Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Although rabbits can make wonderful pets, they are naturally fragile and timid. They do not make good pets for small children who want something to hug tightly and carry around, especially if the child and rabbit are not adequately supervised by an adult.
Also, a well-cared for rabbit should live ten years or more and will require just as much love, attention, and veterinary care as a dog or cat would.
If you want to make a child’s Easter happy, don’t give a live rabbit unless you know it will be loved and cared for throughout its natural life.
Therefore, let us all say NO to the Easter Rabbit hoopla and say Yes to caring for these wonderful creatures!
Monday, March 30, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Recently, Brandy, updated her web site Bunny Bees Rabbitry. She added different breeds to their rabbit menagerie. They have Netherland Dwarfts, Lionheads (they were all rescued), and most recently, Jersey Woolies!
Brandy contacted me via email through a google search for Angora breeds. Since then, we've been emailing back and forth and finding out if the Angoras were for her and her family. For now, they decided to focus on showing Jersey Woolies, instead. She was glad to know that in the UK, the Jersey Woolies are called "Dwarf Angoras".
Below are her breeding pair Victor and Zelda. She plans to join the upcoming shows and show them along with other breeders. We are so excited for Brandy and her family for getting the "show bug".
Monday, March 23, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
In one of our shows, last year, we met Celina, a 14 year old young lady that shows her American Fuzzy Lops. My son, Johnny, keeps in contact with her, and she emailed him this foto of her Fuzzy named, "Pinto". She states she plans to show him soon!
GENERAL BREED INFORMATION
Fuzzy Lop Statistics Maximum body weight:Senior 4 pounds Junior 3 1/2 pounds Juniors may not be shown in a senior class until the age of six months. The ideal mature Fuzzy Lop weight is 3 1/2 pounds. Fuzzies are judged in either the solid or broken class. 'Broken' means any acceptable color in combination with white.
The first thing to consider is type. There are 75 points on type in the ARBA Standard of Perfection. The body should be compact and cobby, with width equal to height at the shoulders, loin and hips. The spinal column is not to be prominent nor should the hip/pin bones stand out. The body must feel very smooth and well-muscled. As you slide your hands from the shoulders they should not catch on the hips. As you slide your hands down the hips to the feet they should not angle in.
The head is to present the appearance of a round ball with a flat face. It is massive in appearance and set at mid-height and close to the shoulders. The Fuzzy should not appear to have a neck. Ears are to hang straight down, carried close to the cheeks and extending 1/2 to 1 inch below the jaw. They are covered in regular fur.
The adult wool should be very dense, but not felting or 'angora' type wool. Guard hairs must be well distributed throughout, making it a very easy care coat for a wooled rabbit. The wool is to feel full of life without being excessively soft or silky. There is a minimum length of 1-1/2 inches, with a 2 inch length being preferred. The junior coat differs from the mature senior coat as it will have fewer guard hairs, making it softer and more angora-like. This softness may cause easy matting and will require more grooming to remain tangle free. By the age of six months this softer wool should be molted out and the senior texture should be displayed. A senior animal with a junior-type coat may be disqualified from competition.
There are presently nineteen accepted colors in the American Fuzzy Lop, although many other shades can be found in the rabbitry. If you want to purchase a show-quality animal, make sure it is an accepted color. These include: blue, chestnut, chinchilla, lynx, opal, squirrel, pointed white, blue-eyed white, chocolate, lilac, ruby-eyed white, sable point, siamese sable, siamese smoke pearl, tortoise shell (black & blue), fawn, black and orange.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
We've tried so many products and by far the best product that controls the ammonia smell from the urine and is safe for your herd is the Dry Stall. Yes, this is a very great product, which we, at RTA have been using successfully to neutralize the odor smells in our rabbitry. We usually bring our pregnant does inside the home, so the Dry Stall works miracles by eliminating the intoxicating ammonia odor from the rabbit's urine.
