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 Rabbit Care Sheet

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RVL Kennel
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Join date : 2010-03-11

PostSubject: Rabbit Care Sheet   Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:45 pm

Rabbit Care Guide
By Adrienne Kruzer, RVT

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How To Choose a Rabbit
When choosing a rabbit, looking at a few simple things can help ensure that your new pet is a healthy one.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 10 minutes

Here's How:
1.Look at the overall body condition - the rabbit should be neither fat nor skinny, with no swellings.
2.The rabbit's coat should be well groomed, with no bare patches. Check for soiling aroung the rear end, as this may indicate a problem with diarrhea.
3.Look at the ears, they should be pink, not red, and free of discharge. The ear flaps shouldn't be damaged.
4.The eyes should be bright and free from discharge. Check the coat around the eyes for signs of wetness or tear staining.
5.Check the nose - it should also be free of discharge.
6.Try to get a look at the teeth, they should not be overgrown and should be well-aligned. Also check for wet or matted fur on the chin.
7.Observe the rabbit's breathing, which should be quiet and not labored.
8.Watch the rabbit move around - it should have no signs of lameness, stiffness, or reluctance to move around.
9.Look at the rabbit's surroundings - a rabbit kept in clean conditions, without crowding will have less exposure to stress and disease.
10.Observe how the rabbit reacts to people - ideally pick a rabbit that is relatively calm about being approached and petted

Tips:
1.Although babies are cute, there are many adult house rabbits in need of homes, so consider visiting a shelter or rescue.
2.It is wise to resist the temptation to adopt a sickly rabbit unless prepared for the possibility of expensive treatment and possible heartbreak.
3.When buying from a breeder, make sure they are breeding for a specific goal (e.g. temperament and health).

Pet Rabbit Housing
Choosing the Right Cage for Your House Rabbit

Pet rabbits can be quite readily kept in cages in the home, with some freedom to run free in the house (after thoroughly rabbit-proofing, of course). Rabbits take fairly well to litter training so many people will let their bunnies run free in the home for at least part of the day. Even if your rabbit is thoroughly toilet trained and your house thoroughly rabbit proofed, a cage will act as a safe haven or nest, where the rabbit can retreat to rest.

There are a lot of cages sold for rabbits that aren't really ideal rabbit homes, though. Some are just too small, and many have wire floors, which may make cleaning easier but doesn't provide much comfort to the bunny.

How Big
As usual, bigger is better. If your bunny will spend most of its time in a cage, then get the biggest cage that is practical in the home. As a general rule, the cage should be at least 4 times the size of the rabbit. A guide is 24" by 36" for smaller rabbits (less than 8 lbs.) or 30" by 36" for larger rabbits. A two story condo with a ramp joining the levels seems popular with rabbits too.

Cage Design
As a rule, rabbits take fairly well to being litter trained, so a solid floor is fine and not too difficult to clean. Many cages meant for rabbits are still made with wire floors over pull out pans, designed to make cleaning easier. However, wire floors (even those with very narrow spacing) can be uncomfortable and can cause sores or the hocks, so it is best to get a cage without wire floors. Wire floors should be covered with a piece of wood, or grass or sisal mats (grass mats are are nice to have in solid floored cages too, to vary the surface and provide traction).

The door to the cage should be about large enough to get a litter pan (and rabbit) through easily. A side door is probably best, as a top-opening cage makes getting the rabbit in and out a little harder (and it is best if the rabbit can get in and out on its own). The opening should have smooth edges, or plastic guard strips over the edges of the wires.

If you are handy, you can get fairly creative and construct your own cage. This allows a custom size to be designed. My own rabbit has a home made cage that is not ideal but works fairly well.

Bedding/Litter
Grass/sisal mats are a good idea for solid floored cages, too, to provide traction. Fleece blankets can also be provided. Pieces of carpet or towels also make nice mats, as long as your rabbit is not unraveling and eating them.

As for other pets, cedar and pine shavings should be avoided due to concerns over the aromatic oils they release. These oils have been shown to elevate the levels of some liver enzymes, which can affect the metabolism of drugs and other compounds. If wood shavings are used at all, better alternatives include hardwood shavings such as aspen. Straw or hay is a good bedding material for rabbits.

Outdoors/Hutches
While living alone in a hutch outdoors is a lonely existence for a rabbit, a house rabbit that is allowed time outdoors will likely enjoy the change of scenery and fresh air. There are several dangers in the outdoors, including predators, weather, and toxicity from herbicides, pesticides or poisonous plants. Since predators present the largest danger at night, keeping a rabbit outdoors in a hutch at night is risky, even in a city (where predators may include raccoons, cats, dogs, coyotes, hawks and more). Many of these can injure or kill a rabbit without even getting into the cage. If a rabbit is to stay outside, it should at least be in an enclosed shed, garage, or some shelter that allows complete protection.

Many owners allow their rabbits outside in an enclosed pen made form a wood frame with wire on all sides (including top and bottom). This allows bunnies to spend time outside and munch on the grass (provided it is not treated with any herbicides, pesticides or other chemicals!) without burrowing out, and with protection from unwanted visitors. Shelter from sun, wind, rain, and other elements must also be provided.

Feeding Pet Rabbits
The Basic Diet for House Rabbits

Fiber is vital to the normal function of the digestive system in rabbits. Fresh grass hay and vegetables should make up the bulk of the diet for house rabbits. Feeding a diet consisting mainly of pellets may result in obesity and increase the likelihood of digestive problems. While there is some fiber in pellets, it is finely ground and does not appear to stimulate intestinal function as well as fiber found in grass hays. Roughage also aids in the prevention of hair balls. The addition of some pellets does add some balance to the diet, however.

Anything other than hay, vegetables, and pellets is considered a treat and should be feed in strict moderation. The digestive system of a rabbit is very susceptible to serious upsets if the diet is inappropriate. The amount of pellets should be restricted, especially in overweight rabbits, but any reduction in pellets should be made up with a variety of fresh vegetables and unlimited access to hay.

Hay
Hay (grass hays such as timothy or oat hay) should be available at all times. Some rabbits may not take much hay at first. Adding fresh hay a couple of times a day may help, and as the amount of pellets is reduced the rabbit will likely become hungry enough to eat the hay. The House Rabbit Society recommends starting baby bunnies on alfalfa hay and introducing grass hays by 6-7 months, gradually decreasing the alfalfa until the rabbit is solely on grass hays by 1 year. Alfalfa hay is higher in calcium and protein and lower fiber than the grass hays, although many owners find their rabbits prefer alfalfa hays. If your adult rabbit is used to alfalfa hay, try mixing alfalfa with a grass hay to start and gradually reduce the amount of alfalfa.

Vegetables
Vegetable should make up a large portion of the diet. Depending on the size of the rabbit, 2-4 cups of fresh veggies should be given per day. A variety must be fed daily to ensure a balanced diet. If a rabbit is used to eating mainly pellets, the change must be made gradually to allow the rabbit's digestive system time to adjust. Only add one new vegetable to the diet at a time so if the rabbit has diarrhea or other problems it will be possible to tell which vegetable is the culprit. Suggested vegetable include carrots, carrot tops, parsley, broccoli, collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, turnip greens, endive, romaine lettuce, kale and spinach. However, kale, spinach and mustard greens are high in oxalates so their feeding should be limited to 3 meals per week. Beans, cauliflower, cabbage, and potatoes may cause problems and should be avoided. Iceberg lettuce has almost no nutritional value so should be avoided. Rhubarb should also be avoided (toxicity). Wash vegetables well, and only feed dandelions that are known to be pesticide free (try a health food store for organically grown dandelion greens).

Vegetables should be introduced to bunnies around 12 weeks of age, in small quantities and one at a time. As more vegetable are added watch for diarrhea and discontinue the most recently added vegetable if this occurs. Over time, the amount of vegetables fed is increased, and the amount of pellets decreased, so that by 1 year of age the adult feeding recommendations are followed.

Pellets
Pellets are basically designed for commercial rabbit production, and are quite high in calories. As a result, house rabbits fed unlimited pellets may end up with obesity and related health problems, as well as an excess of other nutrients. Pellets do have a place in rabbit nutrition, as they are rich and balanced in nutrients. However, experts recommend restricting the among of pellets fed, and compensating with fresh vegetables (see below) and grass hays.

Choose a fresh, good quality pellet. The House Rabbit Society recommends a minimum of 20-25% fiber, around 14% protein (with no animal protein), and less than 1% Calcium for most house rabbits (spayed/neutered). For adults, the amount should be carefully regulated, depending on the size (weight) of the rabbit. As a rule, give about 1/4 cup for rabbits 5-7 lb, 1/2 cup for 8-10 lb rabbits, and 3/4 cup for 11-15b lb rabbits. Baby rabbits can be fed pellets free choice (available at all times), decreasing to 1/2 cup per 6 lb. of body weight by around 6 months.

Treats
The House Rabbit Society recommends 1-2 tablespoons of fresh fruits be given daily as a treat. Treats sold in pet stores marketed for rabbits are generally unnecessary and in some cases could cause digestive problems due to their high carbohydrate or sugar content. Instead of food treats, consider offering twigs from apple or willow trees (pesticide-free only).

Toys for Pet Rabbits
Simple Items to Prevent Boredom and Keep Your Bunny Active

Many owners are surprised to find out how playful their rabbits are. Most rabbits will appreciate a selection of fun toys, which can be as simple as a cardboard box or empty paper towel roll.

