Friday, July 19, 2013

Saying goodbye to Augustus

Sadly last week we had to say goodbye to our little Augustus. He was three years old.

By June he'd gone through GI stasis three times in 12 weeks, and each time we spent days with him, force-feeding him critical care mix and meds every 2~4 hours. It was hard on him, and it was hard on us. There was no apparent reason for this happening, but our vet (a very good rabbit vet) suggested feeding him metaclopramide and trimebutine prophylactically to see if it would keep his guts working.

Every three days or so we'd dose him up (he loved the banana flavour we added and would lick it off the tip of the syringe) in the hopes that it would stave off the GI stasis longer.

I don't think it worked.

Only five weeks after the last time he stopped eating, it happened again last Sunday. Fourth time in four months. On Saturday evening he was gobbling his snacks as he sat (reluctantly, as always) on my lap and got stuck straight into his bedtime nuggets, but in the morning the nuggets were almost entirely still there. Wouldn't touch his banana, wouldn't take any other food. He looked listless and in pain.

We had already talked it over at length and decided that if it happened again we would have to say goodbye. Knowing the pain he was in each time, for days at a time (the tramadol would help but who knows how uncomfortable he was each time the meds wore off), and how awful it must be to have a giant syringe full of 'baby-gack' stuck down your throat every couple of hours, we just couldn't justify putting him through it again and again and again. For all we know, it might have continued every month interminably, and that's not fair to put an animal through.

So Nadine and I took him to the vet's one last time.

I had to go to work but Nadine took his body home for 24 hours for Snowdon's sake. Apparently bonded animals recover from grief better if they've been allowed to see the body of their friend after death, rather than just not understanding why their friend vanished into thin air one morning. I'm happy to say that Snowdon seems to be doing well. He was quite uncertain what to make of Augustus' body, but tried grooming him a little and went over to sniff him a number of times.

On an unrelated note, we're beginning to wonder if Snowdon might be deaf! He's always been slow to respond to a number of things (calls for snacks, crows and other noises outside etc) and we're trying to work out how to tell for certain whether he is in fact hard of hearing or not.


  1. I am just now seeing your site, so I didn't know your sweet bunny while he was alive. I'm so sorry for your loss. I understand why you let him go, though. I'm sure he's happy and healthy now. I have a bunny who is extremely hard of hearing. I have to be careful how I approach him while he sleeps as he doesn't respond to my voice or the door opening. I'll get close enough to blow on his fur and sometimes he'll stire. If I walk right up and touch him it startles him too much. He relies on his mate to come and hop on him when I come into the room. :) I wish you and Snowden peace.

  2. I'm so sorry--poor Augustus and poor you and Nadine (and Snowdon too).

  3. I'm sorry to hear of your loss. I think Lionheads are prone. Scout would go through GI stasis at the drop of a hat too.


    All bunnies have selective hearing .. his may just be more selective than most. :)

  4. Oh, no! So very sorry for your loss. Poor Augustus--we'll be thinking many good thoughts for him, and you and Nadine and Snowdon as well. :(

    As for Snowden's hearing or possible lack thereof, it's hard to tell when a bunneh can't hear you...because they never want to listen to you. :)

  5. Thank you, guys. I appreciate the thoughts. It's been a few days now and I'm glad to say that Snowdon appears to be doing well (apart from the not-hearing-the-snack-bag thing). He's flopped and binkied so I don't think he's suffering the grief I'd feared.
    Thanks again.