If you are able to find this product, give it a try. However, be aware that not many places carry this product. We are lucky that our Tractor Supply Co., store carried it. We bought the last 3 bags, which will last us a while, but at least we don't have to go all over the place searching for them. Both products are really good. However, we prefer the "plus", which has an antimicrobial component to it. Normally, we pay 9.00 for each. However, I've seen them online for $27.00 each bag. Hopefully, if you try it out, you will find a good price for them. Give it a try, it worked for us, maybe it will work for you, too.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
They were so excited, they purchased a very nice English Angora, which they lovingly named, Candy. They are so excited and eager to begin showing her!
See Candy below, isn't she gorgeous?!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
For ease of understanding, the text was color coordinated. The disease/condition is listed in black, the signs is listed in green, and the treatment in red and italics.
Always Consult your vet first! Be prepared, have a few items on hand such as 4-Way acid pack or other probiotics.
Enteritis: Bunny has soft, loose, watery, jelly or mucous stools.
May sit in water bowl, grinding teeth, does not eat.
Emergency! Put probiotics in water, use electrolyte replacement
with pedialyte. Do not give pellets, give hay and Quaker oats. Will need
albon or other antibiotic. High mortality rate.
Red Urine: Red or orange discolored urine that does not contain "clots" None.
Bunny has had too much protein in feed or hay.
Weepy Eye: Matted or crusty eye.
Clean eye with warm water. Apply terramycin eye ointment if it
Wry Neck: Twisting of head, bunny will roll when excited, loss of balance.
Will need antibiotic ear drops. High mortality rate.
Sore Hocks: Ulcerated areas on back foot pads. May be scabs.
Give bunny a wood sitting board. More common in heavier breeds.
Malocclusion: Elongation of upper or lower teeth. May be genetic or from an accident.
Clip teeth or cull if genetic.
Paralysis: Drags rear legs, may not have bowel or bladder control.
Hutch burn: Scabbed, inflamed vent area.
Keep cage clean, apply triple antibiotic cream to vent area until healed.
Coprophagous (eating of night feces):
Usually seen at night or in the morning, rabbit will consume fecal material
directly from rectum. Sometimes he will drop these and they resemble a
cluster of grapes.
None. This is the way the rabbits increase the absorption of certain
Snuffles: Persistent sneezing, nasal discharge that is white or green. May have
matted fur on inside of front paws.
Bunnymycin nose drops and antibiotics will help symptoms. Rabbit will
always be a carrier.
Warbles: Swelling or lump-may be anywhere. Caused by fly that lays eggs under the skin of animals and the larvae grow under the skin. Difficult to remove at home. Take bunny to vet. Injuring larvae may cause it to release a toxin which can kill the bunny. Treat routinely with ivomec to prevent this.
Pin worms: Small "bean sprout" like worms-may be seen on rectum, fur or on stool. Treat routinely with ivomec or piperazine wormer to prevent or treat.
Fur or mange mites: Bald areas on skin, may be scaly. Rabbit may itch or have dandruff. Treat with ivomec or flea and mite powder.
Ear Mites: Rabbit may scratch at ears, persistent shaking of head, especially if you rub around the base of his ears. Treatment with ear mite medication for cats or treat with ivomec to prevent.
Coccidiosis: Diarrhea, not eating well, does not look well. May become thin.
Treat with amprol, corrid or albon. Treat routinely every 3-6 months to
prevent. Rabbits are carriers or coccidiosis.
Hair or fur ball: May see stool hanging from cage floor like a "string of pearls", may not eat or eats poorly. Remove pellets, give rabbit hay and fresh pineapple juice in water bottle. If condition last more than 2 days, see a vet. Treat with cat medication. May treat routinely to prevent. Increase fiber (hay) in diet.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Apologies, the video does not seem to be working properly, yet.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Treating Head Tilt (Torticollis)
by Dana M. Krempels, Ph.D.
What exactly is "head tilt?" The condition medically known as torticollis (which is Latin for "twisted neck") and sometimes as "wryneck" causes a rabbit's head to twist over sideways. Often, torticollis is accompanied by a rapid side-to-side movement of the eyeballs (nystagmus), an indication that the bunny is suffering from dizziness/vertigo that should be treated along with the problem causing the head tilt.
