Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rabbit Makes a Statement on Law Journal Cover

The Oregon Law Journal just published their new issue yesterday and a white rabbit graced the front cover (pic on right). The issue featured an article about the work of the Oregon Humane Society in Portland. I am originally from Portland and proud they have a very active house rabbit community. The Rabbit Advocates were originally part of the OHS and became a separate nonprofit entity back in 2002. They are a very dynamic organization with activities for rabbit lovers every month.  The Oregon House Rabbit Society chapter also operates a sanctuary.  Both of these organizations have volunteers who work tirelessly to educate the public about rabbits and adopt out rabbits. Portland, OR has long been a community of animal lovers, Recently Lewis and Clark College announced it will have the first law school in the world that offers an advanced degree in animal law. By the way, I'd say the jury is in on the photo - that is one beautiful white rabbit. See the Law Journal article here about the humane society. (Photo credit: Oregon Law Journal)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

One Hop for Mankind - Rabbits in Space

A couple of days ago I was amazed to find a photo of two unlikely space travelers, a white dog and a grey rabbit.  Back in the late 1950’s space programs in the Soviet Union (Russia) and United States used animals to make high altitude and orbital flights. Tragically, many times they were one-way trips. It was inhumane on a lot of levels. Otvazhnaya (the dog) and Marnushka (the rabbit) braved a high altitude test flight on July 2, 1959 aboard an R2-A rocket (pictured on the right).  Another dog, Snezhinka, also went on the flight.  Fortunately, all three animals were recovered successfully. This rabbit went on to make five more successful high altitude test flights in the following year. Then in August 1960, two dogs, Belka and Strelka, an unnamed gray rabbit, 40 mice and 2 rats, were launched in Sputnik 5. Again in September 1962 a rabbit was aboard the Artemis that made 12 complete earth orbits. However, Artemis collided with space debris and sustained critical damage. Fortunately, the rabbit was recovered unharmed 933 miles off the east coast of Brazil.
NASA’s History of Animals in Space web page states, “after the manned lunar landing of Apollo 11, the role of animals was limited to the status of biological payload."  Rabbits were included as a “biological payload” species.  After finding this reference to rabbits, I was unable to locate any further information on rabbits utilized in space flights. There are a couple of websites touting the use of rabbits as a food source for human space colonies on Mars, but I don’t take those too seriously.  I hope by the time we venture to Mars, humans will have stopped serving rabbit as a dinner entree on planet Earth.

Thankful A Little Lop Survived GI Stasis

This Thanksgiving a sweet 7 1/2 year old lop is happily hopping around my home after a bout of GI Stasis earlier this month.  I am so thankful.  The symptoms started on a Friday before a long holiday weekend when most vets were closed for three days. My first rabbit, Groucho, died from GI Stasis many years ago. Since then I have learned everything I can about it from veterinary journals to many good sources on the web.  It is scary every time I have seen rescue rabbits with symptoms. 
Now my own lop bunny (pictured right) had stopped eating, was not producing any fecal pellets, lethargic, hunched up in pain, his stomach gurgling loudly, and an abdomen somewhat hard instead of soft and doughy. This had come on quickly. He was in real trouble. I got out my bunny first aid kit and drawing on what I had learned over the years his symptoms diminished. He slowly got better over the three day weekend and made good progress over a week. It took another week for his fecal pellets to become normal.  I racked my brain for a cause.  At the onset of symptoms I did not take the bunny to the vet. I did not have that option over the long holiday weekend. I recommend everyone get their rabbit to a vet immediately if possible.
I don’t know why this rabbit developed GI Stasis. I realized even though his diet is very good, he had lost a bonded partner three months before.  Plus, I had moved his rabbit pen into a less drafty part of the room for the winter just a couple of weeks before.  An attempt to introduce him to another rabbit wasn’t working out yet. All of these things are stressful for a rabbit.  In the past 2 weeks he seems to be bonding more with me.  He nudges me for pets much more often during the evenings when he has free run of the house and he sticks very close now.  As far as I am concerned, he can have all the pets he wants and I'm grateful his litter box runneth over this Thanksgiving.
Don't wait to take your bunny to a vet - GI Stasis is a killer.  Go to this Link for a list of vets. If a vet isn't available, try a veterinary emergency clinic.  For good information on the web:

Gastrointestinal Stasis: The Silent Killer - by Dana Krempels, Ph.D.  required reading for anyone with a rabbit as far as I am concerned.
GI stasis in rabbits - Excellent article in Hopping Mad Magazine online from the UK
Huh, Rabbits Can Get Gas?!  Go to page 12 of this booklet by the Columbus House Rabbit Society

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dozens of White Rabbits Abandoned in Colorado

Over 60 white rabbits were dumped by someone on a roadside in Colorado Springs, CO. (Pictured screen clip of rabbits on right). KKTV 11 News went out to the site to report and is offering information on caring for rabbits and how to adopt them their website. They also had a guest on air the next morning to discuss rabbit care if someone rescued one of the bunnies.  The rabbits were rescued in the middle of the night by many good samaritans who came out to help. It was dark, cold and people showed up and helped gather up the rabbits on a rocky hillside.
KKTV 11 News reported they "contacted the local humane society to notify them about the situation, but they said they couldn't send someone out to get the rabbits until Monday." The TV station is investigating who dumped the beautifully classic white domesticated rabbits.
The State of Colorado: Animal Protection Act 8-9-202 Cruelty to Animals includes abandonment for this type of crime. It certainly is a crime. These rabbits would not have lasted the night. The area is known for its coyotes, bears, birds of prey and foxes.   See several videos on the story at this Link.  All of the kind people who went out to save those rabbits deserve a big thank you!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hero Bunny Saves Girl's Life

Tonight it was reported in the Central Coast News that a bunny alerted a girl's mother to a potentially life threatening medical emergency. Not once, but twice. The Hudgens family is fostering, Hammie, who is a 7 month old rabbit.  Hammie started thumping at 2:00 am one morning and Aundrea Hudgens went to her daughter's room to see what all the commotion was about. The girl, Emily, has type one diabetes and her blood sugar had fallen dangerously low.  According to the article, normally Emily wakes up when this occurs.  The other interesting part of the story was that Hammie did not stop thumping until Hudgens was able to treat her daughter.  Only then did the bunny calm down. Hammie also sensed it another time two weeks later and again alerted Emily's mother. Hammie definitely knows when Emily is in distress and this behavior has been seen in other companion animals including other rabbits. If I were the Hudgens, I'd adopt Hammie the Hero Bunny. See video and full story about Hammie at this Link