Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Real Bambi and Thumper

In Montana Svetlana Harper, spotted a fawn by the roadside, brought her home and nursed her back to health. What she didn't count on was her her dog Stasha, and her rabbit Thumper becoming best friends with Bambi. Apparently, Thumper and Bambi are inseparable and play together, take naps side by side and follow each other round all day.  Life imitates a Disney movie.  Rabbits will bond for life and if you read the article there are even more adorable photos at this Daily Mail Link. Plus, you will see the rabbit, fawn, dog and a cat friend in the mix.  I love it!  Photo credit: Caters News Agency in Daily Mail

Monday, May 30, 2011

Battery Cages Out in UK & What about the US?

It was a victory for animal welfare in the UK this past week when the farmer who submitted plans  to build six barns across the country housing up to 1,000 rabbits in each withdrew his application. Several animal welfare groups there including the RSPCA were very concerned about the return to intensive battery style rabbit farming. According to the Farmers Guardian news, the proposed farms "would have been the first rabbit factory farms in the UK in 15 years and would each have housed up to 1,100 rabbits in wire cages stacked three high inside windowless barns. This kind of unnatural environment – which provides no fresh air or sunlight – can cause extremely painful bone disorders and foot inflammation and lead stressed animals to resort to neurotic, self-destructive behaviour.”
While I was pleased for all the people in the UK who managed to stop the return of battery cages, I think it is important to look at what is happening in the United States.  The photo above is from a video of a facility outside New York City. Sometime ago I was sent a  video of a rabbit "farm" where rabbits are raised for New York City restaurants.  You can see the video at this Link.

Bunnies Go Boum

Surfing around one of my favorite artist's websites, www.nikisha.com I found this great little video called, "Bunnies Go Boum." The artwork is the creation of Nikisha Elsje VanderHoeven.  I played the video and my rabbits' ears perked up . . . maybe Nikisha is on to something.  I half expected the binkies to start.  Check out her etsy shop called Bluedogrose

Flat Bonnie Fun

One of the wonderful rabbit themed bunnies on the DYI craft/art website www.etsy.com is Flat Bonnie.  A portion of the sales of Flat Bonnie go to bunny rescue groups.  The blog is fun, too, with photos of Flat Bonnies everywhere.  I like the hula Flat Bonnie in Hawaii.  I also get a lot of mileage out of the name since my twin sister is a Bonnie.  Check out the Flat Bonnie website and Flat Bonnie Etsy Shop

28 Rabbits Rescued from Hoarding Case in Castroville, CA

In the photo Sgt. Stacy Sanders checks a rescued rabbit (a big beautiful lavender point Californian) at the SPCA for Monterey County. There were over 70 animals rescued last Thursday from a Castroville, CA hoarder including 28 rabbits. See the article at this Link. The article photo gallery shows the filthy conditions where the animals were kept without food or water.  Hoarding is a serious psychological condition. Unfortunately, without therapeutic intervention, hoarders have an almost 100% chance of reoffending. Information on animal hoarding from Tufts University at this Link. Photo credit: Conner Jay/The Salinas Californian
By the way, a big thank to the animal rescue people who go into these dreadful situations to take the animals out. It can be dangerous and certainly distressing to find animals in such horrible conditions.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Earless Bunny Causes Concern

An earless bunny born in the aftermath of Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster is fueling a bit of hysteria after a youtube video was posted recently. However, cases of "earless" rabbits occur in nature (no radiation leaks needed). For instance, there was Vincent from the UK that may or may not have been born earless a couple of years ago and made the news. There was another rabbit sans ears whose photo was posted on Flickr from Olathe Animal Hospital in Olathe, KS. Rabbits can be born without ears, but more often than not ears are missing due to a highly stressed mother rabbit. Unfortunately, a stressed doe can overgroom (chew the ears) or even kill her kits. As distressing as this is - an earless rabbit can have normal hearing. Plus, they are just as beautiful with or without their large ears!

Doggy Daycare for Two Bunnies

Find a "cute overload" story from San Francisco at this Link.

(Photo Credit: Rex Features)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rabbit Transit

Photo from The Time Picayune in Louisiana: "Corrinne Almeida takes advantage of a rare bit of mid May mild morning weather to sit on the outdoor patio of Fair Grinds Coffee house to read today. She is joined by her pet rabbit Baron Von Widget before the two peddle of to work at a near by bicycle shop."

