March 26, 2010

PetBunny to the rescue - Bruce Atchison

The PetBunny e-mail list subscribers came to my aid frequently throughout the 13 years that I was a member. One notable example was when my rabbit, Gideon, had his first illness. Being a novice bunny owner, I became concerned with his bizarre behaviour one March morning in 1998. From When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies), here is an e-mail message that I posted to the group after the vet visit.


Dear folks;

I had a bit of a hard time finding a ride to take Gideon to the vet. All the folks who I know were too busy or out. I finally managed to contact my church and assistant pastor Doug Dunbar. He agreed to take Gideon and me to the vet at 2 P.M. I also had trouble locating a rabbit-knowledgeable vet who works Saturdays. After being referred by Dr. Harmon's office, I called another vet clinic and made an appointment. I listened to all the wonderful support you people gave me on the computer as I tried to get Gideon to drink some water. I also downloaded the head tilt article from the HRS web page and printed it out.

Doug was as good as his word and came at exactly 2 P.M. to take us to the vet. He had a bit of a hard time finding the place, but we finally made it. Poor Gideon wasn't too pleased with being roused from his siesta, only to be put in the carrier and bounced around a lot. I was a bit upset at the amount of dogs at the vet's and I was worried that Gideon would freak. Fortunately, nothing bad happened.

After what seemed like ages, Gideon's name was called and I took him into the
examination room. Dr. Pam Gordey had me take Gideon out of the carrier in order to take his temperature. Naturally he wasn't amused. Then the doctor turned off the lights and waited for Gideon's pupils to adjust to the darkness. She shone a light into each eye to see if they still worked and they did. There was obviously no neural damage.

Then Dr. Gordey turned on the lights and had Gideon hop around on the floor to see if he still had a problem. After his tummy was palpated and he was put back into the carrier, I was told that he didn't have any disease because he had recovered so uickly. Head tilt would have stayed for weeks, so it wasn't that. The doctor figured that Gideon must have eaten something toxic and the effect had already worn off. I was told to keep him in his cage and watch him until Monday. Then I'm supposed to call Dr. Gordey with the results of my observations.

Poor Gideon was not pleased with this whole affair and he thumped when he was safely returned to his carrier. The doctor said that if he was healthy enough to thump, then he was quite fit. Gideon appeared to be normal, even having a normal temperature.

Once home, he hopped out of the carrier and dashed to his security zone under the chair in the bedroom. After I had washed the urine out of the carrier and soaked the rags, I found him in the kitchen snooping around. He went into his cage and started eating the celery which he hadn't finished in the morning.

He seems to be his old self again and I have no idea what caused the strange illness which he had earlier today. Just to be safe, I'll sweep the kitchen floor and tidy up the house. I don't have any poisonous plants within his reach, so it couldn't be that. If you can figure out what caused it, please let me know. I'd be most grateful for your input.

Rabbitly yours,

Bruce, with poor confused Gideon.


As I've pointed out many times in my debut book, rabbits need a radically different sort of care than dogs and cats. The House Rabbit Society website has a host of e-mail groups to which bunny owners can join and post questions. Additionally, my When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies) book is available at the Inscribe Writers Group page. It contains many vignettes of the amazing and amusing things my bunnies did as well as a wealth of rabbit care knowledge, all told in a conversational style. E-mail me for further information or if you don't have PayPal but still wish to place an order.


  1. Bruce, Enjoyed your first posting, in which you've given us a delightful glimpse of your furry friend, Gideon.

  2. Thank you Bruce for sharing about your bunny. My kids would love to have a pet bunny. Are they easy to leave with other people when you have to go away?
    Pam Mytroen

  3. Elizabeth from MA5:43 pm GMT-7

    My Dearest Friend Bruce, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your sweet bunny Carolyn this morning. GI Stasis is something so hard to get a bunny through. Carolyn was at the vets office, the best place she could of been. I am so sorry for your loss and I know your heart bleeds for your bunny, mine does too. Find strength in the knowledge that you will be together once again, she is an angel now.
    With condolences and deepest sympathies,
    Elizabeth and the bunnies Cinder and Lily


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