The Diamond Blog

Welcome to The Diamond Blog

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.

May 16, 2022

Bonding Blues

Hello!

I hope you are all enjoying May. I spent last week visiting family, which was a lovely break. I haven't seen them in nearly 4 years (yikes! Thank you, Covid), but everyone is doing well.

In considering about what I wanted to write about today, I thought back to what some of the questions I frequently get asked (other than, "OMG! How can you have so many rabbits?!") One of the topics I frequently get asked about is bonding.

Bonding is simply introducing bunnies with each other. Most new bunny owners don't think much about this - they just bring home a new bunny and assume it'll just be fine, and then are terrified when the Apocalypse descends upon their house. Other people like to take their bunny on speed dates. They're looking for the one perfect match, where the bunnies lock eyes and become instant friends.

Unfortunately, that sort of Disney magic is not a typical thing. Don't get me wrong, I have had those type of bonding matches, where I just threw bunnies together and called it a day. Those kinds of matches are truly magical and I love it. However, most matches are like every day human mundane ones, where we meet someone, not sure if we like them, squabble a bit - maybe even get into a big fight, and then think they are OK (think more Pride and Prejudice than Disney princess). Very rarely, have I seen true "I hate you, and I hope you die in a fire!" kind of interaction, in which the bunnies just absolutely hate each other and there is no convincing them otherwise.

Most people are really confused and don't understand the process AT ALL. I find it's really helpful to think of bonding and matching like our normal human relationships. When we first get to know someone, we may meet at a neutral place - such as for coffee or dinner. If that goes well, we may go for another date - such as the movies, etc. Typically, we do NOT let complete strangers move into our homes, especially without permission. Gradually, as we get to know the other person, we may spend more and more time with them. They may even become an essential part of our lives. Little arguments (think of these like when the bunnies nip at each other) don't have to blow up into major fights. However, if they don't get resolved, they may damage the relationship permanently.

I find if you view bonding like any one of your own relationships - whether with a significant other, friend, family or co-worker, bunny bonding will be a less mysterious concept.

Continue reading "Bonding Blues"

May 09, 2022

Taking Care of Yourself

Hello!

I hope everyone is doing well. I'm taking a little time off from rabbits this week and hanging out with some family. It's a welcome visit, as I have not seen them since pre-Covid.

The timing is not great as I seem to have quite a few sick bunnies at home. Cupcake still has his bladder infection. The urinalysis showed 3 different types of bacteria in his bladder. I know, I know - it's a party in there. He is on a couple of different antibiotics, and he is slowing feeling better. There is still quite a bit of blood in his urine, but at least he is doing binkies and running around the living room like a fool.

Emma has lost all mobility, and I have set her up in the living room so I can keep a better eye on her. She is getting used to her new surroundings, but has developed some respiratory issues. I did bring her down to the vet to see if she had an upper or lower respiratory infection. I was worried it might be pneumonia as I did not notice any sneezing or nasal discharge. However, her lungs and heart sounded good, and the vet suspected an upper respiratory issue. I was relieved as pneumonia is more difficult to clear up than an upper respiratory issue. I started her up on antibiotics and hope she will feel better soon.

These types of rabbit health issues can take a lot of energy out of you. The mental strain and worry can affect how you go about your day. It's important that you take a moment for yourself. I know this is much harder to do in practice, but taking some time for yourself can revitalize your soul and be a better caretaker. So visit friends and family. Go to the movies, theater or concert. Take an afternoon and read or binge watch some Netflix. You will be doing both you and your bunnies a favor!

May 02, 2022

Getting Old Sucks!

Hello!

It's May and spring is alive and well here in SoCal. The pink jasmine is going to town here, and it always reminds me of my first months here in Los Angeles. It's a smell I will always associate with this city.

As always, the bunnies here at the Chateau are keeping me busy. Cupcake is still pretty sick with his bladder infection (well, that's what we think it is at the moment), but he is feeling a bit better. He was actually doing binkies like crazy on Thursday and that's always great.

Emma has completely lost mobility now. It's ironic, because I posted on Instagram how I do her pen set-up, and the next day, she's dragging herself around. I adjusted things temporarily in her pen until the weekend, then I created a brand new set-up for her.

I decided to move her into the living room. We can keep a better eye on her, rather than when she's in my office. She's shares the center of attention with Winston, of course (There's no way to ignore that boy!), and I can make sure she is eating and comfortable.

Right now, she is busy checking things out. This is very new to her. She is neighbors with Cupcake and Panda (who are probably less grumpy than Zoe and Joey). She is on a pile of pillows and fleece, so I'm hoping it's comfortable. Food is never far away, but water is always tricky. You can't put a bowl of water on a pile of fleece and expect it not to move. However, fastening it to the pen often doesn't work because you can't adjust it to the right level. Often times it's just set too high. This can also be a problem with water bottles. The bottles can also leak.

I do have a water bottle that is good about not leaking. Unfortunately, I misplaced the hardware to fastening to the pen. I just took some twist ties and tied it on there. Now I just have to get her to actually use the bottle. I hope it works, because I have not had great success rate of disabled rabbits using the bottle.

So far, she is staying clean and acting alert (and hungry!). The next few days or so I will fiddle around with her pen and routine as she adjusts to her new normal. She is a stubborn girl, so I don't expect her to let it get her down very much.

There is a bright side to all of this though. Zoe and Joey got to take over her space in the office. They are thrilled with the extra room. Crazy rabbits!

Continue reading "Getting Old Sucks!"

Apr 25, 2022

Manic Monday!

Hello!

I hope everything is going well with you and your bunnies!

At the moment, the bunnies at my house are taking turns being sick. Not only does it give me a reason to worry, but it tends to make me a regular at the vet. I think I'll be eating ramen noodles for the next 3 years...possibly the rest of my life.

Cupcake's follow-up with the vet last Wednesday did not go well. It turns out that his bladder looked MUCH worse. We're not sure exactly what is wrong, but it's either a very nasty infection in the bladder wall itself or possibly cancer. He was started on another antibiotic, and right now we'll see if there is any improvement at the next appointment on Tuesday. Whether an infection or cancer, Cupcake is going to cause me a lot of concern in the foreseeable future.

Yesterday, Winston decided to stop eating. Normally, I can handle GI stasis at home. However, I know with his history of bladder sludge issues, I need to take him in to have his bladder asset and taken care of (bladder sludge is quite often flushed out. This requires sedating the bunny and snaking a catheter up the urethra to flush out with saline). Fortunately, x-rays showed that Winston's bladder looked fine. Nothing looked blocked. There was a nice line of poops, just waiting to exit. He just had me worried for a tummy ache.

It looks like Emma has lost her mobility. It kinda tells you something when a rabbit with rear-end paralysis is third in line of things for me to worry about. I'm going to have to look at her pen set-up again and probably rework it. The biggest issue is that SHE hasn't really accepted the reality yet. She still wants to chase after me in the morning to let me know that she hasn't been fed in a thousand years and please feed her now.

Every bunny who goes through rear-end paralysis experiences it a little differently. It means that any set-up that you have previously used will most likely need to be adjusted. Changes will continually be made as the bunny becomes more immobile. In the next few days, I'll see how to make her more comfortable. In the meantime, I've sat with her and explained that I'm here for her and that I'm going to make her as happy as I can.

It's just another week at The Educated Rabbit house!

Apr 18, 2022

Don't Traumatize Your Bunny!

Hello!

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. I celebrated by eating a chocolate bunny, which I shamelessly devoured in one sitting.

This past week, I met a new grooming client. I enjoy meeting new bunny people and getting to know their bunnies. I'm happy to help them, because it means bunnies are with people who care about their well-being.

Several of my clients have had bad experiences from one particular grooming service who firmly believes in the concept of overgrooming. They spend several hours on a short-haired rabbit to the point where the bunny has numerous bald patches and cuts in the skin from excessive combing. One client told me her bunny was groomed for 6 hours. Afterwards, he didn't eat for 2 days. Another told me that her bunny screamed, and when the owner took her back, she noticed several cuts from the comb.

To be clear, this is NOT how bunnies should be groomed. Giving a rabbit a heart attack is counterproductive to the purpose of grooming. Most groomers understand that rabbits aren't particularly fond of handling. They do their best to minimize stress. Bunnies may relax a bit during the actually combing, but the skin should never break down and bleed.

The logic behind this excessive grooming is to avoid hairballs from blocking the intestines. I have mentioned before that this is NOT how hairballs form. GI stasis happens first (either from a disease, pain or STRESS), and the collected fur forms a blockage. Rabbits are constantly grooming themselves and their buddies. That means there is always fur in their gut. The best way to get that out is through a high fiber diet (hay) and proper hydration.

It's important to know that it's impossible to remove all of the shedding hair in one sitting. The fur loosens in stages and you can see the progress as it starts around the nose and moves back. Often times the fur sheds before the new coat comes in.

I'll typically spend about 20-30 minutes combing out. Sometimes up to 45 minutes if the bunny is blowing his coat. However, I keep an eye on the skin. Is it still pink or is it turning red? If it's red, it means the skin is getting irritated and it's time to move on to a different section. At no point do I see irritated skin and keep going. I know rabbit skin is delicate and I don't want it to break down.

If you happen to be comfortable enough to groom your own bunny, it's best to just spend 10-15 minutes combing your bunny out once a week during a heavy shed. This is why it takes me so long to groom my bunnies. I'll comb them out for a few minutes every couple of days until that shed is under control. It takes longer, but your bunny will be healthier and happier.

Continue reading "Don't Traumatize Your Bunny!"

Apr 11, 2022

Laundry Everywhere!

Hello!

I hope you are all having a lovely spring. My husband and I were supposed to visit family last week, but alas! A couple of different issues came up and we had to reschedule the trip for another time. We comforted ourselves by going to the new Batman movie. I want a Batmobile when I grow up.

One of the reasons we had to reschedule was because of Cupcake. He had gone into stasis the Sunday before our trip. I had brought him down to see Dr. Gleeson after I had noticed sludge in his urine. However, the x-rays showed very little precipitate in the bladder, but he had significant spondolysis in his spine, which probably contributed to the current bout of GI stasis.

He seemed to feel better after I started him on gabapentin and tramadol, but then a couple of days later, I noticed blood in his urine. Back to Dr. Gleeson we went!

This time, he had an ultrasound. Between Sunday and Wednesday, a raging infection developed. His bladder was filled with mucus and blood clots. The bladder walls were thickened and there was fluid surrounding the bladder. No wonder Cupcake was feeling so unhappy.

He was started on antibiotics and he continued on pain medications and sub-q fluids (meaning fluids being administered under the skin). Today, He is definitely feeling much better, but he has decided that litterboxes are just not the thing. The good news about this is that I can see if there is still blood and mucus in his urine; the bad thing is that I have a ton of extra bunny laundry to do.

