About Us!

Welcome to our page! We do our best to provide to-be and current bunny owners up-to-date info on the best care for their house rabbits. When we adopted our first bunny in 2005, there was almost nothing on the internet to tell us how to care for him. Just in the past few years, information has exploded online, and now it can be confusing! We try to simplify it by posting weekly articles on current issues, daily care, concerns, proper feeding, and other info so you can enjoy your house-bun! If you are just finding us, feel free to look through the older posts also. Please email us if you have any questions! Happy bunnies make happy hearts!
Email: thebunnyhut101@yahoo.com

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Learning About Pellets

Since pellets are manufactured and marketed primarily for breeders, and since most breeder rabbits are subject to more stress than house rabbits, many brands of pellets are labeled as "performance" feeds. These brands contain a high level of protein (16-22%), which is probably necessary to keep alive a rabbit who lives in an environment without climate control, is bred as often as possible, or is nursing most of the time. Physical, environmental, and psychological stresses require high energy levels for survival. A healthier protein percentage for spayed or neutered house rabbits is approximately 12-14%, a level at which it is possible to find pellet brands that contain no animal fat and list at least some actual ingredients on their labels. Unfortunately, one well-known manufacturer recently increased the protein in their maintenance diet to 16%. Although the food still contains no animal fat, this is more protein than a house rabbit needs.

 Clearly, when "production" is the goal there is considerable pressure for weight gain and maintenance, and very little concern with geriatric matters. Needless to say, no house rabbit lives under these conditions. Most are spayed or neutered, live indoors with minimal environmental stress, and can expect to make it to six to twelve years of age. In these rabbits, the concentrated nature of pellets can lead to obesity and its attendant medical problems.

A good quality rabbit pellet should have at least 22% crude fiber, no more than approximately 14% protein, about 1% fat and about 1.0% calcium. Check the label on the rabbit pellets before you buy. Most commercial pellets are alfalfa-based, which means they're higher in calories and lower in fiber than timothy-based pellets.  

 A good quality rabbit pellet DOES NOT contain dried fruit, seeds, nuts, colored crunchy things or other things that are attractive to our human eyes, but very unhealthy to a rabbit. Rabbits are strict herbivores, and in nature they rarely get fruit, nuts or other such fatty, starchy foods. The complex flora of the cecum can quickly become dangerously imbalanced if too much simple, digestible carbohydrate is consumed--especially if the diet is generally low in fiber. The result is often "poopy butt syndrome," in which mushy fecal matter cakes onto the rabbit's behind. This a sign of cecal dysbiosis, which can foment much more serious health problems.

The proper amount to feed your bunny is:

5-7 lb     of body wt. 1/4 cup daily
8-10 lb   of body wt. 1/2 cup daily
11-15 lb of body wt. 3/4 cup daily

We have found that Oxbow pellets meets all the recommendations of correct percentages of fiber and protein for a house rabbit. Recently we found out the Kaytee brand began adding alfalfa to their pellets, so we will be changing than information in our care-kit booklets since bunnies over 6 months do not need the alfalfa. 

This can be found in local pet stores on bought online through
Foster & Smith in various sizes.

* http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/diet.html

Monday, July 25, 2016

Living with Rabbit Allergies

How many of us have heard this?
“My doctor says I’m allergic to my rabbit and I have to get rid of her. I love her so much. Can you find a good home for her?”
It’s true that the easiest allergy treatment is to remove the triggering agent. But this ignores the importance of companion animals to our health and well being. Fosterers’ experiences show that allergy sufferers can live safely and happily with rabbits and other pets.


                First, What Are Allergies? 

Allergies are part of the body’s normal response to fighting infections. Sometimes the immune system becomes hyperstimulated and reacts to agents that normally are ignored.
Allergies to animals are often caused by the saliva proteins left on the fur after licking and not the
fur itself. Touching the fur transfers these proteins to our fingertips, and then to the face, eyes and nose.
For some people the proteins on rabbit fur are considered dangerous invaders, prompting the immune system to mount a full scale defense.


