2016-06-26 10.14.09

Sadly this young man was only able to enjoy three days in our care as his health issues were beyond treatment and as such, there was little choice other than to euthanise on the grounds of serious welfare concerns. Needless to say this was not an easy decision; not that there truly was a decision to be made.

Toots came to us via one of our supporters; he had been ‘dumped’ in a pet shop after his owner decided they no longer had time for him, his fur sopping wet and a suspected mite burden.

A sad, but all too common occurrence!

I will not name the individual store if only to protect those who did their best trying to find a good home for this poor soul, however, his plight DOES need to be highlighted, more so given the business claims to put “pets before profits”. Yes, he came to us from a Pets at Home store, and worst of all, he spent 2 months in an adoption unit before one of their members got in touch with us.

As a say, his condition may not have been the actual fault of PaH, however, it does clearly show that knowledge was seriously lacking and raises questions about their in-store operations; they do after-all boast to “Know Pets By Heart”. Clearly not the case here!

Whilst he was seen by one of their Vet’s, he was misdiagnosed, and continued to suffer needlessly. His health issues were beyond help, even in the 2 months prior to arriving in our care, and the only option even then would have been euthanasia.

His case, even now, still breaks my heart and remains incomprehensible that he was left to languish and such a serious health condition went unseen.


His story as it unfolded:

Upon ‘surrender’ to a local PaH store, Toots was taken to a nearby Vet as his face was clearly disfigured, almost looking as though he had suffered stroke. After X-rays were taken it was thought he had suffered some kind of injury to his skull, which in turn, had led to some level of nerve damage.

One of our Buntastic supporters got in touch with us to ask if we knew of any sanctuaries or similar who could offer a home to a disabled bunny. Unfortunately, we do not know of any such facility in our area, but once I heard of his sorry plight there was little option other than to give him the chance of the hoppy life he deserves…

His rough history was that he was approx 4 yrs old and his previous life was one confined to a hutch. The staff at the pet shop had taken great care of him and tried over the past few weeks to find him a new home, but sadly, as he was on medication (pain relief and eye drops) the prospect of ongoing Veterinary treatments/bills left this wee guy with little hope in sight.

This young man arrived with us on Sunday 26th June 2016, he was extremely sweet, trusting and within moments of arriving in his new home, simply didn’t stop munching and exploring; this wee chap certainly had the fighting spirit in him!.

The next day an appointment at our own Veterinary practice was arranged for Wed 29th June; it has got to be said I was apprehensive about his condition, but what was found was far beyond our expectations and fears.

Toots was found to have serious and inoperable ear abscesses, the left one was found to be the reason for his facial disfigurement and irreversible damage to his skull and surrounding bone. A secondary abscess in his right ear was again, causing damage to his right eye which was now becoming sore and runny.

His facial disfigurement caused by the damage to the left of his skull, also meant his jaw was now misaligned and he could not chew properly, even though he was still able to enjoy his food! However, on oral otoscope examination, it was found that he had a mass of  fermenting food gathered in the rear of his mouth, causing further infection and halitosis. He was also very underweight.

To quote our Vet, he was one of the worst cases of neglect she had seen in her 20 years of practice and as such, his suffering was ended due to serious welfare concerns..

Such a very sad, upsetting and tragic end. Toots, who was cast aside by his owner in a pet shop, would have been in severe pain for several months prior to his abandonment, and veterinarian care was denied.

Had he been seen by a suitable Vet early on, his story would be so different.

Needless to say we have all been extremely upset by the whole sorry situation; Toots was such a courageous little Bunny, he enjoyed only 3 days of free range living, lashing of yummy parsley and lots and lots of cuddles, you would never had known he suffered so much. Whilst we knew his health issues were a concern, his plucky character did not indicate the level of suffering he endured, needlessly.

Besides not having the facilities or finances to be an actual rescue, his story is not un-common, we applaud those who have to deal with these harrowing instances of neglect in the unsung field of rabbit rescue!

I had a glimpse of the challenges and heartbreak our now sadly closed rescue, Buddies Bunny Rescue, dealt with day in day out. It is never just the case of the now unwanted bunny, but the numerous and entirely preventable health issues they ALL arrive with. This is one of the many reasons behind our existence, we wish we could do more, but what we can do, we hope will make a difference.

Rabbit welfare is a serious concern, one which is largely overlooked and in urgent need to address and reform.

We ask you ALWAYS to do your research before taking on the vast responsibility of these animals, they may be small but the DO require a lot of hands on daily care which is specific to their needs. They are neither cheap, easy, low maintenance or indeed, disposable and they do require a life worth living.

One you have researched, understood and prepared for the commitment of Rabbit ownership, then please go to your nearest rescue and Adopt, Don’t Shop!

To find your nearest rescue please visit either Rabbit Rehome or Rescue Review