Saturday, January 07, 2006

Rabbit Update

My mother tells me that I am mistaken about the Stray Rabbit getting into the back yard. In fact, it was found near the driveway. Funny, I could have sworn she said it was in the back yard. This just demonstrates that even relatively good memories are unreliable.
And, unfortunately, my sibling, who got to see the rabbits over Christmas, tells me that George is not doing as well as I had hoped.

I'm sorry to report that George is having lots of fits. Although they seem somewhat less violent than in years past, they are coming in bunches of one to three at a time, and he has several of these bunches per day. Hard to say how many, but I would think at least four or five, which would mean maybe eight or ten fits per day on average, maybe more. And he had fits every single day I was home, from the 18th to the 28th. It was distressing to watch, and he certainly seemed to find it even more distressing to experience.

Also, Mom reports that this fall George seemed gradually to lose interest in her efforts to help him hop along the bricks outside (she has stopped now because of the weather, and will try again when it gets nicer). He struck me as almost entirely immobile, although I did see him successfully roll over once. He also likes to have his head propped up on the water dish, which I don't think he needed the last time I saw him.

Otherwise, he does seem to be thriving under the attentive care of the parental units (as does Spots). It's nice to see his fur clean and shiny, and his appetite remains strong. Nevertheless, I do think that when you get back, you should observe him closely to assess his quality of life. […] I'm sorry to submit such a gloomy report, but I wasn't happy to see how things stood, since I am quite fond of him really.

George’s health problems date back to a nasty pasteurella ear infection that he came down with over winter break in 2000-2001. At that time I really had no experience in medicating rabbits, and despite his feeling very sick, he showed quite a talent for avoiding or spitting out the pills hidden in his food. By the time I figured out that I could mash the pills and mix them with baby food, the infection was somewhat chronic. He recovered from the acute illness, but never really got his balance back, began to have seizures, and has become gradually less mobile. There were quite a few occasions when we thought he was going to die, or when we wondered whether he ought to be euthanized. However, George has always had a very strong will to live, and with the help of our vets in DC, Pittsburgh, and the Bay Area, we’ve tried to give him as enjoyable a life as possible. Calypso Spots has adored him from the start, my family is devoted to him, and his rabbit-sitters in Pittsburgh (Kathy, Travis, and Kristen) have been quite wonderful when I’ve had to go out of town.
So do send good thoughts in George’s direction. I wish I could have visited him over Christmas myself, and am looking forward to seeing him again. He loves being held in a towel after his bath, and will lick his front paws enthusiastically when not drifting off into a little nap.

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