       Next, What Am I Really Allergic To?

The first step is to determine whether you’re truly allergic to your rabbit. Physicians sometimes jump the gun in blaming an animal, and allergy tests can overestimate a person’s sensitivities. Use your best judgment and common sense.

               Be a detective. Rule out “suspected criminals” one by one.

1. Is it bunnies or dust bunnies that make you sneeze?

2. The hay tub with its pollen and dust?

 3. Frequent cleaning greatly reduces allergies.

               Living with Rabbit Allergies

What if the worst happens and you ARE allergic to your rabbit?

 A few people may need to find their rabbit a new home; for severe asthmatics, a strong reaction can be life-threatening. For the majority of allergy sufferers, including several HRS fosterers, extra effort lets us share our homes for years to come.

Minimize direct contact. Never touch your face after handling your rabbit or items she contacts.
Always wash hands (and don’t forget eyeglasses!) after visiting her. Have someone else clean her cage. If you must clean it, wear a mask. Immediately remove soiled litter and hay from the house.

Restrict your rabbit’s territory. This reduces the spread of rabbit allergens in the house. Use
baby gates to restrict her to certain rooms. This also makes cleaning easier.

Have rabbit-free rooms. Set aside at least one room in the home where the rabbit never visits, a safe area where the immune system isn’t stimulated. Your bedroom should be one of these rooms, because so much time is spent there.

Clean frequently! Dust and vacuum often, not just furniture but door frames, window ledges, lamps and curtains. Damp mop wooden floors, especially under beds and furniture. Reduce clutter. Keep hay in a tub, or try a different type of hay; some fine misting the hay with water can be helpful in reducing dust. Store hay in a garage or location where you infrequently go. Many people find that their supposed rabbit allergy is actually caused by hay and dust mites.


Invest in air filtration units. The best are HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filtration units, which pull microscopic dust, fur and other particles from the air. Although expensive, these filters Clean or change the filters regularly.
are an excellent investment and improve the lives of many allergy sufferers. Minimally, run a HEPA filter full-time in your rabbit-free bedroom with the door closed; place additional units in other rooms, including the rabbit room. Central air systems with electrostatic filters are also helpful.

Try allergy neutralizers. Products such as “AllerPet” and “AllerPet/C” are liquids/sprays which are applied regularly to fur and neutralize some of the fur allergens. Shampoo formulations are not These products are not substitutes for previous recommendations.
recommended as many rabbits are stressed by baths. These products work, but are expensive and must be used regularly. An alternative is daily brushing (preferably outside) and wiping fur with a damp cloth.

Seek allergy medication. Nasal sprays containing anti-inflammatory steroids are excellent for controlling severe allergies. These drugs suppress the local immune system in eyes and nose
before the allergy is triggered. Others have good success with allergy desensitization shots; ask whether you can use your rabbit’s own fur.
For myself, regular use of nasal steroid sprays almost completely suppressed my allergies to pollen, guinea pigs and cats; now I need it rarely. Consult a sympathetic doctor and find products that work for you.

It’s true that these suggestions require effort. Given our rabbits’ unconditional love, it’s the least we can do in return.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Bunny Overheating / Heat Exhaustion

As the temperatures rise, so do a rabbit’s chances of getting heatstroke. Though this is a legitimate concern for all rabbits, rabbits with thick or long coats of hair, overweight, and young or old are at an even greater risk.

 Early detection of heatstroke and proper corrective steps could mean the difference between life and death for your beloved companion.

                          Signs to look out for:

  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Hot ears
  • Listlessness
  • Wetness around the nose area
  • Tossing back of head while breathing rapidly from open mouth.
Video of a rabbit suffering heatstroke:
NOTE this video was taken by a very concerned rabbit expert who was documenting the problem for the show organizers. She immediately took action to cool the bunny down, and he's now doing fine. She also demanded that the show organizers create much stricter policies for the health and safety of the rabbits.