Toys will help keep your rabbit physically active and prevent boredom. A bored rabbit is much more likely to become destructive or even depressed and overweight. Deprived of toys and play things, your rabbit may turn to your furniture and other belongings as chew toys, or even dangerous things like electrical cords. Experiment with a variety of toys to find out what is entertaining to your rabbit, and continue to provide new toys (or at least rotate the ones he/she has).

While a good selection of toys will help keep your rabbit away from things you do not want him or her chewing on, the toys you provide must be safe too. If your rabbit is interested in eating one type (e.g. plastic, cardboard, etc.) of toy, switch to another type. Watch for soft rubber items or plastic parts that can be eaten and cause gastrointestinal problems or blockages. While your rabbit will likely enjoy shredding paper and cardboard, make sure he/she is not ingesting much of it.

A huge variety of items can make good rabbit toys. You might not find them marketed as rabbit toys, and some are things you will have around the house. Be creative and pay attention to how your rabbit seems to like to play, and you may come up with ideas of your own (just pay close attention to safety).

Some ideas:
•cardboard tubes from toilet paper and paper towel rolls
•paper bags
•cardboard boxes (especially a closed box with two or three rabbit sized entrance holes cut in the sides)
•cardboard concrete forms or large PVC pipes for tunnels (make sure bunny can't get stuck!)
•untreated wicker baskets or other wicker items (a wicker tunnel other items are available at the online stores listed below)
•hard plastic cat balls with a bell inside (make sure your bunny isn't chewing up and swallowing the plastic though)
•hard plastic baby toys such as rings, links, keys, rattles, etc.
•parrot toys and bells
•kitty condos (the shorter ones), tunnels, platforms
•towels
•small straw whisk broom
•straw balls ( you can get the ones meant as hamster houses; for added enjoyment fill with timothy hay)
•box full of shredded paper (preferably ink free - you can sometimes get unprinted newsprint roll ends from the local newspaper printer)
•fresh branches from apple trees
•dried pine cones
•large rubber ball

Rabbit Communication Basics

Thumping:
When a rabbit thumps or stomps on the ground with a hind leg, it can make a surprisingly loud noise. This is the way rabbits communicate danger to other rabbits, and sometimes it is a sign of annoyance. Interpretation: "I'm scared and nervous" or "I'm annoyed with you."

Teeth Grinding:
Gentle, soft grinding of the teeth in a relaxed rabbit is communicates contentment (and sounds almost like a cat purring). On the other hand, loud teeth grinding is a sign of pain
or discomfort, and your rabbit will often also be tense or hunched up when this occurs.

Interpretation: softly grinding teeth: "This is great"
Loudly grinding teeth: "Oooh, I'm in pain and I don't feel good" (this also means a trip to the vet is in order as soon as possible)

Chin Rubbing:
You may witness your rabbit rubbing its chin on objects or even people. Rabbits have scent glands on their chins that they use to scent mark territories and objects (the scent is not detectable by people, though, the scent is strictly for rabbit communication).
Interpretation: "This is mine!"

Binky:
The binky is the unique and acrobatic jump accompanied by twisting the body or kicking the legs. Rabbits use the binky to communicate that they are feeling very happy and playful.
Interpretation: "Life is Great! I'm so Happy!"

Licking :
A bunny that licks you has fully accepted you and is showing you affection.
Interpretation: "I like you"

Circling Your Feet:
A rabbit that follows you around circling your feet may just be trying to get your attention, but more likely your rabbit is sexually mature and is courting you (especially if accompanied by soft honking or oiking noises).
Interpretation: Usually mean "I'm in love with you" and means it is time to get bunny spayed or neutered. Sometimes simply means "Here I am, let's play."

Flat Rabbit:
When a rabbit flattens itself on its belly with its head down and ears held very flat, he or she is frightened and is trying to blend into his or her surroundings. (Note: a relaxed rabbit may also lay flat, but a relaxed rabbit has different body language: relaxed muscles and expression.)
Interpretation: "I'm scared!"

Flopping :
A content rabbit that is sitting still or grooming may suddenly flop onto its side and lay still. Owners often fear something dire has happened, but it is a sign of utter relaxation.
Interpretation: "oh, I'm just so relaxed."

Lunging:
A sudden movement towards you with the head up, tail up and ears back is a very clear form of rabbit communication: an unmistakable threat.
Interpretation: "I don't like that, back off!"

Vocalizations:
Rabbits are capable of some vocalizations that they use for communication, which sometimes surprise owners. Here are their interpretations:
Soft Squeal or Whimper: mild annoyance or displeasure.
Grunting, Growling, Snorting, and Hissing: all communicate varied stages of anger, stress, or feeling threatened. May be followed with a lunge or bite.

Soft Honking or Oinking: commuicates sexual interest. If your rabbit is circling you and honking, it is time for neutering.
Screaming: sign of extreme pain or fear. Do not ignore; reassure your rabbit and if there is no obvious reason your rabbit might be terrified, take your bunny to a vet.

Of course, rabbit body language is much more complex than what I have presented here. Rabbits communicate much information by how they position and move their bodies, and an experienced owner can learn to read their rabbit's signals quite well. An excellent resource to help you get a much better understanding of your rabbits body language is The Language of Lagomorphs.

Grooming Pet Rabbits
Regular Brushing is a Must

Rabbits are typically fastidiously clean animals, and spend a good deal of time grooming themselves. While this means they usually do not need baths, regular brushing helps keep their coat in good condition and help prevents hairballs.

Brushing
If you have a short haired rabbit, it is a good idea to brush them at least once a week. When they are shedding (they usually shed about every 3 months), more frequent brushing is recommended. During the heavy part of a shed, daily brushing is ideal. Keep in mind that rabbit skin is quite fragile, so be gentle and use a brush designed for rabbits if possible (bristle brushes are preferable; metal toothed slicker may hurt their skin). A fine toothed comb can also be used. Following up with a rubber grooming tool such as a Zoom Groom can help clean up loose hair too, or try running a damp (not wet) washcloth over the coat after brushing.

If you have an Angora rabbit, grooming must be a daily ritual. Unless you are showing your long haired rabbit, it is easiest to keep the coat trimmed to a length of about 1 inch or else the coat will be very prone to matting and your rabbit prone to hairballs ("wool block"). You can trim it yourself or get a groomer to do it and just do touch-up trims at home. You must be very careful about trimming hair though since rabbit skin is quite thin and easy to cut accidentally. With these rabbits, daily brushing should become part of the daily routine from a young age (it is a good chance to bond with your bunny, too).
Always be careful about trimming the hair over a rabbit's hocks however, or sores may result.

Removing Matted Hair
If your rabbit does develop mats in its coat, never try to trim them out with scissors as it is very easy to accidentally cut into the skin doing this. Gradually work out the mat by gently separating and combing hair out of the mat a tiny bit at a time, being careful not to pull on the skin. It may take several grooming sessions to work out a mat. Alternatively, you can take your rabbit to a groomer to have the mats trimmed out with electric clippers.

Does My Rabbit Need Baths?
No. Rabbits do not need baths and generally find them very stressful. If absolutely necessary it is better to just do a "spot cleaning" of the area that is dirty rather than subjecting a rabbit to the stress of bathing. If it is absolutely necessary to bathe your rabbit, keep in mind that it takes rabbit fur a long time to dry and it is a good idea to use a blow dryer (on a warm, never hot, setting) to speed the process. Rabbits are prone to overheating, so be cautious. It is best to avoid baths if possible.

Nail Trims
Regular nail trims should also be part of the grooming routine. Check the nails once a week when grooming and trim them whenever they get a bit long. I find it is better to do frequent trims even if you are only trimming a sliver off than wait until the nail is quite long and trying to judge how much to remove.

Rabbit Health FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions and their Answers

Rabbits are generally pretty hardy, but these are some common questions about health related concerns in pet rabbits:
How do I Find a Good Rabbit Veterinarian?

Question: How do I Find a Good Rabbit Veterinarian?
Answer: Finding a vet that is experienced with rabbits is well worth the trouble since rabbits have some quirks that dictate some special health care needs. You will want to find a vet that is knowledgeable about general care of house rabbits, as well as their medical care and surgical needs.

If you know other rabbit owners, ask for recommendations. You can also check with local rabbit shelters or rescues for their recommendations as they usually have lots of experience with vets. You might also just try calling around to different vet clinics and ask if there is a vet around to whom they refer rabbits or complicated rabbit cases. If several clinics refer rabbits to the same vet, that vet is a good one to try first.

Here is a quick list of questions to ask a potential vet. There is an emphasis on surgical questions because a spay or neuter will probably be the first (and hopefully only) major procedure your bunny will need:

•How many rabbits do you see in your practice?
•How often do you do surgery on rabbits? How many spays or neuters have you performed on rabbits?
•Have you lost any rabbits during routine surgery? What was the cause?
•What will I need to do to prepare my rabbit for surgery?
•How do you close the incision?
•How soon after surgery can my rabbit come home? If he/she has to stay overnight what sort of accommodations do you have for rabbits?
•What is the best way to prevent hairballs?
•What antibiotics are dangerous to rabbits?

The first few questions are self-explanatory; you'll hopefully find a vet who regularly sees rabbits and does rabbit surgery on a regular basis. Some animals do die under anesthesia for routine procedures, often due to underlying problems that were previously undetected. However, this should only happen in a very small percentage of cases, even with rabbits (less than 0.5% of cases). Rabbits are sensitive to the anesthetic used, so you might want to ask if they have a special anesthetic protocol for rabbits and why they use that anesthetic.

