This is a weekly blog to let you know what is going on at The Educated Rabbit and with those bunnies in my life who inspire this website. I will announce any new exciting products, alert you to local rescues (and how to support them) and what is going on in the world of rabbits. Thank you for tuning in!
The Diamond Blog keeps you informed on all the new additions and updates to the Educated Rabbit website.
I hope you are all doing well this May Monday.
I spent the majority of today at the vet or sitting on a LA freeway. Today, my baby girl, Zoe, went to see Dr. Gleeson at ACCESS in Culver City. ACCESS is the clinic I typically use for emergencies or if my bunnies will need more advanced diagnostics. I've seen Dr. Gleeson and Dr. Schacterle many times and like both doctors and their staff very much.
Zoe just passed her 10th birthday, and it was time for a check-up, but even more pressing, I felt something was not quite right. There is a slight bulging of her eyes when she bent her head to groom her tummy. She eats less and less veggies (although everything else is great). The changes are slight, but there.
One of the things bulging eyes can indicate is a thymoma, which is a tumor of the thymus (which sits in the chest). I wanted to know if that was something I was dealing with.
I managed to get an appointment (no easy feat!) and have her seen. On physical examination, Zoe is in great shape (other than her spondylosis). She is blessed with great bunny genetics. On her x-rays, a tumor could not be seen, but her heart looked enlarged. Dr. Gleeson suggested an echogram to see exactly what was going on, and I authorized the extra test.
Well, the echogram showed that Zoe's heart is just fine. Instead, there's a mass present that just made the heart look enlarged on the x-ray. Unfortunately, the echogram was unable to indicate what type of mass this is - further testing will need to be done.
However, the mass was caught early, because I noticed a subtle change in her appearance and behavior. No animal likes to advertise an injury or illness, but rabbits make an extra effort to hide any pain or discomfort. It's so important to know your bunny and act on anything unusual.
For now, Zoe is back home with her boy, Joey. She's giving me quite the stink eye for all the indignity she suffered this afternoon. I know she loves me anyway.
I hope everyone is doing well. I just came from the dentist, in which my dentist described to me how plaque forms and how gum disease destroys the teeth. It was quite the terrifying thing to hear while you're having your teeth cleaned. I swore off Red Vines licorice (which lasted about 20 minutes, because I picked up more on the way home).
I have spent the last week adjusting my life without Eddie. Losing a special needs or senior bun kind of throws me off balance for a bit as I wonder at the extra time suddenly on my hands. Honestly, it didn't seem like he took much time at all, but I suppose those extra minutes here and there add up.
I've also finished washing all of his bedding. It's amazing how much fleece pillows you collect for one little bunny. I don't think I actually made any new ones for Eddie. Some of my pillows go all the way back to Kirby - my first rear end paralysis bunny in 2013. I've accumulated quite the collection now for all those senior and special needs bunnies in my care over the years.
I've also spent the last week putting together a new service I would like to offer through my website. I will start offering at-home consultations for those looking for advice on bonding, taking care of seniors or special needs bunnies, and for new bunny owners looking for advice on diet, housing and bunny-proofing. I will also be offering at-home grooming services and individual grooming instruction. All services will be available to those living in Southern California. Pricing and other details will be coming very soon. A large portion of the profits will probably go to keeping Winston's toy box well stocked.
Speaking of toys, I've started an article on rabbit toys. I think this will be a very fun topic (I love toy shopping for bunnies!!).
I hope everyone will have a terrific week. It's hard to believe May is almost upon us!
I hope you are all having a good Monday.
It's was a difficult week for me. As some of you are aware, I had to put Eddie to sleep on Wednesday. It was not unexpected, as my husband and I had noticed a significant decline. The vet clinic had created a peaceful room for him, and James and I were able to hold him as he finally slipped away. It was sad, but beautiful. I had his body cremated and now have his ashes resting with the remains of his two best friends, Roxanne and Poppy.
For me, the hardest part is cleaning up - taking down the pen, throwing out his syringes, washing his blankets. It's removing even more of his physical presence from my life.
I still will have lots of things to remind me of him. There are tons of pictures, because seeing him draped over Poppy was funny (at least for me). I will always remember his dill addiction and his weird fascination with bunny feet (he was always licking Roxanne and Poppy's feet).
Although he had only been living with me for a year, I had actually known Eddie since 2012. He was part of a large rescue and he was one of several white, ruby-eyed bunnies. In fact, those 17 REWs looked so similar, they needed to be numbered (Eddie was White Bunny #3). He was always pretty laid-back. He hardly ever started fights or was a bully in that group of bunnies. He did have some health issues, and by the time he entered my home last year, he was already pretty much on his side. Most of those bunnies rescued in 2012 were somewhat people-shy and Eddie was not an exception. However, he endured my attention and affection with good humor, only planting a foot to my face if he thought I was coddling him too much. I needed to remember that he was a fierce creature and respect that.
He was one of several bunnies that have entered my home and become a large part of my life. It was a privilege to have been his caregiver. I will forever love and miss him.
An important part of rear end paralysis care is cleanliness. Keeping your disabled bunny clean is essential for a good quality of life.
I hope you are all having a good day. As usual, it's been a busy couple of weeks. Dior is still getting settled into our house and we are getting used to her. She is a great little bunny and such a trooper too! I'm amazed how resilient bunnies can sometimes be. I think if I had a broken back, I would be a sobbing puddle. Yet, this little girl scoots around the house like she needs to inspect every single corner. She wants cuddles. She wants treats, and she wants to explore!
While we are still getting to know each other, I decided that there wasn't enough things to do in my life. A friend of mine convinced me to apply to volunteer at the California Wildlife Center in their Orphan Care Unit. I get to bottle-feed orphan squirrels, birds and opossums. I know absolutely NOTHING of these animals, and I thought this would be a fun way to learn a little about them.
My very first day was last week. I was shown how to feed squirrels that were already on solid food, but still given some supplemental milk. They are very funny creatures. They are always on the move. They would grab the syringe with both front paws and try to suck back the milk as fast as they could, often smearing it around their whole mouth. Suddenly, they would stop and want to do something else. I would have to gently poke them with the feeding syringe to get their attention back to the milk.
I won't be hanging around any wild bunnies coming in, due to the RHDV2 virus in the state, and the organizers know I have bunnies in my house. That's perfectly fine. I wanted to try something else animal-related, but NOT be tempted to bring home more animals. Working with wild ones is a nice change, because you are not supposed to get them used to you, nor are you allowed to take home anyone.
If you have always wanted to experience some activity (such as bottle-feeding baby animals), I would encourage you to find an organization where you can volunteer. There are some really interesting opportunities out there. For example, I always thought it might be fun to take those volunteer vacations where you spend two weeks in the heart of Africa radio-tagging Cheetahs (then I remember I'm not that big a fan of camping). However, you don't need to be nearly that adventurous. Perhaps you are a dog-lover, but cannot commit to one. You can volunteer at your local shelter and walk some rescue dogs or help out in a mobile adoption clinic. Maybe help socialize some kittens at a local rescue or maybe even help out at a local wildlife center and help rehabilitate sea birds. There is always something interesting out there.
There is madness in my house, and yes, I brought it upon myself (even willingly). I'm OK with it, but...the rest of the household needs to be convinced that this is really a good thing.
About 10 days ago (or so), I was approached by Zooh Corner Rabbit Rescue if I could help out with a special needs bunny, who was previously with another rescue, Lily's Legacy Foundation. Unfortunately, the founder of Lily's Legacy is going through some serious health issues and could not take this bunny back. Zooh Corner was also very full and just could not take in a bunny who needed extensive care.
James and I discussed it and agreed to take her in. We went to pick up Dior last week and she has been settling in our home the last few days.
Dior is about 2.5 years-old. Several months ago, she injured herself and broke her back and foot. Despite her medical issues, she is still a bright, happy bunny and very eager for human attention.
She had some medical treatment several weeks ago, but I'm waiting for a vet appointment to see if everything is still the same, better or worse. She has her first physical therapy appointment with Dr. Waldman at C.A.R.E. tomorrow morning, and she will put together an exercise plan which hopefully will make Dior more comfortable.
Surprisingly, Dior gets around very well by just scooting her butt around. However, the bad posture and unsuitable flooring, has created some nasty sores on her butt. She is currently getting some butt baths and sitting on lots of padding, which is all helping to heal her skin.
