Hello! My name is Hermione (or Hermi for short). I came to live at Helicopter Ears just before Christmas 2013. I had a big open wound on my face, and my vets didn’t think I would survive—but I did. I am now a resident here because I have health issues, and I’m looking for sponsors. Here’s my story.
In autumn 2013, my then-owner brought me to a vet. I had an abscess on my face. It was very large, enveloping my jaw, ear to ear, and taking up most of my dewlap. My owner said I was a boy and my name was Herman. The vet said I needed an operation. My owner thought it was a great idea, but she couldn’t afford it, so she took me back.
Soon, we were back: my abscess became so uncomfortable I wasn’t able to chew my food, and I stopped eating. This time, she said that I was a stray bunny, and because she found me in the street, she shouldn’t have to pay. The vet said that unfortunately she still had to pay. My owner got upset and argued that the vet was cruel and bad. The vet suggested that my owner signs me over to her so that she operates at her own expense and finds me a new home. As you see, the vet was not at all bad or cruel—to the contrary, a very nice vet. My owner refused this offer and stormed out, causing a small scene on her way.
We tried more than one vet, without any luck, and many weeks had passed before my owner brought me to the practice, left me on the doorstep, and left—without me. And there I was, sick and alone.
When the vet found me, I was so ill even she didn’t think she could save me anymore.
Other vets at the practice all said I was probably too ill for the operation, and if I survived it, I was unlikely to recover. I was thin and weak from not eating, my head was the size of a football, and I was very sad. But the vet wanted to give me a chance, and she operated at her own expense.
It was a long and difficult operation. The vet had to remove so much skin from my face, jaw and dewlap there was nothing left to stitch together. She tried her best, but my skin died away and all the stitches came out. There was no way to close my wound. The surgery was closing for the holidays and the vet couldn’t continue caring for me: she was going away for the holidays. This is how I came to Helicopter Ears just before Christmas. My prognosis was not very good.
The vet explained I needed daily soaks with iodine solution and twice-daily flushes of my wound, and Mike and Kim got straight down to work. I spent hours upside-down so that my wound would be cleaned and pieces of hay which got constantly caught in it pulled out from it. But hay was the least of our problems: there was so much nastiness in the wound we had to use dozens of cotton buds to clean it, and sometimes a syringe to syphon it out.
There seemed to be no end to infection: every time we cleaned it, it was worse than before. I spent hours upside-down, and I was very good, but my wound looked worse every day. This is when Kim started reading, and she learned that medical grade Manuka honey was sometimes used (for people). She found the highest UMF Manuka honey she could get (it has to be UMF-certified) and we began putting it straight into the wound: we would warm it up to make it thinner, and with a syringe, push it straight into my dewlap. Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? I didn’t complain one bit.
I needed around the clock care, and after each clean-up, I needed lots of cuddles, which I came to enjoy very much I must admit.
Then Kim researched into skin regeneration treatments and came across a paper about the wonderful effects of special thermal spring water. We couldn’t get the exact water we needed, but we ordered the closest we could get to it, and I was getting half-hourly mistings. To everyone’s amazement, my wound began to close!
Once the water was working, my wound was closing so fast that even cleaning it became a problem. Kim and Michael used tweezers and all sorts of contraptions to pull out the last strings of pus and dead tissue before there was no opening left. Within days, my wound closed up, and my only hope to avoid reinfection was daily antibiotic injections, which we continued for several months.
I was no longer in pain, my appetite returned, and I started gaining weight. My face remained deformed because of all the surgery and how the wound pulled together, but how happy I was! How glad was everyone at Helicopter Ears!
Soon I met Muffin. He looked just like me, only smaller. We bonded at first sight, and my new life began.
Once I was in the clear, Muffin and I were adopted, and my new life began. After a couple of years, Muffin passed away, and I lived alone. It wasn’t too bad—I had a wonderful new family, but soon, I was in trouble again. My deformed cheek began to enlarge, closing up my nostrils and making me unable to breathe. The scar pulling on my eye made it constantly water. My teeth began hurting and I stopped eating. My owners were not confident enough to deal with my illness, and I came back to Helicopter Ears.
Mike and Kim took me to a vet, and I had some dental work done and started eating again. But I needed another operation to sort out the other problems, for which I had to go to a rabbit specialist vet. I fundraised for my surgery and our amazing and bunderful Iain Cope from Vets4Pets Newmarket was able to remove the troublesome scar tissue, pulling my loose cheek skin up tight so I could breathe. Then, I developed an infection in my nose and had to have treatment for that too.
I am old now, and because of everything that was wrong with me, we can’t be sure that another illness is not just around the corner, so I’m staying at Helicopter Ears. There are so many ill bunnies here I had to move outdoors as soon as I was better because there is no room for me inside. Mike and Kim keep a watchful eye on me, and I hope to have a friend again someday, to bond with somebun, perhaps, so that I can spend my sunset years in the good company.
Thank you for helping me and other rabbits like me by supporting Helicopter Ears!
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