The third question is a bit of a trick question; ask the vet about fasting prior to surgery. If your vet says to fast your rabbit (remove its food or water) for more than a couple of hours before surgery then the vet is not experienced with rabbits. Dogs and cats are often fasted overnight prior to surgery due to the risk of them vomiting under anesthesia, but rabbits do not vomit and therefore do not need to be fasted as long. Furthermore, the function of the digestive system in rabbits can be adversely affected if the rabbit does not eat for long period. Rabbits are often fasted for a short time (2-4 hours) before surgery in order to decrease the pressure from stomach and intestine contents on the chest (which helps lung filling during anesthesia).

Rabbits are somewhat notorious for removing their stitches, so your vet will probably uses sutures that are entirely under the skin (subcutaneous) and/or tissue glue. Skin staples are another effective alternative.

Ideally, once your rabbit is up and about after a routine surgery, your vet will send him or her home the same day. Rabbits are often more comfortable and less stressed in their home environment and this will help in their recovery. As mentioned above, if a rabbit does not eat for a significant length of time, digestive system problems can result so the quicker your rabbit gets over the surgery and anesthetic and begins eating normally, the better. Your rabbit should be back to eating something by the morning after surgery, although their appetite may be decreased for a couple of days. If your rabbit is going to stay overnight at the clinic, try to ensure that a quiet secluded environment is available to limit stress.

As a general rule, rabbit vets would know that generally the best hairball prevention is to make sure your rabbit eats lots of hay and other roughage, and gets plenty of exercise and regular grooming. He or she should also readily know which antibiotics that are dangerous to rabbits (penicillin and its derivatives (amoxicillin, etc.), clindamycin, erythromycin, and some others).

Should I Have my Pet Rabbit Spayed or Neutered?


Question: Should I Have my Pet Rabbit Spayed or Neutered?
Answer: In a word, yes.

There are many advantages in terms of behavior and health to spaying and neutering your pet rabbit. In addition to these benefits, which are outlined below, you will help prevent the problem of pet rabbit overpopulation. People like to joke about how readily rabbits reproduce, but the sad truth is that far too many bunnies end up at shelters and rescues facing an uncertain future already.
Advantages to Spaying and Neutering Pet Rabbits

The obvious reason for spaying and neutering rabbits is to prevent them from reproducing, but their are many other advantages including:
•Spaying prevents a condition called "pseudo pregnancy" or false pregnancy where hormonal changes make the rabbit act as if she is pregnant. Rabbits in this condition go through the motions of pregnancy including nest building and milk production and can become quite stressed and aggressive to other rabbits or people.
•Reduced aggression; as rabbits reach sexual maturity, hormones tend to bring out aggressive and or destructive tendencies. Rabbit that are spayed and neutered tend to be calmer, easier to handle, and more affectionate with their owners.
•Spaying and neutering greatly reduces territorial marking behavior such (e.g. urine marking and spraying), and makes litter training easier.
•In females, spaying eliminates the risk of uterine cancer, which is quite common in rabbits. The risk of ovarian cancer is also eliminated, and the risk of mammary cancers (the animal equivalent of breast cancer) is greatly reduced.
•Spaying also prevents other diseases of the reproductive tract such as infection of the uterus (pyometra).
•In males, neutering eliminates the risk of testicular cancer.

How Can I Keep my Rabbit from Getting Hairballs

Question: How Can I Keep my Rabbit from Getting Hairballs
Answer: Hair balls in rabbits are a potentially serious problem and prevention is definitely easier than treating them once they have developed. When rabbits groom, they can ingest a lot of hair which can accumulate in the stomach. Unlike cats, rabbits cannot vomit so if the hair doesn't move out of the stomach into the intestines, it can form a large mass (medically known as a trichobezoar) in the stomach. This condition is also sometimes called wool block. A similar mass of mostly undigested food can form if a rabbit is kept on an inappropriate diet, so sometimes large amounts of hair isn't the whole problem. In any case, the ability of the rabbit to digest food is affected and the rabbit can become very ill, and possibly even die.

Prevention
•High fiber (and low carbohydrate) diet. A diet high in fiber (lots of fresh hay and vegetables) stimulates motility of the gastrointestinal tract and keeps food (and accidentally ingested hair) moving through the stomach. Lots of exercise (also aids gastrointestinal motility and digestion). This means playtime outside of the cage along with toys to encourage activity. Grooming. Regular brushing especially during a heavy shedding period will help reduce the amount of hair swallowed.

•Low stress environment. Rabbits kept in stressful (crowded, unclean, noisy, presence of possible predators, etc.) are more susceptive to this condition.

Rabbits affected by hairballs (or or any other materials accumulating in the stomach) will often show a decrease in appetite and eventually weight loss. The amount of feces produced usually decreases too. The rabbit may act depressed or lethargic as well. If your rabbit is showing any of these signs you should see your vet immediately. Remember that if your rabbit stops eating, numerous other digestive problems often result and your rabbit's health can deteriorate very quickly. If hair balls are diagnosed a number of treatments can be attempted to treat the problem medically; if they progress to the point when surgery is required the chances of recovery are reduced. Providing the appropriate high fiber diet along with opportunity for exercise are critical to you rabbit's health.

Is My Rabbit Supposed to Eat His Feces?

Question: Is My Rabbit Supposed to Eat His Feces?
Answer: Yes - well some of them anyway. Rabbits produce 2 types of feces, the harder pelleted feces normally found in a rabbit cage, and the soft, greenish, mucous covered feces. These softer feces are actually called cecotropes. The cecotropes usually won't be found in the cage, as the rabbit normally eats these as they are produced. As gross as it sounds, cecotropes are quite nutritious being high in some vitamins, etc. In fact, the production of cecotropes is a very important and significant part of the digestive system function of rabbits. Proper function of the digestive system (and a proper diet) will ensure that rabbits get optimal nutrition from their diet and the production of these cecotropes.
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PostSubject: Re: Rabbit Care Sheet   Sat Nov 27, 2010 10:45 pm

i have 2 rabbits. si phio ung dwarf rabbit. sama ng ugali hinahabol ako tpos kakagatin ako haha!
ung isa nmn nakakulong lang mabait at matakaw.
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PostSubject: Re: Rabbit Care Sheet   Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:53 am

tnx po sa thread starter very informative, meron ako ngayon 15 rabbits so laking tulong po ito para sa akin santa
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PostSubject: Re: Rabbit Care Sheet   Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:01 am

nice info thumbs up

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PostSubject: Plagiarized Material   Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:49 am

Please remove the Rabbit Care sheet thread. Your material is plagiarized from my website. If it is not removed in a timely matter I will take further action.
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PostSubject: Re: Rabbit Care Sheet   Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:16 pm

RVL Kennel wrote:
Rabbit Care Guide
By Adrienne Kruzer, RVT

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How To Choose a Rabbit
When choosing a rabbit, looking at a few simple things can help ensure that your new pet is a healthy one.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 10 minutes

Here's How:
1.Look at the overall body condition - the rabbit should be neither fat nor skinny, with no swellings.
2.The rabbit's coat should be well groomed, with no bare patches. Check for soiling aroung the rear end, as this may indicate a problem with diarrhea.
3.Look at the ears, they should be pink, not red, and free of discharge. The ear flaps shouldn't be damaged.
4.The eyes should be bright and free from discharge. Check the coat around the eyes for signs of wetness or tear staining.
5.Check the nose - it should also be free of discharge.
6.Try to get a look at the teeth, they should not be overgrown and should be well-aligned. Also check for wet or matted fur on the chin.
7.Observe the rabbit's breathing, which should be quiet and not labored.
8.Watch the rabbit move around - it should have no signs of lameness, stiffness, or reluctance to move around.
9.Look at the rabbit's surroundings - a rabbit kept in clean conditions, without crowding will have less exposure to stress and disease.
10.Observe how the rabbit reacts to people - ideally pick a rabbit that is relatively calm about being approached and petted

Tips:
1.Although babies are cute, there are many adult house rabbits in need of homes, so consider visiting a shelter or rescue.
2.It is wise to resist the temptation to adopt a sickly rabbit unless prepared for the possibility of expensive treatment and possible heartbreak.
3.When buying from a breeder, make sure they are breeding for a specific goal (e.g. temperament and health).

Pet Rabbit Housing
Choosing the Right Cage for Your House Rabbit

Pet rabbits can be quite readily kept in cages in the home, with some freedom to run free in the house (after thoroughly rabbit-proofing, of course). Rabbits take fairly well to litter training so many people will let their bunnies run free in the home for at least part of the day. Even if your rabbit is thoroughly toilet trained and your house thoroughly rabbit proofed, a cage will act as a safe haven or nest, where the rabbit can retreat to rest.

There are a lot of cages sold for rabbits that aren't really ideal rabbit homes, though. Some are just too small, and many have wire floors, which may make cleaning easier but doesn't provide much comfort to the bunny.

How Big
As usual, bigger is better. If your bunny will spend most of its time in a cage, then get the biggest cage that is practical in the home. As a general rule, the cage should be at least 4 times the size of the rabbit. A guide is 24" by 36" for smaller rabbits (less than 8 lbs.) or 30" by 36" for larger rabbits. A two story condo with a ramp joining the levels seems popular with rabbits too.