 What should you do if your rabbit shows signs of heatstroke?
Your first goals will be to:

1. Relocate your bunny to a cool place away from any sun.
2. Dampen the ears with cool (not cold) water as this will help to bring down his/her body temperature. Rabbit’s ears are his/her air conditioner.
3.Give your bunny plenty of fresh, cold water with a few ice cubes in it.
4. Call your rabbit savvy vet for further instructions.


 Preventing Heatstroke 

The old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of care" certainly applies to this. 

 1. I keep soda bottles filled with water frozen at all times so that they are ready for the rabbits should the temperature of where they are being housed start rising above 75 degrees or I see an increased rate of breathing. These bottles not only help to keep their body temperatures down and the rabbit more comfortable, but also double as a toy I have found.

2. Change out waters twice a day or more frequently if needed and be sure to drop in an ice cube or two when refilling. It’s a good idea to have a bottle water feeder available as back up during the summertime just in case they run out of water or their bowl gets tipped over and you can add crushed ice to these. Be sure to clean water bottles thoroughly and regularly as they tend harbor bacteria in all the small spaces.

3. Oscillating fans also help to keep your rabbit cooler during warm temperatures. When bunny is outdoors, make sure he/she has access to plenty of shade; wearing a fur coat in constant, direct sunlight is deadly. I stay away from using wet towels for cooling because of the risk of fly strike, which is another serious concern of summer.
(Fly Strike: http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/Skin_diseases/Parasitic/Myiasis/Miyasis_fly.htm )

Heatstroke is a very serious condition in rabbits, but can be prevented. Always consult your rabbit-savvy vet when in doubt.

Rabbit Haven is a registered 501(c)(3)non-profit organization. 100% of our donations go to the care of the rabbits.
 For further reading:


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Fly-Strike in Rabbits

Flystrike (also called Blowfly) happens more commonly to rabbits who live outdoors, but those who have warm weather outside playtime need to make sure to do all over fur checks of their house bunnies. Fortunately, they will think they are just getting more loving! This can be a serious issue and fast killer to outside bunnies, another reason we promote bunnies to be part of the family living indoors.

Warning: this file contains pictures and videos that may be distressing for people.

 Myiasis, also called fly-strike, is more frequently observed during the hot humid summer months. It is caused by several kinds of insects that lay their eggs in the wounded skin of mammals. 

Rabbits suffer in particular from the blowflies Lucilia sericata, Calliphora sp., the grey flesh fly Wohlfahrtia sp., the common screwworm fly Callitroga sp., and from the botfly Cuterebra sp, which is seen in the USA only. 

A maggot attack is often linked to poor hygiene, with rabbits kept on litter soiled with urine and excrements, or poor-cleaned litter pans, but can also relate to health problems. A particular attention must also be given to rabbits suffering from dental (malocclusion, removal of incisors) or digestive diseases, from obesity, untreated infected wounds, or that are disabled (fracture of the spine, limb, arthritis, spondylosis). Indeed, the inability to groom the perianal and tail regions, or eat their cecotropes feces can lead to the appearance of a smell that will inevitably attract flies.

Left to Right: Lucilia sericata fly, larvae and pupa.

Myiasis flies lay eggs in the skin soiled with feces or diarrhea, on skin irritated by urine or in untreated infected wounds. The larvae that emerge from the hatched eggs will immediately start burrowing themselves through the skin, into the flesh of the host animal. A consequence is septicemia and shock, which lead to the rapid death of the rabbit.

Kerry Su-Lin Leow

Rescued rabbit with bite wound heavily infected by fly maggots. In spite good medical care and signs of recovery, the rabbit died.

 **The use of prophylactic solutions is not recommended as adverse fatal effects have been observed in rabbits (Frontline). Some veterinary professionals use the prophylactic product Dicyclanil (Novartis), which protects sheep against the blowfly Lucilia sp. The product is not registered for use in rabbits, and a safe use in rabbits can thus not be guaranteed. 

Clinical signs

The early stages of myiasis are often subclinical. With time, a rabbit becomes depressed, weak, loses weight and shows paresis. At this stage, the infection becomes visible; the larvae are about 1 cm long and their hind part protruding from the respiratory hole (spiracle) in the skin.

