My secretary spent last weekend fussing about Otto, and she insists that I tell you the story because she says its very important that all bunny people know about Otto's bladder. She says it's more important than my dainty feet right now. Seriously, his BLADDER is more important than my FEET?! How dare she!
Anyway, I'm going to cooperate because our secretary is under a lot of pressure lately and I don't want to risk her losing her mind and forgetting to order my Flower Power Berry Boost treats. I hope you all like bladder stories. I'll try to make it short.This is Otto. I have to admit that Otto, though dour, is very cute and very sweet. He's also blind and as old as Methuselah. He's had problems with bladder sludge in the past, but we thought it was under control.
What is bladder sludge? According to the Royal Veterinary College (Click here for a link)"Sludgy bladder syndrome occurs when the normal calcium crystals in rabbit urine are retained in the bladder. This can lead to a build up of a gritty sediment which can irritate the lining of the bladder and lead to inflammation." Thank you RVC!!
If you go to that link there is a nice, short article about bladder sludge, what causes it and how to prevent it. There's also another one Here from Small Pet Select. And here's one from the Rabbit Welfare Association!
Poor Otto wasn't eating last friday night, and our secretary assumed that he had some GI stasis brewing. So she gave him fluids, put him on a hot water bottle, gave him Meloxicam and Enulose and all those other good GI stasis things and he spent the night next to her bed. When she saw him eating parsley at 3 am she assumed he was back to normal...
...and then the next morning she realized he hadn't peed all night! The light finally dawned - Otto's sludge was back, his urethra was probably blocked and all those fluids she gave him could be putting a lot of stress on his already stressed out bladder.
Luckily our wonderful rabbit-savvy vet was able to see him on a Saturday morning for which we are so grateful. Because this is what she found when she looked at his x rays!
Ouch!! See those big white areas near his rear end? That's all bladder sludge!
Otto spent the weekend there and had a catheter inserted to drain his bladder and then had sub-cutaneous fluids to help flush the rest of the sludge out. He came home on Monday, as dour but cute as ever, and is now on cranberry supplements, twice weekly sub-q fluids, a diet of low calcium veggies, and a brief course of antibiotics in case of infection.
So what is the moral of this story? If your bunny is acting poorly, don't assume it's GI stasis! So often rabbit people focus on their bunny's poo, but honestly monitoring their pee is just as important. If you notice your bunny is having lots of crystals in her urine (those articles I linked to have some good photos!), seems to be straining to urinate, isn't producing a good amount of urine, has blood in her urine, or generally seems hunchy and unwell please get her to your rabbit-savvy vet ASAP.
And now, I'm going to go back to my pen and work on the article about my dainty feet. As Mrs. Brighton would say: "BYEEEEEEEE!!!"