Cage Design
As a rule, rabbits take fairly well to being litter trained, so a solid floor is fine and not too difficult to clean. Many cages meant for rabbits are still made with wire floors over pull out pans, designed to make cleaning easier. However, wire floors (even those with very narrow spacing) can be uncomfortable and can cause sores or the hocks, so it is best to get a cage without wire floors. Wire floors should be covered with a piece of wood, or grass or sisal mats (grass mats are are nice to have in solid floored cages too, to vary the surface and provide traction).

The door to the cage should be about large enough to get a litter pan (and rabbit) through easily. A side door is probably best, as a top-opening cage makes getting the rabbit in and out a little harder (and it is best if the rabbit can get in and out on its own). The opening should have smooth edges, or plastic guard strips over the edges of the wires.

If you are handy, you can get fairly creative and construct your own cage. This allows a custom size to be designed. My own rabbit has a home made cage that is not ideal but works fairly well.

Bedding/Litter
Grass/sisal mats are a good idea for solid floored cages, too, to provide traction. Fleece blankets can also be provided. Pieces of carpet or towels also make nice mats, as long as your rabbit is not unraveling and eating them.

As for other pets, cedar and pine shavings should be avoided due to concerns over the aromatic oils they release. These oils have been shown to elevate the levels of some liver enzymes, which can affect the metabolism of drugs and other compounds. If wood shavings are used at all, better alternatives include hardwood shavings such as aspen. Straw or hay is a good bedding material for rabbits.

Outdoors/Hutches
While living alone in a hutch outdoors is a lonely existence for a rabbit, a house rabbit that is allowed time outdoors will likely enjoy the change of scenery and fresh air. There are several dangers in the outdoors, including predators, weather, and toxicity from herbicides, pesticides or poisonous plants. Since predators present the largest danger at night, keeping a rabbit outdoors in a hutch at night is risky, even in a city (where predators may include raccoons, cats, dogs, coyotes, hawks and more). Many of these can injure or kill a rabbit without even getting into the cage. If a rabbit is to stay outside, it should at least be in an enclosed shed, garage, or some shelter that allows complete protection.

Many owners allow their rabbits outside in an enclosed pen made form a wood frame with wire on all sides (including top and bottom). This allows bunnies to spend time outside and munch on the grass (provided it is not treated with any herbicides, pesticides or other chemicals!) without burrowing out, and with protection from unwanted visitors. Shelter from sun, wind, rain, and other elements must also be provided.

Feeding Pet Rabbits
The Basic Diet for House Rabbits

Fiber is vital to the normal function of the digestive system in rabbits. Fresh grass hay and vegetables should make up the bulk of the diet for house rabbits. Feeding a diet consisting mainly of pellets may result in obesity and increase the likelihood of digestive problems. While there is some fiber in pellets, it is finely ground and does not appear to stimulate intestinal function as well as fiber found in grass hays. Roughage also aids in the prevention of hair balls. The addition of some pellets does add some balance to the diet, however.

Anything other than hay, vegetables, and pellets is considered a treat and should be feed in strict moderation. The digestive system of a rabbit is very susceptible to serious upsets if the diet is inappropriate. The amount of pellets should be restricted, especially in overweight rabbits, but any reduction in pellets should be made up with a variety of fresh vegetables and unlimited access to hay.

Hay
Hay (grass hays such as timothy or oat hay) should be available at all times. Some rabbits may not take much hay at first. Adding fresh hay a couple of times a day may help, and as the amount of pellets is reduced the rabbit will likely become hungry enough to eat the hay. The House Rabbit Society recommends starting baby bunnies on alfalfa hay and introducing grass hays by 6-7 months, gradually decreasing the alfalfa until the rabbit is solely on grass hays by 1 year. Alfalfa hay is higher in calcium and protein and lower fiber than the grass hays, although many owners find their rabbits prefer alfalfa hays. If your adult rabbit is used to alfalfa hay, try mixing alfalfa with a grass hay to start and gradually reduce the amount of alfalfa.

Vegetables
Vegetable should make up a large portion of the diet. Depending on the size of the rabbit, 2-4 cups of fresh veggies should be given per day. A variety must be fed daily to ensure a balanced diet. If a rabbit is used to eating mainly pellets, the change must be made gradually to allow the rabbit's digestive system time to adjust. Only add one new vegetable to the diet at a time so if the rabbit has diarrhea or other problems it will be possible to tell which vegetable is the culprit. Suggested vegetable include carrots, carrot tops, parsley, broccoli, collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, turnip greens, endive, romaine lettuce, kale and spinach. However, kale, spinach and mustard greens are high in oxalates so their feeding should be limited to 3 meals per week. Beans, cauliflower, cabbage, and potatoes may cause problems and should be avoided. Iceberg lettuce has almost no nutritional value so should be avoided. Rhubarb should also be avoided (toxicity). Wash vegetables well, and only feed dandelions that are known to be pesticide free (try a health food store for organically grown dandelion greens).

Vegetables should be introduced to bunnies around 12 weeks of age, in small quantities and one at a time. As more vegetable are added watch for diarrhea and discontinue the most recently added vegetable if this occurs. Over time, the amount of vegetables fed is increased, and the amount of pellets decreased, so that by 1 year of age the adult feeding recommendations are followed.

Pellets
Pellets are basically designed for commercial rabbit production, and are quite high in calories. As a result, house rabbits fed unlimited pellets may end up with obesity and related health problems, as well as an excess of other nutrients. Pellets do have a place in rabbit nutrition, as they are rich and balanced in nutrients. However, experts recommend restricting the among of pellets fed, and compensating with fresh vegetables (see below) and grass hays.

Choose a fresh, good quality pellet. The House Rabbit Society recommends a minimum of 20-25% fiber, around 14% protein (with no animal protein), and less than 1% Calcium for most house rabbits (spayed/neutered). For adults, the amount should be carefully regulated, depending on the size (weight) of the rabbit. As a rule, give about 1/4 cup for rabbits 5-7 lb, 1/2 cup for 8-10 lb rabbits, and 3/4 cup for 11-15b lb rabbits. Baby rabbits can be fed pellets free choice (available at all times), decreasing to 1/2 cup per 6 lb. of body weight by around 6 months.

Treats
The House Rabbit Society recommends 1-2 tablespoons of fresh fruits be given daily as a treat. Treats sold in pet stores marketed for rabbits are generally unnecessary and in some cases could cause digestive problems due to their high carbohydrate or sugar content. Instead of food treats, consider offering twigs from apple or willow trees (pesticide-free only).

Toys for Pet Rabbits
Simple Items to Prevent Boredom and Keep Your Bunny Active

Many owners are surprised to find out how playful their rabbits are. Most rabbits will appreciate a selection of fun toys, which can be as simple as a cardboard box or empty paper towel roll.

Toys will help keep your rabbit physically active and prevent boredom. A bored rabbit is much more likely to become destructive or even depressed and overweight. Deprived of toys and play things, your rabbit may turn to your furniture and other belongings as chew toys, or even dangerous things like electrical cords. Experiment with a variety of toys to find out what is entertaining to your rabbit, and continue to provide new toys (or at least rotate the ones he/she has).

While a good selection of toys will help keep your rabbit away from things you do not want him or her chewing on, the toys you provide must be safe too. If your rabbit is interested in eating one type (e.g. plastic, cardboard, etc.) of toy, switch to another type. Watch for soft rubber items or plastic parts that can be eaten and cause gastrointestinal problems or blockages. While your rabbit will likely enjoy shredding paper and cardboard, make sure he/she is not ingesting much of it.

A huge variety of items can make good rabbit toys. You might not find them marketed as rabbit toys, and some are things you will have around the house. Be creative and pay attention to how your rabbit seems to like to play, and you may come up with ideas of your own (just pay close attention to safety).

Some ideas:
•cardboard tubes from toilet paper and paper towel rolls
•paper bags
•cardboard boxes (especially a closed box with two or three rabbit sized entrance holes cut in the sides)
•cardboard concrete forms or large PVC pipes for tunnels (make sure bunny can't get stuck!)
•untreated wicker baskets or other wicker items (a wicker tunnel other items are available at the online stores listed below)
•hard plastic cat balls with a bell inside (make sure your bunny isn't chewing up and swallowing the plastic though)
•hard plastic baby toys such as rings, links, keys, rattles, etc.
•parrot toys and bells
•kitty condos (the shorter ones), tunnels, platforms
•towels
•small straw whisk broom
•straw balls ( you can get the ones meant as hamster houses; for added enjoyment fill with timothy hay)
•box full of shredded paper (preferably ink free - you can sometimes get unprinted newsprint roll ends from the local newspaper printer)
•fresh branches from apple trees
•dried pine cones
•large rubber ball

Rabbit Communication Basics

Thumping:
When a rabbit thumps or stomps on the ground with a hind leg, it can make a surprisingly loud noise. This is the way rabbits communicate danger to other rabbits, and sometimes it is a sign of annoyance. Interpretation: "I'm scared and nervous" or "I'm annoyed with you."

Teeth Grinding:
Gentle, soft grinding of the teeth in a relaxed rabbit is communicates contentment (and sounds almost like a cat purring). On the other hand, loud teeth grinding is a sign of pain
or discomfort, and your rabbit will often also be tense or hunched up when this occurs.

Interpretation: softly grinding teeth: "This is great"
Loudly grinding teeth: "Oooh, I'm in pain and I don't feel good" (this also means a trip to the vet is in order as soon as possible)

Chin Rubbing:
You may witness your rabbit rubbing its chin on objects or even people. Rabbits have scent glands on their chins that they use to scent mark territories and objects (the scent is not detectable by people, though, the scent is strictly for rabbit communication).
Interpretation: "This is mine!"

