Saturday, August 9, 2008

Smudge Update


So Smudge got sick on Tuesday. He has this thing people call "head tilt" because literally his head tilts like 45 degrees to the left. The issue with this diagnosis is that it's a blanket statement, like "I have a headache," and you could have a headache for any number of reasons.

We took him to Oradell Animal Hospital in Paramus, NJ. This animal hospital is the most wonderful place I've ever taken my animals. My first rabbit passed away there, and they were so tender and supportive. I've always taken Smudge there.
The 1st doctor we dealt with checked him out, gave us antibiotics and anti nausea meds and sent him home. He slowly improved until Thursday.

Thursday Smudge and I watched Juno and had a very lovely evening. By 12 though, things began to go badly. Smudge couldn't hold himself up. His head kept pushing to rotate further left, and in turn his body would roll. I righted him, and he'd do it again. Mr. G and I were both working to keep Smudge straight. Smudge kept reaching for the water bottle, but couldn't drink from the special no mess nozzle b/c he was tilted at such a bizarre angle. We eventually held his older water bottle (the traditional small pet type that has the ball in the nozzle like a ball point pen) and he drank from it the way an infant drinks from a bottle. We saw we had to take him back to the hospital. I didn't want to fight him any more, so the next time he rolled I helped him to stay on his side. I wrapped him in a pillow case and we drove to Paramus.

It was like torture sitting there waiting for the vet to come talk to us. When she finally came this 2nd vet talked to us about Smudge's blood work. It showed normal levels that would lead one to believe that he did not have an ear infection, one of the most common and easiest to cure reasons for head tilt. She mused that it could be neurological, something that wouldn't go away.
We went home to what felt like a cavernously empty home. All day Friday things were dismal, and then I spoke with the 3rd vet. Smudge was rolling and tilted, but she felt he was fine otherwise. She suspected no pain, and when she fed him Critical Care (think rabbit pellets and water in a blender) he was loving it and eating greedily. She gave us hope.

This morning she called to tell us that Smudge ate greens and carrots!!! They released him on a flat surface and he was able to walk straight for a short length. She was so pleased, as were we. He may have a long recuperation ahead of him, but a rabbit that's had so many second chances at life may have more cat than rabbit in him. He is an incredible animal.

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Zel, The Grimm Witch
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