In a severe case, alopecia is observed. The skin is inflamed, injured with signs of necrosis, and is often accompanied by the smell of ammonia. The later is excreted by the larvae, in order to cause cell death and decomposition, will cause an intoxication of the rabbit.  

Aberrant migration of the larvae is possible. Migration into the trachea has been observed. This leads to the formation of a laryngeal edema, blocking the air supply to the lungs. It may be accompanied by concurrent accumulation of mucus and swelling of the esophagus.


Paralyzed rabbit and contamination of the skin by feces (arrows).

The first thing is to remove the maggots. This is a time consuming process, and involves physically picking the maggots off the rabbit. Then, the rabbit is treated for shock, and given pain relief and antibiotics. Sometime after it may be appropriate to surgically repair some of the wounds that the maggots have made. This requires a general anesthetic, which involves considerable risk to a sick rabbit. It is often necessary to wait a day or two for the rabbit's condition to improve before operating.

The picture of a rabbit that suffered from blowfly strike, but was discovered fairly quickly. The wounds on this rabbit, while they are big for a rabbit, are much smaller than is commonly the case. This rabbit has been cleaned up, and is about to undergo surgery to repair the wounds.

Untreated they die within a few days. The few that are taken to the vet in time are usually very depressed, close to death. It is truly horrific.


The history of the rabbit and the clinical signs are generally sufficient for a proper diagnosis.

Paralysis or severe arthritis can lead to incontinence and skin soiled with urine and cecotropes.
The smell of urine soiled skin and soft cecotropes will attract Lucilia sp. female flies. These will lay eggs on the damaged skin.


The hair is delicately clipped away around the infected area and each larva (maggots are) is removed individually and entirely with the aid of forceps, without crushing it, to prevent skin irritation or the development of an allergic reaction. The wounds are cleaned with a sterile saline solution, an antiseptic solution (e.g. povidone-iodine or chlorhexiderme). There is no need to use an insecticidal solution, if all the maggots have been removed.

 Video:  Fly Strike In Rabbits (1): Symptoms and Treatment

Aberrant migration brings the larvae deep under the skin or in vital organs. Three options are available here:
  Injection of ivermectin (0.4 mg/kg, SC). The rabbit must be closely monitored as the dying larvae excrete a toxin that can be fatal to animals, including rabbits. Although controversial, corticosteroids are sometimes given to the affected animal, in order to reduce the swelling.
  Injection of doramectin (0.5 mg/kg, SC).
  Surgical removal, under anesthesia, in case of aberrant migration or infection by Cuterebra sp..
Use of antibiotics is indicated, if the myiasis infection is severe. They help fight a secondary bacterial infection of the wounds and prevent sepsis, which can be fatal in rabbits.
The administration of non-steroidal pain medication is necessary (e.g. meloxicam, carprofen).
When the affected rabbit has stopped to eat, it must be hand-fed and given SC fluid therapy, in order to avoid the onset of fatal hepatic lipidosis and dehydratation. Depending on the situation, the affected rabbit can furthermore be administered appetite stimulants, or gut motility medication (e.g. cisapride, metoclopramide).

Bathing the rabbit with antiseptic or insecticide solution is not indicated. This procedure is stressful for the rabbit, and often ends in a panic reaction as soon as the fur is wetted or death by heart-arrest. A jump out of the bathtub has led to broken limbs or fracture of the spinal cord. If this method is nevertheless chosen, the rabbit should be dried with a towel and a hair-dryer or placed under a heat lamp. The heat will indeed bring the remaining worms to the surface of the skin, from where they can be easily discarded.
If a rabbit is heavily affected by myiasis, euthanasia should be considered.
Prevention of myiasis can be done by addressing the causes of fecal or urine contamination of the skin, and by keeping the rabbit in a clean hygienic environment. Daily inspection of the perianal region is necessary in rabbits prone to suffer from digestive disorders, that are obese or that are disabled. The fur should be combed with a flea-comb, in order to detect the eventual presence of eggs and/or maggots. The windows of the apartment or the cage of the rabbit can furthermore be covered with a mosquito net, in order to avoid the insects to have contact with the rabbit.
Video:  Fly Strike In Rabbits (2): Prevention

Footnote and further reading:

Also see article on Botflies in Rabbits (US only):

Blowfly Strike (Flystrike)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Grooming Your Angora Bunny- OH! The Hair!!

