something new!
September 16, 2018
Keyword Search: Hygiene, Health
Today was pretty rough. We got our amazing groomer to come over. She usually clips the bunnies nails. While I can do it, I would much rather them hate her than me. Having someone come over is so much less stressful for the bunnies, especially when dealing with head tilt. The groomer came over in the evening and started going at it. After less than a minute she had to stop because the mats and scald was just too bad. She recommended we go to the vet as soon as possible. They will shave her, and give her some ointments to help her skin heal.
On top of this, while we were weighing her to get the correct dosage of some painkillers metacam, I found out she lost about 0.8lbs. That's HUGE. Turns out I can sit there for 4+ hours a day just feeding her, and she can still loose weight. Sophie has had many weight issues in the past, so I think I was conservative in feeding her. Turns out I should have been feeding her a lot more. I will be bumping each critical care feeding from 1tsp to 1tbsp
With the urine scald and weight loss, it's really hard not to blame myself. I feel so guilty that she was sitting in her donut bed in pain and hungry. It's so emotionally draining when I research and spend hours trying to do my best and things like this come along. Tonight will be just keeping Sophie comfortable. No diapers, just have her on a pee pad to air things out.
September 17, 2018
Keyword Search: Hygiene, Eye Care, Vet
So relieved today. We got Sophie in at about 10.40am this morning. They spent about an hour with her, shaving and taking a look at her butt. It was thankfully not as bad as I thought. The skin was definitely red and irritated, but not broken, oozing, or scabbing. I'm really glad I didn't wait even another day though, as rabbit skin is so incredibly delicate. Her back left side is shaved down to the skin, her tail has a bit of a peach fuzz, and it tapers further up the back. Sophie did really well, although she did pee a large amount on the vet.
They also took a look at her eye. While the lids are still pretty swollen on the bottom eye, the swelling is actually protecting the eye itself. They gave me a "lubricating ophthalmic ointment" (used for people) to moisten her eyelids. This will help when I'm cleaning her eyelids with a warm compress. When I wipe her eyes, there are often crusties, but wiping these crusties is still hard on the sensitive eye skin. This ointment will also help on the bottom eye, as it will make the rubbing against the floor a bit easier.
Sophie did really well in the car, and understandably was pretty tired when she got home. Sophie being Sophie though, ate a huge meal before having an afternoon nap. She recovered from her big day in no time.
Maintenance now will be rinsing her bottom once a day with warm water, using the baby wipes to clean any debris, blow drying (which takes so much less time now that the fur is shorn), and switching out pee pads. The pee pads we have for her turn liquid into gel upon contact, so it is actually dry to the touch moments after Sophie pees.
Sophie seems to have settled in. Tonight, whenever I put her in her donut bed, she actually rolls, then stands on her four paws for quite a while before she gets tired and falls on her side to sleep. She seems much more alert and focused when she stands. She is getting better at maneuvering herself in the donut bed- for example, if her head falls off the donut sides, she can push herself up without rolling. Small victories!
Sophie coming home from the vet!
September 18, 2018
Keyword Search: Hygiene
Since the butt shave yesterday, Sophie has been moving around quite a bit more. Not in an uncontrollable rolling way, but more an "I would like to shift to this side of the donut bed now". Very controlled, and deliberate. It's been a night and day difference. In the morning, I wipe her down with a warmed baby wipe, then dry her with the blow dryer. At night, I rinse her under warm water and use another warmed baby wipe to work away at any debris. The night time clean takes about 1h, just because there is still a bit of drying, especially on the fuzzy feet.
Sophie is pretty good at staying still during the process, and I use this time to do a good, deep clean of her eyes too.
September 19, 2018
Still doing really well today. No panicked rolling, and even when I have to take her out and put her back in her donut, she either stands right away on all four paws, or rolls and stops herself by standing. I'm so glad that she is more comfortable now, although I am watching the temperature in the room a bit closer now, as somebun has a bare bottom in the fall weather!
