Kung Poo Rabbit
Beatrice recently had an upset tummy and I simply could not figure out what the cause was. I went through a process of elimination, cutting out fresh herbs one after the other and then her occasional fresh fruit treat of blue berries. I even stopped giving her much-loved roses and Nasturtium flowers.
Beatrice is a free roaming rabbit, spending the mornings in our secure back yard and then napping the rest of the day and night indoors. Her tummy was OK during the day, but early in the morning, I would notice that she was in trouble.True to rabbit nature, when her tummy was upset, and she spotted me, Beatrice would ALWAYS sit very upright, look very alert and then start washing her dewlap – all to pretend that everything was okay. Of course she could not fool me - she had to suffer the terribly undignified experience of being lifted upside down so that her daddy could inspect the unmentionables...
Soft poo sticks to the fur and is almost impossible to clean by the rabbits themselves. Also, using a wet cloth was not fast or thorough enough, and I had to resort to bathing her. I used about a centimetre of luke warm water in the bath to clean her, and the same for the rinse cycle ;-) Once she realised she is not getting THAT wet, and it is only ‘back there’, she calmed down. The thorough wash was important since she spends time outside and one has to be ever mindful of flies.
Which brings me to rabbit care; pet rabbits can never be treated like a cat or dog. Your cat or dog may be out of sight or away for hours and still be okay. Not so with rabbits. Rabbits need to be watched like a baby. You need to be constantly aware of where they are. You need to know at all times, what they are up to and whether they are okay at that moment. You need to know your rabbit’s personality and habits so that you can spot a change in behaviour. Is the rabbit drinking less or more water? Is the rabbit eating less? Does the rabbit refuse to come in the house or is it hiding from you? (See here what else you can look out for.) Even if your rabbit is your close companion, like our Beatrice, you still need to be hyper observant.
Anything less and your rabbit may suffer needlessly. Enough said.
Detecting Illness Before it's an Emergency
by Dana Krempels, Ph.D.
Department of Biology
University of Miami, FL
Please click here to read the article.