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 Hops & Dill

 Bad Hare Days 

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Mr. HopsPortrait.jpg (43105 bytes)

Mr. Hops

Mr. Hops shown one year later at 9 pounds (click on picture to see larger portrait).  What at handsome and lucky bunny! 

This is his story:  Returning from the pet store with supplies for Miss Dill, my sister and myself were almost home when I saw a white bunny with huge ears and pink eyes sitting near the road.  Of course, we turned around and went back.  We were able to catch him since he was so weak and frail.  The fur on his white head was almost black from fleas.  It was only two blocks from home and I didn’t want to put him in the car because he was so infested. Hops Found.jpg (29166 bytes) I walked two blocks home with him with fleas jumping all over us.   The laundry room sink was my first stop to wash off as many fleas as I could.   I gently dried the rabbit and then combed him with a flea comb top to bottom several times.  Bonnie and I inspected his fur for more ticks and pulled out several.  He even had deer ticks.  His white feet were stained dark brown and yellow.  His ears looked more gray than pink.  He looked like he had been outside for several days.  He was only able to eat and sleep over the weekend.  Only one ear was ever up at one time.  (The photo to the right was taken the day he was found.)

Hops seemed like a good name for him because he looked so sleepy (hop flowers can make you sleepy).  I took him to the vet.  This 3.5 lbs. male, was running a temperature of 106.5°F!  (At 106°F a rabbit can have a seizure or worse.)  The vet immediately laid him out on a bag of frozen pellets to get his body temperature down and it did.  He became more alert in minutes.  An inoperable abscess was detected behind his right eye.  No more lumps were found.  We left with a prescription of Baytril and Hops lounging on a frozen bag of peas for most of the ride home.

Hops Earsjp.jpg (25738 bytes)For the next few days Hops continued to run temperatures up to 105° F.  I had him living on the “rocks” with several bags of frozen peas under a towel on his pen floor to keep his body temperature down.  (High temperatures can literally “cook” the contents of a rabbit’s digestive system causing deadly complications.) Critical Care (from Oxbow Hay) was syringe fed to him 4 times a day to keep his digestive system working properly.  He also ate plain yogurt.  (The photo to the left was a few days after he came home.  Notice the pinker ears.)

I had read a few pet rabbit owners were having success with abscesses by administering  “bicillin” which is a dual form of long acting penicillin.  I called the vet and let her know I wanted to try the bicillin regimen and brought Hops in again.  She agreed and gave me instructions to visit the feed store where I stocked up on syringes, needles and penicillin. 

Hops Run of House jp.jpg (13301 bytes)Penicillin was a last resort.  I gave Hops shots every other day under his skin on his back just below his head.  In three days his temperature came down and he was alert and active.  He started playing with his toys.  The abscess began to disappear.  Hop’s lungs didn’t rattle and his breathing began to sound normal.  His bloody nose cleared up. There were no digestive complications at all.  He was eating well.  It was working!  (Photo to the left was taken after he began to do better.)

Then three days later I felt lumps under his neck.  One was an open sore with necrotic black material around it.  This time I rushed him to another vet since my regular vet was on vacation.  The vet found “cuterebra” larvae – three of them in his neck. (Cuterebra is a large fly that lays its eggs on a host animal.  The larvae become parasites burrowing into the animal’s skin and lives until it drops out to the ground about 4 weeks later through theHops Cuterebrajp.jpg (18618 bytes) cyst like wound it creates as an air hole.   It is common in the late spring and early summer when the big fly lives and flies close to the ground.   Unfortunately, cuterebra in an animal’s neck can eat through the trachea suffocating the host.  The maggot can also migrate to other areas in the body to wreak havoc.  They are disgusting creatures!)  The sight of these big cuterebra larvae coming out of Hop’s neck grossed out everyone at the vet’s office.  The vet was painstakingly careful.  Had the maggot like larvae been injured during removal, enzymes from its body could have been released and put Hops into shock or killed him.  My sister and I watched as Hops lay very still without being sedated until all three maggots were removed.  I took him home to recover and continued the bicillin shots every other day and then cut back to once a week two weeks later.  (The photo above and to the right was taken after the maggots were removed.)

HOPS LOUNGEjp.jpg (22076 bytes)For two weeks Hops was eating all he could and curious about the other bunnies.  I was relieved.  The picture to the left shows how great he looked!  He had gained almost one pound in weight.  Like any unaltered male he would spray urine at the other rabbits.  But he had perfect manners otherwise and used the litter box.  I bought him his own 2-story bunny condo from Leith Petwerks and he joyfully ran up and down the ramp to each level. He seemed to take pleasure in teasing the other rabbits.  Then one evening he suddenly had a seizure and lost use of his left side.  I held him while his body jerked and his eyes rolled back in his head.  I thought he was going to die.  My sister and I were both crying.  But he stabilized after several minutes and by morning he was trying to move around.  I closed up the lower part of his bunny condo and padded the upper pen for him with towels as he struggled to move about.  I also cut down one side of his litter box so he could enter it easily.  He would pull himself over to me to be petted.  Each day after his seizure he gained back more of his motor ability on his left side.  After the weekend I took him into the vet for an exam.  We discussed possible causes of the seizure and paralysis.   A cuterebra that had migrated or a ruptured abscess would not show up on an x-ray.   There was only speculation.   Fortunately, Hops stabilized.  I noticed he wouldn't “flop” to sleep and occasionally stumbled.  But he ate with gusto, played like a young rabbit and always wanted to be petted.   I continued to give him Penicillin shots every 3 days and hoped for the best. 

