Bunnified News, Commentary, Social Criticism, Bunzo Journalism

RUNNING BUN MAGAZINE - All things "bunnified," news from the rabbit multiverse, deep down in the Earth, where it's still warm.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sanctuary Rabbits: Glenna's Molar Trim - Good News!

 Glenna the Good
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Here is a photo of little Glenna, or "Glens," as I call her a lot, sitting in her acupuncture appointment. We go back tomorrow morning for another, her third treatment. She is just doing so wonderful with all the help she's getting!

Glenna went back to Dr. Scott Stahl of SEAVS at their beautiful new hospital in Fairfax, Virginia, yesterday for a second molar trim with him since the previous vet was unable to open her mouth for several trims prior to that. He said her mouth was a little easier to open this time and this is no doubt thanks to her acupuncture treatments with the wonderful Cynthia Clarke of Hands on Health in Rockville, Maryland. Dr. Stahl was really excited because Glenna has gained a whole pound in the last month!

So much for that vet who said she was starving to death! And that's not all the good news either, little Glenna's molars weren't as bad as last time either! She cna now go from having her molars trimmed every 3-4 weeks to every 6-8 weeks! This is fantastic! This is quite frankly amazing considering that Glenna can't chew and hasn't eaten any hay (or pellets) in the last month. All that she is eating (or can eat since she can't open her mouth to chew), is Oxbow's Critical Care (her favorite flavor is Anise - she doesn't like the Apple/Banana). Glenna would not allow herself to be assist fed with a syringe. She would just swish the Critical Care (CC) around in her mouth and then spit it out. So, to tempt her, I put in a can of Gerber organic baby carrot food and voila! she slurps it out of a shallow cat food bowl without any coersion whatsoever.

In addition to this, the phytonutrients I've added to this little 'slop mix' are definitely the reason her molars are not as overgrown. It has been my experience with some of these little small animals such as guinea pigs and rabbits, whose teeth grow all the time, that some of them don't absorb nutrients correctly and their body channels all the nutrients to their teeth causing the teeth to grow faster than the little animal can file them down through mastication or chewing of the food. This is entirely my own theory but it is based on some pretty incredible anecdotal evidence. On March 16, I will commemorate a very special guinea pig who taught me about this.

Why might these animals' bodies do that? Channel all nutrients to their teeth? Well, possibly when they were babies, they were the runt of the litter and didn't get enough colostrum which sets their digestive tract on the right path for life. I've used bovine colostrum to help heal sick animals (especially cats) and reset their immune system and they never got their yearly sniffles again. Or maybe these little animals' bodies didn't get the right balance of nutrients before they were even born because their mother was malnourished and they are born with their nutrient distribution all out of whack from the start. The phytonutrients, given consistently, I believe, helps their bodies to reprogram and distribute nutrients in a normal manner instead of in a triage manner. What the heck are these phytonutrients? Well, in Glenna's case, I am talking about Dr. Schulze's Superfood which comes in a powder form. It is spirulina blue-green algae, chlorella algae, alfalfa grass, barley grass, wheat grass, purple dulse seaweed, beet root, spinach leaf, rose hips, orange and lemon peels and non-active Saccharomyces cervisiae nutritional yeast.

Glenna's little tummy is absorbing these nutrients very well. Considering that she is ingesting a huge amount of Critical Care every day and 2 little boxes of Gerber carrots, plus the superfood, many buns would have very messy poop! But she has great looking poop. However, she does have a green moustache most of the time. It's hard to keep her little face and feet clean.

So I'll write more about that superfood later. Her incisors are still a problem and those are growing too fast still. Eventually, Dr. Stahl might remove them. But for now, we're just glad to be on an even keel. The only thing threatening Glenna at the moment is the possibility of becoming obese. She might get a really big butt dewlap.

She also is not needing meloxicam every day! She only needs it 2-3 times a week and that is a direct result of her acupuncture treatments too. Well, have to hit they hay because we have an early appointment with Cynthia in the morning. Stay tuned for the ongoing saga of Earless Glenna!

So little Glenna's molars are getting better. If she were any other bunny, the doctor

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sanctuary Rabbits: Glenna Gets Acupuncture!

