Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Easter Bunny's Important Message

Every year, around June and July, animal shelters around the country are seemingly instantly flooded with rabbits that are no longer wanted. Countless well-meaning families buy cute baby bunnies as Easter presents for the children, only to realize a few months down the line what complex creatures these are, what complex care they require, and what a bad combination a skittish, unneutered rabbit and a rambunctious child can be. Read this article on why rabbits don't always do so well with children and vice versa and read here about the importance of spaying and neutering.

Buying a rabbit as an Easter present is a time-tested bad idea. Sure, baby bunnies are ridiculously adorable, but they also require a varied diet, not inexpensive vet care, a spay/neuter surgery, daily attention and playtime, and intricate rabbit-proofing (which in turn requires a watchful eye and sometimes infinite patience). Rabbits are excellent pets, but only in the right circumstances, which includes knowing full-well what you're getting into. And if you've done the research and still think you're ready to get a rabbit, don't ever buy from a pet store! Instead adopt from a shelter or a rescue and save a life!

Buy a toy rabbit for Easter-- adopt a real rabbit for life!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Question from the Audience: Hiccups?

A question from Travis J. in Long Island, NY:
Q: I have a 5 year old Dwarf Rabbit. She is in great health- she is spayed, has a healthy diet and goes in regularly for check ups with her exceptional vet. Every so often, usually after jumping out of the cage and running around a bit, when she sits down or relaxes for a moment- she begins to twitch (her entire body). It looks similar to when someone has the hiccups. Its usually about 10 twitches lasting about 15 seconds. If I walk to her and pet her during the twitches, she stops twitching. Sometimes she will continue twitching the moment I take my hand off of her. Have you ever heard of this?

A: You correctly identified this weird twitching behavior as hiccups, although it is strange because when a hiccuping rabbit is touched, she does stop twitching (suggesting the behavior is voluntary to a certain degree). It can be scary to see, especially the first few times, because it looks somewhat painful or like a seizure, but it's just regular old hiccups.

As usual, make sure your rabbit is eating and drinking normally, in case the hiccups are being caused by disturbances in the GI tract. Other than that, it's most likely nothing to be worried about!