Symptoms may appear very suddenly or exhibit a gradual onset, but the result is the same: a bunny is walking around with his head on "sideways." In some very severe cases, the bunny may be so disoriented that he simply cannot walk, and spends much of the time rolling sideways in a wild attempt to regain his footing. This is most distressing to the human caregiver, and far too many a bunny with head tilt has become the victim of his caregivers' well-meaning desire to "not let him suffer."
In truth, head tilt is usually quite treatable, though recovery may be slow. Euthanasia should be considered only as a last resort, when all attempts to cure the infection have failed, leaving the bunny in misery, unwilling to eat, drink or act normally at all. Note, however, that a permanently tilted head is not a symptom requiring euthanasia! Many rabbits with their heads tilted at a jaunty angle are living completely happy lives, running and playing with all the vigor of their straight-headed bunny pals. The most important thing is to cure the source of the head-tilt symptom. Once this is accomplished, improvement of the rabbit's posture will follow more gradually, with physical therapy and exercise.
It is not at all uncommon for symptoms of torticollis to appear very suddenly. As with almost any illness, the more rapidly the disorder is diagnosed and treated, the greater the chance for full recovery. If you do not already have a good veterinarian who is experienced with rabbit medicine.
Causes of TorticollisTorticollis is not a single disease. It is a symptom of a problem with the rabbits' balance system, components of which include the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord, collectively called the "CNS"), the visual system, the vestibular apparatus in the inner ear, and even the pads of the feet, which tell the bunny he's standing on solid ground, the way gravity "intends" him to. Hence, a rabbit exhibiting torticollis may have a problem with one or more of the balance components, and causes of this include (but are not limited to)
middle- or inner-ear infection; parasitic infection of Encephalitozoon cuniculi in the CNS; parasitic infestation of a nematode worm, Baylisascaris procyoni; stroke; abscess or tumor in the brain (intracranial abscess); head trauma,
Most of this article will focus on what we have found to be by far the most common cause of torticollis: middle- or inner-ear infection. A shorter section at the end will address each of the other possible causes.
Ear Infection Of the causes listed, we have found that by far the most common is a middle- or inner ear infection. The Vestibular Apparatus, largely responsible for the sense of balance, is located in the bulla of the skull, a large, hollow space near the base of each ear. An ear infection can cause the tissues of the ear and inside the bulla to become inflamed, and this can interfere with proper function of the Vestibular Apparatus. A very severe inner ear infection can actually cause the bulla to fill with hard, caseous (i.e., of a tough, cheeselike texture) pus. This presses on the Vestibular Apparatus, and prevents its proper function. Any inflammation of the VA can cause head tilt.
Under the best circumstances, pus is visible inside the ear, and the vet can take a sample for culture and sensitivity testing. This will reveal (1) the species of bacteria most likely responsible for the infection and (2) the types of antibiotics most likely to kill that species/strain of bacteria. Although the most common pathogens we have seen associated with head tilt are Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Pasteurella multocida, but there are many others which also can cause this problem. Each species/strain of bacteria has its own specific sensitivity and resistance to various antibiotics. Before you throw good money after bad in a "guess" at an effective antibiotic (some vets will automatically prescribe Baytril, since it's safe--but it may not be effective against the bacteria causing the problem!), it's really best to invest in For a culture and sensitivity test if there is pus inside the ear to culture.
Once the results of the culture and sensitivity test are back, don't be surprised if your vet tries a combination of two different antibiotics to kill the bacteria. Many experienced rabbit veterinarians are now finding that combining two antibiotics is more effective at killing some of the more resistant bacteria found in rabbit ear infections. It is especially important that your veterinarian be familiar with the specific needs of rabbits in terms of antibiotics, since some of these drugs (e.g., any oral penicillins such as amoxycillin or ampicillin, and any lincosamine antibiotics) can be deadly to rabbits, even if they are commonly used on other species.