I'm still getting to know this lovely girl. I've discovered she likes raspberries, but not dill. She's a great hay eater and likes to hang out in her litter box. She may be disabled, but she is not above nipping any bunny nose that foolishly comes within reach (Cupcake, when will you learn?), and she likes watching TV on the couch with people.
I think this will be a busy few weeks!
It's been a crazy busy Monday (and weekend). So much so, I almost forgot to write a blog post (whoops)!
This morning, Winston had another visit at C.A.R.E. where he got re-examined by the physical therapist and got some acupuncture done (I've never had acupuncture myself, but my bunnies have had many sessions). Winston has improved a great deal, which is fabulous news!! He just needs to improve his litter box habits now.
He has grown quite a bit since he first arrived almost 2 months ago! He's turning into a very sassy bunny, but he will still come (eventually) when I call his name. Sometimes he wants affection over treats. Occasionally, he'll even want some cuddles over being naughty (like pull up the carpet naughty), but that often takes extra persuasion. He is a young bunny with seemingly endless energy and curiosity. Sometimes it's a challenge to keep up with him.
Tomorrow, a new bunny will be welcomed into The Educated Rabbit household. She is going to need some specialized care, so we'll see tomorrow how much help she needs. She already has appointments lined up at C.A.R.E. and my regular vet. Hopefully, she'll feel better in no time.
An important part of rear end paralysis care involves diet. You need to be aware that a disabled bunny's nutritional habits may change.
I hope you are having a nice Monday. It's rainy today, and since it doesn't rain enough in Southern California, my body thinks it's night-time and refuses to wake up. Coupled with the time change yesterday (boo with losing an hour), and I should just throw in the towel when it comes with getting any work done today.
This last week, I attempted to put together an email newsletter (you know, since I do have people signing up for one). I already produced one via my hosting site, which I wasn't horribly happy with in terms with how it looked. I hemmed and hawed for some time, and decided to try MailChimp. I had tried MailChimp many years before, but didn't really like it. It felt 'clunky' to me. At the time, the rescue I was working for was using Constant Contact and I was used to creating newsletters with that set-up.
Anyway, I thought maybe it was all in my imagination and thought I'd give MailChimp another try. For one reason or another, Mailchimp and I had a huge fight. I wanted the Facebook link to go to 'The Educated Rabbit' and Mailchimp insisted it goes to my personal page, and there was no seeing reason. I gave up and thought I'd get back to fixing that problem later.
A couple of days later, I went back to MailChimp and it still insisted on connecting to my Facebook page. I thought I would try and contact support, but it turns out if you have a free account, there is no support.
At this point, I was texting friends in pure anger and frustration (which my friends found hilarious, because that's the sort of friends I have). I decided to bite the bullet and pay for an account with Constant Contact, since I actually know what I'm doing there (sort of).
So, I got an account, moved my contacts and looked around. Apparently they changed some stuff since I poked around last (lol). I was beginning to think maybe I should just get some stone slabs and just start carving out my newsletters.
Whatever! I'll figure it out. At least my friends will be entertained as I send them angry texts. If you would like to read any upcoming newsletters, you can sign up on the website. If there is a topic you would like me to discuss, you can email anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can post in the newsletter. Hopefully, I'll send out a beautiful newsletter by the end of the month.
I hope you are all doing well this March Monday. I'm always amazed about how quickly time goes. How can it already be March?
This last week, I was asked by a rescue-friend whether I had space for another bunny. This is certainly not the first time I've been asked to take in rabbits (hence why Winston and 6 other bunnies live at my house), and I am very well aware of how difficult it is to find a good home for rabbits. I'm also a sucker and want to help out a friend and a rabbit in need.
For those of you who are bunny-mad or who are in rescue, you have to be aware of your limitations. It's important to remember that even if you are a terrific bunny-parent, it doesn't mean your home is ideal for every situation. Sometimes the right question to ask yourself is not, "Can I take in another bunny?", but "Should I take in another bunny?".
Somethings to consider, where will the new bunny live? Will the new bunny be bonded with one of yours? What happens if that doesn't work out? Do you have time for another bunny, especially if you have a disabled bunny already or if this potentially new rabbit has a disability? Can you afford the additional costs, such as food and vet care? Do you have the time and energy to clean another pen? Are you healthy enough to care for another rabbit? Is another pen in the house going to turn your home into a barn? If so, are you OK with that? Are your family members? You have to consider those in your care already, including yourself.
I looked at all aspects of my situation and reluctantly said no. It was not a good time to bring in another new bunny. However, this story has a happy ending. It turned out there was someone looking for a bunny to bond with her boy. This weekend the two rabbits had a 'date', and it looked like they really liked each other. The bunny was adopted and went home with her new human and new bunny friend.
This made me extremely happy. The new home sounds like a much better situation than what I could initially provide. Sometimes saying 'no' can be a good thing.
Happy March 1st!
This past week, I looked after some animals for a friend of mine that lives close by. He has a bunny, as well as chinchillas, a parrot (whose breed I never remember and I've asked my friend several times over the years) and a skink. Biscuit is a large New Zealand girl. Not many people know that New Zealands are typically 9-11lb rabbits and Biscuit is a good 10lbs. She has outlived two bunny companions and is currently sharing her large space with the chinchilla sisters.
Over the years, I've been asked many times if bunnies need a friend to be happy. Generally speaking, rabbits are social animals and enjoy the company of another bunny. It's important to note that may not always be the case, as bunnies are as individual as the people who love them. Some bunnies absolutely need a friend and are miserable without one. Some will attach themselves to just one and treat any other bunny as their mortal enemy (Sprinkles). Some prefer humans, dogs, cats (basically anything BUT a rabbit), while others are OK by themselves (Emma). Others are happy with or without friends (Benji), and other bunnies collect bunny friends like black pants collect bunny fur (Poppy).
People may hesitate in getting a pair of rabbits for a variety of reasons, and may hold off on a second rabbit until they are used to having the one. In theory, that seems like a reasonable approach. However, bonding your bunny with a new one is a whole new complication that I will discuss in future articles. All I will say is that if you think you may get a second bunny, just save yourself the bonding headache and get a pair now.
Personally, I have always had multiple rabbits and have seen how much they like having another bunny to snuggle with. However, I have always had one dog (which is also a social animal). Making sure he was not bored and lonely was a big concern, especially since my husband and I would be at work for most of the day. We solved that problem by hiring first a dog walker then signing Baci up for doggy daycare, where he was free to bark at other dogs and staff all day long. It worked well for everyone.
If you decide to have just one rabbit, be aware that your bunny IS a social animal at heart. Be prepared to spend time with him. Have his pen set up where you and your family will interact with him frequently, whether that may be in the living room or kitchen. Don't neglect him and leave your bunny alone in the basement, garage or outside. Make sure the bunny knows he is a part of the family and loved.
I hope everyone is doing well, especially those who have been hit hard with last week's weather.
James and I are still getting used to having a very young bunny in the house. Winston is usually referred to as The Baby (Have you fed The Baby? What is The Baby doing now? How is The Baby pooping so much? etc.) Well, The Baby seems to have endless energy and is always on the look-out for mischief (you know, typical baby stuff).
This may make it sound like I don't like Winston at all. That's not true. He's a complete sweetheart displaying all the baby behavior to be expected. It's a good thing that this isn't my first baby or else I might be in a panic. It does underscore the point that any time you upend your household routine with adding a new pet, there is a period of adjustment as you and the animal are getting to know each other.
When I worked in rescue and people came in to ask about adoptions, I would ask if they recently had (or have) any rabbits. Usually first-time adopters wanted a baby bunny. This is totally understandable. Baby bunnies must be the cutest things on the planet. I loved fostering bottle-babies, and I feel lucky that I had the opportunity to do so many times.
However, I also know young bunnies are work. Like small children, they have endless energy and have a bottomless curiosity of the world around them. They are small and wiggly and will do things like get under your couch, or jump onto the shelf that holds your checkbook or attack the beanbag pillow and joyfully distribute Styrofoam beads all over the house or wander into the kitchen and cut the power cord to your stove (this doesn't sound like I'm speaking from experience at all, does it?).
Needless to say, I would try and dissuade first time adopters from adopting a baby and rather have them consider adult bunnies instead. Of course, adult bunnies are entirely capable of doing those same things, but they seem to have settled down a bit. They aren't ALWAYS on the quest to get into things.
