Rabbits/My Bun Bun

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I have a 9 month old female lop named Kaylee who we adopted in October 2012.  Just before Thanksgiving my small wiener dog got ahold of her and grabbed her by the face.  While her jaw was not fracture, her lower incisor was.  The vet decided to wire the jaw to hold it together because he said while it was not fractured it was lose.  About a week ago, it was time have the wire removed.  She seemed to be doing great and doing all the normal things, but when the vet turned her over on her back he saw a nasty cherry size lump under her chin. He said it looks like a very nasty infection and that we have got to get under control.  He said he could have been caused by the wire or the fractured tooth.  He took the wire out and drained a lot of blood and puss from the chin.  He said to give her injections of Penicillin once a day for 30 days and report back to him.  Its been one week and I haven't noticed much difference in her chin, but she seems like her old self again.  I called the vet yesterday out of concern.  He said I should be seeing some improvement, but nothing to be worried about yet.  He said he definitely does not want the lump to get any bigger and said to also give her the Baytril orally that we gave her before.  So we are now doing Baytril and Penicillin once each day. My question is do you think we will get this infection under control and do you think its getting better because she seems to be feeling better and eating, drinking and pooping normally?  He said if this doesn't work, he will take an xray to see what is going on and there are a few other things we can try.  So far we have spent $2,000 already with the wire, medicine and just trying to save her life.  We are so scared of the outcome for this bunny.  She is part of the family now (house bunny) and we love her dearly.  Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

Answer
Dear Kate,

Jeez.  Poor bunny is lucky to be alive!

I'm not surprised she developed an abscess.  But question:  Did the vet do surgery to insert the wire, putting it through the bone?  I'm not clear on how this was done.  If the jaw bone was not broken, there would have been no need to wire the jaw, since the incisor--broken or not--would simply have grown out.

Anyway.

You might want to ask the vet about switching to dual-acting penicillin (a combination of short-acting Penicillin-G Procaine and long-acting Benzathine, a slow release salt of penicillin).  This will keep therapeutic levels of penicillin in her tissues longer, and effect a more constant assault on the causative bacteria.  

The addition of Baytril is a good idea, since some mouth bacterial denizens are not sensitive to penicillin.  

We've had excellent success at resolving dental (and other head) abscesses with dual-acting penicillin (which is dirt cheap, by the way, and can be ordered online without a prescription).  If your vet gives thumbs up on this, I'd just order it directly from someplace like Heartland Veterinary Supply and administer it yourself after instruction from the vet (NEVER inject dual-acting Pan into the muscle; this must be given subcutaneously ONLY, and you should draw back on the plunger once the needle is under the skin to be sure you have not hit a blood vessel).

I hope this helps.

Dana

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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.

Expertise

I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

RULE #1:
THE INTERNET IS NOT THE PLACE TO SEEK HELP IN AN EMERGENCY.

...it is an EMERGENCY.

Find a rabbit vet at www.rabbit.org/vet for immediate help, and don't risk your bunny's life by spending time asking questions online! If you can't get in touch with your vet, read these Emergency Sick Bunny Instructions.

If you have found a wild baby rabbit, please read these EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS FOR WILD BABY RABBITS and then use this link to FIND A LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR who can give you the right advice.


RULE #2:
Help me help you! Please make your subject line informative if you have an urgent question. then LET ME KNOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE so I can give your question highest priority over non-urgent questions. If you don't do this, then I can't guarantee timely assistance!

For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.

Experience

I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Organizations
Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Publications
Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Education/Credentials
Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology
(http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare)

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