Whatever the prescription, it is vitally important that you continue to give the rabbit the full dose for the full time span your vet has indicated. Stopping the antibiotic therapy before the infection is fully gone can simply promote the selection of a resistant strain of bacteria, since those are the last ones to die off when exposed to antibiotics. If you stop the antibiotics too soon, only the most resistant ones will be left to reproduce and repopulate your poor bunny's ear!
In some cases, an ear infection appears highly resistant to the most commonly used antibiotics. A relatively recently "rediscovered" therapy that has proven highly effective in cases of head tilt, jaw abscesses and other infections of the head is treatment with bicillin, a rabbit-safe combination of injectible Penicillin-G Procaine and Benzathine. This has been used on rabbits who were deemed terminal and untreatable, and produced miraculous cures. It is something to consider if conventional antibiotic therapies are not effective.
While the antibiotics are doing their work, your vet might also prescribe other drugs to help restore balance and control the discomfort associated with vertigo. Meclizine (commercially known as Anti-Vert) is excellent for controlling dizziness, though it will not work for every rabbit. If meclizine does not control the nystagmus, your vet might prescribe a course of short-acting corticosteroids to reduce the inflammation interfering with the vestibular apparatus. We have found that these drugs can sometimes help restore normal posture even before the infection is fully cured.
It can sometimes take weeks or even months to completely cure an inner/middle ear infection. This may sound like a long time, but if supportive care is offered, and the rabbit continues to eat and drink normally and is still interested in life, it means she's not ready to give up. The condition is disorienting, but does not seem to be painful. The illness is temporary, if hard to watch, but it's worth a course of supportive care to see your bunny happy and running around again.
The results of patient nursing a bunny through torticollis can be very rewarding. I have nursed three rabbits through head tilt. Slooby's head tilt appeared very suddenly. After only fourteen days on Baytril (enrofloxacin), he was completely cured, and has not had a recurrence.
The other two, Hamish and Jamie Blue, had severe head tilts when they came to us as rescues. Jamie Blue not only had severe nystagmus; she was so disoriented that she could not stand up. She spent most of the time rolling uncontrollably, and had to be placed in a padded pen so that she would not accidentally hurt herself. Meclizine and corticosteroids helped with the immediate symptoms, but it took eight months on antibiotics to completely clear her ears of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa (which happened to be resistant to all the antibiotics tested except ciprofloxacin and colymicin) that was causing the problem.
Hamish's head tilt was also due to Pseudomonas aeruginosa, but his strain was sensitive to Baytril and aminoglycosides (e.g., amikacin, gentocin). I mention this to illustrate that randomly selecting a common antibiotic that is "usually effective" against many strains of bacteria may be a waste of time and money. A culture and sensitivity test will usually end up paying for itself in terms of time and money saved on ineffective antibiotic treatments.
Acupuncture, chiropractic treatments and massage have helped immensely with both Jamie Blue's and Hamish's head tilts. But it seems that the single most important form of physical therapy--once they stopped rolling--was regular exercise in a spacious play area where they can run in wider and wider circles, working themselves up to straight lines. Jamie Blue and Hamish both emerged from their head-tilt ordeals as happy, frolicking bunnies with a slight, residual head tilts. But even the slight tilts improved with exercise and more massage. You might be interested in a simple, but effective form of physical therapy shared with us by Larry Gavlak, who helped his bunny (Boper) regain his balance with a technique used on humans who have lost their sense of balance.
The bottom line is this: treatment for head tilt caused by an ear infection is not only possible, but often very successful. It might take a lot of patience, and a realization that rabbits do not mourn over what might have been, nor what the future might hold. If your rabbit is willing to survive the moment, is eating and drinking and showing affection, and interest in life (however dizzily), s/he deserves a chance to heal. It is so rewarding to see a head tilt bunny race and frolic like a normal bunny, even if it takes several months of treatment and love.
Encephalitozoon cuniculiAlthough there is very little conclusive evidence that this microsporidian parasite--related to coccidia and to the protists that cause malaria and other serious diseases--is truly a causative agent of torticollis. However, more and more circumstantial evidence seems to support the contention that--if only in some cases of rabbits with immunosuppression--that E. cuniculi can cause head tilt and other nervous system disorders, such as hind limb paresis, general weakness, and even seizures.
