Last Updated: 10/28/05
I bought Jimmy on 5/3/98. He was a mini lop with agouti (wild rabbit color) and white patches. Officially, he was called a broken agouti. He was born on 1/20/98 at a rabbitry. He was living in the right hutch where Ellie, Loppy, and the guinea pigs have lived. He seemed sweet when his feet were planted but hated to be picked up. I got painful scratches all over my hands and wrists the first day I got him. He was neutered on 7/30/98. I hoped this would reduce his kicking, spraying, and "taking advantage of" Izzy. He at least got her to exercise while in their pen. He would chase her all around with his tail up. Since she is spayed, she would not let him catch her. Maybe they could bond now that sex was not his sole goal in life. Here is an update from 9/28/98. Jimmy had not tried to mount Izzy since mid-August when the hormones left his body. He did mount her repeatedly on 9/27/98 as if he were not neutered. She did not seem to mind or try to get away like she used to do. Neutering reduced his mountings and spraying but he was still a kicker. I had to use a cat carrier to move him from his hutch to the run area. As of 1/7/99, he still kicked and occasionally tried to mount Izzy.
Jimmy developed and was treated for bacterial enteritis on 2/16/99. This was due to not eating his hay. See here for more information on hay. Go to my rabbit health care page.
Geez! Jimmy got sick more often than any pet I have ever had. He stopped eating on 5/30/00 so went to the vet again. He had another case of bacterial enteritis. His penis and anus were so caked with diarrhea that he could not pee or poop. They cleaned him up and put him on liquid Bactrim sulfatrim (a sulfa drug antibiotic) and liquid acidophilus for two weeks. My guess is that he got sick this time due to overeating and lack of exercise. This made him so overweight that he could no longer eat his night feces which are necessary for proper digestion. Jimmy was supposed to be a mini lop but he was over 10 pounds! If I put him out to exercise, he preferred to rest. The vet said that she saw a rabbit recently with diarrhea that had maggots in it. Yuck! Go to the bacterial enteritis section for more information on that.
Of course, Jimmy ended up sick again! He reduced his eating and got diarrhea again beginning on about 6/25/00 so on 6/27/00, I got another round of liquid Bactrim to feed him. I hoped he could go a few weeks after treatment without ending up with the same problem again! Advise from anyone whose bun has had this same recurring problem is welcome!
Yep, he was sick again! This time in August of 2000, the maggots got him! I showered them off and washed him well. The vet removed the maggots imbedded in the folds near his privates. He had to live inside to keep the flies from laying on him again. He was on Bactrim again. This time he was much slower to recover. He would only eat vegetables and nothing else. The vet said that this would never go away if he does not eat hay. He would not touch timothy or alfalfa hay no matter how fresh it is or what brand it is. It looked like I would just have to keep him on antibiotics for the rest of his life and weekly showers with bunny shampoo.
He stopped eating again in September and went to the vet on 9/11/00. I had him check his molars thinking he might have molar spurs. He did not so he simply did not eat his hay because he did not want to eat it. His dewlap was also infected. He went on liquid Baytril this time, bubble gum flavor!
As soon as he was off the Baytril, he stopped eating again. The vet did not know what to do for him. He gave me some more Baytril (it runs $15 a week!) and the phone number of a better rabbit vet farther away. I made an appointment for him to go there. They did an x-ray and blood work on 10/8/00. The blood work showed no problems, just elevated liver values common in fat rabbits. The x-ray revealed two problems having nothing to do with his digestive problems. He had arthritis in his back and knees from being overweight (he was down to 8 pounds from 10.4 pounds in spring 2000). He had a very large bladder stone, most likely causing him pain. The vet prescribed fiber pills, probiocin (lactic acid bacteria), and Metochlorpramide (Reglan). I could not get him to take the first two since he spat them out. I could have mixed them with his food but he was not eating much. He only ate some greens. Not only would he not eat hay or pellets, he even did not eat his papaya tablet anymore. I have never known a rabbit to resist a papaya tablet! The x-ray revealed a full stomach. Since I knew he was not eating much, that to me said he was not passing food he ate through his system well. The fiber pills and bacteria were meant to aid his digestion (if he would eat them!). I tried forcing him to eat bromelain pills too (in a paste with his other medications) but they taste really bad (I tried one, and it reminds me of aspirin).