September 20, 2018
For the most part, if Sophie is awake, she spends it standing on all four paws. Sleeping or eating she will fall over to her side. She will try to eat standing, but for the most part, she gets so excited that she falls over! I'm looking into getting a water repellent athlete's shirt to make her a little sock out of. That way the bottom foot will be protected from urine, but it will still be breathable.
September 21, 2018
Keyword Search: Hygiene, Movement
Sophie started digging at the sides of her donut bed today. 1. This means that she managed to balance on her back feed momentarily to free up her arms to dig. 2. She is annoyed and wants out!
So, who am I but to oblige a bunny request? I placed her gently on a non-slip crate liner, steadied her, and she managed to stand for about 15s on her own. Eventually, she falls over and starts rolling, but can stop herself by standing again. She does start to panic after a while and will continue to roll, so I know she's not ready to be without her donut bed yet.
This is huge though. We are just over a month and she is wanting to stand already. Being very food motivated, I wonder if she is just so frustrated at the slow service that she wants to get it herself!
Because she has been sitting up more, the bottom foot was actually dry today during the night time deep wash. I did a wipe down to get rid of debris, but didn't actually have to soak it to wash urine out. Amazing!
September 22, 2018
Keyword Search: Feeding
Sophie has always been eager for her syringe critical care, however she hasn't been finishing her serving today. Towards the evening, she wasn't eating it at all. I fed her some food pellets out of a dish which she ate. Hay and veggies were eaten as well, albeit sparingly. She is still eating so I'm not super worried but it's very odd that she is refusing her critical care. She usually is so eager for it.
September 23, 2018
Keyword Search: Feeding
I ended up having to force feed her the critical care food today, as she wasn't having any of it. Since she has lost so much weight already, the critical care was crucial in maintaining her. I have force fed rabbits before, but Sophie really hates it and it was really awful to watch. She is still eating food pellets and small amounts of hay, but I know it's not enough to keep her going at this rate. Hoping a vet visit isn't necessary tomorrow.
September 24, 2018
Keyword Search: Feeding, Movement
I'm not sure what changed in Sophie and her critical care syringe, but seeing as she was eating food pellets out of a dish, I thought I would try the critical care in a dish. MAGIC! It worked! She ate her full serving of critical with no problems. It definitely takes a lot longer, but she is eating it all. She is doing well with hay too. I took her out to stand on her non-slip mat, and she seems to be doing well. She can't move yet, but she is doing better with balancing on the spot.
September 25, 2018
I've noticed that the hind food that Sophie is leaning on is developing some sore hocks (loosing fur). Sophie has always been a bigger girl, and has had spots on the backs of her hind feet her whole life. However, this one has started extending down the outer length of the foot. It's something to watch, but most of it still has fur that can be 'combed over' to provide a bit of protection.
September 26, 2018
Keyword Search: Feeding
Sophie is doing really well with her critical care served on in a little dish. Bonus is seeing her little tongue all the time. I have started splitting her meals into half and more frequently, just so she can finish it all. Of course, getting up once a night is enough for me, so the night time feeding still remains the same. Overall, she is doing really well. I even saw her groom her ear! She is spending most of her time on her feet, and is able to spend longer times balancing on her hind feet to wash her face with her front paws.
September 27, 2018
Keyword Search: Hygiene, General Care
The heel of that hind foot is starting to look pretty red, bordering on raw, so I've started wrapping the foot during Sophie's evening clean. Before her head tilt, she actually had the foot wrapped with Vetwrap before, as she kept getting her cecos matted onto that foot.
I take a three inch Vetwrap piece, about three inches long, cut two triangles out of each side about 1in down. The 1in piece wraps around her leg, while the remaining two inches fold over and wrap the foot itself. I have some loose fur from her that she has shed, and I place it along the sides where she is loosing fur to provide some extra protection.
Vetwrap piece. Smaller section goes around the heal.
I've been hesitant to wrap the foot, as I really want the foot to be able to air out if it gets moist. I may look into more waterproof wraps should this be an issue in the future.
October 29, 2018
Keyword Search: Hygiene, General Care
For my mental health's sake, I chose to take a bit of a break while Sophie has steadied out. As important as I think documenting her recovery is, it has just been difficult to keep up with.