In between all The Baby cuddling and cleaning (and chasing), I managed to write the first article of a three-part series on Rear End Paralysis Care. As usual, my first intention was to just condense this into one article, but then realized just how big the topic was. There was just so much to share. The first article deals with setting up the pen and socialization. There's lots of pictures of how I set up pens both currently (Eddie) and with past bunnies, so I hope it will be helpful for those who are looking for advice.
I'm working on the second article right now on diet. The third article will focus on keeping your disabled bunny clean.
If you have any questions about rear end paralysis care, please send me an email. I'll be happy to help.
Rear end paralysis care may seem daunting, especially if this is your first time. Fortunately, it's not as complicated as it first looks.
Hope you are all doing well this President's Day. Of course, being as there is still a pandemic going on, staying at home on a Monday is not unusual at all.
It's been a week since Emma's surgery and she is doing well. I'm amazed at the resilience of animals. Despite having a lump taken out of her thigh, Emma was back to her normal self in about a couple of days. I, myself, have been through a couple of surgeries. Let me tell you, I insisted on being pampered and catered to for at least a week or two before I tentatively decided to do things for myself. It could be that I had more invasive surgeries, but a more plausible explanation is that I'm much more of a big baby than my hardcore bunnies.
It turns out that the lump on Emma's thigh was a benign trichoblastoma, which is a common skin tumor for rabbits. That is very good news. Hopefully, we're done with that.
Winston is continuing to be his young bunny-self (ie. an adorable monster). He had his first appointment at physical therapy, in which the vet was able to identify his mobility issues. It seems like the Baby has a spinal compression between his L2-L5. For now, he gets gabapentin and some stretching exercises. He gets limited exercise time, in which he zooms around the dining room as fast as he can (stopping can be a problem though). He is a happy boy, although he would say he's disappointed that he isn't getting pet 24/7. Poor baby!
I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Normally, I spend SuperBowl Sunday having lunch with an old friend and catching up. Obviously, that didn't happen (stupid COVID), but hopefully we'll get together later this year.
As you can guess, I'm not a football fan. I will often watch Puppy Bowl (football for puppies. It's ridiculously cute), but this year, I turned on the TV, just in time for Martha Stewart to introduce a corgi/boarder collie mix named Lucy. I have a weakness for herding dogs (despite the fact I'm WAY too lazy to ever own one unless the dog was about a thousand years old). Lucy's a 17-week puppy ready for adoption from a shelter in New York. I took one look at her and I died of cuteness overload. I had to shut off the TV before my little heart exploded. (Check out her picture here: https://ew.com/tv/puppy-bowl-xvii-adoptable-puppies/)
Not that I'm looking for a very active baby herding dog. Gawd, no! I have a very active baby rabbit to keep me busy. Winston continually proves that he bamboozled me with his 'disability'. This weekend's shenanigans involved jumping out of his pen. A bed sheet is permanently pinned above his pen now, but the corners are pulled up so he can still look out and see us. However, he gives me this hurt look, like I stole his teddy bear AND the last cookie that will ever be made on this planet. Oy! Baby-Monster, this is not my first rodeo. Those big brown doe eyes will not work on me.
Right now, Miss Emma is at the vet. It turns out that the lump on her thigh is not an abscess, but rather a tumor. The vet wasn't too worried about it when he examined her a couple of weeks ago, but it does need to be removed and properly analyzed. The good news is that it doesn't seem to be bothering her, so hopefully, it's just a benign lump. I'm not really worried, but any surgery is a risk. I hope my princess will be fine. She will get lots of treats when she comes home.
There has been great upheaval in my house since Winston's arrival 8 days ago. James and I have been charmed by The Baby's antics (OK, maybe more me than James). Winston is very excited to see us and always wants to interact. He is also a piggy and he insists on doing as much bunstruction in his pen as possible. At this point in our relationship, I still find it hilarious. He still likes to snuggle with me while watching TV, so I would probably forgive him anything. He's a happy little man.
So what does the rest of the household think?
Well, it's a bit of a mix reaction. When only Cupcake and Panda are out, they sit in front of the fence separating the living room from the dining room and stare intently. If Winston is out at the same time, there is a bit of a boarder skirmish. It's not anything I didn't expect, and after a few minutes, Cupcake and Panda get bored and look for a cozy spot under the couch.
Eddie doesn't care.
Emma is curious at a distance, but I don't let her little mouth anywhere close to him.
Joey freaks out. The ants in his pants increase exponentially.
Zoe magically turns from a mellow, almost 10-year-old rabbit to the 6-month-old little teenage monster she used to be. There is growling, running around and biting anything that moves. She even jumped the pen to eliminate the threat (nice to see the gabapentin working). She's been mad at me for the last 4 days.
Zoe being mad at me means the following: growling every time she sees me, not letting me touch her and biting me if I try, biting me if I ignore her, attacking my feet, attacking Joey and/or me if either one of us gets within striking distance.
This was Zoe when she was a teenager, and honestly, she was lucky she was with me. Back then, it took me some time to realize what was going on and how to solve it. Today, I know this behavior is not only territorial, but also jealousy. If I hold Winston for any length of time and she smells him on me, she will get annoyed. She knows that I've been spending more time with him than anyone on her Approved List this week, and that is not acceptable.
So first thing this morning, I put on fresh clothes and sat with my baby girl and her BBF for a couple of hours. She shoved my feet with her nose, but then let me rub her cheeks and ears for an extended time. She was very happy and there was no biting.
In time, I know she will get over herself and accept Winston, especially when his hormones settle down and he doesn't smell like a giant walking scent gland.
Until then, I'll have to pull out my suit of armor, Lol!!!
I hope you are all having a wonderful Monday.
This weekend James and I welcomed a new bunny into our home. Winston is an adorable brown bunny with dark brown markings on his ears, nose, feet and tail, and just in case there's a question about his cuteness, there's a white dot on his nose. He's not a baby anymore, but he's barely a teenager. He is curious about everything and is desperate for attention.
He originally showed up at Orange County Animal Care Center as a stray with an injury. He was dragging both hind legs, although he didn't seem in pain. Orange County contacted Lily's Legacy Foundation, who then asked if I would be interested in taking him. I agreed.
He stayed with Lily's Legacy until his neuter took place and he was re-assessed by the rescue's rabbit-savvy vet, Dr. Kaufman at Harbor Animal Hospital in Torrance. Fortunately, the x-rays did not show any fractures or spinal compressions, so there is a bit of a mystery as to the lameness.
Since arriving to the rescue, Winston's mobility has improved, but he is still dragging his back right foot. I can see he's a little wobbly on certain things. He can run just fine, but I've seen him do a little wipe out when he tries to change direction too fast. He has an appointment at CARE, so I'll see what sort of exercises they will recommend.
In the meantime, he will be getting used to our routine, and James and I will need to re-acquaint ourselves with a young bunny in the house. This means having a bunny squeezing into corners that were too small to be of any interest to a big fat bunny, but REALLY interesting to a tiny bun. We'll start shuffling our feet so that the suicidal youngster doesn't literally get underfoot. We also need to be an endless source of entertainment and positive experiences.
My favorite thing about young bunnies is the fact everything is just so exciting for them. They are fearless and they want to check everything out. It's a wonderful charm that really brings joy into your life. It's a fantastic experience.
Rear end paralysis in rabbits is not uncommon. Injuries to the back or legs can cause mobility issues, while age-related diseases impact elder bunnies.
I hope you are having a good Monday. I had a blog topic all planned out, but the bunnies decided on something different.
After my phone meeting this afternoon, I noticed that Joey was acting strange. He sat by the gate leading into the hallway and gave me a weird look. Usually Joey likes to attack the gate. There is lots of cardboard attached to the bars so he can tug on it to his heart's content. This time, however, he sat quietly at the other end of the gate.
I gave him one of his favorite foods. He didn’t looked at it. I offered him a pinch of oat groats - his ultimate favorite. He barely acknowledged my hand.
I dug out my thermometer and prepared to give him metacam (pain relief), simethicone (gas relief) and fluids. It didn't matter if his temperature was low, high or even normal. Clearly, he wasn’t feeling well and he was going to get all three medications.
It turned out his temperature was low. I prepared a carrier with a heating pad inside and put him in. I kept him on low heat for little more than 30 minutes, mostly because he was looking to escape. His temperature read normal so I put him back in his pen.