I use the washable pee pads that hospitals and nursing homes use for their patients. They are fabric on one side and a water-proof barrier on the other. They cover a wide area and are machine washable. Bunnies still like to tear them apart, so I go through quite a few of them, but the pads tolerate lots of multiple washings.

So far, there is still nasty stuff in Cupcake's bladder that needs to get out, but he is feeling much better. Hopefully he'll be back to his normal self very soon.

Mar 28, 2022

Only 583 Things To Keep In Mind...

Hello!

I hope you are all doing well. My husband and I are thinking about an upcoming trip which will take us away from our bunnies for a few days. I have a few trusted bunny friends that are kind enough to step in and take care of this crazy herd. Nonetheless I worry about them, particularly if one or two decide it necessary to visit the vet before the trip takes place.

This is one part of taking a vacation that I don't enjoy - who is taking care of the pets while we're gone? It's true that no one takes care of them as well as you do. You know their quirks and preferences. You know when to worry and when not to sweat it. You know the tricks to get them to take their medicine and you know when no amount of bribery is going to work and you just have to manhandle them into taking it.

I always give "pet orientation" seminars to all my friends who have looked after my pets. They even get easy directions to the nearest emergency vet if they don't live in the area. The heavy duty handwritten manual that goes along also greets them that first day. It goes into nauseating detail of what has previously be instructed. There are also instructions on how to use the espresso machine, turn on the TV, get into Netflix, log into the WiFi, find the First Aid shelf, find all the medications and supplies they may need, work the air conditioning and/or heat, run the washing machine and dryer. There are diagrams and highlighter marks. Despite my paranoia, I forget things and find myself texting and emailing more information.

Now, I know my friends tolerate my madness, because they know I will return the favor. I'm pretty sure they hope their example of calmness will rub off on me (no chance). I keep on getting awful visions of some sort of calamity befalling my home.

Boarding doesn't necessarily calm the anxiety either. One trip, I had nightmares of the bunnies finding their way out of their boarding enclosure and running like mad throughout the facility and making their escape outside, finding a pack of friendly wolves and terrorizing the countryside with their new family (completely unfounded - they spent the time tucked cozy in their pen).

However, it's always nice to get away for a few days to either visit friends and family or new places. It's great to break out of the routine and recharge. It usually takes me a few days not to stress about the bunnies left a home. What helps is having great friends who understand bunnies and are willing to help, and to prepare them for the task. I know they laugh at the GIANT manual I leave for them, but I know they also appreciate it. It helps to make everyone's job a little easier and the trip more enjoyable.

Mar 21, 2022

It's HERE!!!

Hello!

It's the first full day of Spring, and I hope everyone is enjoying the change. It's always nice to see the first blooms of the year. Of course, having grown up in Canada, it still weirds me out to see spring in March and not late May.

Big news!!! On March 17th, I launched my "First Aid Guide for the Domestic Rabbit". I'm very excited about this and really happy to see how well the book turned out. It took some time to write and edit, and even a longer time to find the right publisher and format it just right, but I think it was well worth the wait.

So why did I write this instead of just put out a series of articles on my website? I felt it was important to have a guide out there that was as detailed as possible. I've been living with rabbits for quite some time, but I do still remember those early years and being quite terrified about the prospect of dealing with a sick rabbit. First of all, I wasn't even sure I would recognize a sick rabbit, never mind treat it. That sort of stress is not fun at all.

I want you to be confident and prepared in your rabbit care. Even if you feel you can't take bunny temperatures, I want you to be able to recognize an issue and get the help your bunny needs. You are your bunny's first line of defense.

I hope you will find this book helpful and have many enjoyable years with your bunny.

Continue reading "It's HERE!!!"

Mar 17, 2022

Rabbit First Aid Guide

As anyone with pet rabbits can attest, even minor health issues can escalate quickly. That is why this rabbit first aid guide is so essential.

Continue reading "Rabbit First Aid Guide"

Mar 14, 2022

The Wait Is Almost Over!

Hello!

I hope everyone and their bunnies are doing well.

It's been a busy week for me. The book, "First Aid Guide for the Domestic Rabbit" is almost ready to launch. I've seen and approved the final copies (both for the eBook and PDF versions as well as the print copy). It's looks so fabulous! I hope you're as excited about this as I am. The manuscript has been uploaded, and I'm just waiting for all the storefronts to sign off. Once that is done, the book will be available for purchase.

I will be sending out a newsletter as soon as that happens. If you would like to be notified ASAP, please click on the link and scroll down to the bottom to sign up. Hopefully (fingers crossed it all goes well), the launch will officially take place in just a few short days.

In more somber news, I've been following the events that are going on in the Ukraine. Fortunately, I do not have family or friends there, but I am sad to see all the suffering that is taking place. Of course, the biggest victims are the ones who have nothing to do with this crisis, but find themselves in the crosshairs.

For several years, I've followed a rabbit rescue in Poland called "Rabbit Rescue in Torun". They deal with the same situations that rabbit rescues here in the United States do - abandoned, neglected and sick rabbits. Since the war has broken out, they have stepped up to help as much as they can. They are a rabbit rescue, but now they are also taking in dogs, cats and other small animals - anyone furry creature that needs help getting out of a war zone. They are doing their best to coordinate volunteers to retrieve the animals in the different towns and cities to cross the boarder into Poland to safety. Many of the animals are stressed, tired, sick and hungry. Although most of us cannot physically lend a hand, we can help with donations to make sure they can afford food and medicines.

If you are able to make a donation, you can do so via PayPal using their email address: fundacja@azyl.torun.pl

Otherwise, head over to their Facebook page and give them a shout-out.https://www.facebook.com/rabbits.torun

I will continue to share some of their posts on The Educated Rabbit Facebook page.

Continue reading "The Wait Is Almost Over!"

Mar 07, 2022

Get Those Good Karma Vibes, Joey!

Hello!

I hope everyone is enjoying March. I'm happy to have escaped my hellish February and am looking forward for everything being awesome.

This last week, Panda had a brief visit with Dr. Gleeson at Access. I was concerned because I had been noticing that Panda was showing less enthusiasm when it came to eating. It wasn't critical as she was still eating, but there was more contemplation on her part (do I really want to fight Cupcake over pellets? Do I want dinner now or just wait and hope Cupcake left me something? Do I care if he eats everything?) This philosophical debate had been going on for some time, and I figured it was time to have her checked out to see if anything was wrong. Panda just turned 8, so she's at the age where aches and pains are not unusual.

It turns out the little girl has some significant spondolysis in the lumbar region of her spine, which is not unusual. She's now on gabapentin twice a day and more willing to fight Cupcake for the best herbs during dinnertime. I'm happy my girl is feeling better.

This weekend, Dr. Gleeson reached out to me and asked if I was willing to bring any of my bunnies down to be a blood donor. She has a critically ill patient, who needed a blood transfusion before surgery. Since Dr. Gleeson has been so kind to my bunnies of late, I woke up Joey from his nap and took him down to Access (Joey was feeling less charitable about this than I was).

There are times where a bunny may need a blood transfusion, such as if there is significant bleeding due to trauma or if the bunny is anemic. There is some crossmatching that needs to take place, but generally, there are no designated blood types like there is for humans (this area is not well studied for small animals).

Unfortunately, the recipient passed away before Joey was able to do his good deed for the day, but he still got extra treats when he got home for being such a good boy.

Mar 01, 2022

Get It Out!

Hello!

It's been a busy week. Several days ago, Winston was dealing with some serious bladder sludge. I figured out that this was probably the case, because I have been noticing that his urine had quite a bit of precipitate of late.

Since this was something I couldn't solve at home, I brought him down to Access to see Dr. Gleeson. The vet team took good care of him - doing x-rays, bloodwork (kidneys looking good!) and finally conducting a bladder flush.

A bladder flush involves sedating a rabbit and placing a catheter in the bladder. The bladder is then flushed with saline to thin out the sludge and the forced out through manual expression or sucked out with a syringe.

Winston went through 2 bladder flushes, 5 days apart. In between those procedures, I gave him pain medications and fluids to help him continue to force out the sludge on his own. He's feeling much better, but I think this will probably be an ongoing problem for him. I'm guessing he'll probably need sub-q fluids a couple of times a week, or maybe he'll need to visit Dr. Gleeson every few months to be examined and maybe flushed again. I think once a system is figured out, he'll be just fine.

Feb 21, 2022

Taking It One Day At A Time

Hello!

I hope you are all enjoying this President's Day. It's another one of those holidays where some people get the day off and others don't. If you are at the office, I hope you are having an easy day.

I have to say, that I've had a very trying February. Between Dior's passing, Emma's issues and my illness, I'm exhausted. I took some time off last week (hence why there was no blog) to rest, and at least I am feeling much better.

I'm happy to report that Emma is doing better too. Although her mobility issues will never heal completely, I have increased her pain medication and redesigned her pen to make it more comfortable for her. She's been able to move around and keep her balance better. She will still eventually become immobile, but for now, she is doing well. She just needs to stop ignoring her cecals, as she keeps stepping in them, and occasionally rolls in them (I then have to scrub her side or dewlap, which she just loves - NOT!).

I'm still mourning Dior, and I imagine I'll be doing that for some time. A lot of things remind me of her: passing the giant pile of kale in the produce section of the grocery store, seeing the uneaten raspberries in the fridge that were her treat for taking her medicine so well, etc. I'm still incredibly sad that I don't have to set up her pen with fresh bedding, although I have to say, I do appreciate not having to wash so much bunny laundry. Going through a pair of towels twice a day does add up.

I need to find my favorite picture of her to hang on my wall. It's not easy as that girl was so photogenic. She couldn't take a bad photo. I think it's something about those red-heads. Poppy was like that too.

For those of you who know what it's like to experience the loss of a pet, you know that going through the grieving process takes time. Honor it however way you deal with it, and take whatever time you need. I know I will miss this girl forever, and one day, the pain will lessen and I will remember all the fun things about her and not get all weepy in the produce aisle at the grocery store (that's just so awkward).

All the best, and I wish you and your bunnies a great day.

Feb 07, 2022

Tribute to Dior

It's with sadness I have to announce the passing of Dior. She died Saturday evening after a brief, but intense illness this past week.

She developed GI stasis Tuesday morning. She was still perky, so I thought she might be back to herself by noon. By mid-afternoon, I realized that this might take longer than I thought, and called Dr. Gleeson at ACCESS in Culver City. A quick assessment didn't indicate much more than a bit of gas. We went back home with some extra medications. Everyone thought she would come out of it in the evening. However, midnight came around and Dior felt much worse, so early Wednesday morning, I packed her up and took her back to Access. Dr. Gleeson was concerned and so Dior began her hospital stay.

She had moments in which she seemed to improve, and then became steadily worse. Neither Dr. Gleeson nor Dr. Schachterle could quite pinpoint what the exact problem was - her abdomen looked inflamed and there were gas pockets throughout. It suggested at least a partial blockage somewhere, however diagnostics were not definitive. Dior was put on IV fluids, medications and closely monitored.

