Sunday, December 09, 2007

As I type, the weather here is absolutely rotten and so I thought it timely to show you some holiday snaps: this is one of our rabbit, Bunny Lapine, on safari. No, I jest, she’s not in the Kenyan Masaai Mara but she’s been encased in a mosquito net ever since we heard that the viral disease myxomatosis was killing our neighbours’ rabbits (see my blog of 26th November).

It’s spread by flying, biting insects, like rabbit fleas and mosquitoes, so the fine netting was the first line of defence. Gabrielle went to see our local vet, Dr Hamedi Mouli, to buy some vaccine and, as we’d been helpfully warned by a comment to this blog by Renée about another rabbit malady, rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease, she brought back two vaccines, some hypodermic needles and instructions. He really is a super guy and spent quite some time explaining to her exactly how to administer the injection (which involves mixing two components and delivering it subcutaneously) and, to make really sure that she understood, grabbed his own unsuspecting pet cat and gave it a vitamin injection to demonstrate the correct technique.

Our neighbours’ son, Tangui, has a work placement coming up with that same vet and so I thought it would be fun for him to take part in the inoculations. The bottles contained 10 doses, that’s nine for Bunny and her eight offspring, leaving one for neighbour Kysinia’s pet rabbit. She works during the week, so we’d agreed to do it today. Tangui enthusiastically came round this morning to ask when I was going to do it. I went round to call for him at 3pm but two rings on the doorbell failed to elicit any response and, seeing his parents’ car absent, assumed he wasn’t there and went ahead, only to discover later that he’d stayed home all day, waiting for my call and had missed the action. There might well have been ten doses of 0.5millilitres each but the smallest of errors on the first nine left me short, so I intend to buy another batch, not expensive at all, and do Kysinia’s rabbit, and the rabbits of our two elderly neighbours, Solange and Annick, and, imagining how I’d have felt in the same situation, I’ve absolutely promised Tangui not to do it without him.

I’ve never administered an injection before and had only the instructions given by a French-speaking Egyptian vet via Gabrielle and some useful stuff I’d found on the Internet. We started with the eight bundles of fun and finished with mummy. To administer an injection to a rabbit, the technique is to pull up the scruff of the neck into a “tent” and pierce one layer of skin, trying to avoid going all the way through and spearing one’s own fingers, then pull back on the plunger to make sure no blood is sucked up, thereby ensuring one is in the right place, then squeeze. None of them made any complaints and I didn’t unwittingly inoculate myself either. We’ll leave her wrapped up in her protective mosquito net for a couple of weeks until the vaccine has protected them. It’s a similar delay before we can administer the other vaccine against VHD.