 Glenna the Good
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Here is our darling rabbit heroine, Glenna, in her carrier after she has just finished her first acupuncture treatment on Wednesday, January 13 with the wonderful and gracious Cynthia Clarke at Hands on Health in Rockville, Maryland. Cynthia holds a Maryland Certification in Animal Acupuncture. She was wonderful with the little Miss Glenna and it was also wonderful for Glenna to have a positive experience associated with a trip in the car. I must say that I am astounded at how relaxed Glenna seems since her appointment. She had seemed to not be eating quite as much but since the appointment, she is back to heartily eating her Critical Care recipe which includes phytonutrients (Dr. Schulze's superfood in this case), crushed Oxbow Barley Biscuits, and Organic Gerber carrot food. And so she continues to put weight back on after her initial weight loss.
Glenna will go back again next week for another appointment and she will go in as necessary for as long as she needs. Cynthia gave Bright Eyes Sanctuary a generous rescue discount for her services and who could meet Glenna and not have their heart go out to her? Glenna, of course, soaks it up. I softly mentioned to the acupuncturist that Glenna appears to love to be petted and will sit in your lap for an hour or more soaking up the pets, but this is really a type of alpha behavior. Just like a little dog who sits in your lap and wants you to have your hand on top of his head all the time, this is perceived by the little dog as you kaotaoing to him.

Glenna is the same way and I realized this rather quickly upon first meeting her. I would have her, a small dog who behaves the same way, and a big cat who is the same way as well, all sitting on the bed with me while watching TV and each one wanted my hand on their head the whole time. That's fine except I only have two hands.

I have to say though that Glenna is the first rabbit I've met who acts like this. Usually, alpha rabbits don't demand pets this way but she does. She probably thinks she's a dog.

Anyway, back to the acupuncture, I am really excited about this for Glenna and she has a molar trim scheduled for the Monday after her next acupuncture appointment and I am anxious to hear what the vet will have to say about things at that point. Keep your fingers crossed for little Glenna!

Sanctuary Rabbits: OK Glenna Fans, Get Your Fix!

 Glenna the Good

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Glenna had to stay in her cage for the last half of Harry and Trinity's bonding because her hopping around made Harry jealous and nervous and he acted like she was a ghost or something. Glenna has gotten that kind of reaction from a few other buns who look at her ears and are freaked out by them. Poor Glenna. Here she is stretching out in her favorite spot on the bed. I don't worry about the little pills left behind, the dog eats them before I even get a chance to lie down. Dogs love rabbit poop.

Doesn't she look comfy wumfy? I get sleepy just looking at her. She loves to snuggle too. Me and DH will be watching some TV and she just has to be in the middle and snuggle. Then along come the dog and the cat who are jealous and want in on the snuggle action and then we have quite a menagerie!

Glenna is the funniest, most animated rabbit I've ever met. The other day, DH gave me a cookie with confectioner's sugar on it, and darned if Glenna wasn't in my face in a flash with ready to lick the sugar right off my lips! She is such a chow hound! She's a love hound too, she just loves to be loved and she loves everyone and they love her.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sanctuary Rabbits: Glenna Goes to SEAVS' New Location!

 Glenna the Good
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Here are a few photos of the beautiful new hospital at SEAVS (Stahl's Exotic Animal Veterinary Services) new location in Fairfax, Virginia. It is just beautiful! Bamboo accents and a faux bamboo floor present a calm, soothing atmosphere. Earthy green and brown tones adorn the walls as do gorgeous primitive artwork from exotic locales.

Little Earless Glenna and I trekked down to SEAVS (Stahl's Exotic Animal Veterinary Services) new location in Fairfax, VA week before last so Glenna could get an exam and evaluation by Dr. Scott Stahl. Dr. Stahl is one of the top exotic vets in the mid-Atlantic and I have ended up going to him for help with some really tough cases dating back to 1997 when he was at Pender or that part of Pender now referred to as Eastern Exotics (which earned that name by virtue of the fact that he was the chief vet).

