Sierra’s Story: It Was Just a Scratch!

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A nonprofit fundraiser supporting

All About Rabbits Rescue
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After 1 culture, 2 biopsies, 3 vets, Sierra was diagnosed with cancer. Read her full story below.


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Sierra was heartlessly abandoned outside to fend for herself and so begins a long and winding story that included many vet visits to get her resolution and finally, a great home. 

She was taken in by a kind cat rescuer took her to an exotics - rabbit savvy vet for a check-up and examination of the laceration over her left eye. Since Sierra had been left outside near a large feral cat population, it was suspected to just be a scratch. Medicated eye drops and oral antibiotics were prescribed. The cat rescuer was in no position to take care of Sierra and so AARR and took her in. 

The “scratch” simply didn’t heal. What was going on?  AARR  took her to another exotics rabbit savvy vet clinic. By this time, the area around the scratch had become pink, swollen, and Sierra had a half closed eye. Infection was suspected so the wound was cleaned and the area was cultured. The pathology report did not find any infectious organisms. By this point, it was becoming difficult to tell where the scratch initially was!  Sierra was prescribed another antibiotic. 

The scratch kept morphing and so she was brought back to vet clinic #2  There she saw a different doctor who confirmed that the scratch had become an abscess. Sierra was prepared for an eyelid abscess surgery which included debridement under anesthesia. We had strong hopes that the area would heal, but our hopes weren’t to come true. 

After this surgery, the eyelid had begun to crust over and the skin above it was puffy, pink and sore. The debridement did not resolve the condition. AARR’s vet bills were already $1000+, and we were no closer to resolving this strange condition. We were determined to do everything we could to help her.  


AARR brought her to a 3rd clinic, Dakota Vets. Given her medical history, the vet said Sierra would need a biopsy under sedation to see what we are dealing with. Low and behold, the procedure confirmed Sierra had Carcinoma, a form of cancer that begins in the skin or tissues. This diagnosis explained the persistent morphing of the area. We were dealing with an eyelid and this unfortunately provided limited courses of action.

At this point, Sierra’s eyelid was not able to function at all anymore. It was weepy and crusty and she couldn't see out of her eye.  An eye cannot function without a working eyelid. The job of the eyelid is lubrication and cleaning of the eye. Without this function, infection is guaranteed and there was no other choice but to remove this eye.  It was a painful and heartbreaking decision because the eyesight and eyeball were perfectly good.

The medical term is enucleation but this was not a simple enucleation. A second biopsy needed to be taken after enucleation to ensure no cancer remained in the area.  Additional reconstruction was also needed.. Skin from the head above the eyelid and skin from under the eye were joined to close the area. 

Sierra’s long, tough road finally come to an end. The area healed well and Sierra showed she recovered by being active and eating with enthusiasm. As fate would have it, the beautiful Sierra caught the eye of a seasoned AARR adopter seeking a partner for his male bun, Bunny Bunassi. Sierra treated Bunny Bunassi like an old friend — jumping into the litter box with him and even offered unsolicited grooming.  Off she went to her new home to be loved and give love! 

AARR is so grateful to have been able to step up and help her. We are so happy that Sierra’s journey ended in a happy tale. We do not want to think about what would have happened had she not gotten the proper care.  We are so thankful to all our supporters who  donated and made this rescue possible. Please ensure that we can provide care for other rabbits in need.

This #GivingTuesday please consider making a donation so we can continue to provide rabbits like Sierra with the care they deserve.


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