Binky:
The binky is the unique and acrobatic jump accompanied by twisting the body or kicking the legs. Rabbits use the binky to communicate that they are feeling very happy and playful.
Interpretation: "Life is Great! I'm so Happy!"

Licking :
A bunny that licks you has fully accepted you and is showing you affection.
Interpretation: "I like you"

Circling Your Feet:
A rabbit that follows you around circling your feet may just be trying to get your attention, but more likely your rabbit is sexually mature and is courting you (especially if accompanied by soft honking or oiking noises).
Interpretation: Usually mean "I'm in love with you" and means it is time to get bunny spayed or neutered. Sometimes simply means "Here I am, let's play."

Flat Rabbit:
When a rabbit flattens itself on its belly with its head down and ears held very flat, he or she is frightened and is trying to blend into his or her surroundings. (Note: a relaxed rabbit may also lay flat, but a relaxed rabbit has different body language: relaxed muscles and expression.)
Interpretation: "I'm scared!"

Flopping :
A content rabbit that is sitting still or grooming may suddenly flop onto its side and lay still. Owners often fear something dire has happened, but it is a sign of utter relaxation.
Interpretation: "oh, I'm just so relaxed."

Lunging:
A sudden movement towards you with the head up, tail up and ears back is a very clear form of rabbit communication: an unmistakable threat.
Interpretation: "I don't like that, back off!"

Vocalizations:
Rabbits are capable of some vocalizations that they use for communication, which sometimes surprise owners. Here are their interpretations:
Soft Squeal or Whimper: mild annoyance or displeasure.
Grunting, Growling, Snorting, and Hissing: all communicate varied stages of anger, stress, or feeling threatened. May be followed with a lunge or bite.

Soft Honking or Oinking: commuicates sexual interest. If your rabbit is circling you and honking, it is time for neutering.
Screaming: sign of extreme pain or fear. Do not ignore; reassure your rabbit and if there is no obvious reason your rabbit might be terrified, take your bunny to a vet.

Of course, rabbit body language is much more complex than what I have presented here. Rabbits communicate much information by how they position and move their bodies, and an experienced owner can learn to read their rabbit's signals quite well. An excellent resource to help you get a much better understanding of your rabbits body language is The Language of Lagomorphs.

Grooming Pet Rabbits
Regular Brushing is a Must

Rabbits are typically fastidiously clean animals, and spend a good deal of time grooming themselves. While this means they usually do not need baths, regular brushing helps keep their coat in good condition and help prevents hairballs.

Brushing
If you have a short haired rabbit, it is a good idea to brush them at least once a week. When they are shedding (they usually shed about every 3 months), more frequent brushing is recommended. During the heavy part of a shed, daily brushing is ideal. Keep in mind that rabbit skin is quite fragile, so be gentle and use a brush designed for rabbits if possible (bristle brushes are preferable; metal toothed slicker may hurt their skin). A fine toothed comb can also be used. Following up with a rubber grooming tool such as a Zoom Groom can help clean up loose hair too, or try running a damp (not wet) washcloth over the coat after brushing.

If you have an Angora rabbit, grooming must be a daily ritual. Unless you are showing your long haired rabbit, it is easiest to keep the coat trimmed to a length of about 1 inch or else the coat will be very prone to matting and your rabbit prone to hairballs ("wool block"). You can trim it yourself or get a groomer to do it and just do touch-up trims at home. You must be very careful about trimming hair though since rabbit skin is quite thin and easy to cut accidentally. With these rabbits, daily brushing should become part of the daily routine from a young age (it is a good chance to bond with your bunny, too).
Always be careful about trimming the hair over a rabbit's hocks however, or sores may result.

Removing Matted Hair
If your rabbit does develop mats in its coat, never try to trim them out with scissors as it is very easy to accidentally cut into the skin doing this. Gradually work out the mat by gently separating and combing hair out of the mat a tiny bit at a time, being careful not to pull on the skin. It may take several grooming sessions to work out a mat. Alternatively, you can take your rabbit to a groomer to have the mats trimmed out with electric clippers.

Does My Rabbit Need Baths?
No. Rabbits do not need baths and generally find them very stressful. If absolutely necessary it is better to just do a "spot cleaning" of the area that is dirty rather than subjecting a rabbit to the stress of bathing. If it is absolutely necessary to bathe your rabbit, keep in mind that it takes rabbit fur a long time to dry and it is a good idea to use a blow dryer (on a warm, never hot, setting) to speed the process. Rabbits are prone to overheating, so be cautious. It is best to avoid baths if possible.

Nail Trims
Regular nail trims should also be part of the grooming routine. Check the nails once a week when grooming and trim them whenever they get a bit long. I find it is better to do frequent trims even if you are only trimming a sliver off than wait until the nail is quite long and trying to judge how much to remove.

Rabbit Health FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions and their Answers

Rabbits are generally pretty hardy, but these are some common questions about health related concerns in pet rabbits:
How do I Find a Good Rabbit Veterinarian?

Question: How do I Find a Good Rabbit Veterinarian?
Answer: Finding a vet that is experienced with rabbits is well worth the trouble since rabbits have some quirks that dictate some special health care needs. You will want to find a vet that is knowledgeable about general care of house rabbits, as well as their medical care and surgical needs.

If you know other rabbit owners, ask for recommendations. You can also check with local rabbit shelters or rescues for their recommendations as they usually have lots of experience with vets. You might also just try calling around to different vet clinics and ask if there is a vet around to whom they refer rabbits or complicated rabbit cases. If several clinics refer rabbits to the same vet, that vet is a good one to try first.

Here is a quick list of questions to ask a potential vet. There is an emphasis on surgical questions because a spay or neuter will probably be the first (and hopefully only) major procedure your bunny will need:

•How many rabbits do you see in your practice?
•How often do you do surgery on rabbits? How many spays or neuters have you performed on rabbits?
•Have you lost any rabbits during routine surgery? What was the cause?
•What will I need to do to prepare my rabbit for surgery?
•How do you close the incision?
•How soon after surgery can my rabbit come home? If he/she has to stay overnight what sort of accommodations do you have for rabbits?
•What is the best way to prevent hairballs?
•What antibiotics are dangerous to rabbits?

The first few questions are self-explanatory; you'll hopefully find a vet who regularly sees rabbits and does rabbit surgery on a regular basis. Some animals do die under anesthesia for routine procedures, often due to underlying problems that were previously undetected. However, this should only happen in a very small percentage of cases, even with rabbits (less than 0.5% of cases). Rabbits are sensitive to the anesthetic used, so you might want to ask if they have a special anesthetic protocol for rabbits and why they use that anesthetic.

The third question is a bit of a trick question; ask the vet about fasting prior to surgery. If your vet says to fast your rabbit (remove its food or water) for more than a couple of hours before surgery then the vet is not experienced with rabbits. Dogs and cats are often fasted overnight prior to surgery due to the risk of them vomiting under anesthesia, but rabbits do not vomit and therefore do not need to be fasted as long. Furthermore, the function of the digestive system in rabbits can be adversely affected if the rabbit does not eat for long period. Rabbits are often fasted for a short time (2-4 hours) before surgery in order to decrease the pressure from stomach and intestine contents on the chest (which helps lung filling during anesthesia).

Rabbits are somewhat notorious for removing their stitches, so your vet will probably uses sutures that are entirely under the skin (subcutaneous) and/or tissue glue. Skin staples are another effective alternative.

Ideally, once your rabbit is up and about after a routine surgery, your vet will send him or her home the same day. Rabbits are often more comfortable and less stressed in their home environment and this will help in their recovery. As mentioned above, if a rabbit does not eat for a significant length of time, digestive system problems can result so the quicker your rabbit gets over the surgery and anesthetic and begins eating normally, the better. Your rabbit should be back to eating something by the morning after surgery, although their appetite may be decreased for a couple of days. If your rabbit is going to stay overnight at the clinic, try to ensure that a quiet secluded environment is available to limit stress.

As a general rule, rabbit vets would know that generally the best hairball prevention is to make sure your rabbit eats lots of hay and other roughage, and gets plenty of exercise and regular grooming. He or she should also readily know which antibiotics that are dangerous to rabbits (penicillin and its derivatives (amoxicillin, etc.), clindamycin, erythromycin, and some others).

Should I Have my Pet Rabbit Spayed or Neutered?


Question: Should I Have my Pet Rabbit Spayed or Neutered?
Answer: In a word, yes.

There are many advantages in terms of behavior and health to spaying and neutering your pet rabbit. In addition to these benefits, which are outlined below, you will help prevent the problem of pet rabbit overpopulation. People like to joke about how readily rabbits reproduce, but the sad truth is that far too many bunnies end up at shelters and rescues facing an uncertain future already.
Advantages to Spaying and Neutering Pet Rabbits

The obvious reason for spaying and neutering rabbits is to prevent them from reproducing, but their are many other advantages including:
•Spaying prevents a condition called "pseudo pregnancy" or false pregnancy where hormonal changes make the rabbit act as if she is pregnant. Rabbits in this condition go through the motions of pregnancy including nest building and milk production and can become quite stressed and aggressive to other rabbits or people.
•Reduced aggression; as rabbits reach sexual maturity, hormones tend to bring out aggressive and or destructive tendencies. Rabbit that are spayed and neutered tend to be calmer, easier to handle, and more affectionate with their owners.
•Spaying and neutering greatly reduces territorial marking behavior such (e.g. urine marking and spraying), and makes litter training easier.
•In females, spaying eliminates the risk of uterine cancer, which is quite common in rabbits. The risk of ovarian cancer is also eliminated, and the risk of mammary cancers (the animal equivalent of breast cancer) is greatly reduced.
•Spaying also prevents other diseases of the reproductive tract such as infection of the uterus (pyometra).
•In males, neutering eliminates the risk of testicular cancer.