I continued to watch him for the rest of the afternoon. He would shift from sitting quietly under the box to investigating the office. He was reluctant to touch his pellets, but he was starting to act more normal. I suspect he had gas and it was causing some pain as it was passing through his system. By the evening, he was eating dinner, doing binkies and attacking the tissue I tried to drape over his ears.
This event illustrates how important it is to know your bunny, recognize pain signals and act quickly. If I had ignored the signs (or wasn't at home) until dinner time, there is a good chance, I would have to stay up with him for half the night trying to get his temperature to read normal again. If he had been alone until the next morning, he may have needed immediate emergency care or have even passed away.
Even though this was the first time I had to treat Joey, I knew what was normal for him. The actual steps of treating his stasis was not much different than any other rabbit I've had to treat. The steps I used are the exact steps I've outlined in my upcoming First Aid guide. I’m excited that it’s currently being formatted. I hope to be able to offer to you soon, so you will be able to quickly help your bunny, when he needs you the most.
To be alerted the moment the Guide becomes available, follow the link below and sign up at the end of the page!
I hope you all are well and safe this lovely January day. Of course, the weather here is almost hot. Apparently, no one has told the weather that it's January and it should be rainy.
I apologize for the lack of updates on Facebook and Instagram. Like many people, I was glued to the events last Wednesday at the Capitol. It was like a train wreck - I just couldn't turn away. It was scary and depressing, and it made me just want to hug a bunny.
Well, most of my bunnies are not down with the hugging, and Eddie - who does not really have much of a say in the matter - let's me know his opinion by sticking his foot in my face.
That is the nice thing about animals, isn't it? They can provide a solace that people cannot easily replicate. Friends and family are all wonderful, but they are human and therefore complicated. Even if your bunny is snoozing under the couch, just watching him twitch his nose while giving you a dirty look is heartwarming.
Animals are very honest. My own bunnies don't think twice about taking treats and then running away when I try to pet them. They are the masters of the Look of Disapproval.
Still, I love them. Each of my bunnies is a force of nature, which brings me joy. I am grateful how they are such a large part of my life. I don't know why animals are so important to us humans. Maybe they provide a connection to universe, or maybe we can nurture them without the fear they'll grow up to be juvenile delinquents, steal cars and never go to college. Whatever the reason, I am glad they are here.
I hope you and your bunnies had fun ringing in the New Year. I was actually having a pretty good New Year's eve. James and I spent the evening watching TV, waiting for midnight. Around 11:30pm (which is a little later than usual), I decided to make sure Eddie was all clean and comfortable for the night. I checked his butt, combed away some poop and hay, gave him some medicine and water, then handed him to James, so he could hold him while I changed the bedding. Just as I was handing Eddie off, he decided it would be a great time to pee. My couch (actually just the cover), the couch cushions and me all fell victim. Eddie doesn't usually do this, so it caught me a little off guard (Poppy, on the other hand, was notorious for this).
And so, I rang in the New Year hand-washing cushion covers in the kitchen sink. I have to admit. I was shaking my fist at 2020 and shouting 'good riddance'. I rather hope this isn't an indicator of how the rest of the year will be.
The good news is I was fairly productive over the holidays. I finally finished going through the final edits for the text and images for First Aid guide. It's now being formatted and all that other wonderful stuff I honestly know very little about.
I wish I could give you all a firm release date, but I am not sure how much additional work I may still have to do in releasing the work. Stay tuned! I'll definitely be keeping you all informed.
I'll be publishing more articles on the website, including more topics on personalities, bonding, health and specialized care. I'll also introduce the topic of toys. There are a couple of other projects I am considering, but right now they are still in the planning stages.
I hope 2021 will be a good year for all of you and your bunnies. I know it is a stressful time for so many people, and it is my wish 2021 will be a better year.
Grooming rabbits is a necessary part of bunny ownership, but it doesn't have to be a terrifying ordeal.
I hope you and your families and bunnies had a great Christmas. For those of you who do not celebrate Christmas, I hope you all had a pleasant break.
It's a delightfully winter-ish day here in Southern California, complete with thunder, lightening and a steady downpour of rain. I really like these rainy days, mostly because it's rather rare in this arid climate. The rest of the week is supposed to be sunny and dry.
The bunnies got extra treats and new toys. They spent the weekend tearing up their grass mats and I had the pleasure of clearing out the debris. Eddie really enjoyed his flavored balsa blocks. The blocks were soaked in fruit juices and the balsa wood was soft enough to really sink his little teeth into it. I'll have to remember to order those again for him.
It's hard to believe it's the last week of 2020. In some ways the year has lingered forever and other ways, it has disappeared in a blink of an eye. Personally, the year has been OK for me. It had it's good and bad moments. The pandemic has certainly made this year memorable.
I know this year has been very hard on rabbit rescues. Money has been very tight because donations have dropped off and services such as boarding have not brought in much needed funds. Adoption procedures have had to be re-thought out, and the RHDV2 virus have made many rescues and shelters reluctant to take in any strays.
If you are in a position to help out, whether through fostering, adoption or especially monetary donations, that would help out rescues a great deal. After all, bunnies still need medical care, food and shelter.
Thank you for helping to make this world a better place, and have a wonderful New Year!
I hope you are all having a safe and happy December. Although Covid is putting a damper on parties (or at least it should), the bright side should be that you have less stress about putting up decorations and entertaining.
I know this is all theoretical. This week, I got into my head that I needed to scrub the house as if the Queen was coming over. I nagged my husband to help, which really isn't tough - he's very good at helping around the house. Well, this weekend he scrubbed the kitchen, even pulling out the fridge and oven. Meanwhile, I'm looking at the bookshelf in the living room and wondering if I have to take down ALL the pictures or if I can just dust around it...or better yet, insist the shelf is too high and just ignore it.
This last week, there was an interesting post on the House Rabbit Society Facebook group. Someone had posted that they had read an article "The 21 Most Low-Maintenance Pets You Can Own". It was ridiculous. Of course, I had to see what these magical 21 animals were.
1. Betta Fish2. Pugs3. Stick insects 4. rabbits5. turtles6. hermit crabs7. ants8. sea monkeys9. guinea pigs10. butterflies11. Praying Manties12. scorpions13. hamsters14. rats15. chinchillas16. tarantulas17. Leopard geckos18. snakes19. snails20. dwarf frogs21. British Shorthaired cats
A quick scan of the list should tell you that other than the pug and cat, everything else is an exotic. Myself, I've owned Betta Fish, hermit crabs and rabbits. Now 20 years ago, the Internet did exist, but it wasn't like today where you can go on Facebook and find a group for pretty much everything under the sun. When my fish and crabs needed help, I had a hard time finding anyone I could ask. The helplessness was so off-putting that for the longest time, I didn’t want to own an exotic. If you truly care about these creatures and value their lives and the joy they bring to your household, then automatically they do not become low-maintenance.
Animals like guinea pigs, rabbits, chinchillas, rats and mice are social animals. They generally are happier with another member of their own kind. All of these animals have special diets, social and health needs. Everyone needs specialized vet care.
Of course, if your pet is healthy and happy, it may not seem like they are taking a lot of work, or their daily/weekly maintenance is so part of your routine, you barely notice it. I know I feel this way, even with my special needs bunnies. As soon as I have a routine down, I don't even realize just how much of my day these tasks take until they are no longer necessary.
The thought of trimming nails frightens most rabbit owners, but it doesn't have to be a scary ordeal.
I still can't believe it's already December. In some ways, it seems 2020 has lasted a decade and other ways, merely a couple of months. Definitely, it has been an unusual an unforgettable year.
At the moment, all is good in my household. The only bunny even thinking about being dramatic is Emma. Her current obsession is knocking her cardboard tower over and chewing on it. Really, that is only a problem when she does it in the middle of the night and I forget to close the bedroom door. She does give me a dirty look when I stand the tower back up in the corner again.
At the moment, I am still editing the First Aid guide and working on an article on rear-end paralysis. There is so much to say about the care of these special bunnies. I have met so many of these disabled bunnies, and honestly, they are the sweetest rabbits. They seem to know that they need help and you are there to take care of them. They trust you to keep them safe and healthy. In turn, they open up to you. There have been a few bunnies who were stand-offish around people when younger, and now tolerate being petted and fussed over as a senior.