As Saturday came along, the only option that remained was exploratory surgery. It was risky, expensive and there was a really good chance it would be unhelpful. I gave the authorization to go ahead, and so Dior underwent surgery at 7pm on a Saturday night.

Once in surgery, Dr. Schachterle saw that there was an infection on the tip of the cecum (possibly an abscess), which had ruptured. The rupture caused massive inflammation in the abdomen, which caused tons of adhesions to form on the outside of the intestines. It was those adhesions which acted as a vise and restricted normal function. It caused a gas build-up that you may normally see with a regular blockage. The whole situation was impossible to fix and so I made the decision not to wake her up.

I am truly heartbroken. I shared my house with her only for 10.5 months, and it felt like a lifetime. Yes, she required some intensive care with twice a day bladder expressions and bandage changes, but she was such a good girl. She knew you were fussing for her own good, even though she wasn't particularly fond of it. She was happy to see you - coming up for pets and looking for treats. I've never seen a bunny so into her hay!!! Her favorite toy was the sheet I hung at the top of her pen. She loved tugging on it and hiding underneath. After her passing, I took the sheet and wrapped her body in it. That way, she will always be in her tent palace.

I'm grateful I was able to meet and take care of such a special girl. She was beautiful with a joyful personality. My heart will be broken forever with her loss, and I hope she knows just how much I will always love and miss her.

Jan 31, 2022

Happy Anniversary, Winston!

Hello!

Happy Monday to you! This past week, (Jan 24th), we celebrated the one year anniversary of Winston's "Gotchya Day".

Looking back at the photos and videos, I can see how much he has grown in the last year. He turned from looking quite babyish to looking the grown handsome boy he is.

He is about 1.5-years-old, which means his personality and habits are pretty set. I was hoping his mane would come in around his ears, but I think he's going to just have to live with his mohawk-mutton chop-mullet look. I can tell you he is an attention hog - adores being pet and even likes a good snuggle. The problem is he does not tolerate being picked up or set down. It makes me think that he was not handled well with his original owners, and this mishandling caused his back injury.

Much of the back injury has healed, and he is able to move with hardly any difficulty. However, there is probably some nerve damage. His inability to use the litter box (or more to the point - use EVERYTHING as his litter box) points to this. I don't think he's getting much of a signal to alert him that he needs to go until it's too late. The signals may not empty his bladder completely either, as the urine can be sandy too at times.

It makes keeping his pen and play area clean a major challenge. I do experiment with different ways to keep both of us happy and I think generally we succeed at this. His pen is in the center of our home. James and I are constantly walking or working next to him, so he gets lots of adoration. He is confident enough to be sassy by soaking up all the extra attention from James, but give me extra kisses when I change out his water bowl.

At the moment, I don't have plans to bond him with any of the other bunnies living with us. He is much more active than the majority of the bunnies here, and his complete disregard of the litter box is a serious consideration of how I would manage the housing, but the decision to bond may change too over time.

For now, Winston is very happy to be part of our family, and we're happy to share our home and our lives with this little man. He has a huge personality, and I'll love him forever.

Jan 24, 2022

I Want A New Nose!

Hello!

I hope you are all having a lovely January. The Santa Ana winds have been pretty brutal the last few days, so my nose is stuffed and my head feels like a balloon.

This week, I've been going over some of the final drafts of the First Aid for the Domestic Rabbit book. The formatting is almost done and the book will soon be on sale. It will be available as both an e-Book and softcover. I am really excited about it! I hope you will find it helpful.

Dior continues to do great! She is getting into so much trouble - flipping over her water bowl, mangling her toys, ripping up the new bed I made for her last week...(not feeling sad about the bed at all).

This past week, I started Panda on some antibiotics. She's been sneezing and displaying a snotty nose. She was also snoring very, very loud. Now, she frequently snores when taking a nap, but it was extra melodious. So I started to nebulize her in addition to the oral medication.

A nebulizer machine turns liquid medicine into a mist, which a patient then breathes in. It's great for treating both upper and lower respiratory conditions. There are a couple of different ways to nebulize your bunny (and honestly, they're usually not that excited by either method).

If you have a bigger machine, you can place a bunny in a carrier, rig the tubing to blow the mist in the carrier and then cover the carrier with a towel so the bunny breathes in the mist. The disadvantage is that the machines can be loud, and the bunny needs to be confined for some time (approximately 15-20 minutes) to get the benefit from it.

I like to use a handheld nebulizer as it is much quieter than some of the bigger machines and I can hold the nebulizer right against the bunny's face, so bunny has to breathe in the mist. The treatment time tends to be shorter.

Even if you don't use antibiotics, using a saline solution can be helpful and it can be done multiple times a day.

Panda sounds much better already. Hopefully another week or two, and I won't have to turn up the TV to drown out the sound of snoring.

Jan 18, 2022

Bunny Whisperer

Hello!

I hope you are all having a good start to the new year.

I've been talking a lot about Dior, and she is doing great! She is so happy now, and she's back to playing and being more interactive. There is a subtle difference from how she behaved before the surgery to how she behaves today. Before, she was still eating and looking alert, but she preferred to keep to herself and just sit in her box. To someone who didn't know her, their guess might be that she was just shy. However, I did know what she was like a few weeks prior. Even though she wasn't flat out eating or looking hutched up and writhing in pain, I got the sense there was considerable discomfort.

Today, she plays with her toys. She'll nap outside of her box and she is more interested in engaging with either us humans or her bunny neighbors. This indicates to me that she is feeling more herself, and she is adjusting well.

Dior is an example of learning how to read pain signals in rabbits. Sometimes, it's very obvious that something is wrong, or that a bunny is feeling miserable. Lots of times, though, the signals are very understated. This doesn't necessarily mean that the pain itself is slight. As prey animals, they have it well ingrained in their DNA not to show predators that something is wrong.

As owners, we need to get to know our bunnies well. This doesn't necessarily mean we need to spend every waking moment with them and just stare. That's very creepy. Don't do that.

You can get to know your bunny with casual observation and interactions. Does your bunny come to eat as soon as you put down food? Does he have favorite foods? What is his favorite treat? What sort of toys does he like to play with? Does he interact with you? Does he bonk you in the ankle when you clean his pen? Does he zoom around the room in the morning? If you have a group of bunnies, does one bunny have a best friend? What is your bunny's favorite hang out spot?

Answers to these sort of questions will give you a good idea of what your bunny likes to do, and how to tell if something is off. These sort of observations don't really require you to be obsessive, but be aware of what your pet does on a daily basis. That is one of the reasons why I don't recommend that you house your bunny outside or garage (unless you spend the majority of your time outside or in your garage). Get to know your bunny and you too will develop a good intuition as to how well your rabbit is feeling and doing.

For more tips on how to identify rabbit pain, click on the link below.

Continue reading "Bunny Whisperer"

Jan 10, 2022

Is It OK?

Hello!

I hope you are all enjoying your January.

This week, I've been focused on Dior and making sure she is healing properly. She perked up about mid-day Tuesday and then proceeded to act as nothing was wrong. She is still on some antibiotics and pain meds to make sure she is comfortable and the wound remains clean. I only fed her Critical Care for a couple of days until her appetite was back to normal.

She is definitely feeling better though. She seems more relaxed. The foot was bothering her quite a bit, which I had suspected. The next step in the healing process is to make sure the incision remains clean.

The vets and I were concerned that with her injured back (and the way her posture in the back end was), that she may just have the same problem of a pressure sore but higher up on the leg. When the decision came to amputation, Dr. Misetich decided not take the leg off at the hip. He left part of the leg bone and wrapped the muscle around the stump to give the bone some protection. We hope that when the fur grows back, it will protect the skin.

Dior continues to live in a very padded pen (layered with blankets, mats and foam, all covered with a bed sheet). It's the best way I know how to protect the skin from another sore.

Her vets and I will continue to monitor Dior's progress, but so far, everyone is very hopeful that she will be OK.

Jan 04, 2022

Dior the Amazing!

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and best wishes for you in the New Year!

I started 2022 with a bang. Last week, I coordinated with Dr. Misetich at VCA Arden Animal hospital to get Dior in for her surgery. Dr. Misetich is my regular vet for my bunnies. Despite the fact he is not an exotics vet, he does have over 3 decades of experience working with rabbits.

Fortunately, he was able to fit Dior's surgery in on Monday, Jan 3rd. I wanted to get her foot off as quickly as possible. It was one of those situations in which I could tell that things were getting worse at an alarming rate. It was just obvious that I had run out of options. The infection was just growing out of control and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

As soon as the decision was made to amputate, I did not want to wait. The foot needed to come off in the next few days. I was fortunate enough Dr. Misetich had an opening when he did.

On the day of her surgery, I gave Dior her breakfast and medication, packed up lots of her favorite foods and snacks, and dropped her off at the clinic. The surgery itself was uneventful (just the way we like it), and she recovered quickly.

At home, she was sleepy (which was to be expected), and I set her up inside her favorite Tent Palace. She snuggled up with a small, microwaveable heating pad and even took a couple of raspberries from me.

This morning, I noticed that she had eaten the lettuce I had left for her the night before. She looked more alert and seemed more comfortable. I medicated her, expressed her bladder with little trouble, and fed her Critical Care (which she seemed to like, because she is a good girl).

A couple of hours later, I saw that she had moved from her bed and had actually found one of her Christmas toys and had started to play with it. This made me very happy. Clearly she is feeling good and her playful side is coming out again.

It's very early in the healing process, but there's a lot of good signs. I hope she will soon feel like her normal, playful self.

Thank you to everyone who has sent love, healing vibes, prayers and good thoughts our way, and a big thank you for everyone who has donated to her care. I'm very thankful for the good thoughts and help.

Dec 26, 2021

Wanted: One Bunny-Sized Parrot

Happy Holidays!

I hope you and your bunnies all had a festive weekend, and if you do not celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a restful couple of days.

This weekend was NOT restful for me. It was one of those things that a couple of weeks ago sounded like a good idea, then became much less appealing as the time grew closer. In short, lots of running around and trying to get things done. The lack of time became more apparent when I determined that a new laptop was in order NOW. Fortunately, I was able to get one quickly, despite the supply chain issues, but setting it up and getting used to it takes time. The last time I bought a laptop was probably 6 years ago, so there has been some big changes.

This last week of 2021 is going to be a busy one for me and the bunnies. Zoe has her first physical therapy appointment at CARE this Tuesday. She's been feeling pretty good these last couple of weeks (thanks to the adjustment to her medications), but she probably could use some stretches and exercises.

