LONDO'S STORY

Londo is a heinz 57 bunny probably a mix of Netherland Dwarf and we don't quite know what else.  He has agouti colored fur that is soft as a chinchilla.  He weights about 5 lbs. tops and has his own opinion about everything.  He was purchased in a pet store outside of San Francisco as a gift to Nath, my son, from a friend. Conquering the world as a new college grad he had to leave Londo alone most of the time while he worked and Londo was not a happy bunny with that arrangement.  So he asked if Londo could come live with us.  Well, Londo had plane ticket in paw before we even told my husband that another bunny was hopping into our lives.  (We broke it to him a couple of days before the journey).

Londo's abcess was discovered during a routine well visit in March, 2000. At this time, he was just 3 years old. My vet found that he had pus in his mouth and wanted to take a better look by putting him under sedation.  When she did, she found that he had an abcess in his gums above one of his right hand molars. The abcess had spread into his upper jaw bone and had caused deterioration to the bone.  Same day surgery and the abcess was x-rayed, lanced, flushed, and cultured.  The culture came back to be a very common bacteria, so he was put on Baytril and pain meds into late May. (Actually, the value of the C&S was questionable).   He lost weight rapidly and the abcess recurred.   We thought that perhaps the only option for Londo was to have beads implanted.  So a consultation was done with Dr. Jenkins about this possibility.  He suggested a 10 day course of Penicillin G Procaine injections and then after checking to see if the swelling was down in the abcess area, surgery could be considered to remove the tooth (possible multiple teeth) in question. The tooth was not loose--perhaps because of the swelling. Because the tooth was not loose, it would have been difficult to go into his mouth and remove the one tooth without possible damaging surrounding teeth. He is a small bunny-down to about 3 ½ lbs at that time. It was suggested that it might be less traumatic to go between the eye and upper lip from the outside of his face and surgically back the tooth out instead of performing the surgery from the inside of the mouth. Then the tooth and surrounding tissue would be sent out for another culture and after that beads could be implanted--which would be like a second surgery. He was still on pain meds and there were times that he shows some discomfort. By day seven into a ten day regiment of penicillin injections I was shying away from surgery because I had read that it was not always successful.  He was such a feather weight and there is not much to him by then.  I was syringing him critical care (from Oxbow) as a supplement. He could eat his greens and hay and could actually still eat a carrot even though he sounded like he is chewing on a rubberband. He has lots of spunk but there were days he =did not look good at all and my deep gut feeling was that he might come out of surgery in worse shape than he went in.  That is if he did indeed
survive the surgery. (I have the most wonderful vet in the world, Dr. Sabellico, HRS recommended who has her practice in Suffield, Connecticut.  She was willing to do the operation and consult with  Dr. Jenkins from 3000 miles away to help Londo if this was the method of treatment I wanted to follow.  However, I saw how much just lancing the abcess took out of him and was skeptical about how much he could take and was becoming uncomfortable with my decision to go the bead route with Londo.

I had been posting to EB regularly with updates on his condition.  I received wonderful support through fellow EBers.  I learned of lots of bunnies that were holding their abcesses in check with daily doses of baytril --  some for years.  Even my own vet had a patient bunny she had treated for a few years with baytril.  I met the bunny and his slave.  You could clearly feel the abcess in the lower jaw of this little guy.  He was doing ok, but Londo was not holding his own treated with Baytril...too much infection in his tooth and jaw bone and we just could not get it under control.  The best control came with the 10 days of penicillin injections that were given to prepare him for surgery to implant beads.

Londo's turning point came when I received an e-mail from Marcy Moore.  She explained to me of her success curing abcesses with the use of bicillin in her pet bunny, Pal.  This peaked my interest since I did see an improvement in Londo with the penicillin injections.  I took Marcy's protocol to Dr. Sabellico.  She was familiar with bicillin.  In fact she used it right there in her practice but usually on dogs and cats, not bunnies. It intrigued her and she said it was certainly worth the try. She made up injections for me to keep at home refrigerated to give Londo twice weekly--Wednesday and Saturday (.25cc) of Bicillin--- (Penicillin G Procaine and Penicillin G Benzathine).  Being the chicken I was to give a shot, she was very patient and taught me how to give them to him.  I was sweating bullets!--my boys laughed that their Mom was actually giving shots to Londo. (When the boys were little, I was the one counting bricks on the wall when they got shots!)  They were proud of my efforts!  I gave him a shot  twice weekly.  We started out with a 10 day supply (Dr. S was filling the needles for me) then he went back for a check-up.  With each check (about every 2 weeks at first) up he got better.