Probably my favorite of all my special need bunnies was Diamond. He arrived at BunnyLuv Rabbit Resource Center in September 2013. He had been injured by a dog and suffered a spinal compression, which affected his mobility. His owner could not care for him, as she herself, had serious health issues and still lived with her cousin, whose dog injured Diamond in the first place. I became his main caretaker over the years, which included keeping him clean and comfortable and socialized. I took him down to C.A.R.E. for physical therapy, where he got acupuncture and underwater treadmill treatments. Yes, my car smelled like swimming pool on the trip home.
Everyone who came to the shelter loved Diamond. His pen was in the store where he could greet staff, volunteers and clients alike. He was good-natured with other rabbits too, and he had a number of friends over the years. After his 5th and last friend died, I decided to formally adopt him and took him home to live with me.
Our time together was too short. He died a couple months later from (what I assume) were complications from dental surgery. The loss was devastating.
I did learn a lot in dealing with his disability, and I hope I can help anyone who suddenly finds themselves with a disabled rabbit. Diamond was proof that an injury wasn't the end of the world. In fact, sometimes, it's just the beginning of a whole new adventure.
I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and a great weekend. It was very quiet in our household (and that was perfectly fine). I spent a part of last week to order some Christmas gifts. I already warned a good friend of mine that she may receive her gift in time for the first day of Advent.
I did get gifts for the bunnies. Honestly, I find Christmas shopping for the bunnies FUN! James doesn't understand why I don't just give them toilet paper tubes. While he does make a valid point (the bunnies ADORE ripping apart the thin cardboard tubes and they have no concept of Christmas), I do want to get everyone something a little special.
This year, I went with Binky Bunny toys (formerly known as Busy Bunny). Quite often I place my Christmas order with Bunny Bytes because they have lots of colorful and neat toys which have probably thrilled me more than my bunnies (both companies can be found in Shopping for Rabbit Supplies. Click on the link below). I decided to go for the tried and true. Everyone got a willow cube (which will probably last exactly 20 minutes before becoming a pile of little sticks), a scratch mat (so Zoe, Joey, Cupcake and Emma can stop tearing apart the bed sheets lining their pens). I'm hoping this will last at least a week. Every pen gets an extra toy of chewy fun and Eddie is getting some smaller chew toys to entertain him between naps.
If I am feeling very ambitious (that's really a big IF), I may dig out my dehydrator and dry some fresh fruit as a yummy treat for them. I like drying thin slices of mango. The dried strips turn out to be slightly chewy and very tasty! I find it unnecessary to add sugar or anything else to the strips. The fruit is sweet enough by itself.
However, I will most likely order special bunny cookies from my friends at Paw Kreations. They have a mango cookie they bake in their kitchen from scratch. I bet their bunnies are super spoiled!
As the year is winding down, I wish you and your family a joyful holiday season. May you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy.
Yes, I know Thanksgiving is this Thursday, but I thought I would give greetings a little early. Many people will have a quiet celebration this year due to the pandemic. I don't have a lot of family living close by, so to be honest, my husband and I frequently have a "pandemic Thanksgiving" and a "pandemic Christmas" for that matter. It's not so bad. It's pretty laid-back and quiet and there aren't any fights and disagreements.
I like to give my bunnies something extra yummy for the celebrations. Often I will buy fresh carrots with the tops still intact. Then for dinner, they can have the tops and a nice slice of carrot along with their usual salad.
This weekend, a friend of mine told me that her vet found a mass inside the chest of one of her bunnies. Rosie is over 11-years-old and has lived a nice spoiled life along with her bunny-friend, Spartacus.
There are several things my friend can do. There are tests to confirm the presence of cancer as well as the type. Radiation treatment or just administering a steroid to slow the growth. These are all options.
My friend is also considering how much stress her bunny can handle. Rosie has a history of being high-strung. She's just a nervous, little rabbit. She doesn't do well with lots of handling or being taken out of her comfort area (ie, going to the vet). There is a good chance the stress of the treatment may kill her faster than any cancer.
It's a hard decision to make. I have certainly been in similar situations in which I had to decide whether going ahead with a treatment (or even going to the vet) was worth the stress of packing the bunny up and taking the 20 mile drive in Los Angeles's infamous freeway traffic. Sometimes that answer is not clear and you have to guess. Sometimes it was the wrong decision, but you have to realize you did the best you could with the information you knew at the time.
Of course the cost/benefit is always a factor in the decision-making. Will the bunny be cured or just give him more time. Is that more time just a few days, weeks, months or a year? The vet bill should not be the only factor in your decision making, yet I know it is for many owners. I certainly understand why.
Right now, Rosie is feeling fine, just occasionally winded when she binkies too much. I know my friend will continue to consider the options and do what is best for her bunny. All I know is that Rosie will continue to be a happy and spoiled bunny for some time.
Hope your week is shaping up to be a good one.
Frankly, I'm surprised November is half-over. Keeping track of time is a bit harder during this pandemic. Nevertheless, Christmas is not so far away, and I need to think about the upcoming holidays.
Now normally, Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations at my house are not that different than what is recommended during a pandemic. It will be an unstructured day of being in my pjs and watching TV. There are a few people on my Christmas list for whom I buy presents and send cards out. Luckily, bunnies are easily entertained. I know I could just throw everyone a toilet paper roll stuffed with hay and treats, and that will provide a great deal entertainment, but I like to do something a little special for them.
I LOVE Christmas shopping for my bunnies! Toys! Treats! Cardboard hideouts! I love it all. Throughout the year, my bunnies get goodies, but there is something special about Christmas. Often, many local rescues have Fall and Christmas fundraisers and they may have lots of interesting things. Since this year is a little different, I will do my shopping online.
One of my favorite companies is Bunny Bytes. They are located in Washington state, and they hand-make most of their toys. They are really creative and their toys look like so much fun.
For treats, I may pull out my dehydrator to dry some fresh mango slices, or order some dried herbs from Food4Buns. Food4Buns offers a special holiday blend (available in the next week) that most of my bunnies have really enjoyed. PawKreations makes great wooden toys, but they also make the tastiest bunny cookies!!! Owner Lillian explained to me the process she used to make them in her kitchen. There is a lot of hard work and love involved!! They come in 3 great flavors: Regular, Berry and Mango.
The bunnies are going to have so much fun! I'm looking forward to the holidays!
Hope you all had a good weekend. Southern California had her first touch of winter, and I loved it!!
Having been born and raised in the Canadian Prairies and watching ice form INSIDE the house during some of the coldest winter storms, I can tell you with some confidence that I've experienced summers that were colder than the typical Los Angeles winter.
I quite enjoy the winters here. I can leave the windows open to air out the house. The heat isn't oppressive. I can sleep with a heavy blanket and feel cozy. I might even break out a favorite pair of fuzzy socks.
However, I'm mindful of the critters in my house, especially if I have a frail old bun. Bunnies that have rear-end paralysis have quite a bit of muscle atrophy in their legs. That means they don't have that added layer of insulation to help keep them warm. I keep them well away from drafts, and if I think temperatures will be in the 40's or 30's (10C or lower), I will be tucking them in a blanket. I do try to keep the temperature in the house between 68-70F (20-21C).
Bath-time is always in the morning. I don't want to risk getting them wet and then not drying them properly in the evening.
If you happen to have a poorly insulated house, you can use a cordless heating pad (you can find this in "Health Care" section of Shopping for Rabbit Supplies) to provide under the fleece bedding. You can also cover the pen with a blanket or sheet to help retain heat. I did that last winter while I was house-sitting and I took Roxanne and Poppy with me. The house was cold at night so I tucked in those girls well and covered the pen. They were very happy and cozy.
And always give them something to eat. Nothing's worse than wanting a snack in the middle of the night and there's no food in front of your face.
May you and your senior bunnies have a cozy winter!
Happy Monday evening!
I was all set this morning to write my blog...but then I got distracted, became obsessed with other matters, took a nap, poked some bunnies, got distracted some more, had dinner, continued with being distracted...realized I hadn't written my blog and saw how late it was.
Last week I was very much preoccupied by my baby girl, Zoe. She continued to improve after her hospitalization at Access and I saw more of her normal behavior. However, I kept on having that nagging suspicion that she was just off somehow. I wasn't quite sure what it was. I suspected there was still some discomfort, but whether that was related to the bloat or something else, I didn't know.
I did speak to her vet on Friday and we scheduled a quick follow-up on Sunday. In the meantime, her vet suggested that I start her on gabapentin, which is a good drug to help with nerve pain and issues regarding spondolysis. I already had Eddie, Poppy and Roxanne on it, so I had enough to start her on it.