My first bunny, Angel, was an English Angora. I got her as a 10 week old
baby and assumed that her fur would take care of itself somehow. It took a year and many big unmanageable mats to realize that the fur needed constant attention. She once had 8 inch long fur!

I thought it was strange that she never really shed. All the new growth was getting tangled in the old coat and forming mats. I cut the fur short to even out the patches of mats I cut out and discovered that the coat was much more manageable while short. She is also more comfortable with short fur and there is less risk of her ingesting large amounts of long fur when she grooms. So, now I keep it short.  

I use a small grooming scissors with the ball tip. They are usually advertised as grooming shears for around the mouth, nose and ears of pets.
I pick up the fur some and put my thumb and forefinger between her skin and the scissors and cut away all over. It looks a little choppy at first, but after a few days the undercoat comes out and it evens out all around. 
I brush her everyday without fail to remove old fur so that it does not tangle up with the new.

I have found that using electric clippers is virtually useless as the blades clog constantly with the fine fur and it takes experience and expertise to use them correctly.
There is also the risk of inadvertently gouging the skin with clippers.

Things I Learned about Angora Fur Management

  • Keep the fur short (0.25 inch to 1 inch) to prevent mats from forming. This also reduces the risk of wool block, the bunny is more comfortable with short fur and she is better able to reach her cecal droppings.

  • Use a sharp scissors with ball tip for safety. Pick up the fur and cut all over, brushing frequently to remove stray snips of fur.

  • Brush everyday without fail as part of a routine “snuggle session” to remove loose fur. I use a cat brush with medium black bristles. The very soft bristle brushes don’t do the job very well and wire slickers hurt delicate bunny skin by pulling on it too hard.
  • If you encounter a large mat, snip into the mat carefully, pull the mat apart gently with your hands and then use a comb to comb out the fur in the mat while holding the clump at the base by the skin to prevent pulling on and injuring the skin. You can then cut out the long fur that is being combed out. Once the mat is thinner it can be cut out completely.

  • If the bunny has mats very close to the skin, let it grow out some so that it can be more safely cut out.
  • For severe matting work for about an hour a day (or as long as the bunny can tolerate it) in sections on the body. One day work on the cheeks, the next day on the shoulders, etc. Don’t overtire your bunny trying to do it all in one sitting.
  • If the bunny is severely matted, she will need to have the mats clipped off with clippers. You should have about 3 clipper blades on hand and change often – as soon as the blade gets warm to the touch. Let one blade cool on a slab of marble that has been put in the freezer or on a stainless steel sink while you use the other. Use #40 or #50 blades only as the #10 will not cut through the angora or other bunny fur. Work for only 20 minutes and then let the bunny rest for 10 minutes. Work for no more than an hour total on the rabbit. Watch very carefully for stress levels in the bunny.

Do not use a groomer. Your rabbit-savvy vet can do any shaving and clipping needed.


                        ***Video on Grooming***
                        --Please note: Safety first! 
Use ball tip scissors, unlike demonstration in video. If bunny's hide is cut, bunny likely will not jump or make noise. Take bun to vet for meds. (Many of us have been there already.)


"Grooming Pet Rabbits"

Friday, July 15, 2016

Training Your Bunny & Bonding Too

This is a good way not only to train your bunny, bond with the fuzzy butt more, but also earn more trust from him or her. The more quality time you spend together, the closer you become!


  1. Understand what motivates your rabbit. Unlike our canine friends, rabbits aren’t naturally particularly motivated to please the “top rabbit.” This means that strong punishment, such as spanking or yelling at a rabbit, won’t make him more cooperative (many people say these behaviors are actually counterproductive to training dogs, as well). Rabbits, however, are very intelligent and eagerly respond to incentives. If you use these incentives correctly, most rabbits will respond accordingly.