Hops Soulful jp.jpg (21398 bytes)Walking home with this nameless white rabbit with the big ears on the day I found him, I made a bargain.   I told him “bunny, if you try, then I will try and we will both try as hard as we can to give you a better life than what brought you here to this roadside.”  We both kept our part of the bargain. 

9 Months later:  Hops more than doubled his weight!  He now weighs a healthy 8 lbs.! Hops went to another vet and had a complete work-up including more x-rays, blood panel and exam!  He was beginning to run high temperatures again.  It was determined that Hops most likely has chronic respiratory disease in his lungs due to the pneumonia.  This happened because he was dumped outdoors.  He may be on antibiotics for the rest of his life.   However, he did get neutered two months later and came through it like a champ.  There was a risk, of course, but this bunny seems to beat the odds every time.  

OVER 1 1/2 Years after he was found:

Hops is lively and happy as ever.  I reduced his antibiotics on the advice of his vet before our move to Oregon.  He traveled to the west coast in a car and celebrated one year in a safe home!  By the way he is a healthy 9.5 lbs.  

Hops took himself off the antibiotics.  I was worried about liver damage from prolonged use and reduced the Baytril again on the advice of my new vet.  Hops was beginning to fight me to take them. Yet he had never been off the antibiotics without running high temperatures so I resorted to a "piller" and put them down his throat or so I thought.  A week later I found a nice neat stack of Baytril pills behind his toys.  Hops took himself off antibiotics and 6 months later he is still fine.

2 years after Rescuing Mr. Hops

There is no slowing down this rabbit.  He knows and comes to his name.  He also understands the word "no," the word "banana" (since that is his favorite treat) and "treat" is another word he recognizes.  He still teases any other foster rabbits (up to 9 at anyone time) and lets the cats know whose boss.  But best of all, Hops is known for his bunny dances in the living room during exercise time and he is a joy to everyone!!  His health is excellent and shows no sign of any chronic (or any) illness.


2 years and 3 months Hops finds someone wonderful to spoil him even more!

Sometimes there are matches just made in (bunny) heaven.  I knew when Beverly and her daughter (all grown up) visited me to see Mr. Hops, that he had found someone who could spoil him more than I could (with 9 rescued rabbits in residence at my home).  Mr. Hops deserved a special home after his ordeal and recovery after being abandoned.  He found his "Hoppy" home on the lake at Lake Tahoe!  I miss Mr. Hop's joyful spirit, but I know he is sharing his great bunny personality with his new family.


Mr. Hops Comes Home

It was a match made in bunny heaven, but sometimes things like illness or circumstances change make it impossible to keep a rabbit. His adopted human was having serious health problems.  I will always take back a rabbit I have adopted out and Mr. Hops is a first.  Of course, I was happy to have him come home.  He had to make a 2 hour flight on Alaska Airlines and he did very well.  Fortunately, Lisa and John with Basically Bunnies in Reno were able to pick him up for me and pack him up for shipping.  They did a great job!  Hops arrived overweight and immediately went on a diet.  He is home forever now and that's okay with me and especially one of the cats, Pele.  Pele loves to groom long bunny ears and is making attempts to make Hops his friend.  Of course, it is all on Hop's terms since he is bigger than the cat right now!


Hops Makes a Good Friend - Hops had never bonded with another rabbit. (I tried). When Rosemary rabbit passed away a few months ago at nine years old, she left behind her best buddy, Mr. Bumble.  Hops and Bumble had sniffed each other through the wires of the puppy pens, but Rosemary would have none of their socializing and chased Hops away.  I tentatively put Bumble in with Hops a few minutes at a time to start bonding them without any aggressive incidents.  Then I decided to put them in a large area together for a day.  Hops deferred to Bumble the entire time and still there were only congenial gestures.  Two days later they were grooming one another.  Now, they are inseparable and snuggle constantly.  Plus, they are very protective of each other and thump loudly when I pick the other up for grooming. 


Mr. Hops Crosses the Rainbow Bridge - I lost my big, beautiful, white house bunny Mr. Hops (aka “Hopper Bopper”) about 8 years after his rescue when he was around 9 years old.  He went to the vet on a Tuesday because I noticed he wasn’t eating that morning and was sitting hunched up.  Hops loved to graze on his hay so I knew something was very wrong. He was fine the night before. I was fortunate to get him into an experienced rabbit vet since my regular rabbit vet was out.  The vet diagnosed GI Stasis.  She started treatment and by evening he was doing better and eating some hay. His symptoms were diminishing. He was passing fecal matter without any problem. I checked him at noon today and I realized he wasn’t out of danger. On Thursday when I came home I noticed his best buddy, Mr. Bumble grooming him like crazy and Hops was flopped on his side.  Hops had not been able to flop on his side since he had a seizure 8 years ago when I first rescued him.  I knew then that he was gone. 

Mr. Hops loved Bumble and spent hours grooming him and cuddling up next to him.

Hops could intimidate cats.  He jumped over them, turned 180 degrees and lunged at them grunting. He never met a vacuum cleaner that he feared.  Once when I came too close with a hand vacuum before he was neutered, he  took aim and sprayed my head. No apology.  However, after he was fixed, Hops would sit quietly beside me and grind his teeth in his bunny purr when he was happy which was often. He would wake me up by throwing his toys especially when I slept in on the weekends. When I’d come home from work he would do a happy head shake and hop to see me at the fence of his pen. He was a Lavender Point Californian Breed Rabbit who loved pets and kisses on his forehead most of all. After Hops was rehabilitated completely about two years after his rescue he wasn’t sick until a very sad Tuesday morning – almost 7 years later. He was at least 9 years old. I will miss him.





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