Sophie has made small improvements regularly. Expect for when she is sleeping, she spends her time on all four paws. She eats her hay and food pellets out of her donut, and can spend 30min on a grippy mat without support. Eventually, she gets tired and wants to go back in the donut to sleep. She cannot move forward and back yet, but has learned to shuffle from side to side, usually ending up moving in large circles with her shuffles.
Her hind feet have been the area to cause troubles over the past weeks. Of course, the Vetwrap rubbing against shaved skin isn't the most comfortable, so I have been applying Sudocrem (baby barrier cream), and a small amount of cotton to the areas where the Vetwrap ends, or would have contact with furless skin. In the past few weeks, I've seen fur slowly grow in these areas, so that is very promising!
I also made little booties for both of Sophie's feet. They are made of a water repellent athletic shirt—making it repel urine, but remain breathable. I sewed a rectangle with a slip knot drawstring closure. The simple rectangle shape allowed me to get the booties on/ off easier than something with a bend around the heel. the booties go around the heel, and as far up the leg as I can get. This plus the vetwrap has been working really well at keeping her feet dry. I wash them every morning when Sophie gets her wash. The downside is that they don't have much grip, so as Sophie gets more mobile, we'll have to see what to do. Hopefully she'll be able to use her litterbox when she is more mobile so it won't even be an issue!
Sophie, out cold, having a nap with her whale stuffie. Also modelling her stylin' new booties.
November 2, 2018
Keyword Search: General Care
Big Day today! After cleaning Sophie up in the morning, I set up a soft sided pen and moved her in there. She's been in there all day so far, and doing really well. A bit of rolling and confusion when I first put her in, but by the afternoon she was doing great. There is even a visiting door for Napoleon!
She has a pretty thick mat on the bottom to give her feet lots of cushion. I've set up puppy pee pads, and rolled blankets on the side. Since she can only move in circles anyways, it seems to work great so far.
December 1, 2018
Keyword Search: General Care
Sophie seemed a bit dizzy today. It looked like her nystagmus came back a bit and she was a tad wiggly. Hopefully tomorrow will be better!
January 4, 2019
Keyword Search: General Care
Woke up for Sophie's 3am feeding last night and she wouldn't eat. As a food tank, it's serious business when she won't have any food. She was also moving funny and pressing her body to the ground. I though she might have gas. I gave her some belly rubs and she eventually went back to normal. It took about an hour and a half. She eventually ate hay and veggies and seemed normal. Just so weird!
I had this feeling of dread when she wasn't eating, planning all the ways to get her to the 24h emergency vet. I thought of how she could have made it all the way through this tilt to just get statis. It just reinforced how I will do everything I can to get her to as well as she will get.
January 16, 2019
Keyword Search: General Care
Sophie seems to be falling less, and 90% of the time she can get up on her own. Hope she keeps getting better though. It would be nice to sleep through the night without having to get up at 3am to feed her! She seems happy though, and has put on 200g since her lowest sick weight in October!
The past while has mostly been making sure her down eye is clean each morning. I hold a warm towel to it for a few minutes before wiping off all the goop that accumulates. Her sore hocks tend to come and go as well. When they are bad, I apply antibiotic if they are open, sudocreme when they are healed, then wrap the whole thing with balled rabbit fur and vetwrap. I'm not worried about her licking any of the creams since she can't reach and they are wrapped pretty well.
February 19, 2019
Keyword search: General Care, Eye Care, Set up
Well, after a few days trial with a soft fleece hay bag, I officially slept through the night! With Sophie steadily gaining weight, and gaining more mobility, it was time!
Two main things I was waiting on and wanted solved before I left her for the night:
1. Dryness: Usually when I clean her pen at 3am, there is already quite a large amount of soak through on the pee pads. To prevent agitating her sore hocks, and to keep her bunny butt dry, it was recommended by a bunny friend to line the top with shelf liners/ rug grips similar to this (Find on Amazon here). They have been amazing. It makes quick sweep ups of poops easy as well.
