CHAPTER 23 – Dizzy
Abigail was a happy girl. It was late at night and she was free to play. She ran up to Dad and binkied. It warmed Dad’s heart to see her so happy.
“OK, Abigail. It’s 2 AM. Time for me to go to bed,” said Dad. Abigail came running over to him, her head swaying from side to side like a dog sniffing a trail. Dad had never seen her do that before. “Are you OK?” he asked. Perhaps she smelled something on the carpet. She seemed OK, so he gave her a pet and headed off to bed.
Abigail shook her head. One of her ears was plugged, and it bothered her. In the darkness of night, her world felt like it was spinning. Whenever she sat up, she lost her balance. If she tilted her head to the right, it helped. She leaned against the wall for support. It was a restless night.
As daylight filled the room, Abigail heard Dad approaching. Seeing her leaning against the wall, Dad asked, “Abigail, are you alright?” “I feel really dizzy,” she thought. Abigail started to walk over to him, but she lost her balance. She stumbled and fell on her side. She flailed around, trying to stand up. This alarmed Dad. “Oh Abigail! What’s wrong, baby?” asked Dad, as he helped her stand up. She hobbled back to the wall and leaned against it, trembling.
Dad was worried. He had read about a condition known as rabbit head tilt. Head tilt could be the symptom of a serious condition. It could be e-cuniculi, a parasite in her brain, which was often difficult or impossible to treat. It could also be an inner ear infection, causing her to lose her balance. She had to tilt her head to compensate.
Dad grabbed the phone and called her vet. “Yes, bring her in right away!” said the vet. Dad gently picked up Abigail and placed her in her carrier. Normally, she would struggle. But today, she was in no condition to resist. Off to the vet they went.
The vet observed Abigail. “E-cuniculi affects the nervous system. I don’t see signs of that, so I don’t want to throw drugs at her, just in case. It’s probably an inner ear infection,” he speculated. Dad asked, “But how did she get it? She’s indoors all the time. It’s clean. There are no other animals in the house.” The vet explained, “It just happens. There’s bacteria in every rabbit’s nasal cavity. Sometimes, it just travels to the inner ear. Unfortunately, we can’ treat it externally. You’ll have to give her oral medication twice a day.” Dad knew that was not going to go over well with Abigail.
The vet prescribed some anti-inflammatory medication to reduce any swelling in her ear canal, some antibiotics to fight infection, and some anti-nausea medication. He cautioned, “She probably feels nauseous and doesn’t want to eat. The most important thing right now is to make sure she keeps eating. We don’t want her to go into GI-stasis. That can be deadly.”
“How long will this last?” asked Dad. The vet replied, “There’s no telling. It could go away in a few days. It could be permanent. The sooner it is treated, the better the chances are of recovery. If left for a long time, scar tissue can develop and it could become permanent.” Dad did not like the sound of that.
Back home, Dad opened the door to Abigail’s carrier. Abigail stumbled out of her carrier and back to her spot. She laid down and leaned against the wall. “Dad, I don’t feel well,” she thought. She tilted her head so one eye was looking straight up. That helped.
Dad laid on the floor in front of her. “Don’t worry Abigail. Whatever happens, I’ll take care of you. I promise,” he said. But inside, he worried what lay ahead.