Zoe did seem to show more willingness to move and eat, which made me happy. She is not happy about me manhandling her twice a day. Somehow, she thinks the Queen of the Universe is above being forced to take medicine. Fortunately, her recheck went great. I'm so happy I have my feisty little girl back.
In the meantime, I've had a bit of an upset in terms of my website and First Aid guide. I will need to re-shoot a large portion of the pictures I have. It's a bit of a step back, but on the bright side, maybe the new pictures will be even better!! It should be fun, actually.
The hunt for awesome pictures begins!
Grooming long-haired rabbits requires patience and some skill. There are several breeds that need more attention to grooming than their short-haired cousins.
I hope you are all having a good start to your week. I have to confess, I don't really mind Mondays. It's probably because I've had enough part-time jobs in which my Monday was a different day of the week.
Well, some of you may remember last week's drama was Emma's high fever. Thankfully, that resolved itself quickly. I'm not sure what happened to cause such a spike, but I'm grateful she is back to normal.
Unfortunately, the relief was short-lived. Wednesday morning, I discovered that Zoe wasn't eating her pellets. This was highly unusual. Zoe is the type of bunny who will investigate the mouths of her bunny friends to see if there is any yummy fruit to pull out of there and eat herself. In fact, Zoe has never been ill, despite her 9.5 years. The last time I medicated her was after her spay at 5 months.
I fired up the heating pad and give her sub-q fluids (lactated ringer solution) and pain meds (metacam). Her stomach felt a little tight, but not overtly so. In an hour and a half, her temperature was almost normal, but her stomach didn't feel better. It felt tight, while her lower abdomen felt very soft. I feared a blockage, so I brought her down to the emergency vet, in the hopes that the exotics vet would have a chance to see her.
It turned out that she did have a blockage and it was recommended that she stay with them overnight so they could put her on IV fluids. The fluids helped to hydrate her and loosen the blockage in her gut. She has been home for a few days now. She is not back to normal, but she seems to be on the mend.
Sometimes people mix up bloat and GI stasis. Bloat is an obstruction. Things have stopped. It's a little different to bloating in dogs, in which the stomach twists, trapping the gases within it. In rabbits, the obstruction can happen anywhere in the GI tract. Gases get trapped and expand. This is extremely painful. However, the pain is only a part of the problem. The expansion of the stomach (or elsewhere in the abdomen) can cut off the blood supply to the kidneys, heart and other organs, which can result in death. Bloat is a time-sensitive condition. You have about 6-12 hours to handle it before the rabbit dies.
To be honest, bloat freaks me out. The first time I ever had to deal with a sick rabbit, it was a case of bloat and it didn't end well. I still think of Jacob every so often. I felt horrible that I wasn't able to help him. After his death, I wanted to learn as much as possible about rabbit care, so future rabbits had a better chance of survival.
He inspired me to be a better caretaker.
I think I am going to move the publishing date of my weekly blog to Monday. It appears Sunday is the day the bunnies conspire to keep me off of the computer by becoming ill.
Saturday night, it was Emma's turn to make sure I stayed up all night, binge-watching Netflix. Just before bed, I discovered she was running a very high fever of 106.4F (41.3C). I haven't had to deal with too many fevers. However, it always takes longer for a bunny to drop to a normal body temperature than it is for a bunny's to raise his body temperature to a normal range. So Emma got to sit on ice for 4 hours before I moved her back to her pen. I checked her about 90 minutes later, and it was somewhat normal, so I went to bed.
Unfortunately, I did not get to sleep in, so I was moving around like a zombie yesterday. It's amazing I got anything done. However, Emma seems to be feeling much better, so I'm very relieved about that. I still think the weekend seems to be a little cursed, so I will be moving the blog to Mondays.
This week, I've been working on my article about grooming long-haired rabbits. I quickly got distracted by pictures of extremely fuzzy Angoras and then got even more distracted by the art harvesting and handspinning wool into yarn.
I totally geeked out on it!!! I was reading articles and watching YouTube videos on how to spin it, dyeing it and rolling the yarn into a nice ball. IT LOOKED LIKE SO MUCH FUN!!!
I was seriously eyeing books on Amazon about the history of handspinning and the descriptions of 200 different types of wool from around the world. This is the sort of odd Trivia Pursuit knowledge I get excited about, because...well, I'm a nerd.
What did prevent me from ordering a spinning wheel and getting a boatload of Angoras was a couple of things: 1. I'm a lazy groomer. It's a fact. The sooner I acknowledge it, the less likely I will have a dozen badly matted bunnies living with me. 2. I already have 6 rabbits in the house, I don't want to have more high-maintenance bunnies. 3. My house isn't big enough for more stuff. 4. I love my husband and I don't want him to contemplate murdering me. 5. I don't know how to knit. What am I going to do with all this yarn?
Still, it looked like fun. Maybe one of these days, if I end up living on a little hobby farm, I might just take up spinning my own yarn. My neighbors better know how to knit!!
I hope you all are enjoying October. There is a hint of cooler weather, but this upcoming week will be once again in the triple digits. I can't put away my shorts just yet.
I've been busy writing up my grooming articles this week. In the meantime, I realized that it was high time that all my bunnies got groomed too, so I tortured them with comb outs and nail trims. Emma gave me such a mournful look. She's really good at it!
Eddie and I are still adjusting to Poppy's absence. I moved his bed in with Panda and Cupcake last weekend. Those two had been known to ignore the disabled bunnies in the past, so I was hoping that would still remain true. Joey and Zoe have also ignored the disabled bunnies, but Joey is pretty hyper, especially around food. He has been known to jump on other bunnies in an effort to be the first one fed. So that was not an option.
Well, Panda and Cupcake have been very gentle around Eddie. In fact they are so gentle, they don't bother him at all. They just hop in his bed, eat a large portion of his food and then go away. Really, they're such jerks.
While working in the office this week, I had set up Eddie next to me for an afternoon. Joey and Zoe had no interest in saying hi to the weird bunny that refused to hop, but Zoe did take offense to the large stuffed animal Eddie was using for a pillow. Zoe torn open the side and made a giant mess of stuffed animal guts. Seriously, she's over 9.5-years-old, I was hoping she would have outgrown stuffed animal hunting by now.
I just live with a house full of deviants.
This afternoon, I decided that Panda and Cupcake should get to know Eddie better, so I set up a small space, made Eddie a little bed, put in some water and food, and then went on with my cleaning.
It was 6 hours of Panda and Cupcake sitting at the furthest corner of the pen and eyeballing Eddie while he napped. I'm not sure what they were expecting, but it was pretty funny. After I was done with my chores and their dinner was ready, I put everyone back home to their giant pen. Panda and Cupcake disappeared into their castle and Eddie continued his nap on his main bed.
It might be sometime before there is any kissing.
I am going to assume those of you who follow my Instagram and Facebook Page will know that Poppy passed away this week. My work has slowed down as I have dealt with this heavy loss.
I wanted to talk a little about losing a pet. I have lost a fair number of bunnies over the years, both my own and those at the rescue. Even if I wasn't particularly close with a departed rescue bun, I still felt the loss. Tears were always shed; an emptiness touched my heart. I mourned. Sometimes I recovered and could move on relatively quickly with my life. Other times, the loss hit me so hard, I felt immobile. Tears fell often and hard like a flash flood in a desert. My heart felt like it would break and my diet consisted of copious amount of ice cream.
Sometimes a death struck suddenly and seemingly out of the blue. Other times, a bunny had a slow and steady decline. In my experience, one isn't harder than the other. Even when you have the opportunity to make arrangements in advance and you have plenty of time to say goodbye, the actual passing can be crushing.
I don't necessarily mourn for the physical presence. After all, many times the bunny is old, frail, sick or injured. I don't want their pain to continue. Instead I mourn the activities that are no longer possible - no more cuddles, no more nips or sass when I trim nails, no more giving treats and watching their pure joy at eating a slice of banana or dill, no more nose bonks. What could have been is no more.
I assume everyone is familiar with the Rainbow Bridge. I think it resonates so well with so many people because it doesn't matter if you are religious or a committed atheist. It is not dependent on a godly metric, nor is it as depressing as death as the ultimate finale in the universe. It whispers about a hope that someday, you will see that Bridge, and all those you have loved and gone before you, will be waiting for you. Can you imagine seeing all your old friends again - whole and healthy, and excited to see you?
