He started Sunday afternoon showing signs of GI stasis, where the intestines just stop working for whatever reason. I had just gotten home from pet sitting. When he didn't eat his treat, I knew then that he wasn't feeling well, and unfortunately this wasn't the first time he's had GI stasis. I even had him on an all-hay diet to help prevent this. Well, immediately I went for the medication he had last time and started syringe feeding him Critical Care and massaging his tummy. Took his temp and it was fine. He had 3 poops that looked normal other than the fact that they were strung together with some fur. He's had this before, but he wasn't shedding drastically like he does during the middle of spring, so I wasn't too concerned with this.
During the night, he developed a fever of 103.8. Wet his head a bit and put some icepacks around him and got his temperature down to normal. Stayed up until after midnight with him, even though I had to work the next morning. Woke again at 3:30 to check temp (still normal) and syringe-feed. Again woke at 6:30 to do the same. I had to make the decision on whether or not to bring him to work (at an animal hospital that does NOT see rabbits) or have him at home to reduce stress, have my mom care for him, and later bring him to a rabbit vet after work. Chose the latter.
Around noon, Mom called to see if she should just bring him to the vet now..."Yes, but only if it's to the rabbit doctor...any other vet would not know how to care for him". Got a call back saying that the vet comes in at 7:30PM, and we'll be able to bring him then. Then, as my shift was about to end...still had paperwork to do...got a call from Mom saying that Bradley was acting "drunk" and was kind of wobbly. And I have to say here, I LOVE working with the vet that hired me. Told her this morning about Bradley and she let me have my phone on for emergencies. When mom told me that Bradley wasn't doing well, she let me leave early without question. She also allowed me to take home some subcutaneous fluids to help. As I was leaving, she asked for updates later this evening...so she truly does care, even for a rabbit she's never seen. I have already sent an update and my thanks.
Well, as I got in the car, I had a horribly bad feeling and started feeling as if I was about to throw up. Still drove home as fast as I could (and was doing 70 in a 50mph zone, then later 80 on the freeway). Unfortunately, mom told me the news the moment I rushed through the front door. At that point, I collapsed and started drowning myself (and Bailey, the dog, that came over to comfort me) in tears. It hasn't even been 2 hours, and I'm still crying. Other than Ruby (who I had for 11 years), I haven't cried this much over a rabbit. Bradley was truly a favorite of the family.
I will be unable to sleep in my room tonight...just knowing that there's an empty enclosure right there. Mom is currently at the animal hospital dropping him off for cremation, and I will be getting his ashes back. I couldn't bring myself to go along, and she understands (though Dad was forcing me to go with until Mom spoke up). Usually, I would either have another rabbit to care for and to focus my mind on or be getting another later on to help fill the void (and have another to love)...but I honestly don't know if I can go through this again. Bradley is the 2nd rabbit in a row to have died from GI stasis, even though husbandry was correct, he didn't get anything new in his diet, and according to the vet, we did everything right from the start. Victor was the first with GI stasis, passing away a week later after going to an emergency vet that let his temperature spike to 107, therefore causing neurological damage. Four days later, we got Bradley from the shelter (we hadn't planned on getting another so soon). Six years later, he passes away from the same ordeal. Fortunately, he didn't suffer as long, nor did he develop the neuro. damage. I'm sure I'll be selling his cage and all of the supplies.
I doubt I will ever have another rabbit as great as Bradley. He was truly the best. So playful, loving, and even loved cuddling up next to me in bed while I was on the computer or reading. Sure, he bit my fiance's nipple hard enough to bruise it when they first met....but he absolutely adored me and I had no problems.
I will miss you greatly, my Bradleybutt.
~June 2007-July 29, 2013