Hazel is a ravenous beast. Especially at breakfast time. Normally when he hears me coming in the morning, he bounds to the front of his (huge) cage and stands up with his front feet on the door. Sometimes he bangs out it: the picture of impatience. When I do open the door, he starts hopping around my feet and standing up with his front paws on my leg, reaching up for those delicious pellets. Now that he's almost a year old, he only gets a quarter cup in the morning and a quarter cup at night, so he devours every crumb.
Except yesterday, he refused all pellets.
It started when he completely ignored both my approach and the offer of food. This has never happened before in the history of Hazel. He was crouched in the back of his cage with his eyes bulging out of his head. He wouldn't eat. With a rabbit, this in itself is an indication that a trip to the vet is in order. When he eventually hopped into his litterbox, one of his back legs seemed to be dragging.
I freaked out and flailed around the internet for guidance. Then I called the vet. Thankfully they gave me an appointment for that morning.
The vet pronounced Hazel's limbs intact, but said something was indeed wrong, possibly an inner ear infection which was affecting his balance. Hazel huddled where he was placed and absolutely did not want to explore. We came home with antibiotics and a painkiller for Hazel, and he spent the whole day motionless at the back of his cage. I looked up inner ear infections in rabbits and found out they can be fatal. The anxiety mounted.
This morning Hazel refused his pellets again and there were no new poops in the litterbox. Very bad. (A rabbit that isn't eating and pooping is at risk for GI stasis, which basically means his digestive tract shuts down and dies...)
However! Hazel did accept a few stalks of cilantro soon afterward. He followed that up with some hay-nibbling. I worried when he refused subsequent offers of parsley, and when he barely moved all day again, huddling in a box. Worst, he lost his balance so badly as to fall over with a crash. I was not feeling optimistic when I came home and dragged poor Hazel out of his cage for a second dose of cherry-flavored antibiotic. But to my surprise, he responded by grooming himself for the first time all day, and then eating some hay! I also discovered some poops in his hideaway box. And what really has me hopeful is that an hour or so ago he hopped up onto his second story and sat there looking around for a while. He descended without crashing, too. Thank God, I think he's getting better.
Tomorrow morning I'll call the vet; hopefully these are enough good signs that I won't have to further traumatize Hazel by taking him back to have bloodwork done and spend the night.
As I write this, Hazel is grooming himself. I hope the improvement continues overnight. Lord, in your mercy...