Today, Dior had another follow-up appointment at ACCESS with Dr. Gleeson. Unfortunately, she did not have great news. The bone in her foot is just not healing and now the infection is steadily eating away at it. It's not a huge surprise, since I can feel the changes in her foot when I wrap it. When I spoke to Dr. Gleeson a few days ago, she suggested that maybe putting in some antibiotic beads into the foot would help. However the bone is no longer strong enough. That leaves only amputation.

Rabbits typically adjust well to just three limbs, and if Dior was any other rabbit, I wouldn't stress about it. However, with her back injury, I'm not sure how well she will do. I do know that she will feel much better, since the foot looks terribly painful (she's already on 3 different pain medications).

Dior is a remarkable bunny. Up to this point, she has not let her back injury dampen her mood. She had figured out how to get around and was quite content with her situation (up until now). I can see a change in her mood - the foot bothers her. Even if she struggles to move or stand, she will at least feel better without the constant pain. I do joke with her vets that with the amputation, Dior should get a peg leg and a bunny-sized parrot. That way, she'll be ready to sail the high seas as a pirate.

I am still coordinating the details with her vets to see when the surgery can be done. It will probably be either this week or next.

I am keeping my fingers crossed for this special girl.

Dec 20, 2021

To Keep or To Let Go, That Is The Question

Hello!

I'm sitting here, listening to my laptop make an awful rattling noise. I'm terrified it will die on me as I write this blog. OMG! I might have to resort trying to type this out on my phone.

So Dior's foot is not doing well. I knew she had an infection in the bone of her foot, and she's been on antibiotics for quite some time to try and tackle that problem. I had thought it was going well as the sore on her foot was healing and the skin was finally growing back.

Well the skin grew back - much to my delight - but the infection in her bone worsened, despite the medication. Her foot became swollen and painful. Dr. Gleeson cut open the foot and cleaned out the pus as best she could, but even after two weeks there is still swelling.

I've wanted to avoid amputation as much as possible. I've dealt with rabbits who needed to have a limb amputated, and they have done very well and I could see the difference in their attitude that the limb was just causing pain and they were happy to be rid of it.

Unfortunately, the way Dior has her foot tucked under her, her doctors and I knew that the issue of her hock wouldn't go away if the foot was removed. The pressure sore would just be further up her leg, making treatment harder. We wanted to try and heal her foot.

However, with the infection in her bone getting so much worse, amputation looks more like an immediate course of action, as we want to avoid sepsis. She will definitely feel better without that foot, but her vets and I will have to figure out what to do about the leg.

A cart will not work as you're not really supposed to have them in the cart 24/7, because it's really hard on the back. Also, I have carpet. The other alternative is a type of prosthesis, which I will need to discuss with her vets.

There is a lot to think about and consider, but I know she will feel much better without that foot. I will not feel good about that credit card charge, but what can I do? She's a very sweet girl and she deserves a good life.

Happy Holidays to you and your bunnies!

Dec 14, 2021

I'm Not Weird - You're Weird!

Hello!

I hope you all are having a lovely, stress-free holiday season!

Recently, I was talking an old client and we were laughing about how a previous bunny of hers was very particular about her litter box. She had a box of hay, but she needed a separate litter box to do her business, and it had to be her particular little purple plastic container. If she did not have her purple box, she did not go to the bathroom.

A lot of our bunnies have their own eccentricities. Some bunnies will only eat a certain type of hay, and it better be the right color of green (or yellow). One of my friends insisted that her bunnies only ate the “crappy” hay (all yellow and burnt - I think it was barely a step up from straw). In working at a shelter that had boarding services, plenty of clients would bring in items they insisted their bunnies could not live without. They ranged from blankets to teddy bears to a brick.

Probably the strangest story was from a dear friend of mine who insisted that her bunny needed Charmin Ultrasoft toilet paper in her litter box. The litter box was in the bathroom and one day, the bunny reached up and tore off a chunk of toilet paper and left it in the corner of the litter box she used exclusively as a bathroom. On a hunch, my friend took a sizeable piece of the toilet paper, wrapped it several times around her hand and placed it in the corner. The bunny was ecstatic! In fact, if my friend was home, the bunny would jump out of the box and nudge my friend’s ankle to tell her that she was done and needed to replace the paper. My friend would carefully pick up the paper by the edges, flush it and put down a fresh piece.

The bunny was very particular. She watched the placement of the paper, and if my friend didn’t do something right, the bunny would stomp as if to say “Do it again!”. At one point, my friend ran out of Charmin Ultrasoft, and had to use something else. The bunny was so unhappy. Once it was purchased again, the bunny watched it being placed, sniffed it, realized it was her favorite toilet paper and binkied in delight.

The story was so weird, but kudos to my friend for going along with her bunny’s wishes. To her, the Charmin Ultrasoft request seemed completely reasonable. After her bunny passed, she adopted another bunny, who did not have a toilet paper demands. I remember her calling me up, totally confused that he did not have a particular preference where he pooped and pee’d in his litter box and that he actually slept in the litter box. I told her that she finally had a normal rabbit.

But honestly, we all know there is no such thing.

Dec 06, 2021

Hello December!

Hello!

Welcome all to the last month of 2021! I'm not sure if that is a relief to you or not, but I hope this holiday season will be good to both you and your bunnies.

I always enjoy this time of year. It's cooler, and I can sleep with the window open and under a pile of blankets. There's hoards of cake and chocolate, and I usually receive several Starbucks gift cards to make sure I'm well caffeinated for the next month or so.

A lot of my friends and family are difficult to shop for, but I always love shopping for the bunnies. In fact, I actually finished shopping for them in September and I'm sure they'll be happy and entertained for at least 10 minutes.

Tomorrow, I am taking Dior and Zoe to the vet. Dior will have a recheck done on her foot. I changed her bandage today, and was please to see it looking good. Mind you, I'm placing so much wrap around her leg, I'm sure her foot feels like it's floating on a cloud. Once this heals, I'm sure she'll need some sort of bandage or sock for the rest of her life.

Zoe will be going in for her mobility issues. She seems OK for now, but I know the more proactive I am, the longer she'll be upright. She is still feeling good enough to remodel her cardboard house. She's created a nice back door complete with a bay window, where she can have a lovely view of the wall.

Winston got a new water bowl. I was tired of cleaning up the flood every time he tipped over his heavy ceramic bowl. I got one that screws into the pen. Unfortunately, that came with a metal bowl insert. Within a half hour, he picked up the insert and threw that around, soaking his pen again. He is lucky he is so adorable.

I have been slow with getting another article and newsletter out. I've been concentrating on getting the First Aid guide properly formatted and out. I'm also working on putting together an online course to concentrate on the best practices to keep your bunny healthy and happy. There will be more on this course in the next several weeks as I put together information and videos. I'm very excited about both and hope you all will find it helpful.

If you are interested in finding out more about the upcoming book and course, please sign up for alerts. Just click on the link and scroll down.

Continue reading "Hello December!"

Nov 30, 2021

What's On The Menu?

Hello!

I hope all my American friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I had a wonderful quiet, boring and unremarkable day (just how I like it, lol!)

Last week, I talked a bit about how my baby-girl is starting to show her age. She spent two days lounging in the litter box and then felt good enough to move her lounging to the soft bed that she had been neglecting all week. Today, she is back to feeling not the best, but that's OK. She is going to have good days and not so good days.

Today was the first day I introduced her to pellet mush. It's the first time I've made it in about 8 months (since Eddie). I mixed the first batch with love as I remembered all the bunnies I've made this for in the past. I put in about a cup of Oxbow Adult pellets, a pouch of baby food (apple, blueberry and oats) and two bananas (really, I should have just put in one, but the other banana needed to be used ASAP).

Often, bunnies will not touch the mush at first. It looks weird and they're not used to it. Fortunately, Zoe has never met a type of food she didn't love immediately. She ate it like a champ!

I've made vet appointments for her, which will take place in the upcoming month. Hopefully, we'll see what exactly is going on and adjust or add medications as needed. Over the next several weeks, I will also have to adjust her living environment as needed.

This period of time is usually the most stressful as you are trying to adjust to the new normal. Observe the changes taking place and consult your vet. If this is your first time with dealing with an elder bun, it might help to think about how you deal with arthritis pain (or if you have a friend or family member). Does your bunny need something soft to lay in? Does your bunny need a lower litter box? If you are feeling achy, does a heating pad help?

There are several Facebook groups that focus on senior and/or disabled rabbits. You may even seek out a local rabbit rescue or talk with a friend, who has rabbits. I have several articles on senior and disabled bunnies that you may find helpful. As always, feel free to reach out to me via social media or email.

Hopefully, the best years are still yet to come.

Continue reading "What's On The Menu?"

Nov 22, 2021

Getting Old

Hello!

I hope you and your bunnies are having a lovely November and getting ready for the holidays.

This weekend, I noticed Zoe was having trouble getting up and moving around. Zoe is well over 10.5-years-old, and she has really slowed down in the last few months. My firecracker baby girl is no longer interested in running around and trying to pick fights.

It's an unpleasant realization for me. I've been her bunny mom since her arrival at my home at 3 weeks-old. Intellectually, I knew this day would come, and I realize that there is more years behind her than in front of her, and yet, my heart is surprised and unhappy (because emotions are goofy that way).

Of course this is not my first time dealing with a bunny entering their senior years. There is definitely an adjustment, both in routine and mindset. Yesterday, I spoke to a dear friend of mine who too has had a lot of experience with dealing with senior and hard-luck bunnies.

We both agreed that there was something special about senior buns. There is a certain skill in taking care of these remarkable rabbits. It involves empathy, creativity and determination to rise to the challenge of giving these creatures the best quality of life in their remaining time. We want them to leave this life content and well-loved.

It's different from babies and adults. They have the ability entertain themselves and do their own thing. Senior (and disabled) bunnies need your love. The needs for each individual bunny are different. It challenges you to think outside the box, and it inspires you to do better each subsequent time you are called to the task.

Frequently, one of the top issues is movement. This can affect how well a bunny will use the litter box or reach down to get the cecals. The more a rabbit remains stationary, the more likely it is for the bunny to lose muscle mass (dropping weight quickly). A low litter box, soft bedding and supplement food and daily butt inspection becomes a necessity. Each bunny will have a slightly different routine and set-up, because each bunny is unique.

Regular vet visits (or just updating your vet via phone or email) is important, as medications may be added or adjusted as health needs change. If possible, visiting a physical therapist can help a rabbit feel more comfortable and possibly extend the time a bunny remains mobile.

These are things I need to start thinking about as Zoe displays more signs of getting old, but that's OK. Baby girl, I am ready for you.

Continue reading "Getting Old"

Nov 15, 2021

This Is Why I Can't Have Nice Things

Hello!

I hope you and your bunnies are all well.

