My sweet bunny is gone.
A few years ago, the vet discovered a small tumor on his side. I had never noticed it. It wasn't a lump that protruded at all. It was just a mass under the skin. It didn't seem to bother him at all. And he was too old to risk surgery. The best choice was to just leave it be.
Yesterday morning he didn't want to eat anything. He didn't really want to move at all, but I lifted him out of his cage and tried to tempt him with his favorite treats. He wasn't interested in anything. Thinking he might have a bit of woolblock, I tried to give him a bit of petromalt. He wasn't interested in that either, so I kind of mushed it into his mouth. He wouldn't even lick it off his lips. I held the water bottle up to his lips, but he wouldn't drink.
I tried to make it more tempting. I squeezed some juice out of a ripe pear into a small bowl and used a small syringe to squirt some of the juice into his mouth little by little. I think a little went down his throat, but he wasn't at all interested in it, and most of it dripped out of his mouth.
That was pretty bad. If it was woolblock, pear juice in his mouth would have gotten his attention. His appetite was fine the night before. It couldn't have gotten that bad that quickly.
Most of this time I'd been holding him on his back, except for semi-upright when I was trying to get him to drink. He put up no resistance to anything. He just wanted to sleep.
I held him on my lap, on his back facing me, rubbed his belly and his sides, and that's when I knew. The tumor had grown. His entire left side was larger and harder than the right side. The tumor wrapped around to include half his belly.
I had been trying to figure out if there was anything I could do to help him or if I needed to take him to the vet. But it was too late. He just wanted to sleep. His body was shutting down. He had chosen this day to die.
I didn't want him to go. But I knew if I took him to the vet, they wouldn't be able to remove the tumor. What could they do? Maybe keep him alive for a few days with a shot of something to stimulate his appetite or an IV, but going there is so stressful for him, and I certainly wouldn't want to leave him there, alone and frightened.
So I just held him. For hours I just held him, and petted him, and told him how much I loved him and what a good bunny he was, and cried.
When it was time to go to bed, I just lay on the couch with him on my chest. After a couple of hours I realized I couldn't get comfortable enough to sleep in that position, so I took him to bed with me. I still couldn't sleep, but I was a bit more comfortable on my side, holding him in my arms in front of me. He slept through all of it. And in the middle of the night, his tiny body spasmed, and was then still forevermore.
Goodbye, sweet Rudy. I will always love you.