Sunday, October 16, 2011
Sunday, August 8, 2010
If you are planning a long ride or a move and you are taking your pet rabbit with you, there are several things you have to consider. Traveling by car with your pet rabbit may not be as easy as you think if you never made him travel before. There are at least 3 facts you must know about before you made that decision.
Traveling can stressed out your rabbit Most rabbit will not enjoy long rides because of all the stress that being in a car will be giving them. If you absolutely have to take your rabbit on a long trip, you need a good size pet carrier to put him in. Put a towel on the bottom and bring plenty more to change them later along with food, hay and a bottle of water. Also take plenty of fresh vegetables and extra food for a long ride.
Rabbits are sensitive to overheating If you are planing on traveling in the summer months, remember to never leave the rabbit in the car while you stop, even if it is only for a quick one. Rabbits can overheat very easily and in just for a few minutes, they can suffocate and die. If your car does not have air conditioned, prepare in advance some frozen bottles of water that you put in the carrier wrapped in small towels so the rabbit can lean against them to cool off.
Take time to get him out to exercise If you will be traveling for several days in a row, get your rabbit out every night and take him in the motel room with you. Lay a large towel on the bathroom floor and install his litter box, food and water. Put the pet carrier on the doorway with the open door facing the bathroom and let him out so you can go for dinner without worrying about him destroying anything.
Remember that if your pet is not used to it, traveling by car with your pet rabbit could be risky. Some bunnies can get really stressed out and stop eating for over 24 hours, witch could be dangerous for their lives. Unless you have no other choice, if you are moving for example, it would be safer for your little friend to find him a keeper while you are going away.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Rabbit diarrhea is a serious problem and can result in the death of your rabbit if not spotted quickly.
What is diarrhea? It is when your rabbit excretes a large quantity of dark brown or dark blood infused stools instead of normal stools. If this occurs it is an emergency and so contact your vet immediately
It is generally a symptom of an underlying health issue. The underlying health issue is the cause and the diarrhea is the effect.
As you can imagine there are quite a few underlying health issues that can result in your rabbit having diarrhea. So, in this article, we are going to look at a few of those issues.
Gastrointestinal/digestive system health problems are a main cause of diarrhea. There can be many causes; diet, genetics, disease, virus or bacteria. If you follow the high fiber, low carbohydrate diet detailed then your rabbit's diet should not cause any problems. To find out more about a high fiber, low carbohydrate diet you should consult your vet or a good rabbit care guide.
Two of the most common gastrointestinal problems that cause diarrhea are:
Enteritis is a specific gastrointestinal problem and is an infection or inflammation of the intestines. The cause is a change in the balance of good and bad bacterium within your rabbit's digestive system. The bad bacteria overgrow resulting in disease. Symptoms indicative of enteritis are:
loss of appetite
The most common root cause of this bacterial imbalance and disease is a low fiber, high carbohydrate diet.
Another very serious gastrointestinal problem is Enterotoxemia. This is where a bacterial imbalance results in toxins being produced. These toxins are absorbed into the rabbit's blood and poison him. Maintaining a healthy high fiber diet can help prevent this condition.
Symptoms indicative of Enterotoxemia are:
loss of appetite
This condition can result in the sudden death of your rabbit and so you should contact your vet immediately
Of course your rabbit may also get diarrhea from eating a food that did not agree with their system. But it is always best to contact your vet for further advice if your rabbit does have diarrhea.
A common theme throughout this article has been that a good, high fiber, low carbohydrate diet can go a long way to prevent some of the diarrhea causing health issues. It is therefore a very good idea to head out and learn how to correctly feed your rabbit.
When breeding rabbits, it is best to make a record of the date of breeding so you can anticipate when your rabbit needs her nestbox. If you are unsure of whether or not your doe has been around a buck, you may want to keep an eye on her for awhile to make sure you're not surprised if she has a litter. Even veterinarians may misdiagnose pregnancy in a rabbit; it isn't that easy to tell. Rabbit gestation is approximately 31 days, so if your doe goes well beyond that without exhibiting any of these signs, she probably isn't pregnant.
How old is your doe? It is best that does not be bred until they are between six and nine months old, but sometimes, they can conceive as early as three or four months of age. If this rabbit is new to you, ask the breeder you got her from when she was separated from her brothers. It wouldn't be the first "oops" litter to happen when littermates are not separated early enough.
Around three weeks into the pregnancy, sometimes you can feel little "marbles" inside your doe's belly. If you don't feel them, don't assume she isn't pregnant. They can be difficult to feel for some, even when they've been raising rabbits for years. First litters are harder to palpate due to better abdominal muscle tone on the doe.
Some does will get aggressive while pregnant. Does she pounce towards your hand when you reach into the cage? Is she beginning to growl at you when you open the cage door? These could be signs your doe is pregnant... or that she's hit puberty or wants to be bred. Aggression is a possible clue to pregnancy, but not a definitive answer.