This past week I brought in Dior and Winston to see Dr. Gleeson at ACCESS Animal Hospital for a check up. The good news is Dior's foot is looking much better. This is because her entire foot - from the toes to half way up her leg - is wrapped in a giant bandage. It basically looks like I vet-wrapped a pillow around her foot. I'm cautiously optimistic. Unfortunately I've seen her foot make progress, only to regress, but I'm hoping the millionth time is the charm. As always, my fashion star is bright and perky. She loves her tent palace, treats and hay. She really seems like a happy and content little bunny.

Winston went in because his one year annual is coming up. He needed his vaccine booster. I wanted to know the status of his back injury and talk to the vet about the sludge showing up in his urine. The good news is that his back looks awesome! Yay! The not so awesome news is that his bladder has a fair amount of sludge in it.

In regards to Winston, there isn't a clear cause for the sludge. It might be genetics or related to his back injury (i.e. he doesn't empty his bladder completely). I have already reduced pellets and calcium rich veggies in his diet. I just need to give him more exercise time.

Since he is young and has ants-in-his-pants, he will be very happy to run, binky and create chaos. Since he has absolutely no litter box skills, I will have to think of a way to protect my carpet (and sanity) without causing significantly more work (cleaning up after him). He has aged out of diapers. He no longer fits in his X-S diapers, but he's much too small for the next size up.

Currently, I line my dining room with washable pee pads, but honestly, the amount of laundry is rather overwhelming. I am rethinking my plan, and considering just laying down a thick tarp down the hallway and wiping away any messes with some vinegar. I have not yet put this idea in action, but I don't see a downside (unless he chews a giant hole in the plastic which I wouldn't put past him).

I will keep you all updated on how this works.

Nov 08, 2021

Helping Your Bunny In An Emergency

Happy Monday!

I hope you are all doing well, and getting excited about the holidays coming up.

I recently read an article on the veterinary care crisis facing the nation right now. Finding a rabbit vet wasn't easy pre-COVID, but since the pandemic, getting timely care has been a challenge (to put it mildly). However, as the cases of COVID drops (fingers crossed it stays that way), it seems unlikely that the veterinary crisis will fade away anytime soon.

It's always been the case that rabbit owners should always be vigilant about their rabbit's health and be able to do some basic care, should their bunny stop eating. However, with the inability to find an available vet, that ability to be able to help your sick bunny at home has become a priority.

Now obviously, if your bunny is in crisis, there are things that only a vet can handle, and you should not hesitate to bring your bunny in. The key is to know what is something you can handle on your own and what requires professional attention.

On a recent post on Instagram, I mentioned that the most important thing to do during a GI stasis episode is to provide fluids and pain relief. Always. Don't skip either one.

There are other things that are important too, but are not always necessary. They include providing heat (or ice if body temperature is too high), Critical Care (or other supplemental food), motility drugs (such as reglan and cisapride), appetite stimulant (such as cyproheptadine), simethicone (which helps with gas).

It's also important to know your bunny. One of my friends had bunnies that went into GI stasis so often (due to stress), that she had a system to get them out of it. Was it the same system I use for my bunnies? It was similar, but not exactly the same, and that's because she knew her bunnies very well, and understood their quirks.

When I adopted my first rabbits and learned about GI stasis, I found the whole concept terrifying. I wasn't even sure what to do if my bunnies suddenly stopped eating. When I started working in rabbit rescue, I was quickly exposed to many different rabbits with various health issues. I learned how to spot a sick bun and what to do initially to help the bunny get better.

In my upcoming First Aid Guide for the Domestic Rabbit, I list a step-by-step process in how to deal with GI stasis at home. I also have a chapter on what constitutes an emergency and what can wait. It's important to realize that GI stasis is just a symptom. It's a signal that something is wrong. It might be something as simple as gas or it might be something more critical.

If you wish to be alerted the moment the book becomes available, please click on the link below and fill out the form below the article.

Continue reading "Helping Your Bunny In An Emergency"

Nov 02, 2021

So Late...

Hello!

Happy Tuesday. I know, I know, I'm so late!

In short, my Monday really got away from me. I'm having fun meeting new people and grooming their rabbits (and of course, chatting it up with return clients). I also started volunteering again at the California Wildlife Center after a brief break. The orphan unit is closed for the season, but I'm working in the ICU unit and get to see some incredible animals (and feed them too - yuck!). I'm just hanging out there until baby season starts up again. (yay!)

In the meantime, I've been busy working with the formatting company to getting the First Aid Guide just right. It's definitely a process. Along side, we are also working on the cover design (which you may think should be straightforward - it's not).

I would like to give a date when it would be completed and ready to purchase. However, I've been wildly wrong about these things in the past, so I'll just say that it's being worked on and will be finished soon.

In other news, I'm still in the beginning stages of putting together an online course on rabbit care. I've asked several of my rabbit friends what they wished they had known before getting rabbits, when they first got rabbits, what they want to know NOW. Needless to say, I got a very long list.

Thankfully, the bunnies seem to be doing well. Dior sees Dr. Gleeson at ACCESS about every two weeks to have her foot checked. Dr. Gleeson seems pleased with the progress. I'll have to take her word for it, since I think the foot still looks nasty. Hopefully, Dior continues to improve though. Her foot cannot be comfortable. She is in great spirits though. I find it amazing how rabbits can be both delicate and tough at the same time. Dior definitely does not let her disabilities get in her way of doing the things she loves.

Anyway, I'm off to do more bunny things. I'm working hard to get more bunny information out to you! If you want to be alerted as soon as the First Aid guide is available, click on the link and scroll to the bottom to fill out the form. You'll be emailed the second it's available.

Continue reading "So Late..."

Oct 25, 2021

It's Raining Cats and Dogs...I mean, Rabbits and Dogs!

Hello!

Hope you and your bunnies are doing well this very wet Monday.

Much of this week I'm busy with helping a friend out by looking after his zoo while he and his wife are out of town. Even though there is a rabbit in the mix of animals, I probably spend the most time fussing with the dog.

People have frequently asked whether dogs and rabbits can get along, and the answer is a complicated maybe. Many dog breeds have been developed to hunt either vermin or small prey. Some dog breeds (specifically the sighthounds), have been purposely bred to hunt rabbits and hares. Rabbits - even our pampered buns - have a strong sense of their vulnerabilities. They know they are prey, so the presence of a predator like a dog or cat are not welcome. In fact, some rabbits can get so stressed, that they die.

Are there dog breeds rabbit owners should just stay away from? I would stay away from dogs with high prey drives, so that would include sighthounds and terriers. However, the toy breeds can also be a problem. You don't want a dog that will stand in front of your bunny's pen and bark at it all day long.

However, there are exceptions to every rule, and it's always up to the individual dog and bunny. Some bunnies do not tolerate the presence of a dog and one shouldn't be forced on them. Some dogs will see a rabbit and want to kill it. These dogs should never be trusted to be around a rabbit, and I would highly advise against putting a rabbit in such a dangerous situation. Not only is it highly stressful for the rabbit, but it forces you to be perfect all the time. If that pen or gate isn't latched every time, a tragedy can quickly occur, which usually ends with the death of the rabbit.

Is it better to get a puppy and socialize and train it right from the beginning? Puppies are fun and energetic. However, you don't want the puppy to be so excited about your bunny that he tackles the rabbit in play. Broken backs and legs occur because bunny bones cannot tolerate rough puppy play. It's better to get an older dog (a senior is even better). It's also easier to tell what sort of prey drive an older dog truly has. The more inclined the dog is to sleep on the couch, the happier everyone will be.

In short, a dog/rabbit friendship is up to the individual dog and rabbit. However, keep in mind the dog's breed, age and prey drive to determine whether this is a good match.

Oct 18, 2021

I Need Your Help!

Happy Monday!

I know, I know, 'Go away crazy lady! It's Monday'. I hope wherever you are in the world, you and your bunnies are having a good day.

I am super busy right now. The first aid guide is almost ready for publication. I'm just need to approve the formatting and design. I'm excited about this project, and I hope you will find this book to be invaluable.

I'm working on another project right now, which I hope will be ready early next year (fingers crossed!). I'll be releasing a digital course based on the first aid guide. I want to go over some of the details in the book, which might be harder to understand with just pictures (such as taking your bunny's temperature).

Since I am at the beginning stages of putting together this course, I want YOUR input. What would you want to see in this course? Do you need help with syringe feeding? Do you want to know more about GI stasis? Do you want a more detailed explanation regarding diet, housing and handling? The topic will mostly be around health, but if there is demand, I'll talk more about diet and housing.

Tell me what you most want to see! You can DM me in Facebook, Instagram, or shoot me an email at jody@theeducatedrabbit.com

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Oct 11, 2021

Bonding Wisdom

Hello!

I hope you all are having a nice October!

This week on Instagram, I reposted a piece about a bonding session I was doing a couple of years ago. I was trying to bond Panda with Cupcake and Sprinkles, and Joey with Zoe and Emma.

Was it successful? Not entirely. Could I have forced these bonds? Probably, but neither the bunnies or myself would have appreciated the effort. I am familiar with the personalities of my bunnies. Emma has a history of nipping her companions. She doesn't dare try that on Zoe, but Joey is pretty high-strung. Emma's constant nipping would’ve stressed him out. The purpose of creating a group is so everyone can snuggle together and have extra space and be happier. Excessively stressing one bunny out would have been counterproductive.

With Panda, I guessed Sprinkles was a one-bunny kind of bunny. He was content with one bunny friend (his brother) and that was that. Cupcake was more open-minded, but here again, I didn't want to spend my time watching the trio like a hawk and breaking up fights. As soon as I realized Sprinkles was just not open to Panda living in his space(despite being neighbors for years), I stopped. After Sprinkles died the following year, I was able to match Cupcake and Panda together fairly quickly.

Bonding is difficult because it involves using your intuition. The actual work of bonding requires you to control your space and invest time in the activity, but the actual judgement of who to match up, how to proceed and how long to persist with the work when the going gets tough involves what you feel about the bunnies in question.

Some bunnies just don't like each other. Some bunnies are just too stressed by the process of bonding. Some bunnies just need time to get used to the idea. Be aware that sometimes the combination just doesn't work. Does that mean you are a failure and need to exchange your pets for a rock collection? Of course not. Sometimes the personalities clash and you need to come to terms with the fact that you may have two (or more) separate pens in the house. Trust me, that is easier to deal with than weekly trips to the vet because one of your bunnies needs stitches.

Can bonding be made more difficult for other than personality differences? Sure. If one bunny is not feeling well, I can imagine this bunny is in no mood to make friends. If one bunny is new, he has to deal with a new environment, people, schedule, etc. There is added stress, if the bunny has come from a stressful situation. When you are taking in a new bunny, allow the newcomer some time to settle in, and have him live side-by-side with your current bunny.

Do you have more questions about bonding, or would you like to set up a bonding consultation? Check out my website or email me for more information!

Continue reading "Bonding Wisdom"

Oct 05, 2021

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Update

Hello!

I hope you all are having a great Monday.

This past week, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced their first two cases of rabbit deaths due to Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV2). The disease has already spread to the following states: Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, South Dakota, Georgia and Florida.

