Tuesday, 9 August 2011


This isn't a particularly cheerful post and there is a photo of an ill rabbit. If you're feeling squeamish, then skip this this post, though there are also some kitten photos as well.

Already booked in at Roker Park was a young female to be neutered which is why I was up and out early. I called in at the Council tip (refuse) on the way there to dispose of a couple of large boxes of rubbish from the new shop. As I approached the entrance I saw a rabbit sitting in the middle so I got out an, assuming it to be a wild one, intended nudging it to hop into the greenery to one side. Only it didn't move and let me pick it up. I now assumed it to be an escaped domestic pet and popped it into a cat carrier I had with me and then off to Carol's. There I picked up the cat to be spayed and also Carol and an elderly cat which, poor thing, was on its last legs and we were going to do the  hardest and kindest thing of all.

At the vets, the female cat was quickly checked and taken through the back to await the operation. The vet took one look at the rabbit and said, "It's a wild rabbit and it has myxomatosis." I said, "Put it to sleep, please."

Late in the afternoon and I was back at the vets and chatting to a young woman who'd come back for the rabbit she'd left that morning. She hadn't heard of myxomatosis so I explained that it was a natural disease that had been modified by man to kill off a plague of rabbits and used to deadly effect in the 1950's in the UK when it had a fatality rate of 95%. That is now down to about 50% here as many of the survivors' descendants inherited or developed an immunity. But that doesn't stop it being a horrible way for an animal to die. The vet told me that it's quite common in this area which, having spoken to Tracy at Burnhope today, I'm taking to be the North East as a whole. Here's a photo I took of it.

At least I was able to end its suffering.

It was painful too watching the other cat being put to sleep. Its veins had shrunk and it took four attempts before the vet found one wide enough to take the syringe. After that it was thankfully just moments.

Back at Carol's I took a few photos of the grey cat's litter and the some of the three litters with their mother/foster-mother.

Coming soon: The Rabbit, The Hedgehog, and The Hen That Wasn't.

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