  2. Devote plenty of time to training. For best results, you should plan on initially devoting at least thirty minutes, and preferably an hour or two, every day to training your rabbit. It may seem like a lot of time, but in the long run it’s well worth it. Don’t worry: you’ll probably only need to do this for a week or two. In fact, you may begin to see results on the first day.

  3. Use your rabbit’s favorite treats. Since training is based on incentives, you’ll need to find a treat that provides the best incentive possible. If you don’t know what your rabbit’s favorite treat is, try to figure it out. If you’re not sure if a particular food is safe for your rabbit, check with your vet.
    Get your rabbit in position for training. Stage your training in the area and situation where and when you will want the behavior to occur. For example, if you want to teach your rabbit to jump up on your lap when called, first put it near the couch. If you want to train it to go in its crate at night, train it around the appropriate time, and make sure its crate is positioned where it will normally be.

  5. Give your rabbit a treat immediately when he/she performs your request. If you want to teach your rabbit to come when called, start its training by having it positioned very close to you. When it comes to you, give it the reward. Be consistent. Make sure that your companion knows why it's getting a treat. Use the exact same commands, such as “Sit, (Your Rabbit's Name),” or “Up, (Your Rabbit's Name),” every time, so your rabbit will learn to recognize your requests and associate those exact words with getting a treat.
    Keep providing the treats until your rabbit responds correctly nearly every time. When you’re trying to teach a new skill, don’t skimp on the rewards. You need to make sure you are thoroughly conditioning your rabbit.

  7. Gradually, wean your rabbit off the treats. Once your rabbit has a skill down, your rabbits name, begin to give the treats less frequently. Give his reward once and then don’t the next time, or give it a treat only every few times. Eventually you may not need treats at all. In time, reward your rabbit with petting and toys, and only use food occasionally to keep the behavior strong.

  8. Reinforce the training as necessary. From time to time your rabbit may need to relearn a skill. That is, you may need to bring the incentives back. Don’t be afraid to do so.

  9. If your rabbit shows signs of aggression, there is a way to solve it and improve your relationship. First, approach your rabbit. Don't be afraid that they will hurt you at all. Remember you are the more powerful person between you. Try to gently stroke the rabbit's head. If they butt your hand away or try to bite you, they think you are challenging their power- this is because they think they are the 'alpha rabbit'. Your mission is to convey to your pet that you are the 'alpha', not them.

  10. Each time your rabbit 'misbehaves', cover their head and without applying any pressure, make a 'PSHT' sound. This eventually will get through to them that this is a 'bad' action. Make sure this tip is never carried out much after the rabbit does it- they won't understand why they are being punished. It is better to leave your rabbit after a naughty action than to punish it without it understanding.

  11. This can also be applied when you are not near your rabbit. Since over time they will understand the command, you can use it when they are, for example, digging your flower beds or scratching your furniture.

Your Mood

It is very important to make sure that you are in a calm mood when you are near the rabbit/s, especially when s/he is getting to know you. Rabbits are very sensitive, so pick up on your mood easily. If you are frustrated with the rabbit (or even frustrated in general) s/he will pick that up and be less likely to be friendly; if you are upset by not being the bunny's friend, again, s/he will pick this up and might cower from you. Before approaching the rabbit, take some calm, deep breathes and calm yourself down, making your mood neutral (i.e. not any extreme moods). It can also help to remind yourself at this point that your rabbit friend is not being awkward specifically because of you, and that it is not a personal thing; it is the rabbit's past and character that are influencing how s/he acts.

For more tips and also warnings to heed during training, please see this footnote link. Have fun with your bunny!!
Footnotes and further reading:

*****VIDEO!!   WOO HOO!!*****
Bunny agility training is very effective today with clicker training! To see some bunnies working with clicker training, here is a link to take you right to the video! They are just AMAZING!!