However, there was also a bit of good news this week. Medgene Labs, a US-based company, announced that they've received Emergency Use Authorization from the USDA for their new RHDV2 vaccine.

This vaccine is a recombinant vaccine, which means the vaccine uses specific RHDV2 proteins to build up a rabbit's immunity (science is a wonderful thing!). Many people have been hesitant about vaccinating their pet rabbits with the two current vaccines authorized for use in the US. The European Filavac and Eravac have been used for many years in Europe and elsewhere around the world, and it's very effective in protecting rabbits. However, these vaccines are derived from the liver of infected rabbits. This recombinant vaccine is not manufactured this way (although to prove effectiveness, rabbits were used as test subjects).

The vaccine requires 2 doses for full protection, and rabbits are fully protected 14 days after the second dose. As of today (10/4/21), the vaccine is available in these states: Alabama, California, Georgia, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

If you are interested in getting your bunny vaccinated, please contact your veterinarian. If your vet wants more information, have your vet contact Medgene directly info@medgenelabs.com

Continue reading "Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Update"

Sep 27, 2021

Bunny Lovers Unite!

Hello!

I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend. I was supposed to have spent a few days visiting a good friend of mine in Redding (Northern California), except on the day before I was scheduled to fly out, a terrible wildfire sprung up a mile from her home and she was evacuated a few hours later. Wildfires are a big problem here in California because of the severe drought conditions gripping the state. Hopefully, this upcoming winter will be a wet one.

Since my mini-vacation was cancelled (thank you, arsonist), I had some extra time on my hands. I checked out the virtual San Diego BunnyFest, which is the main annual Fall fundraiser for the San Diego House Rabbit Society chapter.

I did have the opportunity to speak at the Association of Exotic Animals Facebook Live event Sunday morning. AAEonlus (https://www.aaeonlus.org/) is the Italian chapter of the House Rabbit Society...and no, I don't speak Italian. The association had a wonderful translator who worked with me.

I spoke about some of the basics of Senior Rabbit care. A lot of rabbit care is focused on younger, healthier rabbits. This makes sense, because most people - especially those starting out with rabbits - will have a rabbit in the prime of his health. However, there is less information out there for owners who feel like they need a little extra help with their older bunnies.

One tidbit of advice which I will give here is to pay attention to your bunny. This is great advice for all stages of life, but even more so for older rabbits. The better you know your bunny, the sooner you will see if he starts to have trouble, such as moving around, getting into the litter box or just eating less. The sooner you catch these little signs, the sooner you can make adjustments to your bunny's environment or even make that vet appointment.

Continue reading "Bunny Lovers Unite!"

Sep 22, 2021

Rabbit Toys

Safe rabbit toys are a must for any rabbit household. A bored rabbit is a destructive rabbit.

Continue reading "Rabbit Toys"

Sep 21, 2021

Fall Is Almost Here!

Hello!

I hope you and your bunnies are all well. Summer is almost over (so hard to believe it!). Fall in Southern California can feel a lot like summer, so I think it will probably be another month or so before temperatures are consistently cooler.

One sure sign that Fall is just around the corner is all the Halloween goodies for sale at the grocery store. There is the candy (yay!), spooky decorations - and of course - the pumpkins.

My husband loves the pumpkins. He will get a couple of gourds and fill the kitchen with pumpkin guts as he carves grumpy bunny faces. Afterwards, he'll pick out the seeds, clean them, then roast them in the oven as they swim in salt and butter (so good, and so BAD for you!).

You may ask, "Don't your bunnies get any pumpkin?" My bunnies are a funny bunch and don't think much of it. This is unusual, as pumpkins are primarily made up of water and sugar.

Pumpkin is high in Vitamin A, K, zinc and other minerals. A small dollop can be a nice treat for your bun, if they like it.

Many bunny owners will have some canned pumpkin on hand. That's because it is easy to mix a spoonful of pumpkin with some Critical Care or moistened pellets to help entice a bunny to eat. This can be a good way for elderly or disabled rabbits to get additional fiber and calories. If you have a bunny recovering from an illness or surgery, adding a small dish of pumpkin/Critical Care mush will be much less stressful than trying to syringe-feed them.

You don't need fresh pumpkin to offer it to your bunny. As mentioned previously, canned pumpkin works just fine. Be sure to use JUST pumpkin and NOT canned pumpkin pie. If you are not sure if your bunny will eat it, go to the baby aisle and look for pumpkin in the baby food section. The jars are small and you don't feel too awful if you need to throw it out.

Sep 13, 2021

Your Chances are 50/50

Hello!

I hope you are all having a loving day. I wanted to talk about something which, really, I should have put in an article somewhere (if not given the topic it's very own piece).

Last week, I met a new grooming client and his bunny. We chatted and I answered several bunny-related questions, before settling down to the task at hand. When I flipped the bunny over to trim the nails, I called over the owner.

"Did you know your bunny is a boy?"

"What? No! Well, I guess I won that bet."

This is a very typical conversation. Also the statement, "I was told I got two girls, and now I have a litter of baby bunnies." is a common statement that I hear often too. Why is it so hard to sex rabbits?

Basically - when you turn over your rabbit - you are looking for either a cone (male) or a slit (female). The trouble is babies are notoriously difficult to tell apart. Up to about 8 weeks, that cone or slit looks pretty much the same. As the bunny gets older, that structure becomes more pronounced.

When I have a baby, I will take a quick peek, but I don't really start checking with earnest until the baby is weaned. I will then check 1-2 times a week until I am sure that what I'm looking at is a cone or a slit. Do I still get it wrong? Sometimes, especially if the baby is 5 months old I'm still looking for testicles. Then I know I need to take a closer look.

If you choose to purchase babies at a pet store (which I absolutely do NOT recommend) or take in a baby or two from your neighbor, be wary about their insistence that what your are holding is two boys or two girls. It is so easy to get it wrong.

If your bunny is 8 weeks or a little order, bring to a rabbit-savvy vet for a wellness check and to confirm the gender, then schedule a neuter or spay. Alternatively, you can bring your bunny to your local rabbit rescue and speak to the local rabbit expert there to help you.

If you adopted a recent stray or private owner surrender (many, if not all, rescues and shelters spay and neuter before adoption, unless there is a medical reason not to), go ahead and take a look at the underside. You may be a little surprised that your girl isn't really a girl. If so, don't despair! There are many who have had the same experience.

Sep 06, 2021

At The Vet Again

Hello,

Happy Labor Day for all my US and Canada readers. I hope it's been a relaxing day for everyone.

This morning, I got up early to take Dior down to see Dr. Gleeson at Access. It was a scheduled appointment, so no emergency (for which I'm always very thankful). I wanted to see what other ideas would be possible to help Dior's foot, as progress is SO not happening. I was able to speak to Dr. Gleeson at length about what I have been doing, what I've thought about, what I've tried, what I think is a terrible idea, and what I'm worried about. The immediate plan is to take another x-ray to make sure there is no osteomyelitis (bone infection), and try a different method of wound care. I can imagine that the wound is causing a great deal of discomfort for Dior.

Since sick pets do not appreciate the concept of a long weekend, the clinic was quite busy, and so, I'm at home...waiting by the phone and fretting about my little diva.

Lately, I've been a little absent with social media. It's been a crazy couple of weeks. First, I was supposed to see a friend, but that visit was delayed, then I got very busy with some grooming appointments, and lately, I've been working on getting my First Aid guide formatted.

I had a set back in the post production of my guide. Due to circumstances beyond anyone's control, I had to find someone else to format and design the book. These things happen, so I'm not raging against the Universe or anything like that. It does mean that I've been busy researching other services, getting quotes and figuring out what to do next. It's both terrifying and exciting. I can hardly wait to see the finished product!!

In the meantime, I might enjoy this hot afternoon with a nap (or a book, haven't decided which yet) and wait by the phone.

Aug 30, 2021

Getting Your Suit of Armor

Hello!

I hope you are all doing well. Much of the nation is either on fire or under water, so I hope you and your bunnies are safe.

I've spent the last few days in a cleaning frenzy. I'm expecting company, so I have to at least pretend my house isn't transitioning into a barn. Cleaning isn't my favorite thing, so the dust bunnies have been pretty impressive. Of course, I've procrastinated on the dusting by visiting a friend who is fostering a very bitey English Lop.

Now, getting bitten by a rabbit - regardless of the size - is no fun, especially when he's chasing you like a lion in the Savannah. How do you get him to stop?

A couple of points to remember when it comes to aggressive rabbits. One, they have a giant personality. Once they've calmed down, they become very engaging pets. You never have to wonder, "What is my bunny thinking?" It will be REALLY obvious. Second, turning a bunny's attitude around will usually be a large commitment. It may take several months to calm him down. You may need to greatly expand his space or even get him a bunny friend. It will require you to become a psychologist. Figure out what triggers the bunny. Is he possessive of his food, litter box or space? Does he get angry with certain objects like brooms? Can you touch his bowls or toys? Is he possessive of you? Will he bite if he smells other bunnies on you? Will he bite, if you stop petting him or walk out of the pen? What is the bunny's background? Was he locked up in a cage or hutch? Was he abused?

The cause may also be physical. Is he neutered? If so, how long ago? Is he in pain? Is he mobile? Is he deaf or blind? If the cause doesn't seem obvious (randomly charging after you and removing your ankle), pay close attention to the circumstances - time of day, what were you wearing? Did you step over him and startle him?

Putting yourself into your bunny's skin may help you understand where he is coming from. Is your home a new place and scary? Be aware that he could have been surrendered, in a rescuers home, in a shelter and in your home in less than a week. That's a lot of change!

You will need patience. It's no fun receiving bloody bruises, and each wound causes you to regret your decision to open your home to this rabbit. Of course, if you are afraid to live in your own house, the situation isn't working out. If you are determined to win this bunny over (even if it means bloody harm), it's worthwhile to protect yourself. Wear closed-toe shoes, long pants and shirts and gloves.

Never get angry. Always treat with kindness.

I will write a future article on aggressive rabbits and go into more detail. Meanwhile, learn his triggers and give him TIME.

Aug 23, 2021

Where Is The Owner's Manual To This Thing?

Hello!

I hope you are all having a wonderful August!

I've been keeping busy with grooming appointments. I'm enjoying meeting new people and bunnies, and listening to the stories of how my clients got their bunnies in the first place. My clients range from the brand new to the very experienced (and everything in between). Many of my clients are experiencing various challenges with their bunnies - long coat needing regular brushing, waiting for their rambunctious young bunnies to be neutered, and some with health issues.

People generally enter a relationship with a pet with certain expectations. Even if they do all the research, and even if they've had other pets before, there is an image in their mind as to what life will be like with their pet. This is not something that only happens to new rabbit owners. Whenever I take on a new rabbit, I try to gather as much information as I can to understand what I am getting myself into. However, many times my image of how this bunny will integrate into my home needs to be adjusted.