Glenna suddenly lost a lot of weight and I assumed it was because it was time for a molar trim, but it was more serious. Glenna went in to a different vet at first for a routine molar trim and came out, for the second time, with no molars trimmed and a report that they were unsuccessful in opening her mouth for the trim, apparently her jaw was frozen shut. Some recommendations were made to me which did not sound good to me and I took her to Stahl instead. He was able to open her mouth enough for a trim and Glenna was much relieved. He also palpated her entire jaw and said she has no tooth root abscesses. The pending diagnosis is an attack of e. cuniculi on the bone - or a type of osteomyelitis (bone infection) in the temporomandibular joint or TMJ.

Glenna's jaw joint is badly inflamed and she has trouble eating hay and pellets. In humans who have TMJ disorder, chewing can become painful and eventually the TMJ ceases to work and the person cannot open their mouth. At that point, the human can have the jaw joint flushed or more invasive surgery. So far, it appears Glenna is having a similar problem with her TMJ. This is most likely due to the fact that her upper and lower jaw are so misaligned. She has been chewing with a crooked mouth for a long time.

I attempted to start assist feeding Glenna with Oxbow Critical Care, the high nutrient formula exotic vets give to their clients to encourage a bunny (or other herbivore) to eat when they're not eating well or not eating at all. I used a 60cc syringe to feed her the Critical Care but she would just swish it around in her mouth and spit it out. I had to come up with some additional ideas to tempt her to eat. So I put some Gerber Organic baby food, carrots, in the Critical Care.

It worked but still she didn't want to be assist fed so I just put the Critical Care (CC) in a shallow bowl, a cat food bowl, for her. I wanted the bowl to be shallow so she didn't have to strain her neck and it would be easy for her. This idea worked and soon she started eating four bowlfuls a day of CC. This is a lot of CC! But that's all she's eating. However, I did catch her eating one leaf of hay this morning. We ran out of the carrot baby food and she wasn't interested in the bowlful of CC. When I spied her chewing on the hay, she froze. She didn't want me to think she's eating hay ok. I might stop giving her CC if that were the case.

So whether she can open her mouth or not at this point doesn't matter anymore. All she wants is CC and the carrot baby food. That's fine, she can eat CC for the rest of her life if she insists, but it is expensive! It will cost about $25 a week just for the Critical Care! And she gets it all over herself too so I have to pluck the dried clumps of CC off her chin and paws.

She's pretty happy though and with her metacam every day, her discomfort is reduced and so is the inflammation in her jaw. She is on two antibiotics, chloramphenicol and Bicillin (PenG) injections to combat what might be an e. cuniculi attack. Dr. Stahl took some blood and sent off for an e. cuniculi titer but the results aren't back yet. Earlier bloodwork she'd had looked pretty good and not indicative of a bacterial infection.

So stay tuned for more on Earless Glenna. If her e.c. titer is positive, then she will go on Panacur for 28 days which has been shown to be effective in combating this insidious blood parasite. E. cuniculi strikes many, many rabbits and can cause various kinds of paralysis but most often hind limb paralysis as well as other neuromuscular symptoms. Perhaps the most insidious attack of all results in head tilt. But head tilt is not untreatable. We've had bunnies get that and make complete recoveries so that you could never tell they had head tilt.

If Glenna's jaw paralysis is not caused by e. cuniculi but rather just plain old muscle tension from such a maligned joint, then eating the Critical Care should have given her TMJ a good rest. But we are also going to look into acupuncture for her as this was suggested by one bunny guru I consulted with as a possible source of relief. So was massage but I want to wait and make sure the cause is not infectious first because massage may help spread the infection within the body, and we don't want to risk that until she gets on the e.c. treatment first.

Stay tuned! I'll tell you one thing folks, Glenna loves life and she has a tremendous will to live. She has already been to hell and back and we're not giving up on her. This little gal is the poster child for why rabbits should live in the house! Frostbitten ears, warbles (fly strike), parasites and predators are all reasons to keep your bunnies in the house!

Glenna sure is glad to be here in this house! And we'll keep her happy and comfortable as long as we can and we won't listen to anybody who doesn't know her as well as we do. Glenna wants to live!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Buno: The Running Bun Interview


The Life of the Wild Rabbit

Most people do not realize the difference between a rabbit and a hare. Contrary to what you might think, the cottontails in your backyard are not rabbits. There are no American rabbits except for the highly endangered pygmy rabbit of the Pacific Northwest. Cottontails, or hares, are born fully furred and with eyes open. They are on their own after only about 10 days. They live a somewhat isolated life sleeping in a different shallow grass nest every night and foraging alone for food. Many people think that baby cottontails they find in one of these shallow nests have been abandoned but they have not. The mother only needs to tend to them for a short while each day.

