One June 22, 2001, Bubby, a 4 year old, 6 lb. mini-lop, eating good, showing no signs of a problem was taken to his vet for a well bunny check-up at the Animal Kingdom Veterinary Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Much to everyone's surprise an abscess was found in his neck. We figured this abscess was caused by bites from a fight he had with another bunny about three weeks before. I was devastated. I had no experience with abscesses but had read they were like cancer and almost certainly a death sentence for rabbits.
On that day (June 22, 2000) an incision was made, the abscess was flushed, and a drain tube inserted. Bubby was put on 1.3 cc's baytril every 12 hours. Warm wet compresses were applied for 10 minutes twice a day. The tube remained in for 9 days. Bubby removed the tube himself.
July 3, 2000 return to vet for check-up. Pus still present in neck. Scab on incision was removed and some pus extracted. Baytril continued. Meanwhile I had started Bubby on Echinacea. Ten days on and ten day off
July 17, 2000 another trip to vet, abscess still apparent. Incision made, pus flushed out. Baytril continued.
August 2, 2000 back to the vet because the lump was still felt in neck. The vet told us that there was no more she could do. We would just have to bring Bubby in every 6 to 8 weeks to have an incision made and pus flushed out. She said she had other bunnies that had lived with abscesses this way. Baytril was discontinued. Echinacea was discontinued.
Unhappy with Bubby's prognosis, I turned to the Internet and various rabbit discussion groups looking for help. Pat Franklin responded to this plea for help with information about her bunny Londo, who she was giving shots of bicillin for his abscess and was having good results.
I also found another vet who was recommended as very savvy in rabbit medicine, Andrea Maceri, DMV at the VetSelect Animal Hospital in Novi, Michigan. I took Bubby for a second opinion on August 8, 2000.
A second surgery was scheduled for Bubby on August 14, 2000. The
vet intended to remove the abscess, flush and insert antibiotic beads.
However, it was not possible for her to do this because the abscess was so deep in his throat, surrounding the jugular vein. She removed all the infected tissue including good tissue just to try to get all the pus out. There was no tissue left in which to install the antibiotic beads. A drain tube was inserted and again Bubby was put on baytril -1.5 cc's two times a day.
Bubby developed a swelling on the left side of his neck about the size of a golf ball. It was soft and felt as though it was fluidy. We had to syringe feed him 30 to 35 cc's of Critical Care every 12 hours, plus 10 ounces of water for the next 3 days.
August 18, 2000 we returned to the vet to have Bubby's tube removed, the swelling was aspirated, it was full of infection. The vet said the only =other thing she could try was the dextrose wet to dry dressing. We took Bubby home to think about it because as she explained it, it sounded like a very invasive procedure and Bubby would have to stay there at the hospital. Baytril and compresses were continued.
When we got home I e-mailed Pat Franklin to learn more about this bicillin
she was talking about. I had asked my vet and she didn't know of
it. Pat answered me immediately and gave me Marcy Moore's e-mail
address. Marcy Moore was also very prompt and that day sent
her protocol of bicillin for rabbits with abscess that she had developed,
for me to fax to my vet. Which I did right away. The
next day my vet called with the news that "Yes, I do know about bicillin,
only under a
different name. And have used it on dogs and cats, but had not had good luck with it on rabbits." She said, "I have never used it for long period of time with such small doses." She was willing to try it if that is what I wanted to do. I definitely did!
It is now August 22, 2000, Bubby returns to vet for his first shot of Bicillin. Bicillin was ordered for me to give the shots at home.
On August 24, stitches were removed from Bubby's neck and the second shot given and I was taught how to give the shots. The name of the bicillin I used was DuraPen. I was to give him .50cc's every other day. The vet said, "Good-luck, come back in 8 weeks." I believe she thought she would see us before then.
August 26, 2000 after a sleepless night it was time for me to give the shot for the first time. I put Bubby on the kitchen counter on a towel and my husband petted and talked to him. The shot went well, he didn't even flinch.
I wish I could say that all the shots went that well. They did not! For the first month I had a lot of trouble with the needle clogging. I was very discouraged because no one else seemed to have that trouble. I must have e-mailed Marcy 6 times fretting about it. I was advised to use a bigger needle (I was using a 25-gauge, I switched to a 23-gauge) I also started taking the DuraPen out of the refrigerator two hours before giving the shot to let it warm up to room temperature. After making these two changes I had no more trouble with clogging.
As for Bubby, he tolerated the shots with no problems. He did have a little diarrhea the next day after the first two shots. He never had it again. I noticed very little change in his appetite, certainly not enough to concern me.
As the swelling went down on his neck, the lump disappeared.
October 17, 2000 eight weeks after Bubby started the bicillin we went back to the vet. After much examination Bubby was declared abscess free.
We continued the shots, but gave them every third day, per Marcy's suggestion until the 90 protocol days were completed. Shots were discontinued November 19, 2000.
Now, I make sure that I pick up Bubby at least once a week to check him all over for lumps, bumps, anything unusual and I check his neck, jaws and nose every day. I'm not a professional, but I believe Bubby is back to the same ornery bunny he was before all the surgeries. And I'm sorry to say he still fights with the other bunny every chance he gets.
Bicillin- two penicillin G's combined into one handy dosage. I hear it's been around for years. Reminds me of aspirin, it's been around for years also and yet everyday someone comes up with a new use, a new benefit from its use. That's what Marcy Moore did with bicillin. She found a new way to use it to benefit our loved bunnies. Something for which I will be forever grateful.
April 9, 2001