Mr. Hops shown
one year later at 9 pounds (click on picture to see larger portrait). What
at handsome and lucky bunny!
his story: Returning from the pet store with supplies for Miss Dill, my sister and myself were almost home when
I saw a white bunny with huge ears and pink eyes sitting near the road.
Of course, we turned around and went back.
We were able to catch him since he was so weak and frail.
The fur on his white head was almost black from fleas.
It was only two blocks from home and I didn’t want to put him in the
car because he was so infested.
walked two blocks home with him with fleas jumping all over us.
The laundry room sink was my first stop to wash off as many fleas as I
could. I gently dried the
rabbit and then combed him with a flea comb top to bottom several times. Bonnie and I inspected his fur for more ticks and pulled out
several. He even had deer ticks.
His white feet were stained dark brown and yellow.
His ears looked more gray than pink.
He looked like he had been outside for several days.
He was only able to eat and sleep over the weekend. Only one ear
was ever up at one time. (The photo to the right was taken the day he was
Hops seemed like a good
name for him because he looked so sleepy (hop flowers can make you sleepy).
I took him to the vet. This
3.5 lbs. male, was running a temperature of 106.5°F!
a rabbit can have a seizure or worse.) The
vet immediately laid him out on a bag of frozen pellets to get his body
temperature down and it did. He
became more alert in minutes. An
inoperable abscess was detected behind his right eye.
No more lumps were found. We left with a prescription of Baytril and Hops lounging on a frozen bag
of peas for most of the ride home.
For the next few days
Hops continued to run temperatures up to 105°
F. I had him living on the
“rocks” with several bags of frozen peas under a towel on his pen floor to
keep his body temperature down. (High
temperatures can literally “cook” the contents of a rabbit’s digestive
system causing deadly complications.) Critical Care (from Oxbow Hay) was syringe
fed to him 4 times a day to keep his digestive system working properly. He also ate plain yogurt. (The
photo to the left was a few days after he came home. Notice the pinker
I had read a few pet
rabbit owners were having success with abscesses by administering
“bicillin” which is a dual form of long acting penicillin. I called the vet and let her know I wanted to try the
bicillin regimen and brought Hops in again.
She agreed and gave me instructions to visit the feed store where I
stocked up on syringes, needles and penicillin.
Penicillin was a last
resort. I gave Hops shots every other day under his skin on his back
just below his head. In three days his temperature came down and he was alert and
active. He started playing with his
toys. The abscess began to
disappear. Hop’s lungs didn’t
rattle and his breathing began to sound normal.
His bloody nose cleared up. There were no digestive complications at all.
He was eating well. It was
working! (Photo to the left was taken after he began to do better.)
Then three days later I
felt lumps under his neck. One was
an open sore with necrotic black material around it.
This time I rushed him to another vet since my regular vet was on
vacation. The vet found
“cuterebra” larvae – three of them in his neck.
(Cuterebra is a large fly
that lays its eggs on a host animal. The
larvae become parasites burrowing into the animal’s skin and lives until it
drops out to the ground about 4 weeks later through the cyst like wound it
creates as an air hole. It is
common in the late spring and early summer when the big fly lives and flies
close to the ground. Unfortunately,
cuterebra in an animal’s neck can eat through the trachea suffocating the
host. The maggot can also migrate
to other areas in the body to wreak havoc.
They are disgusting creatures!)
sight of these big cuterebra larvae coming out of Hop’s neck grossed out
everyone at the vet’s office. The
vet was painstakingly careful. Had
the maggot like larvae been injured during removal, enzymes from its body could
have been released and put Hops into shock or killed him. My sister and I watched as Hops lay very
still without being sedated until all three maggots were removed. I took him home to recover and continued the bicillin shots
every other day and then cut back to once a week two weeks later.
(The photo above and to the right was taken after the maggots were removed.)
For two weeks Hops was
eating all he could and curious about the other bunnies. I was
relieved. The picture to the left shows how great he looked! He had gained almost one pound in weight.
Like any unaltered male he would spray urine at the other rabbits.
But he had perfect manners otherwise and used the litter box.
I bought him his own 2-story bunny condo from Leith Petwerks and he
joyfully ran up and down the ramp to each level. He seemed to take pleasure in teasing the other
rabbits. Then one evening he
suddenly had a seizure and lost use of his left side.
I held him while his body jerked and his eyes rolled back in his head.
I thought he was going to die. My
sister and I were both crying. But
he stabilized after several minutes and by morning he was trying to move around.
I closed up the lower part of his bunny condo and padded the upper pen
for him with towels as he struggled to move about. I also cut down one side of his litter box so he could enter
it easily. He would pull himself
over to me to be petted.
Each day after his seizure he gained back more of his motor ability on
his left side. After the weekend I
took him into the vet for an exam. We
discussed possible causes of the seizure and paralysis. A cuterebra that had migrated or a ruptured abscess would not
show up on an x-ray. There
was only speculation. Fortunately,
Hops stabilized. I noticed he
wouldn't “flop” to sleep and occasionally stumbled.
But he ate with gusto, played like a young rabbit and always wanted to be
I continued to give him Penicillin shots every 3 days and hoped for the
home with this nameless white rabbit with the big ears on the day I found him, I
made a bargain. I told him “bunny, if you try, then I will try and we
will both try as hard as we can to give you a better life than what brought you
here to this roadside.” We both
kept our part of the bargain.