Some does start nesting early, while others wait until the last minute, so be prepared with a nestbox either way. A doe that carries her hay around in her mouth so it looks like a hay moustache is nesting. A doe that starts pulling clumps of fur off her belly and dewlap is nesting. If you've got both going on... give that girl a nestbox as soon as possible! Give her plenty of hay to fill it with and let her have her fun. If she makes the nest outside of the nestbox, carefully move the nest into the box and place the box where the nest was originally made.
Of course, some does don't make nests or pull fur until after the babies are born, in which case by the time you discover them, they may have gotten chilled. Babies in this instance most likely won't live unless you can warm them fast enough. Wearing chilled babies next to your skin may help, or setting them under a brooder light might work if you keep an eye on them so they don't get overheated.
If your doe is pregnant, congratulations on the new litter! Check the nestbox daily to count bodies to make sure they are all lively and warm. Remove any that die. If your doe isn't pregnant, you won't need to worry about all those extra bunny mouths to feed.
Friday, August 6, 2010
I have always been amazed at the odd things that arise in the course of my association with rabbits during the thirty-three years that I have practiced veterinary medicine. Growing up in the West Bronx had never afforded me the opportunity to become familiar with these animals, and the thought of someone actually keeping them as pets had never even dawned on me.
What put rabbits on my veterinary radar screen was the information about their reproductive physiology. They were induced ovulators, a trait unique to only cats and rabbits. All other species of animals ovulate at a set time during their cycle; the induced ovulators release their eggs only during mating, thus assuring a very high rate of fertilization and reproduction. The facts that the does possess two cervixes and that immediately after mating, the buck stiffens and falls over on his side and remains in a catatonic trance for fifteen seconds, only served to enhance the mystique!
And that was pretty much the extent of my rabbit knowledge after graduating from veterinary school. The New York State veterinary licensing exam is a three-day written and practical test that I took upon graduation. Luckily, it didn’t expose my dearth of knowledge -- there wasn’t a mention of a rabbit on the entire exam. However, the situation wasn’t quite the same a few months later when I took the California licensing exam. You can only imagine how surprised I was when I stumbled into twenty-five questions about -- you guessed it -- the reproductive physiology of rabbits! I answered all the questions by extrapolating my knowledge of cats, and I must have guessed well because my license was in my mailbox by the time I returned to the East Coast.
A discussion about the California exam wouldn’t be complete without mentioning yet an additional irony. There were four or five questions regarding false pregnancy in rabbits -- questions that I answered by substituting the word cat for rabbit, but it was the final question that caused me to break with the pattern of cat-inspired answers. The true or false question simply asked whether false pregnancies were common in rabbits. I had never heard of or seen the condition in cats, but couldn’t understand why the exam would waste several questions on an irrelevant condition. So I broke with tradition and correctly, fortunately, answered "True." The funny thing is that I have yet to see this condition in practice, and have been waiting expectantly for over thirty years.
Shortly after moving to California, I found myself living in Laguna Beach and practicing in Laguna Hills. I was befriended by Dr. Kopit, who was at that time, serving as president of the Southern California Veterinary Association. A significant portion of his practice was made up of exotic pets and he knew all the tricks that an experienced practitioner acquires through the years. On this particular afternoon he called me into the treatment area as he was about to trim the nails and clip the teeth on a very apprehensive rabbit. “Ever see a rabbit hypnotized?” he asked. I thought that he was kidding, but he proceeded to gently turn the rabbit on its back and slowly and rhythmically slide him back and forth on the tabletop. Amazingly, within fifteen seconds the rabbit relaxed and lapsed into a trance-like state. It was incredible to watch as the procedures were done without the rabbit reacting in any way. At first I thought that it was some type of trick and insisted on seeing whether I could duplicate the technique. It worked flawlessly and I realized what a valuable tool this would be. Restraint of rabbits can be a very precarious. Overzealous restraint can easily result in fractures of the back when a struggling rabbit kicks violently with its powerful hind legs, essentially causing the back to snap like a twig. I like the peaceful nature of the hypnotic restraint so much that very often I demonstrate it for clients just for the entertainment value!
Rabbits visit me at the hospital for a variety of reasons. Some come to be spayed or neutered. This is especially helpful in households that have more than one rabbit and there is the need for population control or to prevent fighting between same sex rivals. Others come for maintenance procedures such as nail trims and teeth cutting.
Because most pet rabbits spend lots of time in hutches with wire mesh flooring, they don’t get a chance to wear down their nails naturally, which often results in bizarre overgrowths. Teeth continue to grow throughout the life of the rabbit. If there weren’t a mechanism in place to prevent the unlimited elongation of the teeth it would ultimately be impossible to close the mouth and ingest food. One of the ways that the tooth surfaces are worn down is through chewing on hard fibrous food. The other is by having the opposing teeth in the mouth wear each other down during the chewing and grinding that accompanies eating. Rabbits whose teeth do not line up properly can expect a lifetime of visits to mechanically grind or cut the overgrown teeth. The front teeth, the incisors, are easily accessible and are cut with a nail trimmer. The molar teeth are hard to access and have to be done under a general anesthetic. Rabbits -- an orthodontist’s delight or nightmare?
