Two days ago, one of the TAS drivers picked up a rabbit. She had been left overnight in front of a hair salon, in a cardboard box with rotten food.
It was immediately obvious that she wasn't in very good shape. Her coat was dirty and clumpy and flaked with dandruff, her ears were filled with wax and she was having trouble walking.
We named her Noelle, because we decided that all new animals up until Christmas have to have holiday-themed names. Noelle is a beautiful dark silver Rex. She has a typical Rex look, but she has nice furry ears instead of the fuzzy ears Rexes usually have.
Someone treated this rabbit like trash. She was kept in some cage that has left her feet fairly ruined. Her nails had grown so long that even when we cut them back to the quick, they are still long and curled, but we can't trim them any more without making her bleed. We'll have to give the quick time to recede and keep clipping them. There are sores on the pads of all four of her feet, and she is clearly uncomfortable putting weight on them.
She has dry, irritated skin and a terrible coat. She's clearly itchy and she shuffles along as she walks, rather than hopping. But she does have a bright, eager attitude - she's been inhaling food since she arrived, and she loves to be stroked (and scratched!). The vet checked her over and determined that there doesn't seem to be anything broken. It seems that her trouble walking comes from the damage to her legs from whatever terrible cage she was in, and time will have to tell if that damage can be reversed or improved.
I took her home to foster her. The vet agreed that good nutrition is going to make a huge difference to her health. We are going to give her the best diet possible, and I think a week or two of constant hay, high-quality pellets and fresh greens will clear up her skin, her fur and her general wellness. We will work on getting her nails back to a healthy length, and we'll have to see how much that affects her ability to walk, because that could be a big part of her limping.
Otherwise, it's going to have to be wait and see. She'll have good nutrition, grooming if needed and soft bedding for the next couple of weeks. As the sores on her feet heal, her general health improves and her nails go back to proper length, we will have to see if her ability to walk improves. And if it doesn't? We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Noelle is a sweet rabbit. She deserved to live in a good home with good people, not to be neglected completely and then thrown out like garbage.
She's safe now. She'll have a wonderful Christmas and get spoiled rotten as long as she's at our house. And we'll just have to keep our fingers crossed that her ability to walk improves.