Other footnotes:

Monday, July 11, 2016

"Howard's Big Dig"

Common Health Problems In Rabbits (Inside or Outside Rabbits)

Like with any pet, rabbits are prone to some diseases and illnesses.  Many of these health problems are preventable with proper care of the rabbit.  To keep your rabbit healthy, always provide him with a clean, stress-free environment and supply your rabbit with a proper diet.  But before you bring a rabbit into your life, you should make yourself aware of some of the common health problems that can affect rabbits.

An abscess is a small pocket often found under the skin.  These pockets are referred to as “pockets of infection” and contain bacteria.  In rabbits, the thick fluid contained inside the abscess can lead to serious health complications and even death.  Treatment depends upon the size and seriousness of the abscess.

Most commonly found in the intestines, coccidia are tiny parasites that can make a rabbit quite sick.  Because many rabbits do not exhibit symptoms of being infected with coccidia, treatment is rarely sought.  If the parasites infest the liver, the rabbit may show signs of stunted growth and young rabbits may get diarrhea.  Death typically occurs when a rabbit is heavily infested and/or if the coccidia prevent normal functioning of the liver.

Ear Mites
Just like with cats, dogs, and other animals, ear mites can become a problem for rabbits.  However, the ear mites that are found in a rabbit’s ear are generally not the same type of mite.  A rabbit with ear mites typically shake the ears and head and there may be flaking around the ears.  Rabbits will also scratch at the ears which can lead to secondary conditions including infected lesions.

A big word for such a small mammal, encephalitozoonosis is caused by a parasite known as Encephalitozoon cuniculi.  The parasite can infect the kidneys and brain which can lead to head tilt, paralysis of the back legs, and even death.  The parasites are past from doe to kits or through infected urine.
Head Tilt --(get to vet ASAP)
The most common cause of head tilt is an ear infected with Pasteurella multocida.  In smaller rabbits like dwarf breeds, head tilt is often caused by encephalitozoonosis.  Head tilt can also occur from trauma to the head.  A rabbit with this disorder will have a tilted head to one side but it can be as extreme as having the neck twisted. 

Foreign Bodies or Obstruction
Because rabbits are known for their gnawing, they are prone to obstructions.  Rabbits are also self-groomers which can lead to hairballs.  A rabbit with a foreign body or hairball in their intestine or an object stuck in their mouth usually will stop eating.  Some rabbits may continue to eat but will not have any stools.

Sometimes referred to as wool block, hairballs can become a problem since rabbits cannot vomit.  Rabbits groom themselves regularly but they may also pull out their hair when under stress or if they are bored.  Rabbits should be provided with a high-fiber diet and should receive regular grooming to help prevent hairballs.

Malocclusion is when the top front teeth do not align properly with the bottom.  Rabbits with this disorder generally have overgrown teeth because they are not able to wear down properly.  Rabbits with malocclusion need their teeth trimmed regularly to prevent secondary health problems.

Sore Hocks
This problem often occurs in obese rabbits or those that stand on wire bottomed cages for long periods of time.  The hocks become inflamed and ulcerated which can lead to infection.  Sore hocks can be prevented by supplying a rabbit a solid surface to rest and not allowing the rabbit to become overweight.

 Overgrown claws  
Rabbits' claws can grow quite quickly, especially if they are on a soft surface such as grass or soft bedding.  The claws must be clipped regularly to prevent them growing too long and causing problems to the rabbit, but this can vary from rabbit to rabbit, some needing their claws clipped every 3 months, others only once a year.  The bit that needs to be kept short is the section beyond the live part.  On white claws it is easy to see the pink live bit, but with dark nails it is harder to see how far to cut.  If you are not confident about clipping the claws, do not attempt it until you have been shown by your vet or another competent person, otherwise you could cause severe bleeding, pain and distress to your rabbit. 
* http://laurenmechelle.com/?p=92

Diarrhea can be caused from anything that bothers the intestines.  This can be from an improper diet or from bacteria.  Diarrhea can usually be prevented with a proper diet, clean environment, and not switching a rabbit’s diet too quickly.