How Can I Keep my Rabbit from Getting Hairballs

Question: How Can I Keep my Rabbit from Getting Hairballs
Answer: Hair balls in rabbits are a potentially serious problem and prevention is definitely easier than treating them once they have developed. When rabbits groom, they can ingest a lot of hair which can accumulate in the stomach. Unlike cats, rabbits cannot vomit so if the hair doesn't move out of the stomach into the intestines, it can form a large mass (medically known as a trichobezoar) in the stomach. This condition is also sometimes called wool block. A similar mass of mostly undigested food can form if a rabbit is kept on an inappropriate diet, so sometimes large amounts of hair isn't the whole problem. In any case, the ability of the rabbit to digest food is affected and the rabbit can become very ill, and possibly even die.

Prevention
•High fiber (and low carbohydrate) diet. A diet high in fiber (lots of fresh hay and vegetables) stimulates motility of the gastrointestinal tract and keeps food (and accidentally ingested hair) moving through the stomach. Lots of exercise (also aids gastrointestinal motility and digestion). This means playtime outside of the cage along with toys to encourage activity. Grooming. Regular brushing especially during a heavy shedding period will help reduce the amount of hair swallowed.

•Low stress environment. Rabbits kept in stressful (crowded, unclean, noisy, presence of possible predators, etc.) are more susceptive to this condition.

Rabbits affected by hairballs (or or any other materials accumulating in the stomach) will often show a decrease in appetite and eventually weight loss. The amount of feces produced usually decreases too. The rabbit may act depressed or lethargic as well. If your rabbit is showing any of these signs you should see your vet immediately. Remember that if your rabbit stops eating, numerous other digestive problems often result and your rabbit's health can deteriorate very quickly. If hair balls are diagnosed a number of treatments can be attempted to treat the problem medically; if they progress to the point when surgery is required the chances of recovery are reduced. Providing the appropriate high fiber diet along with opportunity for exercise are critical to you rabbit's health.

Is My Rabbit Supposed to Eat His Feces?

Question: Is My Rabbit Supposed to Eat His Feces?
Answer: Yes - well some of them anyway. Rabbits produce 2 types of feces, the harder pelleted feces normally found in a rabbit cage, and the soft, greenish, mucous covered feces. These softer feces are actually called cecotropes. The cecotropes usually won't be found in the cage, as the rabbit normally eats these as they are produced. As gross as it sounds, cecotropes are quite nutritious being high in some vitamins, etc. In fact, the production of cecotropes is a very important and significant part of the digestive system function of rabbits. Proper function of the digestive system (and a proper diet) will ensure that rabbits get optimal nutrition from their diet and the production of these cecotropes.

up ko to , im planning to buy a rabbit miski ordinary lang anu po bang magandang alagaan budget ko 300 lang haha
wag niu nalang pansinin ung mga naninira ng thread d2 sa pep thnx
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PostSubject: Re: Rabbit Care Sheet   Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:00 pm

RVL Kennel wrote:
Rabbit Care Guide
By Adrienne Kruzer, RVT

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How To Choose a Rabbit
When choosing a rabbit, looking at a few simple things can help ensure that your new pet is a healthy one.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 10 minutes

Here's How:
1.Look at the overall body condition - the rabbit should be neither fat nor skinny, with no swellings.
2.The rabbit's coat should be well groomed, with no bare patches. Check for soiling aroung the rear end, as this may indicate a problem with diarrhea.
3.Look at the ears, they should be pink, not red, and free of discharge. The ear flaps shouldn't be damaged.
4.The eyes should be bright and free from discharge. Check the coat around the eyes for signs of wetness or tear staining.
5.Check the nose - it should also be free of discharge.
6.Try to get a look at the teeth, they should not be overgrown and should be well-aligned. Also check for wet or matted fur on the chin.
7.Observe the rabbit's breathing, which should be quiet and not labored.
8.Watch the rabbit move around - it should have no signs of lameness, stiffness, or reluctance to move around.
9.Look at the rabbit's surroundings - a rabbit kept in clean conditions, without crowding will have less exposure to stress and disease.
10.Observe how the rabbit reacts to people - ideally pick a rabbit that is relatively calm about being approached and petted

Tips:
1.Although babies are cute, there are many adult house rabbits in need of homes, so consider visiting a shelter or rescue.
2.It is wise to resist the temptation to adopt a sickly rabbit unless prepared for the possibility of expensive treatment and possible heartbreak.
3.When buying from a breeder, make sure they are breeding for a specific goal (e.g. temperament and health).

Pet Rabbit Housing
Choosing the Right Cage for Your House Rabbit

Pet rabbits can be quite readily kept in cages in the home, with some freedom to run free in the house (after thoroughly rabbit-proofing, of course). Rabbits take fairly well to litter training so many people will let their bunnies run free in the home for at least part of the day. Even if your rabbit is thoroughly toilet trained and your house thoroughly rabbit proofed, a cage will act as a safe haven or nest, where the rabbit can retreat to rest.

There are a lot of cages sold for rabbits that aren't really ideal rabbit homes, though. Some are just too small, and many have wire floors, which may make cleaning easier but doesn't provide much comfort to the bunny.

How Big
As usual, bigger is better. If your bunny will spend most of its time in a cage, then get the biggest cage that is practical in the home. As a general rule, the cage should be at least 4 times the size of the rabbit. A guide is 24" by 36" for smaller rabbits (less than 8 lbs.) or 30" by 36" for larger rabbits. A two story condo with a ramp joining the levels seems popular with rabbits too.

Cage Design
As a rule, rabbits take fairly well to being litter trained, so a solid floor is fine and not too difficult to clean. Many cages meant for rabbits are still made with wire floors over pull out pans, designed to make cleaning easier. However, wire floors (even those with very narrow spacing) can be uncomfortable and can cause sores or the hocks, so it is best to get a cage without wire floors. Wire floors should be covered with a piece of wood, or grass or sisal mats (grass mats are are nice to have in solid floored cages too, to vary the surface and provide traction).

The door to the cage should be about large enough to get a litter pan (and rabbit) through easily. A side door is probably best, as a top-opening cage makes getting the rabbit in and out a little harder (and it is best if the rabbit can get in and out on its own). The opening should have smooth edges, or plastic guard strips over the edges of the wires.

If you are handy, you can get fairly creative and construct your own cage. This allows a custom size to be designed. My own rabbit has a home made cage that is not ideal but works fairly well.

Bedding/Litter
Grass/sisal mats are a good idea for solid floored cages, too, to provide traction. Fleece blankets can also be provided. Pieces of carpet or towels also make nice mats, as long as your rabbit is not unraveling and eating them.

As for other pets, cedar and pine shavings should be avoided due to concerns over the aromatic oils they release. These oils have been shown to elevate the levels of some liver enzymes, which can affect the metabolism of drugs and other compounds. If wood shavings are used at all, better alternatives include hardwood shavings such as aspen. Straw or hay is a good bedding material for rabbits.

Outdoors/Hutches
While living alone in a hutch outdoors is a lonely existence for a rabbit, a house rabbit that is allowed time outdoors will likely enjoy the change of scenery and fresh air. There are several dangers in the outdoors, including predators, weather, and toxicity from herbicides, pesticides or poisonous plants. Since predators present the largest danger at night, keeping a rabbit outdoors in a hutch at night is risky, even in a city (where predators may include raccoons, cats, dogs, coyotes, hawks and more). Many of these can injure or kill a rabbit without even getting into the cage. If a rabbit is to stay outside, it should at least be in an enclosed shed, garage, or some shelter that allows complete protection.

Many owners allow their rabbits outside in an enclosed pen made form a wood frame with wire on all sides (including top and bottom). This allows bunnies to spend time outside and munch on the grass (provided it is not treated with any herbicides, pesticides or other chemicals!) without burrowing out, and with protection from unwanted visitors. Shelter from sun, wind, rain, and other elements must also be provided.

Feeding Pet Rabbits
The Basic Diet for House Rabbits

Fiber is vital to the normal function of the digestive system in rabbits. Fresh grass hay and vegetables should make up the bulk of the diet for house rabbits. Feeding a diet consisting mainly of pellets may result in obesity and increase the likelihood of digestive problems. While there is some fiber in pellets, it is finely ground and does not appear to stimulate intestinal function as well as fiber found in grass hays. Roughage also aids in the prevention of hair balls. The addition of some pellets does add some balance to the diet, however.

Anything other than hay, vegetables, and pellets is considered a treat and should be feed in strict moderation. The digestive system of a rabbit is very susceptible to serious upsets if the diet is inappropriate. The amount of pellets should be restricted, especially in overweight rabbits, but any reduction in pellets should be made up with a variety of fresh vegetables and unlimited access to hay.