Easter Bunnies that Didn't Sell in Nashville

WSMV TV of Nashville reported yesterday that "an attempt to make money at Easter led to almost three dozen rabbits being dropped off at Metro Animal Control." Officials stated the rabbits were bred for Easter and when they didn't sell, the breeder decided to "get rid of them." Fortunately, he took them to a shelter. The great people at Bunny Rescue, a local rabbit rescue, is taking care of the rabbits and coordinating foster homes for them. If you can help go to the Bunny Rescue website link above to find contact information for them in Nashville. (Photo credit: WSMV TV)

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Sunshine Rescue - A Ray of Hope for 77 Rabbits

WKRN, Nashville recently reported on 3 of the rabbits out of the 77 from the Ft. Myers, FL rescue. (See video) The Clover Patch Rabbit Rescue and Sanctuary in Franklin, TN took in three bunnies shown in the video.  There were several organizations who joined together to rescue all of these rabbits including: Little Miracles Rabbit Rescue of Atco, NJ, Gainesville Rabbit Rescue in Florida, Magic Happens Rabbit Rescue of Baton Rouge, LA, Little Furries Rescue and Referral of Brick, NJ, Animal Welfare Association, Voorhees, NJ, the Humane Society Naples, Naples, FL and Luv-A-Bun Rabbit Rescue of Lake Worth, FL.  Wow, that was a quite a list, but everyone of these organizations should be acknowledged for their dedication and help in this rescue effort! (Read more about the Sunshine Rescue at the website.) But it isn't over yet, there will be costs for neutering and/or spaying all of these rabbits, and expenses for maintaining the rabbits until they find forever homes, If you would like to make a donation, visit this Link.

Friday, May 13, 2011

RHD Disease in Pet Rabbit in Canada

According to Veterinary Practice News , Canada’s National Center for Foreign Animal Diseases (NCFAD for short) reported a case of a domestic altered male rabbit who tested positive for rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD ) on March 30, 2011. By the way, to add to the confusion the disease is also known as Rabbit Viral Hemorrhagic Disease (VHD) and Rabbit Calicivirus Disease (RCD).  No matter what you call it, VHD is highly contagious and so lethal it has been used in Australia as a “biological control agent for the introduced European Rabbit.” The recent case in Canada was a pet rabbit housed in an apartment with two other pet rabbits for a year. Although the infected rabbit did not recover, the other two rabbits tested negative for the disease and are still healthy.  The Canadian Food Inspection Agency CFIA “considers this event in a noncommercial rabbit as resolved.”  Up until 2000 the US was VHD free, but then it was reported on a farm in Iowa.  Fortunately, there have been very few cases reported in the US. There is no cure and a vaccine is not currently available in the United States. See these articles by Kristen Strobel and Evi Goldfield and an article at the House Rabbit Society for more information about this disease.

Rabbit's Foot Superstition Not So Lucky for Rabbits

Friday the 13th reminds me of a superstition I find particularly cruel - the "lucky" rabbit's foot.  According to Wikepedia, "In some cultures, the foot of a rabbit is carried as an amulet believed to bring good luck." Unfortunately,this irrational belief is held by people in many parts of the world.  Even the California Lottery recently produced a commerical for television,“Rabbit Foot Factory.” (Link to video) It shows rabbits escaping since there is no longer any need for further production of cruel talismans (to have more chances to win). I have spent a lot of time trimming rabbit nails, cleaning bunny feet and helping rescued rabbits recover from sore hocks. The ghastly idea of rabbit feet detached from the rabbit does not conjure up good fortune. The fact that Amazon still sells them online is inexcusable. A rabbit's foot lucky?  Hardly, superstitious people should remember it only brought suffering to the rabbit. (Painting by Will Bullas)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bears (and other predators) in the Backyard

Last week in British Columbia, The Daily News reported a bear broke into a backyard rabbit hutch and grabbed a family pet of nearly ten years.  The bunny had just been moved from its “winter home to an outdoor summer hutch.” Authorities think the bear was attracted by easy prey. Now the neighborhood is worried he will become a “problem bear” and it could end badly for the bruin, too. The story brings to mind an incident a little over a year ago when a black bear snatched a disabled pet rabbit from an Anchorage backyard and the owner actually gave chase.  The rabbit victims did not survive either one of these attacks.  Can’t happen in the lower 48?  Sure it can and it does.  A couple of years ago in Denville, NJ a 400 lb. black bear broke into screened in porch and killed a beloved bunny named Blackie.  The fact is many people live in much closer proximity to predators than they realize especially in suburban areas.  Raccoons, foxes, coyotes, feral dogs and cats, and birds of prey have all made themselves at home in cities. Some predators are perfectly capable of digging under a sturdy fence to get into a yard and others are large enough to tip over a hutch and tear through the wire or wood structure. The only way I know to have a peaceful co-existence with all the rabbit hutch prowlers is to keep my rabbits in the house and supervise time outdoors. Canadians and Alaskans aren’t the only ones with bears in the backyard.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Lettuce Us All Speak Up for Rabbits - the House Rabbit Society Made It Easier

Check out the new The House Rabbit Society page "featuring companies and individuals that have done good, or bad things for rabbits. So far there are more "up carrots" than "down carrots" which is a good thing.  I agree with the HRS that sending the individuals, companies and groups a quick email or even snail mail " expressing your unhappiness for what they've done to harm rabbits" is a very good idea. The rabbits can't speak for themselves to stop their suffering. Fortunately, you can also write a note to the people listed who are doing a lot of good for rabbits.  They certainly deserve encouragement for their kindness and humane business decisions. Thanks to the HRS for this new page and you can find it at this Link. (I hope to see more of those "happy carrots like the one on the left!)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lounging with Lagomorphs