E. cuniculi is apparently passed from rabbit to rabbit via cysts in the urine. The adult organisms inhabit the central nervous system and the renal (kidney) system, and rabbits with symptoms of "E. cuniculi type" head tilt (this is subtly different from that caused by infection, and is difficult to describe) often show signs of renal disease, as well.
At the moment, positive diagnosis can be made only upon necropsy, and even then, histological results are not always conclusive. Some vets take blood samples to send to a laboratory for titer testing, to see whether the rabbit is producing antibodies against E. cuniculi. All this test will tell the vet, however, is that the rabbit has been exposed to the organism. A high titer may indicate that there is an active infection being battled by the immune system, but such results may be interpreted differently by each professional.
Some practitioners have reported success in arresting symptoms of E. cuniculi (head tilt, hind limb paresis, renal dysfunction) with administration of the bendazole drugs (albendazole, oxibendazole, fenbendazole), which cross the blood-brain barrier and inhibit the function of tubulin, a protein vital for the parasite's feeding and infection of new cells. In a recent study, Suter, et al. (2001) reported that administration of 20mg/kg QD (once per day) of fenbendazole (which is metabolized to its active form, oxfendazole) was effective not only at preventing infection of rabbits by E. cuniculi, but also at eliminating signs of E. cuniculi infection in seropositive rabbits after four weeks of treatment. This is a promising new finding for a disease that was considered fatal and untreatable not long ago.
Baylisascaris procyoniThis is a roundworm (Phylum Nematoda) that ordinarily inhabits the intestine of raccoons. However, if other species (including humans) come into contact with eggs in raccoon waste, there is a possibility of "wrong host" infection. The larval worms migrate, not to the intestine, but to the kidneys and central nervous system, causing horrible, life-threatening problems.
At present, there is no treatment and no cure for this parasitic infection.
Central Nervous System Infections or Trauma If head tilt is caused by a stroke or head trauma, the best one might hope to do is treat accordingly and hope that administration of appropriate anti-inflammatory drugs will help restore normal posture over time.
If the problem is believed to be caused by an intracranial abscess, with no pus to culture, then we would suggest treatment with bicillin at the outset, as this is often the only antibiotic able to cross the blood-brain barrier and be effective against many of the anaerobic bacteria that often cause such infections. In many cases, intracranial abscesses are associated with molar root infections. Because these often are caused by bacteria normally found in the intestine, antibiotic treatment can be particularly troublesome. Bicillin is one of the only drugs we have found that can combat these pathogens without entering the intestine and causing potentially life-threatening cecal dysbiosis associated with oral penicillins and lincosamine antibiotics.
Whatever the cause of your rabbit's head tilt, I hope that some of the information here will give your vet and you some leads to pursue. Many, many people have written to me before, asking about head tilt. I'm happy to say that almost every one of them has written back to say that patience, loving husbandry and the proper medicine and physical therapy had their bunnies up and running. It may have taken a week, a month, or even several months, but everyone said it was worth the work.
Suter, C., U. U. Muller-Dobles, J. M. Hatt and P. Deplazes (2001). Prevention and treatment of Encephalitozoon cuniculi in rabbits with fenbendazole. Veterinary Record 148, 478-480.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
First of all, one has to know the reason for breeding. If one just wants to breed rabbits indiscriminately then this person will end up with lots of rabbits that might not be well taken care of or unable to find prospective buyers for them.
One of the most important reasons one should breed their rabbits is to improve the breed. Yes, I said it, to improve them, not just because they are cute. There has to be a specific goal when breeding rabbits. A true conscientious breeder of rabbits will establish goals for their rabbitry and ways to accomplish them in a safe, effective manner that will take the health and care of the rabbits foremost.