Hay
Hay (grass hays such as timothy or oat hay) should be available at all times. Some rabbits may not take much hay at first. Adding fresh hay a couple of times a day may help, and as the amount of pellets is reduced the rabbit will likely become hungry enough to eat the hay. The House Rabbit Society recommends starting baby bunnies on alfalfa hay and introducing grass hays by 6-7 months, gradually decreasing the alfalfa until the rabbit is solely on grass hays by 1 year. Alfalfa hay is higher in calcium and protein and lower fiber than the grass hays, although many owners find their rabbits prefer alfalfa hays. If your adult rabbit is used to alfalfa hay, try mixing alfalfa with a grass hay to start and gradually reduce the amount of alfalfa.

Vegetables
Vegetable should make up a large portion of the diet. Depending on the size of the rabbit, 2-4 cups of fresh veggies should be given per day. A variety must be fed daily to ensure a balanced diet. If a rabbit is used to eating mainly pellets, the change must be made gradually to allow the rabbit's digestive system time to adjust. Only add one new vegetable to the diet at a time so if the rabbit has diarrhea or other problems it will be possible to tell which vegetable is the culprit. Suggested vegetable include carrots, carrot tops, parsley, broccoli, collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, turnip greens, endive, romaine lettuce, kale and spinach. However, kale, spinach and mustard greens are high in oxalates so their feeding should be limited to 3 meals per week. Beans, cauliflower, cabbage, and potatoes may cause problems and should be avoided. Iceberg lettuce has almost no nutritional value so should be avoided. Rhubarb should also be avoided (toxicity). Wash vegetables well, and only feed dandelions that are known to be pesticide free (try a health food store for organically grown dandelion greens).

Vegetables should be introduced to bunnies around 12 weeks of age, in small quantities and one at a time. As more vegetable are added watch for diarrhea and discontinue the most recently added vegetable if this occurs. Over time, the amount of vegetables fed is increased, and the amount of pellets decreased, so that by 1 year of age the adult feeding recommendations are followed.

Pellets
Pellets are basically designed for commercial rabbit production, and are quite high in calories. As a result, house rabbits fed unlimited pellets may end up with obesity and related health problems, as well as an excess of other nutrients. Pellets do have a place in rabbit nutrition, as they are rich and balanced in nutrients. However, experts recommend restricting the among of pellets fed, and compensating with fresh vegetables (see below) and grass hays.

Choose a fresh, good quality pellet. The House Rabbit Society recommends a minimum of 20-25% fiber, around 14% protein (with no animal protein), and less than 1% Calcium for most house rabbits (spayed/neutered). For adults, the amount should be carefully regulated, depending on the size (weight) of the rabbit. As a rule, give about 1/4 cup for rabbits 5-7 lb, 1/2 cup for 8-10 lb rabbits, and 3/4 cup for 11-15b lb rabbits. Baby rabbits can be fed pellets free choice (available at all times), decreasing to 1/2 cup per 6 lb. of body weight by around 6 months.

Treats
The House Rabbit Society recommends 1-2 tablespoons of fresh fruits be given daily as a treat. Treats sold in pet stores marketed for rabbits are generally unnecessary and in some cases could cause digestive problems due to their high carbohydrate or sugar content. Instead of food treats, consider offering twigs from apple or willow trees (pesticide-free only).

Toys for Pet Rabbits
Simple Items to Prevent Boredom and Keep Your Bunny Active

Many owners are surprised to find out how playful their rabbits are. Most rabbits will appreciate a selection of fun toys, which can be as simple as a cardboard box or empty paper towel roll.

Toys will help keep your rabbit physically active and prevent boredom. A bored rabbit is much more likely to become destructive or even depressed and overweight. Deprived of toys and play things, your rabbit may turn to your furniture and other belongings as chew toys, or even dangerous things like electrical cords. Experiment with a variety of toys to find out what is entertaining to your rabbit, and continue to provide new toys (or at least rotate the ones he/she has).

While a good selection of toys will help keep your rabbit away from things you do not want him or her chewing on, the toys you provide must be safe too. If your rabbit is interested in eating one type (e.g. plastic, cardboard, etc.) of toy, switch to another type. Watch for soft rubber items or plastic parts that can be eaten and cause gastrointestinal problems or blockages. While your rabbit will likely enjoy shredding paper and cardboard, make sure he/she is not ingesting much of it.

A huge variety of items can make good rabbit toys. You might not find them marketed as rabbit toys, and some are things you will have around the house. Be creative and pay attention to how your rabbit seems to like to play, and you may come up with ideas of your own (just pay close attention to safety).

Some ideas:
•cardboard tubes from toilet paper and paper towel rolls
•paper bags
•cardboard boxes (especially a closed box with two or three rabbit sized entrance holes cut in the sides)
•cardboard concrete forms or large PVC pipes for tunnels (make sure bunny can't get stuck!)
•untreated wicker baskets or other wicker items (a wicker tunnel other items are available at the online stores listed below)
•hard plastic cat balls with a bell inside (make sure your bunny isn't chewing up and swallowing the plastic though)
•hard plastic baby toys such as rings, links, keys, rattles, etc.
•parrot toys and bells
•kitty condos (the shorter ones), tunnels, platforms
•towels
•small straw whisk broom
•straw balls ( you can get the ones meant as hamster houses; for added enjoyment fill with timothy hay)
•box full of shredded paper (preferably ink free - you can sometimes get unprinted newsprint roll ends from the local newspaper printer)
•fresh branches from apple trees
•dried pine cones
•large rubber ball

Rabbit Communication Basics

Thumping:
When a rabbit thumps or stomps on the ground with a hind leg, it can make a surprisingly loud noise. This is the way rabbits communicate danger to other rabbits, and sometimes it is a sign of annoyance. Interpretation: "I'm scared and nervous" or "I'm annoyed with you."

Teeth Grinding:
Gentle, soft grinding of the teeth in a relaxed rabbit is communicates contentment (and sounds almost like a cat purring). On the other hand, loud teeth grinding is a sign of pain
or discomfort, and your rabbit will often also be tense or hunched up when this occurs.

Interpretation: softly grinding teeth: "This is great"
Loudly grinding teeth: "Oooh, I'm in pain and I don't feel good" (this also means a trip to the vet is in order as soon as possible)

Chin Rubbing:
You may witness your rabbit rubbing its chin on objects or even people. Rabbits have scent glands on their chins that they use to scent mark territories and objects (the scent is not detectable by people, though, the scent is strictly for rabbit communication).
Interpretation: "This is mine!"

Binky:
The binky is the unique and acrobatic jump accompanied by twisting the body or kicking the legs. Rabbits use the binky to communicate that they are feeling very happy and playful.
Interpretation: "Life is Great! I'm so Happy!"

Licking :
A bunny that licks you has fully accepted you and is showing you affection.
Interpretation: "I like you"

Circling Your Feet:
A rabbit that follows you around circling your feet may just be trying to get your attention, but more likely your rabbit is sexually mature and is courting you (especially if accompanied by soft honking or oiking noises).
Interpretation: Usually mean "I'm in love with you" and means it is time to get bunny spayed or neutered. Sometimes simply means "Here I am, let's play."

Flat Rabbit:
When a rabbit flattens itself on its belly with its head down and ears held very flat, he or she is frightened and is trying to blend into his or her surroundings. (Note: a relaxed rabbit may also lay flat, but a relaxed rabbit has different body language: relaxed muscles and expression.)
Interpretation: "I'm scared!"

Flopping :
A content rabbit that is sitting still or grooming may suddenly flop onto its side and lay still. Owners often fear something dire has happened, but it is a sign of utter relaxation.
Interpretation: "oh, I'm just so relaxed."

Lunging:
A sudden movement towards you with the head up, tail up and ears back is a very clear form of rabbit communication: an unmistakable threat.
Interpretation: "I don't like that, back off!"

Vocalizations:
Rabbits are capable of some vocalizations that they use for communication, which sometimes surprise owners. Here are their interpretations:
Soft Squeal or Whimper: mild annoyance or displeasure.
Grunting, Growling, Snorting, and Hissing: all communicate varied stages of anger, stress, or feeling threatened. May be followed with a lunge or bite.

Soft Honking or Oinking: commuicates sexual interest. If your rabbit is circling you and honking, it is time for neutering.
Screaming: sign of extreme pain or fear. Do not ignore; reassure your rabbit and if there is no obvious reason your rabbit might be terrified, take your bunny to a vet.

Of course, rabbit body language is much more complex than what I have presented here. Rabbits communicate much information by how they position and move their bodies, and an experienced owner can learn to read their rabbit's signals quite well. An excellent resource to help you get a much better understanding of your rabbits body language is The Language of Lagomorphs.

Grooming Pet Rabbits
Regular Brushing is a Must

Rabbits are typically fastidiously clean animals, and spend a good deal of time grooming themselves. While this means they usually do not need baths, regular brushing helps keep their coat in good condition and help prevents hairballs.

Brushing
If you have a short haired rabbit, it is a good idea to brush them at least once a week. When they are shedding (they usually shed about every 3 months), more frequent brushing is recommended. During the heavy part of a shed, daily brushing is ideal. Keep in mind that rabbit skin is quite fragile, so be gentle and use a brush designed for rabbits if possible (bristle brushes are preferable; metal toothed slicker may hurt their skin). A fine toothed comb can also be used. Following up with a rubber grooming tool such as a Zoom Groom can help clean up loose hair too, or try running a damp (not wet) washcloth over the coat after brushing.