9 Months later: Hops more than doubled his weight! He now
weighs a healthy 8 lbs.! Hops went to another vet and had a complete work-up
including more x-rays, blood panel and exam! He was beginning to run high
temperatures again. It was determined that Hops most likely has chronic respiratory
disease in his lungs due to the pneumonia. This happened because he was
dumped outdoors. He may be on antibiotics for the rest of his life.
However, he did get neutered two months later and came through it like a
champ. There was a risk, of course, but this bunny seems to beat the odds
OVER 1 1/2 Years after he was found:
is lively and happy as ever. I reduced his antibiotics on
the advice of his vet before our move to Oregon. He traveled to the west
coast in a car and celebrated one year in a safe home! By the way he is a healthy
took himself off the antibiotics. I was worried about liver damage from
prolonged use and reduced the Baytril again on the advice of my new vet.
Hops was beginning to fight me to take them. Yet he had never been off the
antibiotics without running high temperatures so I resorted to a "piller"
and put them down his throat or so I thought. A week later I found a nice
neat stack of Baytril pills behind his toys. Hops took himself off
antibiotics and 6 months later he is still fine.
2 years after Rescuing Mr. Hops
There is no slowing down this rabbit. He knows and comes to his name.
He also understands the word "no," the word "banana" (since that is his favorite
treat) and "treat" is another word he recognizes. He still teases any
other foster rabbits (up to 9 at anyone time) and lets the cats know whose boss.
But best of all, Hops
is known for his bunny dances in the living room during exercise time and he is
a joy to everyone!!
His health is excellent and shows no sign of any chronic (or any) illness.
2 years and 3 months Hops finds someone wonderful to spoil him even more!
Sometimes there are matches just made in
(bunny) heaven. I knew when Beverly and her daughter (all grown up)
visited me to see Mr. Hops, that he had found someone who could spoil him more
than I could (with 9 rescued rabbits in residence at my home). Mr. Hops
deserved a special home after his ordeal and recovery after being abandoned.
He found his "Hoppy" home on the lake at Lake Tahoe! I miss Mr. Hop's joyful spirit,
but I know he is sharing his great bunny personality with his new family.
Mr. Hops Comes Home
It was a match made in bunny heaven, but sometimes
things like illness or circumstances change make it impossible to keep a rabbit. His
adopted human was having serious health problems.
I will always take back a rabbit I have adopted out and Mr. Hops is a first.
Of course, I was happy to have him come home. He had to make a 2 hour
flight on Alaska Airlines and he did very well. Fortunately, Lisa and John
with Basically Bunnies in Reno were able to pick him up for me and pack him up
for shipping. They did a great job! Hops arrived overweight and
immediately went on a diet. He is home forever now and that's okay with me
and especially one of the cats, Pele. Pele loves to groom long bunny ears
and is making attempts to make Hops his friend. Of course, it is all on Hop's terms since
he is bigger than the cat right now!
Hops Makes a Good Friend -
Hops had never bonded with another rabbit. (I tried). When Rosemary rabbit passed
few months ago at nine years old, she left behind her best buddy, Mr. Bumble.
Hops and Bumble had sniffed each other through the wires of the puppy pens, but
Rosemary would have none of their socializing and chased Hops away. I
tentatively put Bumble in with Hops a few minutes at a time to start bonding
them without any aggressive incidents. Then I decided to put them in a
large area together for a day. Hops deferred to Bumble the entire time and
still there were only congenial gestures. Two days later they were grooming one
another. Now, they are inseparable and snuggle constantly. Plus,
they are very protective of each other and thump loudly when I pick the other up
Mr. Hops Crosses the Rainbow Bridge - I lost my big,
beautiful, white house bunny Mr. Hops (aka “Hopper Bopper”) about 8
years after his rescue when he was around 9 years old. He went to
the vet on a Tuesday because I noticed he wasn’t eating that morning
and was sitting hunched up. Hops loved to graze on his hay so I
knew something was very wrong. He was fine the night before. I was
fortunate to get him into an experienced rabbit vet since my regular
rabbit vet was out. The vet diagnosed GI Stasis. She started
treatment and by evening he was doing better and eating some
hay. His symptoms were diminishing. He was passing fecal
matter without any problem. I checked him at noon today and
I realized he wasn’t out of danger. On Thursday when I came home I
noticed his best buddy, Mr. Bumble grooming him like crazy and Hops
was flopped on his side. Hops had not been able to flop on his side
since he had a seizure 8 years ago when I first rescued him. I knew
then that he was gone.
Hops loved Bumble and spent hours grooming him and cuddling up next
Hops could intimidate cats. He jumped over them, turned 180 degrees
and lunged at them grunting. He never met a vacuum cleaner that he
feared. Once when I came too close with a hand vacuum before he was
neutered, he took aim and sprayed my
No apology. However, after he was fixed, Hops would sit quietly
beside me and grind his teeth in his bunny purr when he was happy
which was often. He would wake me up by throwing his
toys especially when I slept in on the weekends. When I’d come home
from work he
would do a happy head shake and hop to see me at the fence of his
pen. He was a Lavender Point Californian Breed Rabbit who loved
pets and kisses on his forehead most of all. After Hops was
rehabilitated completely about two years after his rescue he
wasn’t sick until a very sad Tuesday morning – almost 7 years later.
He was at least 9 years old. I will