It sounds like a really great day, actually.
I hope all is well with you! I have a busy day ahead of me, so I'll probably goof off at least half of the day (bunny laundry is so NOT my favorite chore).
I had an eventful week. It started out with Poppy urinating out bloody pee. I brought her in to see Dr. Schachterle at Access. Of course, Poppy was a big jerk and passed perfectly normal looking urine at the clinic when she was expressed, making me look more of a paranoid crazy bunny owner than I really am (thanks girlfriend. I thought we were friends). A cursory pass with the ultrasound indicated that the bladder walls were thickened, probably due to inflammation because of the build-up of sediment. I was undecided whether I wanted to bring Poppy down again to get a more thorough ultrasound of her kidneys and bladder. After all, those mummified babies of hers were hiding her kidneys the last time Poppy got x-rays and an ultrasound. I'm unsure with the direction I want to go with her care, due to her age and current health issues.
At the moment, Poppy is at home getting tons of love. I'm just keeping an eye on my Popstar. She's very old and frail (even though she doesn't admit it). I'll probably have that ultrasound done anyway. We'll see.
In other non-rabbit news, thieves broke in to my storage unit in our building and stole our bikes...and Zoe's baby cage (how random). They didn't even do me the favor of cleaning out the rest of the junk. That was left to my husband and I, as we sorted through what was left and repaired the door.
I wanted to start writing a new article. I had barely started on the topic of rear-end paralysis, but seriously, after the week I've had, such a heavy article was beyond me. Instead, I decided to focus on grooming instead. It will still require brain-power, photos...maybe a video or two. Maybe it'll be less taxing on the brain? There is still a chance I will end up in front of the TV with a giant bowl of ice cream.
Head tilt in rabbits is not unusual. How well a rabbit recovers from this condition depends on the cause.
Caring for head tilt rabbits can be as little as providing a low entry litter box to syringe-feeding every few hours.
Hope your week was good. It has been trying for me because of the smoke-filled air, but I managed - thank goodness for air filters!
As usual, it has been a bunny-filled week. On Wednesday, I brought Eddie in to my regular vet for a senior check-up. Eddie is quite goofy, because he can't stand anymore, but he has not accepted his limitations. He constantly wiggles around, trying to find his feet. The result of his stubbornness is that he has pretty good range-of-motion in his legs, despite the no standing bit. Eddie was just not impressed with this visit. There was a bit of poking and prodding but the scope in his mouth was too much. That deserved a very sharp nip on the hand. It's a good thing Dr. Misetich just laughs that off.
Poppy seemed better since her visit with Dr. Gleeson last Sunday. She still seems to have a bit of sludge, but I'm helping her get rid of it. As always, she remains a happy girl, always ready for treats and face rubs.
This weekend, I got a copy of Sprinkles' necropsy report from the state lab. It turns out that he had a partial blockage in the jejunum (in the small intestine) from a mass. The mass was cancerous. This explained why he went into stasis so frequently. Although the mass was big enough to cause pain and some blockage, it was not large enough to be seen on diagnostics.
It was good to know what the cause of his passing was. It's another learning experience, but I'm sad I could not help him. Sprinkles, though, lived his life to the fullest. When he felt good, he napped, played, binkied, fought with Panda, snuggled with his brother Cupcake, begged for treats and was just a happy bun. I'm glad I rescued him all those years ago and I'm so happy I got to love him.
Senior rabbit care can seem daunting at first, but it can soon become routine and extend the quality of life for your senior bunny.
I know I'm very late with my weekly blog. I do have a good reason for it and yes! It’s a bunny-related excuse.
First of all, an update on the Cupcake and Panda bond. It's going well. This morning I moved them into their permanent spot. They looked pleased with their bigger home. If they continue to be good this week, I'll set up a new cardboard castle I bought several years ago on Etsy, that I still have not unpacked (mostly because the packaged box was just the right size to keep Joey away from getting behind the pen and picking fights with other bunnies). Before you feel sorry for my castle-less bunnies, let me assure you that they always have plenty of toys to play with.
My Sunday was spent worrying about Poppy. She is my incredible head tilt and rear-end paralysis girl. I noticed that her urine was bloody. I know this could be either an infection or something more serious like a kidney or bladder stone, so I brought her down to the emergency vet to see Dr. Gleeson.
It turns out, Poppy's bladder is pretty distended and she has a hard time emptying it (probably an age-related thing). The blood was likely due to irritation from the sediment (there is a lot of sediment in rabbit urine, normally), but we started her on antibiotics in case there was an infection present.
Her x-rays showed something unusual, something my very experienced exotics vet had never seen. There were three large blobs lined up on the right side of her body. It was unclear as to what it was exactly. There were theories from lots of mineralization to mummified fetuses. Dr. Gleeson forwarded the x-rays to me and they were impressive. I passed the images to other Educators of the House Rabbit Society, and they all thought the same thing: mummified fetuses!
So wild! This means that at some point in Poppy's life, she had been pregnant, but the embryos had attached themselves in the abdomen instead of the uterus. They were not viable, but they were too big to be reasborbed by the body, so the fetuses were walled off and calcified.
Are these mummified fetus a problem? Well since Poppy was spayed in 2012, I guess not. Although extremely rare, it can happen to people too. Wikepedia lists several cases in which women have discovered a lithopedion somewhere in their abdomen, even after they've had several normal pregnancies. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithopedion
Can these masses be removed? At this time, Poppy is too old to go in for exploratory surgery. Since these masses are not bothering her (they are not affecting her bladder issues). When she passes, I'll be sure to submit her for a necropsy and we'll then know for sure what they are. Until then, I am just going to have my mind blown by the very thought!!
I hope you are all having a restful and safe long weekend. Temps here in Southern California are at record-breaking highs (I think my area will be 116F/47C), so if you are in the middle of this heatwave, please stay cool!
It has been a week, exactly, since the death of my Sprinkles. Although I have experienced the passing of many bunnies over the years, this one has been a little difficult for me. I have spent the last week wandering the condo, listless, much like a Victorian-era wailing ghost. I feel a bit better today, but I know my grief for each passing bunny is as unique as the bunny itself. I just need to let it run its' course, so if I suddenly start sobbing in the middle of making dinner, that is the way it is for now.
Sprinkles leaves behind his brother, Cupcake (I assume they were brothers as both were brought into the shelter as babies at the same time. Although they had different markings, they had similar body structures). In the past, I had tried to bond Cupcake and Sprinkles with their neighbor, Panda. Sprinkles and Panda did not get along. Sprinkles didn't want to share his Cupcake. Now with Sprinkles gone, there was a chance for the match to work.
The pair is eerily similar to the bonding pair I was working with last week. The girl was bossy and the boy incredibly jumpy. You would think the boy was being chased by jumper cables, when in actual fact, the girl just wanted to snuggle, groom and be groomed. Cupcake has very much the same reaction to Panda.
I spent the whole night working with them. That entailed me sitting in a large pen in the living room in front of the TV (there was no way I would be doing this without Netflix). There was a couple of small litter boxes, a water bowl, a bag of treats, lots of snacks for me, pillows, a fan and my phone.
There was some grooming (Panda to Cupcake), some fur pulling (Panda getting annoyed that Cupcake wasn't grooming her), some chasing (Cupcake mistaking Panda for an alligator), bunnies looking startled as I would burst out laughing while watching stand-up comedy (but quietly - husband was sleeping in the next room!). I ended up falling asleep around 5 am. The bunnies hadn't settled down much, but I figured if Cupcake hadn't figured out Panda wasn't an alligator after almost 12 hours in the pen together, that was more of a "him" problem and less of a "me" problem. However, I did sleep in the pen as I figured if things got really bad, Cupcake would be smart enough to jump on my face so I could save him from a bunny half his size.
Love. Bonding. So. Much.
Happy Sunday to you!
There is a miserable heatwave in my area right now. Honestly, I can't really be too grumpy about it. I mean it IS August. These things happen all the time in the summer. However, as someone who was raised in temperatures much more agreeable to polar bears, this sort of heat is oppressive to me.
Of course, bunnies aren't crazy about it either. They have a built-in fur coat they can't take off. It's hard for them to get comfortable. Bunnies cool themselves down via their ears, which is not enough in extremely hot temperatures. So how can you help?
