Rabbitting on with a headtilt

It has been nearly eighteen months since Bouffe acquired a headtilt. After the initial upset and steep learning curve we all adjusted within weeks to the new way of seeing things – at an angle. Bouffe is doing just fine and is rabbitting on with joy, perhaps because he has more privileges than before!

Freerange life

Bouffe’s headtilt means he is less into cables and furniture these days. He still likes to demolish things, but only if they are flat on the floor. Shoes, books, rugs and newspapers left on the floor are simply not safe when he is around. Quite helpful if your inner domestic god(dess) needs a helping hand in expressing itself.

Rug in a demolished state
Bouffe’s personal jute rug diverts his attention away from more precious furnishings

As a result of Bouffe’s new interests he has been 100% freerange ever since the onset of his headtilt. He enjoys is own personal corner where he likes to kip with his turkey toy or throw his food bowls about.

Preferably after someone’s just had the Hoover out…

FreerangeBouffe KipWithTurkey

Plenty of support

If his favourite chair leg isn’t available, there’s always the option of using available waiting staff as furniture. We don’t mind waiting to go to the loo while he sleeps!

Bouffe sleeping on my foot

Neither does the waiter…

Bouffe sleeping on his waiters feet

Although a chair leg can be more patient and less fidgety:

Bouffe hugging a chair leg

 

ChairHugging

And when he’s tired after playing with his favourite toy, it’ll prop him up while he dreams of more treats:

Bouffe sleeping on his toy

Exclusive dining

Day 1: Why isn’t my brekkers served in my new favourite spot, the understairs cupboard?!

Bouffe in the understairs cupboard

Day 2: I’ll have brekkers in the understairs cupboard, thank you.

Day 3: Why on earth would anyone serve my brekkers in the understairs cupboard?! Bring it to me. #youjustcantgetthestaffthesedays

FreeRangeBouffe2

A spot of al fresco dining on cecals:

Bouffe eating cecals outside

Excellent grooming

Bouffe’s ‘top eye’ is prone to conjunctivitis and needs cleaning every day, because he can’t wash his face easily himself, and his tear ducts are no longer having the benefit of gravity to drain naturally. The skin around it is very delicate can get irritated if he scratches it too much too.

If it gets too red, we dab a tiny amount of Sudocrem on it which soothes it and stops him scratching straightaway, and the next day it is peachy pink again.

BouffeTopEye

It is hard to see because it is closed, but this is his ‘bottom eye’ just after I’d cleaned it. It gets washed with tepid water and dried gently. He gets a drop of ointment in both eyes most days.

BottomEye

The ointment keeps the conjunctivitis more or less under control.

Fucithalmic Vet

At the moment Bouffe receives Norocillin or Duphapen Fort injections weekly. We administer these at home, picking up a three-week supply from the vet and taking him in for a check-up every ten or so weeks.

We also massage Bouffe daily, which seems to help him move. We can only imagine how much he seizes up by living such a lopsided life, however much time he spends on his side, resting.

What he likes best is to have his head supported so it is more upright, and have his cheeks, nose, sides of his neck and shoulders gently massaged. Massaging alongside his spine (not the spine itself!) seems to be ticklish, he usually starts to wriggle after a while and wants to groom himself!

Bouffe Massage

His head grows heavier and heavier in my hand and his whole body goes a bit limp as he relaxes into the strokes. After a while he’ll start licking my hand to reciprocate the attentions. After a massage he is noticeably more mobile and active and any abandoned footwear near the door is not safe!

Unlimited outside time

Allowing for someone being home – we have a pair of nesting red kites in the area as well as foxes and plenty of domestic cats – Bouffe has unlimited access to outside space too. When he first started to go outside again we let him fall off our raised deck on purpose (he fell about 6 inches onto a thick layer of mulch) and ever since he has been carefully negotiating the edges. He can still reach several plants including his favourite lavender, which he helps himself to whenever the mood takes him.

Unlike Haas and Katrijn, Bouffe never has been a fan of sitting on grass as we found years ago. Monsieur likes his home comforts, why risk damp feet, creepy crawlies and grass stains?! Grass is breakfast, lunch and dinner, it is not for sitting on – or worse.

