Mystery of the sneezing Pinky

Pinky has been sneezing since last night… at intervals of about 3-5min between each sneeze. Checked her nose but she doesn’t really seems to have any mucus so i’m not sure if it’s the snuffles (Rabbit equivalent of ‘cold’. Rabbits’ URTI are caused by bacteria whereas humans’ URTI are caused by viruses).

Was thinking of bringing her to the vet if she’s not well by Monday but when i got home just now, i observed something rather erm, silly. Pinky was drinking water from her bowl (as usual) and when she saw i was near the cage, she begged to be let out. So i opened the door of her cage… w/in 2secs of hopping out, Pinky started sneezing… and i started counting…. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, pause, 8, pause, 9, 10.

Whoa… that was a long sneezing fit. After she sneezed, she also shook her front paws, which were totally wet from her dipping them into her water tray while drinking, all over the floor. The result? The floor had this huge wet patch that was a combination of her sneezes – droplets of water, and paw prints all over. I dabbed my finger against Pinky’s nose and the wetness didn’t feel like mucus… it seemed more like… water?

Oh dear… don’t tell me Pinky’s been sneezing ‘cos she’s been breathing in water while drinking?!? That is a little stupid isn’t it? I really can’t tell? But that IS a possibility! I don’t know which is worse – if she’s sick, that’s bad ‘cos she’s still a baby and any condition in a sick baby could turn critical. But if she’s sneezing ‘cos she keeps breathing in water, then how is she supposed to prevent dehydration w/o developing pneumonia from having water accumulated in her lungs??

Sheesh… i am really at a loss now. After letting Pinky run about for a while, i decided that it was best if she could learn to drink from a bottle. At least that way, she won’t breathe in any water. So i took the water bottle, & approached a now lying down Pinky. When Pinky heard me approach, she raised her head to look at me. I showed Pinky the bottle and said, “come & drink water!” & she obediently did!

But instead of holding her head upright & licking the water bottle, she twisted her head in this awkward position (imagine her body lying on the ground but her head trying to tilt upside down) to drink. I think Pinky is trying to drink from the bottle, as she would suckle milk from Horlicks. I don’t know to be exasperated or amused. Pinky managed to take 2 licks in that position. I raised the bottle a little to see if it’ll occur to her to drink normally… but Pinky held her position & took another 3 licks.

Sigh… i guess that’s a good enough start. At least she knows now that the bottle is a water source. I removed the water tray from her cage just now and put the water bottle in its place. Hope she’ll figure out how to drink the water!

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March 2006