Just when I thought I had everything rabbit in my home (including the real rabbits) I receive an email about this "Kissing Rabbits" deckchair from Anorak online in the UK.  Nice idea - take your rabbits out to the garden for some exercise and settle into this deckchair to supervise playtime.  It's a bit of bunny whimsy and not cheap if my currency calculations are correct.  See it for yourself at this Link. Whether you spring for the chair or not, remember your lounging lagomorphs need exercise so get those bunnies out for their daily hop indoors or out.  Always supervise your rabbits if they are outdoors. I learned that lesson early on when a large hawk dove for one of my bunnies and I threw myself over the little lop to save him. (It worked.)  Back to shopping - there are other items in this rabbit themed pattern on the Anorak website.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Disaster Rabbit Rescue in Missouri Floods

KMOV.com in St. Louis reported several rabbits rescued on Tuesday by the St. Louis Humane Society. They have a trained disaster response team who can respond quickly. It's a good thing. The rabbits were discovered abandoned and stranded on top of a levee in southeast Missouri where destructive floods destroyed several towns. No information on adoption yet. See a photo gallery of the rabbits at this Link. They are a very lucky and handsome bunch of bunnies!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Wild Ride for a Rabbit

Star Wars Boba Loves Bunnies

Boba Fett is a character in Star Wars and a bounty hunter hired by Darth Vader to find the Millennium Falcon; he is a major bad guy in at least two of the Star Wars films. Over on the official Star Wars Blog, artist Kelly Kerrigan depicts a kinder version of the Star Wars villain most people don’t imagine and it took me by surprise. After all, what would they do with all the fertilizer rabbits produce out in those galaxies far, far away? All kidding aside, according to the artist she began creating the new series of paintings after her husband passed away last year. She says they both “loved Star Wars” and “he had a particular connection to rabbits as they are portrayed in movies, books and gaming.” See more at the Star Wars Blog Link. Or you can check out Kelly's Blog which shows many more rabbit Star Wars paintings. May the Force be with you.

For your rabbit veterinarian . . .

The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published a paper in their May 1, 2011 issue regarding successful surgical treatment for liver lobe torsion.  It is a rare condition and normally fatal. (Dogs, cats, horses and even an occasional human can be afflicted). The cause is unknown. The four rabbits in the study (1 ½ to 6 years old) were cases brought to the Angell Animal Medical Center over a two year period showing signs of anorexia, lethargy and decreased fecal output. It is a painful condition and requires immediate diagnosis. With an abdominal ultrasound and serum biochemical analysis a diagnosis can be made. All four rabbits underwent surgery in which the affected liver lobe was removed.  The good news is that all the rabbits recovered from surgery and were doing well 22 to 43 months after surgery.  Another successful surgery of this type was reported in the Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine back in 2007 with one rabbit. Your vet can find the abstract at this Link.

Jumpy Bunnies

The headline in the newspaper in the UK read “Hop to It! The Daring Rabbits Who Think They are Horses.”  Rabbits like Snoopy (pictured) are only being rabbits.  Rabbits are naturally built for jumping. They don’t have to think they are horses.  The sport was created by Swedes and based on equestrian events, the sport of rabbit- jumping, or kaninhop, has sprung up worldwide, from Europe to the US, Canada and Japan.  Rabbits can jump about 40 inches and up to almost 80 inches in the wild. My jumpiest rabbit, a Dutch house rabbit named Pansy, easily clears obstacles in the home of 36 inches.  However, Pansy only jumps for fun, not sport. (Photo: Action Press/Rex Features

On the Wild Side: Litter of European Rabbits

Pictured are eight small European rabbits from Durham Co. England who were accidentally dug out of their warren in the bucket of a back hoe. (The doe was unable to be located.) The young man operating the equipment saw something moving and then noticed the other 7 bunnies  trying to burrow their way out of the soil.  The load of earth was searched, and then the rabbits were taken to his home.  The baby bunnies (approximately 2 ½ weeks old) were cared for by the young man’s mother.  She first fed the rabbits goat's milk from a syringe before changing them to a diet of grass and dandelion leaves.  Although, they are naming the bunnies, both mother and son realize the rabbits are not meant to be pets. The rabbits will be released soon. (Photo: NorthNews)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Rabbit Comforts Hospice Residents

In Winter Haven, FL, Ruby the rabbit brings smiles to patients at the Wedgewood of Winter Haven assisted living facility.  Ruby is a therapy rabbit through the Compassionate Care Hospice. According to a patient care nurse, "So many of our patients are elderly, and they can be afraid of cats and dogs. Rabbits tend to be more calm, and they usually are good about staying still."The executive director of the hospice also stated, "They are so sweet and soft, and they don't scare people." Our patients are eager to hold her and pet her." The Delta Society which licenses therapy animals nationwide agreed that "rabbits aren't as threatening as some larger or more rambunctious animals, making them a good fit for use with elderly or very ill patients. Plus, he noted that patients in the hospice program are less likely to have allergies to rabbits than to more common pets, like dogs and cats. Read entire article at this link. (Photo credit: Pierre DuCharme / NYT Regional Media Group)