The start of the shots was a bit shaky.  After the first few injections of bicillin, Londo seemed to loose his appetite and his stool was a bit loose. He acted tired and just seemed to lay around. I was worried about him.  He did not want his usual treat of banana (Marcy told me to keep up the banana, as that seems to help keep the stool in check) yet he acted hungry and jumped up to see what was being offered with much interest only to turn away seemingly disappointed and would not eat.  At one point he was guarding the greens in the cage he shares with Sweet Pea and was sitting on the carrot they usually share in the afternoon so she could not eat--what a rascal! He seemed terribly grumpy toward Sweet Pea ---but perhaps the bicillin made his stomach feel upset. I asked Marcy if he might be having a reaction to the bicillin and she said it was possible and that I should certainly stop the treatment if I was not comfortable with it.  Looking at my alternatives, I chose to keep going.  Three days later, he started to improve.  He seemed to be better each day thereafter. He started to return to his old normal self and was running, and starting to play again.
Now by the beginning of June I continued with a light dose of torbugesic a.m. and p.m. because something still seemed wrong on the right-hand side of his mouth.  Dr. S sedated him to check the teeth since he still seemed to feel pain.  She found there was a tooth that was growing a
little side ways possibly irritating the cheek so she clipped it.  The infected tooth seemed to be wearing down and the gum was looking healthy.  However, when Londo ate, he sounded like he was chewing a rubberband.  There was still light swelling there, but it was much improved over the last visit. Dr. was amazed that Londo had firmed up some and looked healthier since he was eating better at this point in time. (Greens and hay were easy for him, but he could not eat pellets very well--yet there were days he tried, but continued to be able to eat carrot. Go figure!) Dr. just laughs at his love for carrots. Dr. still felt that surgery would not have been the best treatment for Londo. She was pleased that we had this option of Marcy's bicillin protocol instead.

Considering everything, Londo did have a pretty good summer.  He became healthier, happy, was eating better and playing.  He gained weight back  and his coat was once again shiny!  You would never know we were so close to loosing him.

Finally in August Dr. did a light sedation and looked in his mouth.  He was still having some kind of problem that was affecting his eating.  She did a thorough check of his teeth and gums and could find no signs of the abcess.  At this point we stopped the bicillin shots.  This was late August.

By the time October rolled around Londo was doing the mouth thing again, sounding like he was chewing a rubberband and so I asked Dr. S. to put him under and look at this teeth.  Still nothing that could be causing any great problems.

Another avenue I began to explore as I nursed Londo back to health was to try boosting his immune system. This is the additional route I have found others are taking in treating their bunnies when a long term antibiotic is prescribed. I found grape seed extract worked well for Londo.  I empty the contents of a whole capsule (powder) into a small amount of orange juice (less than 1/4 cup).  I add some sweet potato or pumpkin for thickness and it hides taste.  I also add the contents of a capsule of acidophilus to help keep his stomach in check--he seems delicate in that area.  I later added slippery elm for the mucus membranes.

We went through the end of the year fairly well, and then in later January, 2001, he started to sneeze and gag. He sounded as if his head was full of mucus (nothing came out and he did not have any symptoms--on runny eyes or nose).  I was beside myself.  Dr. S. prescribed baytril.  It was a miserable winter here in New England and so we both agreed that it would be best for him if he was not taken out into the weather,  so I picked up his prescription.  Well, he seemed better but shortly after the course was finished, he was back to sneezing and gagging again.

By late February, 2001, I had discovered what seemed to be a small lump on the side of his jaw above the teeth on the same side he had the abcess before.  I frantically e-mailed Marcy.  She said to start him back on the bicillin at once and I did.  I made an appointment with Dr. S to put Londo under and do whatever was necessary to help him.  Dr. said to keep him on the bicillin until his appointment.

