Billy the Easter Bunny
This is Billy, our Easter Bunny. In an Eastery mood I’d taken my smallest to a local wildlife centre to cuddle chicks in the hatchery and we were smitten with this fella. He loved company so on a friend’s advice we introduced him to the spaniels. Initially worried about this combination we were quickly reassured by his dominance of them both, chasing them from his food and claiming their bed.
Worried he thought he was a dog the following summer after consulting the vet for the best combination of friends, we got him two little boys to hang out with. At least they were supposed to be boys.
Sadly in the week when we had introduced them to Billy, before it was clear they weren’t boys but still believing them far too young to be able to reproduce, Billy had managed to impregnate them both and the babies had been removed with the rest of their reproductive organs. Rabbits have such a gargantuan reputation for reproduction you can’t imagine they can love their offspring like we do but as I sat quietly with Clover that night I wondered if she was grieving. I prescribe Ignatia often in my human practice and there’s an almost visible heaviness and sadness which sits on people needing that remedy. I gave her a pill and was amazed, seconds later to see her hop across to her salad and start tucking in.
After their check-up visit to the vet it was decided the best thing to do would be to spay the girls. Billy was considered quite old at 18 months old for neutering and it is supposed to improve the health of girls. As a mother myself I felt awful taking them to the vets for the operation which we did as early as we could. We are patients of Wendy McGrandle outside Glasgow who is a homeopathic vet. After the operation she discussed how I could use remedies such as arnica and calendula which I use all the time in my own practice as a homeopath for people who have had operations or injuries. I find they speed up healing and prevent infection.
She also gave me painkillers and antibiotics and an energy paste to slip into their mouths to keep their stomachs moving. Apparently rabbits are like cows and sheep and have to eat constantly to keep the juices in their stomach in the right balance. Gut stasis is a common, potentially life-threatening condition affecting rabbits. According to Vets Now “it occurs when the normal, regular, wave-like movements of the intestines either slow down or stop altogether. Bad bacteria can then build up within the gastrointestinal tract resulting in bloating. This makes the bunny more reluctant to eat and drink which, in turn, causes their condition to worsen. Affected rabbits quickly become dehydrated and starved of essential nutrients. As the condition progresses, food or faecal material within the intestines starts to dry out becoming firm and very difficult to pass. This can lead to an obstruction.”
That evening, hours after their operation, my two still hadn’t eaten and were refusing to let me inject the energy paste into their mouths. They were not their cheeky little selves at all and seemed cross with me. I decided to give them both staphysagria a remedy which I hoped would address the shock they seemed to be in after their operation. Thistle perked up immediately and started to eat the garden salad I had prepared for them. She hopped about sniffing at her surroundings and quickly seemed her old curious self again. Clover on the other hand sat looking miserable and sore in the corner, refusing the orally injected food and water. The staphysagria had made no difference and I was very worried about her because it had been 12 hours since she last ate or drank.
It’s 6 months later, Easter again and they’ve moved outside to their summer residence. What I know now about bunnies is that, like my children, they need regular diversion. They love a new cardboard box to play with, they escape constantly but never run away when they are happy they jump for joy, hopping, chasing and skipping about the garden and mid-catching them, frequently stop to wash their ears so nonchalantly you know they’re taking the Mickey out of us.
I wrote this blog for CAM4Animals - a consumer-led organisation promoting CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) and integrated veterinary care in the UK. I am not qualified to prescribe homeopathic remedies for animals and consult with my vet if I have any concerns about my own pets. CAM4Animals have a directory of homeopathic vets on their web page as do the BAHVS. If Thistle and Clover had not responded immediately to the homeopathic remedies I would have contacted my local out of hours vet service. I have included this story in my blogs because it shows how homeopathy uses the same principles to treat animals - and indeed plants - as it does humans.