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Urinary Tract, Bladder Sludge and Urine Scalding

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by anz07, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. anz07

    anz07 PetForums Newbie

    Jul 17, 2019
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    I'm hoping for some advice regarding my 7 year old dwarf lop rabbit, Hoover.

    Long story short: he began having chronic bladder sludge a year and a half ago. After an operation to clear it, he returned to normal health for around 3 months and looked healthier than ever. The sludge then returned which also brought with it very bad urine scalding and ulcers in his eyes. We tried all the usual avenues including antibiotics and pain killers. For a period of time, these worked and he returned to normal health; his fur grew back and he seemed happier than ever. However, the usual 3-4 months would pass and it would return. On one occasion it was so bad and the drugs were ineffective, the vet advised me to consider euthanasia. In a last ditch effort to save Hoover, we took him to a rabbit specialist 70 miles away. This specialist was great and said there was no need to euthanise - instead Hoover was put on a very strict diet due to his calcium issues so eats a very small (measured amount) of pellets a day, timothy hay, celery and cucumber. He stayed in the specialist vet hospital for 3 days on fluids and, again, got better. For a long time he did well and then...it returned. The specialist did explain that this wasn't a curable condition but something that would always come back (as I'm sure many of you know).

    A year and a half on from this, the usual urine scalding and poor eyes returned. But this time, the medicine hasn't touched it - even though the strict diet and constant care haven't changed. I noticed he doesn't drink much water when he gets ill and, much though I encourage him to, he isn't interested which I believe is the core of the problem. He gets a lot of fluid through the celery and cucumber which I also soak in water, but this clearly isn't enough.

    I took him to my local vet again yesterday (think we've had about 6 visits this month) and he advised that Hoover needs to be hospitalised for 3 days on fluids, alongside x-rays of the eye as these are looking very bad now. He has started pulling out fur around his eyes more than I've ever seen him do before (I've tried to post photos but can't figure out how to do it). He also said that it is time to start considering euthanasia again as I have to think about the long-term welfare of Hoover. The third option was to take him to (another) specialist which is what I've decided to do as I feel I need a second opinion at this stage. My local vet is fantastic and knows Hoover's case very well, but it was clear that he felt we'd reached the end point.
    What makes all this so difficult is that Hoover is eating like a champion and is being quite active. How could I possibly consider euthanasia for a rabbit that still seems to full of life? He doesn't appear to be in pain but that might simply be the effects of the pain killers.

    I'm clutching at straws at the moment. Off out to buy bottled water with as little calcium in it as possible to see if that changes anything...which it likely won't.

    Has anyone got any advice they can offer? Do you think euthanasia is the kinder option at this point, even though he seems so full of life still? The cost of the hospitalisation is £1,000 and I think we've spent around £2,500 over the past year due to all the medicine and hospital care he's received. I don't have insurance (never anticipated such high bills for a rabbit!) but obviously this is incredibly costly. I have the money so it can be done and I'd much rather part with the money if it means he'll pull through...I just know it will come back again in a couple of months like it always does. I should also say that Hoover is a house bunny, part of the family and is much loved by many family members beyond myself. I can't bear the thought of being without him, but I don't want this to blind sight me into making the wrong decision for him.


  2. bunnygeek

    bunnygeek PetForums VIP

    Jul 24, 2018
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    A very tricky one where you're going to need to assess quality of life, bearing in mind rabbits have a very high pain tolerance and are designed to mask discomfort and illness until it's exceptionally painful, they'll even hop around on broken legs. They're very tough little creatures!

    His roller coaster ride doesn't sound fun at all and I would be assessing whether it may now be time to consider helping him to the big carrot field in the sky if medication is no longer working. It would still be worth another opinion from another vet though. Is it fair waiting until they've gone from quite ill but coping to really ill and not coping at all to let them go? I waited too long for my little old girl and she took herself off to the bridge, the day before the vet appointment was scheduled, while I was out instead, I still feel guilty :(
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