Illness also causes visits to the hospital. Snuffles is the cute name given to a not so cute, chronic bacterial respiratory condition. Ear mites are also common in rabbits. The parasites burrow under the surface of the ear canal causing the canal to secrete layers of earwax in an attempt to protect itself from the hungry invaders. When treating the condition, the ear is first cleaned of the wax formation, which can approach the size of a small pine cone! It is ironic that in seeking to protect itself, the ear secretes the wax that is used by the mites as their food. No wonder these parasites have survived over the ages -- evolution in action.
More rabbits suffer from heat stroke than any other animal I see. Leaving them in unsheltered environments on hot summer days is a sure recipe for disaster. The grossest thing that that causes rabbits to wind up as patients is severe infestations with maggots. These infestations usually occur from under the tail to the groin and are usually the result of diarrheal feces that have adhered to the fur in those areas. Flies are drawn to the area, lay their eggs and presto, the hungry larvae emerge ready to eat anything in sight. Interestingly, the most common cause of diarrhea is the formation of hairballs in the intestine. The most effective way to prevent their formation is by feeding fresh pineapple two to three times per week. The acid in the pineapple acts as a Draino for Rabbits when used regularly!
During times of famine, rabbits become practitioners of an ancient survival technique, known as coprophagy. It is a trait that they share with elephants! Coprophagy is the act of eating your own feces in order to extract any remaining nutrients that escaped the first time around. Occasionally I get calls from distraught rabbit owners who report seeing this behavior. The solution that I suggest is simple -- increase their food ration and this primal instinct will become dormant.
Yet, of all the amazing things that I have learned about rabbits, my biggest surprise had to do with my head groomer. When I bought the animal hospital twenty-five years ago, the former owner said to me that John was the best thing that I would inherit in the deal. Never were truer words spoken, for John is a true animal whisperer. He has never, ever needed any animal to be tranquilized. Even the meanest, nastiest cats and the biggest, most aggressive dogs melt in his presence. It is simply uncanny! So you can only imagine my shock, about ten years into our association, when I requested that a bath and grooming be done on a matted rabbit. John came to me and sheepishly said, “Doctor B, I can’t bathe that rabbit for you. I’m afraid of them, they remind me of big rats.”
So much for Peter Cottontail!
Article by Dr b
A Rabbit Run may be the best thing that you can give to your favorite pet.
We should never take it for granted that our pet rabbit is happy and content inside his cage.
Yes, he is fed nutritious food and goodies daily and given enough revitalizing water to drink. We shower him with plush toys and other playthings. We even give them names and treat them like true members of our family.
We protect our bunny friends from harm by rabbit proofing our homes lest they get trapped in small spaces they cannot crawl their way out of, and keeping deadly predators away from his cage and living area.
He has everything except the things that he needs most, exercise and good old sunshine and fresh air. A Rabbit Run may just be what the doctor ordered for your favorite pet.
Although your rabbit is probably bred in captivity, a Rabbit Run can give your pet the natural habitat he is genetically longing for.
Rabbits crave the great outdoors! Like you, they like getting out of their cramped living quarters every now and then, to enjoy a little rest and recreation, basking in the sun and feeling soft grass caress their bellies.
Rabbits are natural woodland creatures. They partake of the bounty of the land. They cover large distances just to satisfy their hunger. All this with nary a complaint. Because that is how they are built. Natural foragers like rabbits are nature’s forest rangers.
Think about he must be feeling, even with all the perks and gifts you give him. He must be really bored, all cooped up in that tight cage of his.
Let him loose inside a spacious Rabbit Run and have him jump and run and explore till he cannot do so anymore. He will thank you by being receptive to your petting and rabbit talk.
Give your beloved pet a Rabbit Run and nurture his natural instincts to run and hop inside a controlled and protected environment.
Also, space constraints affect your rabbits if they live in inefficiently-designed cages.
What if you decide on getting an additional rabbit? How do you solve a problem like cramped rabbit living quarters? Do you cram all of them into a tight space? Of course not!
If you truly loved your pet, you would not subject them to such an inhuman position.
A Double Rabbit Hutch can solve that problem by providing your pet with adequate room inside for sleeping and a littler roaming about.
Rabbit hutches are far different than rabbit cages. They provide spacious quarters for the rabbits, unlike the little space a cage can offer. Much like giving a rabbit a mansion after letting him live in a shoebox for so long.
It’s like a two storey townhouse for rabbits! Easily modified to expand for additional members, the Double Rabbit Hutch is also a space saver. Being two-tiered, it frees valuable space in your homes, all the while providing adequate living and roaming quarters for your pet rabbits.
You can easily add another member of the family wide in the Double Rabbit Hutch as it is spacious and expandable, accommodating more rabbits than conventional cages.
While rabbit runs satisfy your pet rabbit’s natural wandering instincts, a Double Rabbit Hutch is the perfect solution to space problems that plague urban rabbit owners.