An Eastern cottontail nibbles Appalachian flora.
 All content and images © Running Bun Magazine. Use without permission prohibited.


Rabbits Dance to Flamenco Guitar 

Rabbits, on the other hand, are native only to European hillsides, specifically the Iberian peninsula of Spain and Portugal. The word rabbit in Latin is Hispania, which translates then to Spain, because the Phoenicians found so many rabbits on the hillsides there about 3,000 years ago that they named the land they found after the rabbits who inhabited it.

The little pet bunnies who many people keep as house pets today, and who are the third most popular companion animal after cats and dogs in this country, are descendants of these wild European rabbits.

This is not a rabbit. This is an Eastern Cottontail hare.
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Warren Peace 

In their natural habitat, they live in large groups ranging from less than a dozen individuals to sometimes hundreds of individuals. These groups are called warrens and they dig deep into the ground of hillsides carving out vast, complex burrows similar to prairie dog cities.

In these underground tunnels, wild rabbits enjoy a fairly consistent temperature of about 65 degrees year round. Each rabbit's personal burrow is maintained for life and they also mate for life. Rabbits are very selective about their mates and males will box with each other to claim their mate. Rabbits remain loyal to their mates over many breeding seasons.

Got Milk? 

When a rabbit gives birth to babies, or kits, in their underground, the mother only nurses them once a day. This is illustrates how very rich is the mother rabbit's milk. The kits are born without any fur and eyes closed. Their eyes do not open for about 10 days. The kits are dependent on their mother for several months after birth. They may be able to hop around and find food on their own at about age 2 months, but they still have many things to learn from their mother. In wild warrens, it has been observed that rabbits maintain family ties over generations.

The natural diet of the rabbit is grass and leaves. Grass is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, which helps explain why some animals who eat only grass can grow so large like cows and bison. Rabbits need to eat mostly grass to derive nutrition from their diet but they also must have a reliable source of fiber. Leaves provide fiber in their diet as well as twigs and branches that rabbits love to chew.

Another hare. Only the pygmy rabbit is native to the U.S.
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The rabbit's intestinal tract is a finely tuned machine that must always be in motion. Rabbits must eat all day long and always have something in their intestinal tract or their body temperature drops and they go into shock. Rabbits will build little nests of grass and leaves inside their burrow so they always have some food nearby in case of times of danger when they cannot go topside above ground.

Rabbits are crepuscular creatures, which means they are most active at dawn and dusk and this is when they venture forth from their burrow to forage for food. In winter, they might get snowed in their burrows but they can usually subsist by chewing on and ingesting tree roots, buried twigs and so forth. Their burrows are often found centered underneath a massive tree on top of a hill whose root system can withstand some nibbling. Rabbits have also made a few important archeological discoveries in rural areas of England where large warrens have unearthed ruins of ancient castles and mansions long thought to have been myths.

The wild cottontail of North America is a hare and not a rabbit.
The two cannot interbreed.

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Input, Output and Input Again! 

Eating all the time naturally means they also have a lot of output and these little pill-like droppings can be found outside the burrows and a few inside. Since it is so difficult to extract nutrition from a diet of grass and leaves, the rabbit's digestive tract has an extension at the end of it called a cecum. In the cecum, a few droppings are fermented over a period of several days during which bacteria and yeast breakdown the fibers of the grass and leaves and release nutrients. These special droppings are a critical part of the rabbit's diet. Rich in nutrients, they are called cecals. The rabbit daily, usually in the hours before dawn, ingests these cecals.

It was discovered in the early part of the twentieth century that the rabbit performs an important ecological function in the countryside where they live. Without the wild rabbit constantly trimming the grass and taking up leaves, vegetation grows out of control and allows other animals to thrive who might be considered undesirable. The wild rabbit not only keeps the countryside looking pruned and bucolic by eating their natural diet of grass and leaves but also by providing bright eyes and bushy tails bouncing through the brush.

 -Thumper S. Thompson All content and images © Running Bun Magazine. Use without permission prohibited.