After a couple of bicillin shots, Londo seemed much better. He seemed livelier.  He was still doing lots of mouth motions and chewing air, but he stopped the gagging thing and sneezing maintaining a good appetite and no diarrhea.  I think the fact that he was getting one acidophilus capsule mixed in his brew each day kept his stomach stable.  The lump went down and soon disappeared.  It must have be tender because if I touched it, he turned his head away to make me stop.  I could see a definite improvement in his all over look back on the bicillin.

Dr. S was away for a few days , so we had to delay his appointment.  His eating was slowing down and so I I gave him critical care in some of his usual mix as he did not want to eat.  Londo thinks drinking from a syringe is a treat and he was taking enough to keep him going.

Well, finally Londo's big day came and Dr. S. put him under to find that the long treatment with bicillin had dried up the area around that upper molar that was infected from the discovery of his abcess almost a year before.  At some point when the swelling subsided and the abcess dried the tooth started to loosen in the socket.  It fragment and was coming off in pieces.  It must have hurt for a long time as it loosened up and he was chewing on the other side of his mouth.  Thus the bottom teeth on =the side of that tooth grew very long because he would move the food to the opposite side of his mouth to chew. (I kept telling her he was =eating funny--chewing like a cow--side to side.)  Too bad the silly =could hide his sore tooth so well. She ended up taking the fragmented tooth out.  Came out clean--dried up around it.  Bicillin did its job!  She trimmed and filed all of the bottom teeth on that side of his mouth.  The x-ray looked good.  No real evidence of bone actually growing back, but it looked better than the first x-ray when the abcess was discovered.

Now Londo enjoys staying with my friend, Lynn, when we are out of town and he was going back to her house for a couple of weeks stay--after this trip to Dr. S. for the trimming and pulling of the fragmented tooth.  (She was also taking care of Londo for a week right after his abcess was discovered in March)  Since she does not do shots, Dr. Sabellico gave him baytril for the following two weeks.  When we returned..........back to the bicillin until late May.  He seems fine once again.

Good news all the way around for Londo.  Now, Dr. thinks his mouth should straighten out now.

My Londo is an expert at hiding things from me and even Dr. S at times.  I can tell when he is out of sorts and in pain, but he was really good at hiding the underlying problems.  His teeth are so small that looking in his mouth with a light did not show that loose tooth that was giving him trouble for many months.   We were trying to avoid putting him under but that was the only way his problem could be detected and corrected.
 

Hope I have not bored you with this long, detailed account, but Londo being the first bunny to be tracked through his bicillin treatment by a HRS recommended vet, and because there were other problems we encountered after the treatment, related to the drying of the abcess, I felt it was important o try to relate all the turns his story took.  Abcesses are tough things to deal with, but when the teeth are involved, it is important for the bunny slave to learn from Londo's experience that even though the abcess has healed, there might be future problems with the teeth involved as the abcess dries around one or more teeth and can possibly loosen them in the sockets.

He is actually the best he has been since the teeth were clipped and he is free from that fragmented loose tooth.  He eats normally, has a very healthy appetite and seems to be the little bunny we had before the abcess occurred.  We will continue to watch him closely, as these bunnies are full of surprises!

I hope Londo's story will help any other little bunnies suffering an abcess.  I will be happy to share any information or answer any questions regarding his treatment.  Please e mail me at adfranklin@cox.net  if I can help you or just give you some moral support.

I am very grateful to Marcy for writing me and offering her kind help and knowledge regarding bicillin.  She worked with Dr. Sabellico on the proper dose for Londo's size and health status.  With Marcy's knowledge of bicillin and with Dr. Sabellico's skilled hands and doctoring, Londo made it!  Nathan his first bunny slave, me and Sweet Pea and of course Londo are extremely grateful to them both!  Thank you both for caring!!
 

Sincerely,

Pat, Londo and Sweet Pea (the little girl in the black slacks--Dutch bunny that is!) side kick and nurse.
 

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