Katanga is a very special bunny with a very sad story. He found himself at a shelter in 2005 after having been dumped outside by his previous owners. In all likelihood, he was hit by a car and as a result, suffered from spinal injuries that hindered his ability to walk. One phone call to Rabbit Rescue’s Founder and Executive Director Haviva Lush, and Katanga was given a second chance at life.
Knowing that he would be unadoptable, Haviva opened her home and her heart and adopted Katanga. She sought the medical advice of many vets, provided him with the treatment he needed (which included a tail amputation and physical therapy) and gave him all the love she had. Miraculously, his mobility issues improved and Katanga was able to walk, hop and live like every other bunny could!
Over the next few years, Haviva worked hard with Katanga to help him overcome his intense fear of humans with her soft words and gentle hands. Slowly he improved, came out of his shell and began to display all the signs of a happy and content bunny. When the time was right, Katanga was introduced to another of Haviva’s special bunnies, Thistle, who had her ears cut off by an abusive previous owner. With Thistle’s half-ears and Katanga’s missing tail, they made the perfect couple and fell madly in love. For the first time in Katanga’s life, he was in a loving home with an adoring mate, happy as could be.
In September 2008, Haviva noticed that Katanga started to limp and over the last few weeks, his condition has worsened. He cannot walk - only drag his back legs. X-rays found the problem was due to a disk in his spine, most likely related to his previous injury of being hit by a car. The doctors have recommended surgery which will be very risky and expensive. The cost of the medical treatment will be approximately $5,000. This includes a specialized back surgeon and an anaesthesiologist as well as other associated costs including appointments with specialized vets and an MRI. Most importantly, this surgery is needed immediately as further deterioration of his spine could result in permanent paralysis, and the longer we wait, the less chance of a successful surgery. Time is of the essence.
Katanga is in the fight for his life. $5000 is a lot of money for one person to handle all at once. Haviva has never once asked anyone for financial help with the care of her bunnies and has steadfastly refused to use any Rabbit Rescue funds to help her with these costs. Haviva has opened her heart and her home to many other “unadoptable” bunnies who otherwise would not be here today if it weren’t for her. And let’s not forget how she has dedicated her life to creating and running Rabbit Rescue Inc., Canada’s largest rabbit rescue. In Rabbit Rescue’s formative years, Haviva worked around the clock and sacrificed all she had in order to keep Rabbit Rescue afloat and help as many bunnies as possible. Because of her dreams, dedication and hard work, Rabbit Rescue exists today as a safe haven for abandoned, abused and neglected rabbits who otherwise would have been euthanized.
Because she has helped so many in their desperate time of need, we, Haviva’s Rabbit Rescue Friends, have decided to create this website as a place where people can learn about Katanga and Haviva’s story, follow their journey, offer support and good wishes and help with the medical costs. Katanga’s condition and treatment has never been explored or documented. No bunny has ever taken this journey. Katanga has bravely taken on the job of being a bunny trailblazer of sorts. His experiences and results will pave the way for future bunnies will similar problems. Investing in Katanga’s treatment and recovery is investing in the treatment and recovery of many bunnies down the road, so that they all have the best chance possible and a wonderful bunny life.
Kantanga has an appointment with the neurologist to discuss the surgery and get a final opinion.
The MRI appointment was successful and Katanga did great under anesthetic. A radiologist will be interpreting the results, but the MRI facility was able to confirm that there is a problem with one of his disks in his back. The CD with the images was also delivered to the neurologist and surgeon. We should have the results on Monday.
Results from the MRI have come back and show disk extrusion causing marked spinal cord compression.
Katanga has shown marked improvement over the last week, and the vets, surgeon and neurologist are deciding if we should go ahead with surgery now or wait until he shows further problems (ie if the disk pos up). The surgery is temporarily scheduled for this coming Wed, but it looks like it is possible that it may be put off a bit.