Two months ago I took JT to my regular vet because he was breathing hard. The vet took x-ray's and an ultrasound. JT was diagnosed with thymoma. We did not do a biopsy, but had 2 exotic veterinarians look at the x-rays, and they said the same thing, thymoma. It's a large cancerous mass that sits in the chest. There is nothing that can be done to cure it. But there are treatments that can prolong life. One of those things is radiation. Something I decided, for many reasons, not to do. The other, is to treat with prednisone. Which I did. Rabbits can live up to two years on prednisone. Unfortunately this was not the case for JT.
My exotic vet told me to put him on metacam. I was dissatisfied with this and I immediately started talking to other bunny owners, reading information online, got as much information as I could to determine the course of action. I started prednisone, along with zeniquin and hepato support. I crushed the pills with a pill crusher and mixed it with applesauce and gave it via syringe. This worked great because I could not pick him up (it put pressure on his chest which made his breathing worse). We did blood work and x-ray's 2 weeks after starting the meds and everything looked good. About 2 weeks after that he started getting worse. I was not able to take him to the vet again for blood work and x-rays because it was difficult for him to breathe, and the stress would have just made it worse. I bumped up his prednisone dose, which helped, but not for much longer.
JT started to lose weight, despite the increased feedings. He stopped peeing in the litter box. His last week he was getting worse and started chocking on his food. Not every time, sometimes he would be fine, other times he could barely eat. He was hardly drinking water, barely eating hay, and obviously uncomfortable (tilting his head up to breathe). One night was really bad and I was afraid he would choke to death on his food, or his airway would be cut off, so I made the horrible decision to let him go the next day.
It was a rainy Saturday morning when my vet opened her office just to help us. I kept telling him how much I loved him and to go find his brother Buddy, and our cat Tiki (that died 3 weeks before). I brought his body home so Meadow could spend some time with him. She groomed him for a while and thumped a few hours later. I think she took it better than I did.
Days after I found out JT was sick I moved him and Meadow to the dining room. The dining room has much more light, more space for me to sit, and I was able to keep an eye on him when I was doing other things. I sat with JT every night for about an hour (longer on weekends), always petting him, sometimes Meadow joined us. One night he flopped against my leg, it was precious. I knew he wouldn't make it to his 6th birthday in September. So I made April 21st his 6th birthday. It was easier for me to think that he was 6, and most rabbits make it to 7-8, so he did pretty good.
JT was the most wonderful rabbit we ever had. So friendly, so full of life. He loved to be petted, he loved toys and really loved tree twigs. He loved to flop and shredding phone books. When he knew food was coming he would stand on his hind legs and open and close his mouth (something the husband called "chompers"). When JT and Meadow got a 2 story condo JT would always run up to the 2nd level when food was coming, don't know why, but he always did it, we told him to "go to the bistro" and he did. When JT and Meadow were done with breakfast or dinner, they both went to the litter box and ate hay, they were breaking bread. Unlike many rabbits, JT has only known one home, it makes me happy to know he has only known peace and love.
It's devastating to see one so full of life and energy deteriorate so quickly. To me, it's different when they are old, and their bodies and spirits give up. JT's spirit and will to live never gave up. If more people had a pet rabbit like JT, more people would be bunny people. Love you to the moon and back JT. Meadow, mommy and daddy miss you so much.
As hard as the last 2 months were, I'm glad I had that time to say goodbye. I know we all don't have that chance. We didn't have that with Jasper. So every moment was cherished, and JT was spoiled every minute.
JT's 6th birthday. 4-21-15
Taken within days of the thymoma diagnosis (JT on the left).
Bonding Meadow and JT a few years ago.
JT flop. (Don't know date.)
Meadow and babies. 2009