I was sitting crumpled in front of Seven yesterday evening in the rabbit pen when it hit me that she might not be eating or pooping. Rabbits have sensitive digestive tracts that need frequent input of long fibres (like hay) to keep things moving, and things need to keep moving or their good gut bacteria turns to bad bacteria, a toxic and potentially deadly situation. It’s called GI stasis and is feared amongst rabbit people, but usually a good supply of hay will prevent it. The way Seven’s teeth are currently, she can’t eat hay, or much else from the looks of things. She keeps picking up hay like she really wants to eat it, holds it for a second and puts it back down. She grated at a carrot for a while last night but ignored dandelion greens and spinach, then she huddled up making chewing motions without anything in her mouth. Internet research on trusted rabbit sites confirmed symptoms we were seeing. Jer got to work making a slurry of rabbit pellets and water. As I said at the time, if I had any doubt in my mind about marrying this man, watching him feed our rabbit with a syringe erased it. I teared up a little. She turned out to be really hungry and lapped up a fair bit of slurry, then perked up significantly. Thus began the kitchen experiments. More slurries were made, employing various techniques and achieving various viscosities. The hay slurry was sadly a fail, as was grass. Somewhere in my reading I came across kale. Aha! A fine, fibrous green with decent moisture content (we also need to keep her hydrated). Jer, already established as savior of rabbits, ventured out to the late-night grocery store for an armload of kale. To quote his description of the experience: << Misunderstandings at the grocery store. I put down three heads of kale and nothing else. Clerk says “Eating healthy?”. “Nah, It’s rabbit food’ says I. “I know right” says the clerk.>> To our enormous relief, Seven is still able to eat kale, and ridiculous quantities were consumed. At some point after midnight I fell asleep on the floor with the rabbits nestled in front of me. We set alarms throughout the night and got up to coax some water and food into her. At four am she was still eating kale, and at six she had a little more. Adding to his repertoire as top-notch caregiver, Jer also learned to give a bunny tummy massage. Mid-morning, the worries began again as she repeatedly refused water, kale and slurry. Just moments ago, Jer got her eating more slurry. Once she starts, she seems to realize that she’d like to eat more, and went on to eat swiss chard too. Yay! We just have to keep this up, I guess, until she can eat normally again unless our vet gives us another approach. Good news is that the dentist will see her on Wednesday. We’re crossing our fingers that we’ll have the funds for it. We have a decent amount saved, but specialist sounds expensive.
So, with all of the above, today is kind of a strange day. It’s beautifully sunny outside. The wind is blowing down the chimney making our living room smell like lapsang souchong. The rabbits and I are sunning on a blanket and we’re just taking it easy. We’ll get through.