He loves sleeping outside when it’s sunny.

SunningOutside

The winter jasmine provides welcome cover.

SleepingOutside

Every night he wants to go outside to patrol the perimeter before locking up. He also makes sure the furniture is where it should be. It’s a quick round of his realm, clearly not something he can leave to his staff. Funnily enough he is much less interested in doing any of these things when it’s raining…

Because he’s worth it…

It may sound weird, but where Bouffe was delightful to have around before his headtilt, he has become an absolute joy after.

Abused as he was when he arrived  – he was so thin he scored 0 on the Rabbit weight chart – he quickly started to trust us to always provide food and care for him.

rabbt weight chart

He started out being defensive and grumpy, but after mere weeks began to mellow and the laid-back Bouffe we know began to emerge. He still didn’t allow his hind quarters to be touched though, which our vet found a painful discovery when he went for check-ups!

Ever since his headtilt crisis he has become very, very trusting and affectionate and clearly tells us what he wants. He loves being groomed all over, especially when he is moulting which we imagine must be an itchy affair. He takes no offence at people wanting to stroke his magnificent tail either or inspecting his toenails.

He can throw himself into his favourite activities with a huge passion that is delightful to see, from his deep sighs of contentment while sunbathing to hour-long cuddle sessions and playtime with his toys.

We love Bouffe all the more for his quirks and sometimes wonder what he would have been like without his tilt: perhaps just a little less fun and loving? Whatever the answer might have been, we don’t mind not knowing.

 

 

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10 Comments

  1. Hello me again with Barney! He has finished his 28 day course of Panacur & is still on Meloxydil I am asking to see if you know how soon we treat him again with Panacur? I think I read on some posts that owners have had their rabbits on Panacur continuously for months? Thank you…

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    1. Hi Laura,

      The last time we looked into this is a few years ago, so it’s good to bear that in mind. There were studies showing that some rabbits responded and recovered from symptoms after 7 days and others needed longer. We couldn’t find a study that treated for more than 28 days (!) but maybe there are some now. Also, a few years ago there were not enough studies to know anything useful about what the ideal duration really is.

      Interestingly what we did find was that some of the studies that ‘proved’ longer treatment (28 days) was better were funded by the companies making the meds, so… We draw a little conclusion from that.

      To answer your question, what we have always understood from our own vets is that carrying on with EC treatments for longer isn’t going to cause harm to the rabbit and can be done as a precaution. We haven’t asked the question more recently so they may have a different view on that now. Have you spoken to Barney’s vet about it? They of course know all about him and can give you tailored advice on what they think he would benefit from the most.

      Hope this helps? Snorgles to Barney!

      Flo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Flo Thanks so much, good to hear. I will check with the vets aswell then. Much appreciated as always! (I am trying to upload photos on here but not much luck!)

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      2. Hi Flo I am sorry to say our beautiful Baby Barney fell asleep on 31st July in the sunshine, in his favourite garden. There was a breeze and he was comfy on a duvet and went peacefully. For that I am grateful. It is still a shock after seeming to recover quite well after his 28 day course, then I started again after his back legs started sliding to the side & he had no control over them or movement. i was going to borrow a wheelchair for him as he seemed alert still and happy enough, but over 24 hours he became very lethargic and couldn’t lift his his head. he was booked to go to see the vet but unfortunatley had just had enough i think. we are all devastated. we are all so grateful to have had him in our lives though he made us very happy with his loving personality. thank you for all your advice you gave me during this hard time.

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      3. Oh Laura, poor Barney, such sad news. He has gone to join the greats! We like to think he’s binkying away once more and keeping an eye on things for us all. So glad he was in his favourite with you beside him, just floating off after a long battle. Many loving memories to cherish about him and share with people. They never quite leave us you know…
        I am glad we’ve been able to do a little for you both just by sharing our experiences. We all send you nosebumps and hugs and hope you’ll soon be smiling without tears at the memory of a wonderful bun.
        Flo

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  2. big bouffe love! we just lost our wonderful, grumpy lieselotte and your post is – as barb wrote it above – the kind of story that makes the day seem better. thank you.

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  3. This is the kind of story that makes the day seem better. Love to Bouffe (and his caretakers).

    Like

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