Sunday, June 14, 2009

Question from the Audience: Paw Flicking

A question from Elsie C. in Manchester, UK:

Q: My one year old house rabbit keeps flicking his front paws, one at a time. It is a kind of flick/shake. Any idea why? He is also quieter than normal instead of running around.

A: Rabbits usually flick their paws right before they plan to groom their faces or ears. Is he flicking his paws for a few seconds and then grooming himself? Is so, that is absolutely fine. If he is just flicking his paws repeatedly, then it would be worth it to have a closer look at his paws (is there something stuck to them? does he have a splinter or something of the sort? are they hurting? are they numb? do his nails need to be trimmed/getting caught in the carpet?). If you can't determine anything off about his paws, it might be a good idea to have a vet take a closer look at them.

I'd actually be more worried about him being "quieter than normal." Rabbits, being prey animals, really work to hide their symptoms. Once a rabbit is exhibiting unusual behaviors, you really want to pay close attention. Is he eating the same amount? Bathroom behaviors changed/droppings look the same? Acting depressed? Listless? If you said yes to any of these four questions, then don't wait to make an appointment with a rabbit-savvy veterinarian. These are surefire signs something is not right with your bunny, and when it's reached a stage with any of these symptoms, things can go very fast.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Free and Easy Way to Help a Shelter Bunny

One thing that always arrives with summer is the appearance of farmer's markets. And one thing that always comes with farmer's markets are leftovers! Ask a vegetable stand at your farmer's market about donating their unsold veggies, scraps, or even unusable parts (carrot, radish, beet tops) to your local shelter's rabbits. All you have to do is transport the goods to the shelter, as often as you like. It's an easy way to give a shelter bunny a healthy meal for free. Make sure to relay which veggies are okay, and which to avoid (ie tomatoes, beans, potatoes, rhubarb; and use carrots, bananas, (anything with high sugar) sparingly).

Atlas Farms has been donating their delicious organic vegetables to the Boston MSPCA for a few weeks, and it's turning out great for everyone involved. See pictures below for proof! (All of these bunnies are available for adoption through the Boston MSPCA; click on their names for additional information.)

Miss Bunny










Piper & Widget (Guinea pigs need greens too!)

Another idea: If you're baking/cooking with strawberries and have a ton of strawberry tops, save them in an airtight container and take them to your shelter. Strawberry tops make for a delicious treat!

Thanks for thinking of helping out a shelter or rescue in your area!