I researched rabbit care before I got my first two boys, Whoppy and Oso. I thought I would take them to work with me every day, so they could hang out with the other bunnies who belonged to my boss (I didn't cross my mind that bunnies could be violently territorial). I thought my bunnies would keep themselves company and let me cuddle them once in awhile. Well, I left my job soon after I adopted the two boys. I delayed Whoppy's neutering, which resulted in an enormous fight. I had to separate the boys for about 8 months. I had no idea how to get them back together. Neither bunny was into cuddling, but especially Oso. Over time, the boys got back together, and I accepted that they were affectionate with me at a distance.

Of course, I have had to adjust my expectations with even my most recent bunnies, Dior and Winston. I had assumed I could heal Dior’s urine scald and pressure sores in no time. I had no idea her foot would be so problematic and I would still be dealing an open wound 6 months later. I took in Winston because he was a sweetheart with a back injury. His back injury is almost healed (he still has some compression in his spine. Some changes are good!). He's still affectionate, but he is also quite territorial and has bitten both James and I and drawn blood. It makes cleaning his pen in the morning somewhat of a challenge at times.

There is nothing wrong with having expectations. We all have them. More experienced rabbit owners can adapt more easily to changes (because they've probably seen it before), than perhaps a brand new owner, who may not know where to seek advice.

If you have questions on any aspect of rabbit care, you can always email me a question. I'm always happy to help.

Aug 02, 2021

Keep At It!

Hello,

I hope you and your bunnies are keeping cool this blistering hot day.

I wanted to talk a bit about mastering certain skills when taking care of rabbits. I'm not really talking things like handling, but more like trimming nails or administering medications.

These tasks can seem nearly impossible at first. A lot of bunny owners - especially new ones - are terrified at the prospect. Tasks like nail trims may be transferred to a vet or groomer, but things like giving medications can't. After all, if the bunny needs to be on medicine for several weeks, are you really going to bring the bunny in daily to the vet?

Chances are that you will learn how to do it yourself. Some bunnies are really awesome and don't need much convincing to take their medicine. However, there are many bunnies who believe you are out to get them.

Dior is one such bunny. She came to live with me in March, and she had a lot of issues (hence why I ended up taking her in). Right away, she needed medication, expressing her bladder and making sure she was clean and comfortable.

I'm used to handling rabbits (with varying degrees of cooperation), so I don't really think, "Can I get this done?", but more "How can I complete this task in the most productive and comfortable manner?" (in actuality, there may be more cursing, especially if it involves Critical Care). Dior is not necessarily the easiest bunny to handle. She is a very good bunny and doesn't bite, but she does get nervous.

A few weeks ago, I began showing my husband how to medicate, change her bandage and express her bladder. Let me tell you, I don't think she was a fan about being the teaching subject.

Dior fought a lot about taking her medication. She did not like it. She did not want it. Quite often, the medicine ended up on her forehead, or our clothes. She really fought us since March, but all of a sudden, a couple of weeks ago, she decided that maybe it was tasty. Now, we put our arm around her and present the syringe to her (I kinda poke her lips with it). She'll still turn her head away a couple of times, before she remembers how tasty banana creme gabapentin is. Once she remembers, she laps up all her medicine.

Dior is even getting used to my husband changing her bandage. She may still breathe fast, but she struggles much less.

Expressing is a different matter. For some reason, only I am able to get her to pee. I think it has less to do with any magical abilities on my part and more to do with her level of trust.

It's a reminder that with patience (on the human part) and a little trust from your bunny, you can manage your bunny's care. Be kind to both yourself and your bun.

Jul 27, 2021

Baby Bunnies!

Hello!

I hope you are all having a great day and staying cool.

This weekend, a friend of mine needed some help with a baby bunny. I learned a lot about bottle-feeding rabbits when I first started working at the rescue and I built-up my knowledge with subsequent babies over the years. Let me share with you some of the tips I’ve learned.

Babies - like everything rabbit - are complicated. There are guidelines, but much of the care also depends on flexibility. How quick can you assess the problem and find a solution? Of course, if you’ve never handled baby rabbits before, it’s hard to follow your gut when you don’t have a basis of comparison.

Newborns look like cocktail weiners. They should look fat (like they’ve been drinking a barrel of beer every day for the last 50 years). They are born naked with closed eyes. After 7 days, you can see the soft sheen of fur growing in. After 10 days, their eyes open, and by 14 days, they start climbing out of the nest and go exploring. Typical x-pens will not keep them in as the babies just wobble between the bars and head towards the most inconvenient thing to dig them out of (behind a bookshelf, under a sectional, etc.). Mom feeds babies about 5-10 minutes twice a day. When you think about it, this means rabbit milk is densely packed with the necessary fats and nutrients to not only sustain a baby, but make the baby thrive in such short feeding sessions.

This also means it’s difficult to replicate the milk. I use KMR (Kitten Milk Replacer) and add acidophilus to help with the digestion. However, others recommend also adding goat’s milk and/or heavy cream to add calories. How much you feed depends on the individual baby, the age and how long has he been without milk. They’ll start nibbling on alfalfa hay pretty quickly. Hands down, their favorite are the dried leaves and flowers. At around 6-weeks old, they’ll start to show an interest in pellets. Veggies and treats should not be introduced until much later. Some people won’t introduce veggies until the baby is 6 months old. I start much younger (around 8-9 weeks when they are completely off milk). I slowly introduce one kind of veggie at a time in very small portions.

The younger the orphans are, the harder they are to raise. Keeping them adequately warm and fed is a huge challenge, and it’s difficult to know if the babies are not dealing with health issues, especially if you know that the mom has rejected them (there may be several reasons why this happens). I’ve had the best success when babies were at least 3 weeks old.

Baby bunnies are always a pleasure. Of course there is work involved, and the crazy teenager stage is not too far away. Still, there is nothing quite as fun as having these young babies in the home.

Jul 19, 2021

GI Stasis

Hello!

I've had a stressful few days as both Winston and Emma decided to get sick at the same time. It seems like Emma was starting to experience the first signs of head tilt, while Winston seemed to have a tummy ache from hell, as it took him almost 4 days to start feeling better. Emma started to feel better by the next day (my princess is a tough cookie).

Despite my description of GI stasis as "a tummy ache", it can kill if the bunny can’t recover. That is why most rabbit owners are vigilant about making sure their bunnies eat and poop. If they aren't doing one or the other (or both), it's an emergency.

Many experienced rabbit owners know how to treat stasis at home. This is helpful as it minimizes stress and it can save you the cost of a vet visit. The most essential things you need to address is pain management, fluids and temperature. That means you need to know how to take your bunny's temperature with a thermometer and how to administer at least oral medications.

Owners who have a bunny with a chronic condition, such as dental, megacolon, or just a delicate stomach, may be particularly sensitive as to when their bunny falls sick and have their own routine.

Not everyone treats stasis exactly the same way every single time. I like to take the temperature right away to know whether the bunny needs to sit on a heating pad or next to an ice pack. However, another long-time bunny-owner friend of mine won't take the temperature right away, but rather waits until an hour or two after administering the first medications to avoid more handling. If the bunny still doesn't eat, then she will take the temperature.

It's important to recognize signs for other conditions. If the stomach feels hard or looks distended, there is a build-up of gas, which may indicate an obstruction. This is something that shouldn't be handled at home, and you need to go to the vet ASAP. If your bunny is battling a bad respiratory infection and has trouble breathing (never mind eating), this too requires an immediate vet trip.

It's also important for the owner to feel calm and confident about their nursing skills. If a person can't stop shaking long enough to give their bunny some medication, it's better to just pack the bunny up in a carrier and take them to the vet. There is no need to feel embarrassed even if you've asked your vet 100 times to show you how to take the temperature and you still can’t do it. Obviously, practicing when your bunny is healthy does help your confidence, but everyone reacts different in an emergency.

To read up more about what GI stasis is, click on the link below. If you would like to sign up to be notified the moment the First Aid guide becomes available, click on the link below and scroll to the bottom.

Continue reading "GI Stasis"

Jul 13, 2021

Don't Be Afraid!

Hello!

I know, I know, I'm late! I had a very busy afternoon, and in the evening, the choice was to write my blog entry or give Winston some run around time and cuddles. Winston won.

This last Sunday, I and a couple of friends (who are also a bit bunny-mad too), went down to Lake Elsinore to drop off some donations to Kribs for Kritters. This great rescue exclusively takes in those bunnies abandoned in parks, golf courses, streets, parking lots and other areas. Where is Lake Elsinore? It's south-east from Los Angeles, not too far from San Diego.

It was lovely to see Judy, who is the founder/manager, again. My friends and I got to help socialize the young 14-18-week-old bunnies (Oh, what a chore!), and we all chatted about rabbits all afternoon (because that what happens where you get 4 crazy bunny ladies together at a rabbit rescue).

The young bunnies were super cute, and no doubt, they will be adopted quickly once they are old enough to be spayed and neutered. The rescue has a number of very cute bunnies of all ages, but Judy said that the longer the rabbits stay at her rescue, the chances of them being adopted diminishes. This was my rescue experience too.

A trio of black New Zealand siblings caught my eye. Preston, Prudence and Priscilla are striking, but they have been at the rescue for a long time. Not only are they big bunnies, there are three of them. I know the odds. The chances of them finding a forever home together is unlikely.

Most people looking to adopt a bunny, are frequently looking for single lops, dwarves or giants. There is not an abundance of these types of bunnies in shelters or rescues. There are, however, lots of medium to large sized bunnies (like New Zealands), smallish 4-5lb white, red-eyed bunnies, spotted bunnies, pairs and trios. Bunnies who are no longer babies, but rather young or middle-age adults.

I understand the feeling of walking into a facility and looking at a sea of REW bunnies and not seeing the individuals. It's like looking at a blob of bunnies. How is an adopter to choose?

Some of the nicest rabbits I've ever met are these non-descriptive REW bunnies, bigger bunnies and middle-aged and older rabbits. I understand when faced with so many choices, that an adopter will gravitate to that bunny who has a bit of different coloring in his or her coat, or a tuft of fur sticking out behind the ears.

I would like to ask that anyone interested in adopting to take a second look at those bunnies that don't stand out. Introduce yourself to a white, red-eyed bun, or a 8lb nervous boy peeking out from underneath a box, or that pair who have been at the rescue for 5 years and counting. You may find that there is a wonderful treasure in front of you, ready to transform your life and your home with joy.

Jul 05, 2021

That Baby!

Hello!

I hope all my American friends are having a terrific holiday weekend, and everyone else is having a lovely July. How did you all survive the fireworks?