2. Access to hay: For eye safety reasons, Sophie was not given hard pieces of hay in her pen. Now that we know she can shuffle around enough to get to water and food when needed, our next step was to get her enough hay to last through the night. I found a fleece hay bag on etsy which has been the perfect solution. I've clipped it to the sides of the pen so she can't flip it over, and it is soft enough to provide cushion if she falls into it. I've also given her a (human) infant silicone no-spill bowl for water. Again, soft if she falls into it, and she can't flip it over.
Here's her set up in all its glory!
May 5, 2019
Keyword search: Set up
It's a big day! Sophie has graduated to a new, bigger pen! The last pen worked great for her, but she's been shuffling around a lot, and I think she's up for the challenge. The most amazing thing about this pen, and Sophie getting more steady is that Napoleon can visit with her again! The last pen was a bit small, and I was worried Napoleon would get kicked in the face if Sophie fell suddenly. With a bigger pen, Napoleon has more room to get out of the way. Plus Sophie is not falling as much, or as uncontrolled!
As she gets more steady on her feet, I am noticing that she is flopping again! She used to just lean on the rolled blankets, but now is kicking her feet out from under her and sleeping! I also can't remember the last time I saw her fall and roll uncontrollably to get back up. Mostly, she spins a bit when I put her on the ground after a wash. She can fall down, but does little bunny sit ups to get back up!
Here is her new tent! It's an outdoor dog tent, but works great for Sophie. I opted for one with an overhead cover so she's not staring straight up into the lights int the room.
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Big News! After six months in a 29” pet pen, Sophie has graduated to new, bigger digs! She’s been moving around great and only falling over once in a while. She even had her first nap with Napoleon since she got sick. They were annoyed to be interrupted by photos. #disabledanimals #specialneedsanimals
July 7, 2019
Sophie was featured on Naturee! Check out the video they did about her!
August 16, 2019
Keyword search: Eye Care
Sophie's eye has been the same for months- the white discharge builds up, hardens, and makes the fur mat around it, which irritates her eye more and causes more discharge. I've been washing her eye out directly under the faucet with warm water (not recommend if you have troubles holding your rabbit, or if your rabbit is jumpy, as water caught up a bunny nose can cause problems! Also getting water in bunny ears can cause infections) I found holding a wet warm towel over her eye, then taking the chunks off with the cloth was really abrasive to her sensitive eye skin. Running the water over the eye itself allowed the discharge to soften and move away without anything else touching the eye. The vet also recommended a light layer of baby vaseline on the eyelid to provide a layer of protection.
I've since noticed a lot less discharge, and some days I don't have to wash the eye at all! She's also been very clean and I may give her butt a rinse once every week or two. Overall, an amazing improvement!
Sophie continues to improve! Check out our Instagram page for the latest news, and see "A Tilty Life" in our Stories highlights to see "A Day In the Life" of Sophie, and her one year tilty-versary celebrations!
January 12, 2020
Keyword search: General Care
It's been a difficult few months for us. We lost Napoleon at the end of November, and I was really concerned about Sophie being lonely. She has always been with another bunny (she had sisters before we adopted her), so it was very important that she knew she was not alone.
After Napoleon's passing, we made sure Sophie had time with him. She groomed him and even took a last nap with him. We slowly re-introudced her to Chloé. The three of them were bonded once, and we were hopeful they would bond again. Both Chloé and Sophie have mellowed out with wisdom over the years so we are optimistic! Chloé has never been great at bunny socializing, but we're hoping her people therapy skills would come in handy. If they didn't bond, we would have looked at adopting another friend for Sophie. Luckily, things have been going well! The girls are now together for most of the day, however we separate them at night because Chloé gets the zoomies at 3am and we don't want her running over Sophie!
While they were bonding that were very tilty- specific. Usually, circling in bonding can lead to aggression. It took Chloé a little while to realize Sophie was not being aggressive when she moved. I kept a very close eye on the two for the first few weeks, but made sure Chloé could see Sophie as she moved to get used to her circular hops.
The girls are doing well, and both groom each other quite a bit! We are optimistic for the two of them.