A rabbit spoiled on treats can quickly turn into an overweight rabbit.  Rabbits are known for their sweet tooth and some owners are known to give in to their rabbit’s desires.  However, obesity in rabbits is dangerous.  To prevent a rabbit from becoming overweight, supply a proper diet and provide only occasional treats.  Rabbits should also be given ample exercise to wear off that extra slice of apple.

While there are other serious diseases known to affect rabbits like cancer and kidney disease, these aren’t common in rabbits that are well cared for and have a good genetic background.  It is always recommended to buy a rabbit from a reputable source and always quarantine a new rabbit for at least 2 weeks prior to introducing to other rabbits and pets.  If you suspect any of these illnesses in your rabbit, seek qualified veterinary care as soon as possible.

THE RABBIT HANDBOOK, by Karen Gendron, copyright 2000.
** http://www.helium.com/items/1717821-common-health-problems-in-rabbits

Friday, July 8, 2016

Dangerous Myths: Such As "Lops Are Mello!" and Others

 As an adoption counselor I am often asked,
 “Which breeds are good with children?” 
Or people will say, “I have a small apartment, so I want to get one of those miniature rabbits.

        What’s wrong with these statements?

 1. The main problem is that there are as many exceptions as there are rabbits who fit the description of a particular breed.
2. A related issue is judging an animal by appearance rather than by personality.

 Anyone who has watched a dwarf rabbit dash from the kitchen to the porch by way of the couch, from about 3 AM through mid-morning will understand immediately the small apartment/small
rabbit fallacy. The fact is that there is no apartment too small for even the largest rabbit. And if there were a safe generalization to make, it would be that larger rabbits tend to be less active and therefore require less space than the dwarf breeds.

 So beware of sentences that begin “Lops are…” or “Angoras are…”. Such generalizations usually act as screens that obscure the particular, individual animal and focus instead on a (usually inaccurate) abstract. And while it is true that we’re all born with personalities, that we (rabbits and humans alike) do not come out of the womb as blank slates, it is not true that there is a gene called “good with children.” Most rabbits, if they are bred intentionally, as opposed to accidentally, are bred for appearance, not personality.

The science of genetics has enabled humans to create a rabbit with a white body and brown ears, nose, feet, and tail, in both large (Californian) and small (Himalayan) sizes but not one who has an innate enjoyment of being grabbed by small sticky hands.

The soul behind the face

In terms of appearance, it is much more fruitful to read the individual rabbit — her facial expression, her body position– as opposed to the color of her fur. Gentle rabbits have gentle faces, regardless of breed. Worriers look worried. They rarely roll over on their backs or lie with their back legs extended behind them.

 Mellow rabbits lounge around any old way, dangling from your arm, in the middle of a busy room. 


 Irritable rabbits have pinched, crabby facial expressions, just like that nasty bank teller who makes you feel like you’re imposing on her when you
withdraw your money from her bank. As a student of rabbit nature, these are the observations to treasure.

One of the great dangers of breed generalizations is that they can become self-fulfilling prophecies. If your dwarf rabbit bites you, oh well, everyone knows they’re irritable, and nothing
can be done about it. More than one dwarf rabbit has ended up at an animal shelter because of behavior that would have been accepted and dealt with in a breed that doesn’t have a reputation for aggressiveness.

Another insidious aspect of stereotyping is it allows entire groups of animals to be categorized
and then discarded. The terms “lab rabbit” and “meat rabbit” are examples. What’s the difference between a lab rabbit and a house rabbit? Not a thing, as anyone can tell you who has rescued the former and watched her transform into the latter. It’s all in the name, but the very act of naming supports the notion that some rabbits belong in labs and some in stew-pots.

Your rabbit is his very own self and nobody else. The process of getting to know him, and vice-versa, requires no generalizing. In fact, it is a very particular experience, shared by the two of you. His beauty does not reside in whether he has “papers” any more than his love for you is based on your ancestry. Once the blinders of generalization are removed, the world becomes a much more interesting place.

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