I thought Winston might be a problem. I don't know how he reacted to New Year's Eve fireworks (that was before my time with him), but felt he might get scared. There was a constant distant rumble for most of the night, but there were some explosions very close by, which startled both him and Dior (Cupcake and Panda were spending the evening inside their castle), Joey was sticking close to Zoe; Zoe and Emma were napping on their respective towels - those girls are old pros). Dior was in either her castle or her tent sheet (and also snacking at the litter box) for most of the evening.

I held Winston for some time, while watching TV, but after awhile, he wanted down. I had an exercise pen ready for him, and he spent the rest of the evening binkying and being on high alert. I think he couldn't decide what emotion to go for.

Earlier in the day, I noticed his urine had a large amount of sludge. There can be many reasons for rabbits to have sludge in their urine. Regardless of the reason, I needed to make sure he was properly hydrated, so he got some Lactated Ringer Solution (which is just an electrolyte solution) administered sub-q (meaning that the fluid was administered directly underneath the skin). He also got some metacam, because passing gritty urine is not pleasant and it can irritate the bladder. Also, while he was on the bathroom counter, he got a brush out to help keep all that fur under control. Overall, he was a very good boy and very patient. This morning, I did not see any evidence of sludge, but I'll keep up the fluids for a few more days.

Winston is just so lucky he's so adorable and handsome!

Jun 28, 2021

Happy Birthday!!

Hello!

I hope you are all well. For those of you who live in the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada, I hope you are all staying cool and safe.

It's the end of June and pretty soon, everyone will be celebrating July 4th and Canada Day (July 1st). Both holidays are about the founding of their respective countries. People will celebrate with picnics, BBQs, games and - of course - fireworks.

Personally, I've always loved fireworks (sparkly lights and colors - what's not to love?), but over the years, it has become less fun. Here in Los Angeles county, it's illegal to shoot off most types of firecrackers (although many cities will allow sparklers and whatever is labeled as "safe and sane"). The big concern here is wildfires and people burning down their homes. Every year, several people (particularly little kids) get injured and maimed. Of course, people suffering from PTSD and those owning freaked out pets are not happy with the loud bangs outside their window. How bad does it get on July 4th? Well if you ever see some aerial news coverage (see link), it looks like a sparkly war zone. It sounds like one too.

Hopefully, your bunnies will be OK with the noise, but there is always that chance a bunny will become so stressed, they will suffer literal heart failure. I hope that rare occurrence will not happen to you. There are a few things you can do to ease any stress.

If you are home, I would make the evening as normal as possible. Do you and your family sit around the TV or play games or read? Having the TV, radio or smartspeaker on can help drown out some of the outdoor noise. Close the windows and drapes (or blinds). Make sure your bunnies have a hidey box.

If you are having a get-together at your home, I would put the rabbits in a quieter spot in your house (such as a bedroom). If you are going out, definitely put on some music or the TV. If your bunny is very alarmed, cover your bunny's pen completely with a sheet.

Hopefully these tips will make your bunnies more comfortable this upcoming week. Have a safe and wonderful holiday!

Continue reading "Happy Birthday!!"

Jun 22, 2021

Everything is Fuzzy

Hello!

I hope that everyone is well, and for those of you who are either in extreme heat or dealing with flooding and tornadoes, I hope you and your loved ones are safe.

Everyone in my house are OK. We - including the humans - survived the first heatwave and enjoying the next day or two of (somewhat) moderate (for Southern CA) weather.

I groomed a couple of bunnies this afternoon, and I have to say, Bruce and Charm are pretty amazing. They are a pair of Holland Lops, whom I have groomed a few times now. They are two cute and personable pair, and they are always shedding a ton of fur.

I see them about every 5 weeks, which is more frequent than what I normally recommend, but every time I see them, they have tufts of fur poking out (what I like to call 'porcupine butt' and I fill up half of a large paper bag. Their coats are so thick and fluffy (yes, I love petting them).

Generally speaking, bunnies shed about every 3 months with every other shed being a heavy shed. However, not every bunny sheds the same way. When I was a groomer at the rescue, I saw lots of bunnies like these two lops. In one way, bunnies with this sort of coat are easy to groom, because you can see the area that needs work and attack it. The problem is that this type of coat is never-ending. You can brush all day and what you end up with is a half-naked, grumpy - and still shedding - bunny. A lot of time the old coat sheds before the new coat comes in, so it is very easy to overgroom and create bald spots.

Some bunnies - like my Emma - have the permanent butt skirt. The butt skirt is the clump of hair that sticks out around the bunny's butt like a ballerina's tutu. Lionheads are famous for it. I've found the best way to deal with it is to lightly shave it off, so the whole coat is even.

Most of my bunnies typically follow the general pattern (looking OK, then slowly displaying shed line patterns on their back or face. The exception to this is Cupcake. Although he has a short coat, he drops hair all the time. I know, because every day, the hand vacuum fills up with his hair when I clean his pen. However, if I sit down and comb him, I'll actually get out very little fur. Why? Well, I'm not sure what the genetics of it are, but it's just his special superpower - always shedding (lucky me).

So if you are just learning about grooming and you feel like you are getting nowhere, take heart! It might not be you, it might be your bunny too.

If you want to read more about grooming, check out the grooming articles on the website. If you are local and would like to have your bunny groomed, click on the link below!

Continue reading "Everything is Fuzzy"

Jun 15, 2021

How Are The Bunnies?

Hello,

I hope you are all having a pleasant week. I spent the afternoon getting together with family, which was the first time since the pandemic. It was nice to see and hug them again.

In truth, I was supposed to meet up with them yesterday, but Joey decided to be sick instead. Joey was under the weather for most of yesterday, and I'm glad I had cancelled my plans to watch him. He seemed to be really uncomfortable for a large part of the day. Thankfully, he is feeling much better today and is back to eating with the determination of a creature who has not be fed in 34 years.

The next challenge is the incoming heat wave. It was already in the mid 90's today, but it will be triple digits for the rest of the week. Even with air conditioning, my house will be warm.

Not including fans and air conditioners, I have a couple of ways to help keep the bunnies cool. My favorite is putting several ceramic tiles in the freezer and then laying them in the pens. The bunnies love laying on the cold tile. I make sure I have enough pieces to go in rotation from the pen to the freezer. The tile can cool down as soon as 30 minutes, which makes it easy to make sure your bunny has a cold slab to cool off.

I also like to soak a washcloth in cold water, wring it out well, and then wipe down the inside and outside of the ears. The ears help keep bunnies cool, but if it's already hot, there is a limit to what the ears can do. Often I will wrap the ears in the cool cloth and wipe both sides until the skin feels cool. The down side to this technique is that not all rabbits will allow you to touch their ears. Spraying a fine mist on the ears can also help.

I also freeze some water bottles. I just have individual sized bottles (due to freezer space). Most of my bunnies just look at the bottles with great suspicion, so it does have limited use in my situation. Some bunnies really enjoy snuggling up against a frozen 2-litre jug. Those are not my rabbits. However, if I'm worried about the night time temperatures, I will set out the frozen bottle in each pen before I go to bed - in case some bunny needs some relief. In the morning, I rinse the fur off the side of the bottle and put it back in the freezer.

For those of you without access to air conditioning, fans with a wet cloth draped over them help cool the air. Swamp coolers can also help, but just be aware that they can also be a source of mold and mildew.

Hopefully these tips will help you and your bunny deal with the summer heat!

Jun 07, 2021

Oh Dior!

Hello!

I hope everyone had a good weekend. It's hard to believe that it's already June. Where did the time go?

Today, Zoe is at ACCESS for another echogram to make sure that fatty lump snuggled against her heart is really just a fatty lump and not cancerous. Her buddy, Joey, will come along and hopefully, I can have both bunnies get their annual Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease vaccine. I am very grateful this vaccine exists to protect my bunnies.

Dior's foot had a minor setback last week. Her foot was looking so good, I thought I would see if her foot would be OK if I left it overnight unbandaged. The short answer to that is no, no I cannot. The skin was red and there had been some minor bleeding, so back to having her foot wrapped twice a day. I lost a bit of progress, so I have to rinse the wound with a little saline again (Honestly, the skin seemed tougher than it was). Well, now I know not to be fooled again. At least we're heading the right direction (hopefully).

A friend of mine sold her house and cleaned out a great deal of her belongings. This meant I got a giant donation of bedding!!! This means more of my current bunny bedding can be tossed into the "pile of stuff bunnies can destroy" and their pens can have pristine, non-ripped up sheets. Yay!

Some of my bunnies, Winston, Joey and Emma in particular, love to maul fabric, so I like to stuff sheets in a box or tie it to the pen and let them bite and tug at it. This provides quite a bit of amusement for them as they try to get their hidey hole just right. I'll be writing about more playtime ideas in my next upcoming article!

May 31, 2021

Happy Memorial Day!

Hello!

I hope everyone is having a good Monday, and for those of you in the US - a great holiday weekend. It's a beautiful day to curl up with your bunny and read a book or take a nap.

This past week, I've been thinking a lot about bonding and grooming - (mostly because I am consulting a client on bonding right now and my bunnies are shedding like their little lives depend on it.)

Both tasks fill owners with dread, and it's not because it interferes with naptime. Bonding and grooming can be terrifying experiences for both owners and bunnies alike. I completely understand this, as I was in that same position when I got my first two rabbits, Whoppy and Oso, not so long ago.

My two boys have passed away now, but I very much remember the dread and uncertainty of that first year or so. I didn't know what was going on or what to do, and it wasn't like I could turn to anyone for help. I was the only weirdo in my family and group of friends with rabbits.

Through much patience from me (and the rabbits), I managed to deal with each challenge as it came up, and sometimes, I was lucky and the rabbits figured it out on their own. Each challenge taught me something valuable.

I've given a lot of advice over the years on both bonding and grooming. Today, I'll share with you a couple of my favorite tips.

Bonding: Bonding is completely up to the rabbits and their personality. Every bonding pair is unique which means the way you approach a pair of bunnies may be different every time. Sometimes you can throw all the rules out the window, and sometimes you have to be creative to your approach. The key is to understand the personalities you are working with and adapt accordingly.

Grooming: I've never met a rabbit who enjoyed getting groomed (I've never had a dog either for that matter). I always try to traumatize them as less as possible. For my guys at home, this means keeping grooming sessions short. I'd rather just freak them out for 10-15 minutes, and then come back another day and brush them out some more. For one thing, rabbits tend to shed in stages, so it's impossible to get ALL the loose hair in one sitting.

Some people are convinced that if you don't comb your bunny for two hours, he will get a hairball and die. However, studies have shown that hairballs are usually the result of GI stasis and not the cause of it (Harchourt-Brown 2001). Second, the skin of a rabbit is very delicate. Obsessively running a comb through the same spot can irritate and break down the skin. Therefore, unless you have a matted angora, don't torment your rabbit with a 2-hour grooming session. Your bunny will thank you.

If you would like to book a consultation or grooming session, click onto the link below.

Continue reading "Happy Memorial Day!"

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.