January 15, 2005

The off-White Rabbit does drugs

Bunny Boo-Bear, my six-pound, nine-year-old rabbit has had the sniffles for the past week. I could hear him from my desk, 30 feet from his cage. Since he is old, in rabbit-years, and I've never had a pet before, much less one without vocal chords who could otherwise convey his condition, I thought I should call the vet and inquire about his breathing problem: was it a cold, or a death rattle? Rabbits, popular cartoons not withstanding, are very fragile creatures, and this one isn't getting any younger.

Obviously, the answer was, we-need-to-see-him. Unlike in the human health care system, where I can wait for hours to be treated for a migraine, bunnies can be seen within half an hour of a telephone call. So I coaxed/placed Bunny in his carrier, with his distributing hay over a good portion of the living room rug as part of the process, grabbed a cab, and downtown we went.

To be a true native of my town, the final initiation ritual is to pay your first $200-plus visit to the vet. Now I am thoroughly indoctrinated. When we came home, I poured myself a nice, stiff drink.

On the bright side, I'm not the crazy cat lady; Bunny is deemed, in the pet/vet world, to be "exotic." Who knew?

On the downside, not only did Bunny require fluids and an injection but a bottle of white, allegedly grape-tasting medicine, to be administed by mouth, with a plastic syringe, twice a day, for 10 days. You haven't lived until you've tried to medicate Bunny. The only thing he willingly does with plastic is chew it. Once it contains a foreign substance like an antibiotic, he loses all interest.

Bunny Bear did get some medicine in his system today -- some I sprinkled on his pellets; the rest, I soaked in an apple, which he subsequently (hours later) ate. Note to self: do not leave vet's office in future without demonstration of any after-care needs.


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