Rabbit Questions And Answers – Ask The Bunny Expert!


Lauren Mascola is the veterinarian at Petcare Veterinary Services in West Hartford. She studied at UConn for undergraduate and Tufts for Veterinary Medicine. She has over 10 years of experience and 2 dogs and 3 cats of her own. She is excited to answer your questions!

Letter from Vet

Many times during my career, I have discussed neutering pets with their owners. 

Here are a few notes about neutering pets:  Neutering means sterilizing your pet.  Specifically, spaying is to neuter your female pet, and castrating is to neuter your male pet.

There are multiple reasons to neuter your pets in 2 categories.  The medical reasons to neuter your female dog are: they run a much lower risk of developing breast cancer, and they cannot develop a pyometra which is a severe bacterial infection in their uterus requiring emergency surgery. The medical reasons to neuter your male dog are: they do not get testicular cancer and their risk for prostatic disease is much lower.

The other category of reasons is behavioral.  Neutered females are less likely to roam and will not go through heat cycles every 6 months.  Neutered males are also less likely to roam or chase females in heat.  They will less likely be aggressive and less likely to “hump” (a sexual behavior or a behavior showing dominance, which dogs always perform when you have company, especially a company that dislikes dogs!)   Finally, they will be less apt to mark territory.

Another reason to neuter pets is to try to control the unwanted pet population.  Most veterinarians have had to euthanize homeless, unwanted pets.  It is a task that is emotionally painful to everyone involved and of course, extremely unfair to the victims themselves.

Here are some startling statistics on how quickly pet populations can get out of control.  One intact female cat and her offspring may produce up to 420,000 kittens in seven years.  One intact female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in seven years.

Many people ask if neutering will change their pet’s personality and the answer is; there is no statistical data that has demonstrated any behavioral changes (except for the better!), observed after the procedure.  If you have a big goofy Labrador, he will still be big and goofy even if you have him neutered.

Have your pet neutered.  It will lead to a long, happy and healthy life!


Susan adopted her first house rabbit 5 years ago and soon after got highly involved in rabbit rescue. She has volunteered at a local rabbit rescue group and a local animal shelter working with rabbits. She has since co-founded 3 Bunnies Rabbit Rescue Inc. Susan can surely answer all of your rabbit questions!

Q: Dear Bunny Expert,

I am a new bunny owner and have been reading as much as I can about bunnies. How can I tell if my rabbit is sick?

Vanessa and Rodney the bunny

A: Dear Vanessa and Rodney the bunny,

If Rodney could talk to you, he would tell you this is a very good question and hard to answer. Rabbits are prey animals so their bodies hide illnesses. This comes from their ancestry when wild rabbits have to survive predators. Get to know your rabbit and observe closely. The easiest sign of something wrong is when your rabbit does not come running to eat his food. Rabbits eat throughout the day normally nibbling on hay and eating veggies and pellets at suppertime or whenever their schedule for those are. They normally look forward to eating. If a rabbit is not moving, looks sick, or does not want to eat his favorite food, you will need to act fast. Sometimes it could be as minor as gas and just needs treatment,  or it could be the first sign of something serious. If you are a new rabbit owner and do not have a rabbit medicine kit or are not familiar with how to treat a rabbit for gas, you need to call your rabbit vet ASAP.

Checking your rabbit often helps. Pay attention to his eyes, poops, and everything as they look normally. Then you can tell if something looks abnormal later. It is good to have physicals with your rabbit vet.

Eyes also tell a lot. Especially wet eyes. That can be a sign of many things, pink eye, molar spurs, blocked tear ducts, or other problems. Better to get the vet checked to catch something early and hopefully fix the problem. Not wanting to eat, if not taken care of ASAP can get worse quickly and the rabbit could even die.

Rabbits are very tricky to tell for illnesses so that is the best advice I can give you. Get to know your rabbit’s habits and looks and if something is abnormal, call the vet for help.

Susan Curtiss, 3 Bunnies Rabbit Rescue, www.3bunnies.org


The Bunny Expert!

Susan adopted her first house rabbit 5 years ago and soon after got highly involved in rabbit rescue. She has volunteered at a local rabbit rescue group and a local animal shelter working with rabbits. She has since co-founded 3 Bunnies Rabbit Rescue Inc. Susan can surely answer all of your rabbit questions!

Q: Dear Bunny Expert,
How come my bunny runs and jumps and twists his body in mid air? He also sometimes jumps and twists in the air from a stand still position. Is something wrong? What does this mean?
Carl

A: Dear Carl,
Nothing is wrong with your bunny. This is normal. Here in bunnyland we call those binkies! They are happy dances! They are happy and content and this is just something they do when they are excited or happy. My bunnies often do this soon after I let them out of their cages for exercise and playtime. Sometimes my bonded pairs will do this while playing. One of my rabbits does this when he plays with my cat. All rabbits do this and it is great when they do because then you know they are happy.
Susan

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