Once you determine your goals and reasons for them, then you can begin choosing the breeding pair. It is important to look at your stock carefully and to also use other people’s opinions of your rabbits to insure you are making a wise decision. At Road to Angora Rabbitry, we show our rabbits and get independent comments from judges. This gives us a very good idea of which rabbits are better to work with to improve the breed. We do not breed rabbits that we feel will take longer to improve certain qualities. For example, if we have a rabbit that has very thin wool and one that has very dense wool, we will not necessarily breed them as the result would be offspring with both dense and thin wool and it might take several generations to achieve the optimum density on the wool. Instead, we seek a buck and doe that both have the density desired as well as the body to create a more superb rabbit. The goal is to have the offspring be better than the parents, if possible. Therefore, selective breeding is imperative.
The easiest way to look at what qualities one needs to work on is by looking at the Standard of Perfection Book. This will give you a guide to what is required for the breed and you can then begin to look at your herd and find what is best for you. Keep in mind that just because two great rabbits are bred, it does not mean the offspring will be even better. It only means your chances are multiplied. Therefore, having good quality stock is essential to move forward to improve the breed. Otherwise, you will take longer to achieve your goals.
One thing to consider is that the Angoras are NOT a very popular breed here in Texas, yet. Yes, many people love to see an awesome English Angora in their full coat. They are breathtaking. However, not many people realize that it takes lots of time and dedication to work that coat to the standard. For this reason alone, one should not breed indiscriminately to sell angoras in Texas. If one is not careful to find special homes that are suitable and ready to care for them, then you will end up having Angoras in shelters all matted and filthy.
Written by P. Ricardo Gonzalez, RTA Rabbitry
Monday, March 9, 2009
A small request:All you are asked to do is keep this circulating. Dear God, I pray for the cure of breast Cancer. Amen All you are asked to do is keep this circulating. Even if it's to one more person.
In memory of anyone you know that has been struck down by cancer or is still living with it.
A Candle Loses Nothing by Lighting Another Candle. Please Keep This Candle Going!
Janet also sent this cute picture below: Please visit and support Janet's page at: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/Janet.King Fighting Cancer so you won't have to.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Picture courtesy of BumblebearyAngoras
Saturday, March 7, 2009
A breeder that has both Germans and Giants is: Jan from Jan's Giants. She is a wealth of knowledge if you want to get a German Angora.
Friday, March 6, 2009
For more information please read the following excerpt taken from UnitedAngoraRabbitClub:
"French Angora: A large bunny at an average of 8 to 12 pounds in weight at maturity, a good breeder and with good mothering instincts. Different bloodlines available dictate the size and wool growth, but today's good quality French should be around 9 -10 pounds in weight and should grow a very dense coat, with an average harvest of 5-11 ounces of blanket (top and sides) fiber every 4-5 months, and with a length of 3-6 inches in that time. Of course, harvest is greatly determined by nutrition, grooming, and bloodlines.
French Angoras have 2 types of fiber: the straight, coarse and long guard hair, a coarser type hair which should be dispersed evenly in the entire coat. This fiber separates the softer undercoat and keeps it from matting/webbing. Guard hair carries the largest amount of color pigments, so French Angoras and other angora breeds with a good amount of guard hair will show colors extremely well. Underneath the Guard hair grows the soft, downy fiber called the undercoat. This fiber is what gives Angora fiber the softness, the cloud-like feel, and it is highly insulating. A good balance between both fibers is very important in a good angora, for wool production and for ease of grooming.
A French Angora's face, ears, and feet are covered with short, normal fur, and wool covers the rest of the body. Small tassels of wool are allowed on the tip of the ears, also called tufting. The body type of a French Angora is long and "commercial". The shoulders should be broad, the hip bones should not protrude, and the overall bunny should be long like a loaf of bread. Due to the size and body shape, French Angoras are excellent breeders, with an average litter of 8 babies."
Below are some pictures of the French Angora Rabbit:
Picture courtesy of: lolbunnies
Picture courtesy of: AngiesAngoras
Picture courtesy of: SpangAngoraRabbitry
Some awesome reputable rabbitries where one can get their French Angoras:
Spang Angora Rabbitry (one of the best sites to get a plethora of information the Frech Angora)