Poor Thumper

Poor Thumper’s been under the weather lately. In early August, he was diagnosed with kidney stones. There was one very large stone in his right kidney that was causing him a lot of pain. The left kidney is a loss, with a large unmoving mass taking up most of it.

We didn’t know at first what was wrong. We thought he was dehydrated because of a heat wave. Thumper loves to sit in his sunny window even on the hottest of days, so it made sense when he seemed to be showing signs of heat stress.

But a trip to the emergency vet didn’t help him. We took him to his regular exotic vet the next morning. An x-ray showed the stones, and a later ultrasound showed the extent of his kidney problems. The vet wouldn’t operate on his kidney to remove the stone on the right, the one that was causing him the pain, because “operating on a rabbit kidney is like operating on soft cheese.” So we took the bunny home, along with a vial of pain medicine, and tried to keep Thumper hydrated and comfortable, in hopes that the stone would settle into a place that would not cause him pain.

Over the next month, we visited the vet almost daily. We couldn’t get the bunny to eat, so the vet techs did it. There were antibiotics that we couldn’t get down his throat. The vet techs took care of it. On the one occasion at home that we were able to get him to take in a syringe-full of squash and antibiotics, Thumper spewed it all out, covering the walls and us in pink and orange hues. In spite of what bunny people will tell you, bunnies can and do spit.

Finally, after a long month, the stone moved. All the way to his bladder. The vet was thrilled because bladder surgery is apparently much more straightforward than kidney surgery.

On the morning of Thumper’s surgery, the vet tech took him away to do yet another x-ray. We signed paperwork and waited. All of a sudden, the vet flew into the waiting room. “Thumper passed his stone!” she yelled. We followed her back to the computer room to view the x-ray. Sure enough, the big stone was gone and the right kidney was nearly normal in size. But before we could get too elated, we saw them: three more tiny stones. “Probably nothing to worry about,” said the vet. We woke Thumper up and took him home, with instructions to fatten him up.

Thumper has since passed the three stones. He’s put on a few ounces and seems to be in good spirits. His belly, shaved for the ultrasounds, has grown about a half inch of soft new fur. His muzzle still shows traces of dried up squash that he refuses to let me wash off for him. I like that in spite of all that he’s been through, he’s still fiesty.

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