Chapter 12: Sandra Is Fine!

In May of 2012 Sandra had surgery, under general anesthesia, to have an abscess removed in her jaw, 5 days before I was to fly out of the country for 2 weeks. This is a common and difficult to treat condition in rabbits. They get these abscesses, often in the mouth and jaw and they can be from a minor cut, a piece of hay that nicked them, or underlying dental disease.

They don’t know what the origin was in Sandra’s case, but her mouth was not cut into, they were able to spare the bone and the vet detected no dental problems.  He told me this was “likely to recur”, but that for now, he got rid of it.  It’s not cancer.  It’s a bacterial infection that doesn’t really have a parallel in cats, dogs or humans. There are all kinds of reasons why this is so tough to treat, but they are all disgusting, having to do with the consistency of rabbit’s pus and things like that. I will spare you all that.  I have read as much about it as I can, being a very sqeamish person, not good with medical emergencies at all.

I keep looking for a number, a hopeful statistic assuring me that she has a better than 50% chance that she’s in the clear!  I can’t find that number. I find only phrases like: “condition likely to recur” and “particularly hard to cure. They require persistent and aggressive treatment. Even with the best treatment by a skilled veterinarian, the recurrence rate is very high.”

I have read half a dozen first hand accounts of owners going through multiple surgeries with their rabbits who have this condition. It’s heartbreaking.

I don’t want to know this! I want to think of this as in the past! She doesn’t have a condition, she had an abscess that was successfully removed,she healed beautifully and she is fine!

In it all, I came across some new promising treatments where a certain kind of anti biotic, along with a pro biotic, is administered indefinitely to keep the abscesses from forming and reforming, and they’ve had some great results. They can even implant some beads of the anti biotic into the rabbit.

I intend to proceed with optimism, gratitude, naivite even! I am feeling her little jaw every day, both sides, to make sure there is no change. Every day I exclaim to her: Sandra is Fine!  Bunny is OK! Everything is OK! Then I hug her and kiss her on both bunny ears.

I decided every day is a GREAT day that I don’t feel any change. It’s a whole new reason to be happy in fact. No, to be super grateful and celebrate!

She recovered so quickly from her surgery, it was like witnessing a miracle. I was a wreck, collapsed into tears so severely that strangers in the waiting room had to console me when I saw her after surgery. My little Sandra looked like a truck hit her!  I thought she was going to be withdrawn, curled up in a corner for days. But as soon as we got home and I let her out, she jumped right out to her outside house and enjoyed the evening on her balcony, as she always does, in the space between the cat door leading out and the ramp going down. She was completely and utterly herself: eating, zooming around, wanting to cuddle and connect.

We had three days together at home before I took my trip. Sandra was then boarded at the vet’s during most of the time I was gone.

I told her she has to live like the 99% of rabbits for a little while: in a cage! My Sandra who is used to a whole house bunny castle with three rooms to herself at all times! Given that she needed supervision and medication, sutures removed and further testing it was the best option. I begged the staff to pick her some fresh dandelions when they could. She devours dandelions!

I thought about her every day that I was in Sweden, wishing I could send her pictures of the vast fields of super dandelions that grow twice as big as ours.

A week before I came home she was cleared to leave the bunny hospital and my dear friend Diva took her home where she enjoyed her space probably more than ever. I have never been happier to come home to my girl!

Now a few weeks have gone by and you’d never know anything happened.

Sandra is Fine! Bunny is OK! She is washing behind her bunny ears as I write this. Let’s celebrate and be grateful!

–Bibi Farber







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