If you have an Angora rabbit, grooming must be a daily ritual. Unless you are showing your long haired rabbit, it is easiest to keep the coat trimmed to a length of about 1 inch or else the coat will be very prone to matting and your rabbit prone to hairballs ("wool block"). You can trim it yourself or get a groomer to do it and just do touch-up trims at home. You must be very careful about trimming hair though since rabbit skin is quite thin and easy to cut accidentally. With these rabbits, daily brushing should become part of the daily routine from a young age (it is a good chance to bond with your bunny, too).
Always be careful about trimming the hair over a rabbit's hocks however, or sores may result.

Removing Matted Hair
If your rabbit does develop mats in its coat, never try to trim them out with scissors as it is very easy to accidentally cut into the skin doing this. Gradually work out the mat by gently separating and combing hair out of the mat a tiny bit at a time, being careful not to pull on the skin. It may take several grooming sessions to work out a mat. Alternatively, you can take your rabbit to a groomer to have the mats trimmed out with electric clippers.

Does My Rabbit Need Baths?
No. Rabbits do not need baths and generally find them very stressful. If absolutely necessary it is better to just do a "spot cleaning" of the area that is dirty rather than subjecting a rabbit to the stress of bathing. If it is absolutely necessary to bathe your rabbit, keep in mind that it takes rabbit fur a long time to dry and it is a good idea to use a blow dryer (on a warm, never hot, setting) to speed the process. Rabbits are prone to overheating, so be cautious. It is best to avoid baths if possible.

Nail Trims
Regular nail trims should also be part of the grooming routine. Check the nails once a week when grooming and trim them whenever they get a bit long. I find it is better to do frequent trims even if you are only trimming a sliver off than wait until the nail is quite long and trying to judge how much to remove.

Rabbit Health FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions and their Answers

Rabbits are generally pretty hardy, but these are some common questions about health related concerns in pet rabbits:
How do I Find a Good Rabbit Veterinarian?

Question: How do I Find a Good Rabbit Veterinarian?
Answer: Finding a vet that is experienced with rabbits is well worth the trouble since rabbits have some quirks that dictate some special health care needs. You will want to find a vet that is knowledgeable about general care of house rabbits, as well as their medical care and surgical needs.

If you know other rabbit owners, ask for recommendations. You can also check with local rabbit shelters or rescues for their recommendations as they usually have lots of experience with vets. You might also just try calling around to different vet clinics and ask if there is a vet around to whom they refer rabbits or complicated rabbit cases. If several clinics refer rabbits to the same vet, that vet is a good one to try first.

Here is a quick list of questions to ask a potential vet. There is an emphasis on surgical questions because a spay or neuter will probably be the first (and hopefully only) major procedure your bunny will need:

•How many rabbits do you see in your practice?
•How often do you do surgery on rabbits? How many spays or neuters have you performed on rabbits?
•Have you lost any rabbits during routine surgery? What was the cause?
•What will I need to do to prepare my rabbit for surgery?
•How do you close the incision?
•How soon after surgery can my rabbit come home? If he/she has to stay overnight what sort of accommodations do you have for rabbits?
•What is the best way to prevent hairballs?
•What antibiotics are dangerous to rabbits?

The first few questions are self-explanatory; you'll hopefully find a vet who regularly sees rabbits and does rabbit surgery on a regular basis. Some animals do die under anesthesia for routine procedures, often due to underlying problems that were previously undetected. However, this should only happen in a very small percentage of cases, even with rabbits (less than 0.5% of cases). Rabbits are sensitive to the anesthetic used, so you might want to ask if they have a special anesthetic protocol for rabbits and why they use that anesthetic.

The third question is a bit of a trick question; ask the vet about fasting prior to surgery. If your vet says to fast your rabbit (remove its food or water) for more than a couple of hours before surgery then the vet is not experienced with rabbits. Dogs and cats are often fasted overnight prior to surgery due to the risk of them vomiting under anesthesia, but rabbits do not vomit and therefore do not need to be fasted as long. Furthermore, the function of the digestive system in rabbits can be adversely affected if the rabbit does not eat for long period. Rabbits are often fasted for a short time (2-4 hours) before surgery in order to decrease the pressure from stomach and intestine contents on the chest (which helps lung filling during anesthesia).

Rabbits are somewhat notorious for removing their stitches, so your vet will probably uses sutures that are entirely under the skin (subcutaneous) and/or tissue glue. Skin staples are another effective alternative.

Ideally, once your rabbit is up and about after a routine surgery, your vet will send him or her home the same day. Rabbits are often more comfortable and less stressed in their home environment and this will help in their recovery. As mentioned above, if a rabbit does not eat for a significant length of time, digestive system problems can result so the quicker your rabbit gets over the surgery and anesthetic and begins eating normally, the better. Your rabbit should be back to eating something by the morning after surgery, although their appetite may be decreased for a couple of days. If your rabbit is going to stay overnight at the clinic, try to ensure that a quiet secluded environment is available to limit stress.

As a general rule, rabbit vets would know that generally the best hairball prevention is to make sure your rabbit eats lots of hay and other roughage, and gets plenty of exercise and regular grooming. He or she should also readily know which antibiotics that are dangerous to rabbits (penicillin and its derivatives (amoxicillin, etc.), clindamycin, erythromycin, and some others).

Should I Have my Pet Rabbit Spayed or Neutered?


Question: Should I Have my Pet Rabbit Spayed or Neutered?
Answer: In a word, yes.

There are many advantages in terms of behavior and health to spaying and neutering your pet rabbit. In addition to these benefits, which are outlined below, you will help prevent the problem of pet rabbit overpopulation. People like to joke about how readily rabbits reproduce, but the sad truth is that far too many bunnies end up at shelters and rescues facing an uncertain future already.
Advantages to Spaying and Neutering Pet Rabbits

The obvious reason for spaying and neutering rabbits is to prevent them from reproducing, but their are many other advantages including:
•Spaying prevents a condition called "pseudo pregnancy" or false pregnancy where hormonal changes make the rabbit act as if she is pregnant. Rabbits in this condition go through the motions of pregnancy including nest building and milk production and can become quite stressed and aggressive to other rabbits or people.
•Reduced aggression; as rabbits reach sexual maturity, hormones tend to bring out aggressive and or destructive tendencies. Rabbit that are spayed and neutered tend to be calmer, easier to handle, and more affectionate with their owners.
•Spaying and neutering greatly reduces territorial marking behavior such (e.g. urine marking and spraying), and makes litter training easier.
•In females, spaying eliminates the risk of uterine cancer, which is quite common in rabbits. The risk of ovarian cancer is also eliminated, and the risk of mammary cancers (the animal equivalent of breast cancer) is greatly reduced.
•Spaying also prevents other diseases of the reproductive tract such as infection of the uterus (pyometra).
•In males, neutering eliminates the risk of testicular cancer.

How Can I Keep my Rabbit from Getting Hairballs

Question: How Can I Keep my Rabbit from Getting Hairballs
Answer: Hair balls in rabbits are a potentially serious problem and prevention is definitely easier than treating them once they have developed. When rabbits groom, they can ingest a lot of hair which can accumulate in the stomach. Unlike cats, rabbits cannot vomit so if the hair doesn't move out of the stomach into the intestines, it can form a large mass (medically known as a trichobezoar) in the stomach. This condition is also sometimes called wool block. A similar mass of mostly undigested food can form if a rabbit is kept on an inappropriate diet, so sometimes large amounts of hair isn't the whole problem. In any case, the ability of the rabbit to digest food is affected and the rabbit can become very ill, and possibly even die.

Prevention
•High fiber (and low carbohydrate) diet. A diet high in fiber (lots of fresh hay and vegetables) stimulates motility of the gastrointestinal tract and keeps food (and accidentally ingested hair) moving through the stomach. Lots of exercise (also aids gastrointestinal motility and digestion). This means playtime outside of the cage along with toys to encourage activity. Grooming. Regular brushing especially during a heavy shedding period will help reduce the amount of hair swallowed.

•Low stress environment. Rabbits kept in stressful (crowded, unclean, noisy, presence of possible predators, etc.) are more susceptive to this condition.

Rabbits affected by hairballs (or or any other materials accumulating in the stomach) will often show a decrease in appetite and eventually weight loss. The amount of feces produced usually decreases too. The rabbit may act depressed or lethargic as well. If your rabbit is showing any of these signs you should see your vet immediately. Remember that if your rabbit stops eating, numerous other digestive problems often result and your rabbit's health can deteriorate very quickly. If hair balls are diagnosed a number of treatments can be attempted to treat the problem medically; if they progress to the point when surgery is required the chances of recovery are reduced. Providing the appropriate high fiber diet along with opportunity for exercise are critical to you rabbit's health.

Is My Rabbit Supposed to Eat His Feces?

Question: Is My Rabbit Supposed to Eat His Feces?
Answer: Yes - well some of them anyway. Rabbits produce 2 types of feces, the harder pelleted feces normally found in a rabbit cage, and the soft, greenish, mucous covered feces. These softer feces are actually called cecotropes. The cecotropes usually won't be found in the cage, as the rabbit normally eats these as they are produced. As gross as it sounds, cecotropes are quite nutritious being high in some vitamins, etc. In fact, the production of cecotropes is a very important and significant part of the digestive system function of rabbits. Proper function of the digestive system (and a proper diet) will ensure that rabbits get optimal nutrition from their diet and the production of these cecotropes.

up ko to , im planning to buy a rabbit miski ordinary lang anu po bang magandang alagaan budget ko 300 lang haha
wag niu nalang pansinin ung mga naninira ng thread d2 sa pep thnx
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