First, keep them inside. Throwing up shade when it's 100 degrees isn't going to drop the temperature 30 degrees under the shade. Bring them inside. If you frequently let your bunny outside to exercise, skip this activity until it cools down. People can forget that their bunny is outside while they are doing chores inside. Air conditioning and fans are essential, but it's also important that your home is also insulated to keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Installing double-pane windows or at least weather stripping can help a lot.
I don't have central air conditioning in my house, so when there is a really long heat wave, my window units have a hard time keeping up. My bunnies love laying on ceramic tiles, even more so if they have been in the freezer. Most of my bunnies aren't crazy about frozen water bottles, but sometimes they'll lay next to it. Another favorite is lots of ice in the water bowls. They really enjoy the cold water and I find them more likely to lean up against a cool water bowl than a frozen bottle. I don't know why. My bunnies are weird.
One last thing I like to do is check their ears. If the bunnies are hot, their ears will feel really warm. I will take a washcloth soaked in cool water. I wring out the cloth and wipe down both side of the ear with the cloth, often just wrapping the cloth around the ears. The cloth will actually warm up.
For my elderly bunnies who may have a hard time drinking and staying hydrated, I will supplement with giving them sub-q fluids along with wet veggies. This will ensure that they stay adequately hydrated. If your elder bunnies are not mobile, keep them close to the air conditioner and/or fan, but don't have them directly in the draft.
Hope you and your bunnies keep cool!
Happy Sunday! I hope this weekend is treating you and your bunnies well.
It's been a busy week. It started last weekend when I noticed Cupcake sounded like he was percolating coffee in his nose (i.e. he was sounding congested). Fortunately, he was not at the stage where snot was pouring out of his face and he was struggling to breathe. He just had moments where he would sound congested. I knew that if I ignored it and hoped it went away, it wouldn't and I would then have to deal with a really sick bunny. I also remember the last time he was congested. It was frustrating as it took many weeks for him to recover 100%. This time, I wasn't going to mess around. I would tackle it head on!
Unfortunately, getting a timely vet appointment during COVID-19 is not easy. Vet clinics are crazy busy. I ended up making an appointment with a clinic I had never gone before (as a client).
Dr. Labrecque (who is one of several vets who work at the Exotic Animal Veterinary Center in Pasadena, CA). We agreed to do a culture and sensitivity test. A culture and sensitivity test means that a swab of the infected area is done on the patient (in this case, Cupcake's nasal cavity), and then the lab technicians will try and grow the bacteria. Once grown, certain antibiotics will be applied to see which ones are effective against the bacteria. This test is a good way to determine which antibiotics the bunny is already resistant to. However, it does take a few days to grow the bacteria. In the meantime, I was given a broad spectrum antibiotic (meaning it's a decent medicine to use if you are not sure exactly what you are dealing with). I was also given some medicine to nebulize Cupcake. A nebulizer turns liquid medicine (it can also be plain saline) into a fine mist that can be inhaled. This can be another great way to deal with respiratory diseases, especially pneumonia.
I have a small, handheld one that I really like to use. It's meant for those people who suffer from asthma who may need a portable device. However, during Cupcake's first session, it made a really horrible noise. Since I've had the device for several years and have used it many times, there may be a strong possibility that it is ready to die.
So Cupcake is off the hook on the nebulizing until my new unit comes (today!! Thank you Amazon Prime!). In the meantime, Cupcake is trying his best to convince me he's fine. He does his binkies and does his best to look super cute when he thinks I'm looking at him. Sorry, honey, that's exactly why I'm tormenting you with medications. I want you to be healthy and happy for a long time.
It's hard to believe it's already August. The year is already more than half done. Where did the time go?
This weekend, I attended a virtual class hosted by Triangle Rabbits (an HRS Chapter based in North Carolina) on the topic of megacolon. The presentation was given by HRS Educator, Paula Watkins, who spoke about her own personal experience with living with 4 megacolon bunnies over the years. Personally, I have never owned a megacolon bunny, but I am aware of the special care they require. The treatment can be as unique as the individual bunny.
What is megacolon? It's a condition in which there are less nerve cells operating the colon. The result is irregular contractions and abnormal absorption of water and nutrients. The slower flow of the contents to the anus creates larger than normal stools. Bunnies with megacolon will typically produce large, oval, wet poops and have really smelly cecotropes. They will have an distended abdomen and exhibit weight loss.
Although megacolon can show up in any bunny, it is typically a congenital disease affecting English Spot bunnies described as Charlies. Charlies are white bunnies with very few colored spots. They will have rings around their eyes, a broken butterfly pattern on their nose and a broken stripe down their back. Megacolon can also be 'acquired' as a result of a post-op complication or if there has been some sort of interference with the nerves regulating the colon (such as a back injury).
It's important to have a vet with whom you can work with. Your megacolon rabbit may go into stasis frequently, and you will need to know how to deal with it. Alterations to the diet will be necessary. The bunny may also need to be on constant medications to ensure his gut works properly.
A megacolon bunny may take extra work, but with the proper care, these animals can have a long and fuilfilled life. The key is to be alert to any changes in your bunny and work with a rabbit-savvy vet.
I hope you and your loved ones are enjoying the summer. I've spent the week huddled in front of my computer working away. I'm pretty sure that if I see sunlight, I'll explode like a vampire.
My latest writing project is about head tilt - what it is, why it's so hard to diagnose and how to take care of your bunny in those first few weeks until your bun stabilizes and gets better. I have lots of cute pictures, especially of Poppy hanging out with her favorite plush, Oscar (who is also tilted because of the lack of stuffing in his neck).
I've included new items in my "Shopping for Rabbit Supplies" section, including First Aid items, grooming and toys products.
A new item I have also introduced is my upcoming newsletter, "The Lettuce Letters". This newsletter will show up in your inbox every 2-3 months. It will talk about new and upcoming articles, focus on helpful products for your bunnies and answer any bunny questions you may have. If you have a question about rabbits, just send me an email and I will answer it for you in the newsletter.
Of course, I'm still working on the First Aid guide. If you would like to be the first to know when it's available, you can sign up at the bottom of the home page. The newsletter sign up is on the navigation bar on all the pages.
I hope you are all looking forward to it!!
I hope you are all safe and healthy. The heat and the pandemic are keeping me indoors, but I did venture out this afternoon to help a friend with his new foster bunny, Cirrus.
Cirrus is a white, ruby-eyed bunny. He was rescued as a baby from a hoarder, but then spent almost two years living in the city shelter, waiting for someone to adopt him and his siblings.
Unfortunately, Cirrus and his siblings are further disadvantaged by the way they look. White, ruby-eyed rabbits are frequently overlooked at shelters and rescues. Many people are unsettled by the ruby eyes, even suggesting that these rabbits look demonic. As a result, white, ruby-eyed bunnies are the most prevalent in shelters and rescues and the very last to be adopted.
While city shelters may do their best to keep the animals in their care fed and healthy, it's hard for shelter animals to get the proper socialization they need. Shelters may depend on volunteers, but this does not guarantee all the animals get all the help they need to find Forever Homes. That is why it is important for city and county shelters to partner up with a rescue to help. In the Cirrus' case, The Los Angeles Rabbit Foundation stepped in to help.
The Los Angeles Rabbit Foundation (https://www.larabbits.org/) works tirelessly to educate potential adopters, to foster and rehabilitate and find permanent homes for homeless bunnies. They work with the Los Angeles city shelters, volunteering in all six city shelter locations.
Cirrus has only been in his foster home for a couple of weeks. He is very nervous. I told my friend that Cirrus needed some stability in his life to build his confidence. He had gone from spending nearly his whole life in a kennel cage to suddenly having room to run and play with toys. I could see by the way Cirrus looked at me, that he wanted to trust people and love them, but isn't brave enough yet to try. The best thing to do, I advised, was to give him time and patience.
I spent a fair amount of time with Cirrus on my lap and combing out his massive, shedding coat. I let him hide underneath my arm as I gently tugged on his fur. He even let me give him a little kiss. Afterwards, I set him down so he could scamper off. However, he didn't stay away for long. Within a few minutes, he came back to bonk my toe with his nose. Maybe I'm OK after all.
If you don't want to commit to adopting a rabbit, consider fostering. Fostering not only keeps animals from dying, but it gives them an opportunity to find their joy again.
The following is a list of companies and products who provide quality products for pet rabbits.