I had let them both out for yard time to see if she would move about and to see if Simon could lift her spirits a bit. She immediately made a bee-line for the couch and hopped up on her own, which surprised me.
Look closely at these pictures. This is what a bunny with colicky abdominal pain looks like. Her eyes are a bit squinted, her muzzle is pinched-looking (not the typical rounded shape it should be), and her body is tense and you can see she is pressing her belly into the cushion. If you ever see your rabbit look like this, you need to act quickly.
Here's what I did:
- Aspirin to relieve pain (NOT the chewable baby aspirin because it has artificial sweetener that can be bad for rabbits). This is a weight-dependent dosage. She weighs 3 pounds and I gave her 1/8 of a 325 mg tablet in 2 ml of mint tea. Here's a link to the drug calculator for rabbits that I used: http://www.morfz.com/rx/drugcalc.html. I would err on the side of under-dosing and always check with your veterinarian first about the drug and dosage.
- Simethicone to relieve pressure and bloating from gas. I gave her 0.4cc of our store brand version of Myalanta Maximum Strength. I gave her a second dose about 3 hours later (I waited to see if the first dose had any effect and I didn't want to overcrowd her stomach with medicine--because she's so small--if I wanted her to eat and drink). Here are some good resources for using simethicone for gas and GI stasis: http://www.rabbit.org/chapters/se-pennsylvania/GIStasis.htm and http://rabbitsinthehouse.org/newsletter/HRS-HelpMeMakeIt.pdf
- Kept tabs on her body temperature. A rabbit's ears are their way of dissipating heat, so if they feel cooler than normal, it's a sign of shock and you need to get their body temperature back up. It's also a good idea to have an appropriate thermometer and know how to use it to check their temperature. I used a warm water bottle and placed it next to her for a half an hour to get her temperature back to normal. Don't leave them unsupervised if you're using any warming device to avoid the risk of heat stroke if they get too warm!
- Gentle belly rubs to help break up the gas bubbles in her tummy and help stimulate her GI tract to keep moving.
She finally started to feel better after the second dose of simethicone (she got the full dose with none escaping her mouth). She stopped pressing her belly to the ground and was able to get some sleep. We were lucky that she started eating hay and drinking on her own again by 5am, which was the cut-off point for me to start force-feeding her. She started using the litter box again about 5 hours after that.
From now on, both get brushed twice a day during a shed and get their pellet ration reduced slightly to encourage more Timothy hay consumption. It is ridiculous how quickly they'll go into a shed when the temperature changes! So, take this post as a helpful PSA on the importance of brushing your bunny's fur frequently during a heavy shed. Once a day is not enough sometimes.