I looked at the date of my last post and did a double take. Had it really been so long ago?! Needless to say things have been hectic, and a couple of weekends ago me, the hubby, and even Hanna the bunny got sick. The humans probably had a garden variety norovirus, which is ironic considering where I work and what I do. Hanna’s illness was much more impressive, and in these past couple of weeks she has taught me a good lesson about not letting fear and worry get the upper hand. (I am really bad at that.)
If you hadn’t already guessed, rabbits are my favorite species, and since I was young I had known about a bad news beastie called Encephalitozoon cuniculi. A Google image search will turn up lots of sad photos of bunnies with sideways heads and other maladies, and these about summed up my perception of the disease. Some veterinary textbooks paint a bleak picture of there being no cure and patient status being guarded, and if you want a pretty quick synopsis of what it is, click here. I have always loved my bunnies very much, but I told myself I wouldn’t let one suffer if their quality of life was taken away by this parasite.
In a nutshell, Hanna went from being completely normal one Saturday morning, to not eating, not drinking, and occasionally stumbling by that evening. My good friend from vet school gave me a hand giving Hanna some SQ fluids that night, and at the time we thought her lethargy and incoordination could have been from dehydration, but we weren’t sure. A trip to the ER vet and an exotics vet later, my fears were beginning to be confirmed that her neurologic symptoms were real, and that Hanna could be an E. cuniculi bunny. I don’t think my husband will ever forget coming home after leaving her at the exotics clinic (my norovirus tummy was too unpredictable at the time to risk a car ride) and entering to find me sobbing from a head full of worst-case scenarios for our beloved ball of fluff.
But the thing is, Hanna is doing great. It did take a good deal of TLC, and medications, and patience (both from her and us), but she never lost her spark and before long she was getting better. I did get one quick picture after medicating her one day, and two big pieces of my heart are in it.
In vet school, one of our pathology instructors (a medical genius with an ego of tempered steel and a sharp tongue to match that took pride in making vet students tremble) hammered the concept of Mild, Moderate, Severe into our heads when it came to disease presentation. Hanna reminded me that just like any other disease, there can be a mild form, and Hanna’s never passed the level of “slightly (humorously) drunk”. Two weeks out and you wouldn’t know she has microscopic parasites chilling out in her brain (she had antibody titers for E. cuniculi that were so high it impressed the exotics vet). She’s no different than she was before her episode, and while we don’t know what awaits us down the road, the looming storm clouds on the horizon are dissipating.