As an alternative strategy, on 10/18/00, I gave him 150 mL of lactated ringers (which is water with salts) subcutaneously in his back like I used to do with my terminally ill cats (who had kidney failure). Beginning in November, I began force feeding him Critical Care from Oxbow Hay which is great. He did not want to eat it but I got some into him, and he began to eat a little on his own. By the end of November, he was still only eating tiny amounts of greens and no pellets or hay. I decided to go ahead with surgery on his bladder stone and tooth.
He went back to the vet on 11/29/00. He did an x-ray, and his bladder stone was gone! It was the size of a large grape but apparently dissolved over the previous two months. Not only that, but the vet claimed he could no longer find the molar with the small point to file down. All he did find was that his stomach in the x-ray was still full and gassy. He told us to give Jimmy Maalox and also gave us some dog vitamins with liver (I did not get to ask why he needed meat). From a list of foods I gave him, he noted that cucumbers and green beans could have made him gassy. I tried to make him understand that while I offered minuscule amounts of these vegetables, he did NOT eat them so there is not way that they could have made him sick! So, again, we were back to the fact that Jimmy would not eat what he should simply because he did not want to eat it!
I thought I would never get Jimmy to eat more than a little here and there on his own. Then, one day when force feeding him Critical Care, I dropped some, which I usually did. This time, he decided to eat it on his own! I began putting some in a bowl for him in his hutch which he would eat. When I thought about how expensive this would be long term, I decided to trick him. I got a regular canning jar and put in a little less than half the jar with the Oxbow timothy-based rabbit pellets. Then, I used a mortar and pestle to grind up a few papaya/pineapple pills from Oxbow and about half a teaspoon of anise seed. Later, I would add Probiotics, acidophilous, and bromelain pills as well. I put these on the pellets as well as squirted in some liquid rabbit vitamins. Then, the jar was filled most of the way with hot (important) water and shaken well. It turned to mush. I put this in the refrigerator, and it lasted about four days. Jimmy ate most of what I gave him and sometimes some or most of his vegetables. He still would not eat dry pellets or hay but I tricked him into eating pellets! They were just mushy. I think the anise seed was the key as well as the consistency. Despite the vet saying his teeth are fine, he still acted like he could not eat anything that required real chewing like pellets, hay, or whole carrot.
Update: 4/25/02. Jimmy was fat and ate well. His "magic food" mentioned above kept him alive. He was also eating some pellets and vegetables but still no hay.
Jimmy was shedding a lot again so I took him to the vet but he could not find any mites. Despite this, he gave both Jimmy and Isabella ivermectin injections assuming they did have the same mites again. This was in October, 2002. Around 11/18/02, Jimmy went from eating everything down to eating virtually nothing again. On 11/21/02, I started lactated ringers in his back and force feeding Critical Care. I had done this at least twice before, and it worked then (I did not make mention of every incidence on this web page). This time though, he did not start eating on his own. The night of 11/23/02, I syringe fed him, gave him 100 mL of water, and washed the poop off his rear. He seemed fine (still tried to fight me some) but a little tired. The next morning, I found him dead. It was an unpleasant surprise. When I told me father he died, he said, "Already?" Jimmy went through a lot of health problems in his short life. I will never know for sure what really caused him to die on 11/24/02, a little over a month shy of his fifth birthday.
"Magic Food" Recipe:
Someone requested more details on the magic food I used for Jimmy. Get a clear canning jar
(about 400 mL I think). Fill it half way or a little less with Oxbow timothy-based rabbit pellets.
You can use other pellets if you want. Then, using a mortar and pestle, grind/pulverize the
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