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Rabbit Rhythm #040: Rabbit jumping, rabbit health questions answered, and more
September 03, 2013

Rabbit Rhythms of September

Pet rabbit practicing its rabbit jumping skillsPet rabbit practicing its rabbit jumping skills September is a great time of the year to engage in the sport of rabbit jumping! What is that, you say? Well, think dog agility trials or dressage horses agilely leaping massive jumps, but on a verrry small scale.
Rabbits appear to very much enjoy jumping rabbit-sized hurdles, and their owners enjoy the process of teaching the bunnies to clear the hurdles and run for the finish line. Plus, watching the event is a spectator sport in itself, during which you'll laugh...a lot!

Yahoo Finance (go figure!) ran a very cool slideshow featuring a glimpse into a jumping competition recently held in Germany.

Is this something you'd like to do with your rabbit? If so, perhaps you'd like to check out the website of the Canadian Rabbit Hopping Club.


A very few rabbits need rescuing. The vast majority of rabbits are healthy, well cared for, meat, fur, wool, and show rabbits. These do not need to be "rescued."

My feet are fabulous on this wire cage - I do not need to be rescued

Credit: I do NOT Need to be Rescued Facebook Group

Healthy Rabbits

Here are some recent questions that came in to Raising-Rabbits. Perhaps these Q&A’s will help you, too. Plus, find links to various health issues at our rabbit diseases page.

Goop around the eyelid
"I am kind of horrified right now... My rabbit has had one goopy eye for about a week or so. It just develops goop at the corner of her eye. The goop is like an offwhite gray color. Her other eye is perfectly fine but I can tell the infected one is bothering her. This isn't Pasteurella is it? I am really afraid... She has 6 week old babies and 4 are already reserved to people."

Karen Sez
A runny eye is indeed a sign of Pasteurella, but don't panic just yet. Staph and a few other germs can also affect the eyes and these respond well to medication. If the goop is the rabbit's only symptom, treat both eyes with antibiotic drops or ointment such as Terramycin ophthalmic ointment. Or, dust them with nitrofurazone (NFZ) powder. Of course, if the rabbit is also sneezing or has a stuffy nose, then the alarm levels go up significantly. Don't hesitate to get a veterinary opinion, if necessary. The vet can do a culture and sensitivity of the secretions and let you know exactly which germ(s) are causing the problem.

When a doe is referred to as "open" does that mean she is pregnant, has had a litter, or is old enough to breed?

Karen Sez
"Open" means the womb is "available." It means that there are no babies in the womb, and so the doe is ready to get pregnant. This term is only used of a fertile doe that is of litter-bearing age.

Blue ears, dies within a day, highly contagious
Midday one rabbit was on its side and wouldn't eat or drink, could move its legs and had blue ears, three hours later it was dead. Next day in the morning I found one of its siblings dead with blue ears and laying on its side when the day before it was fine. The other two are showing the same signs.

Karen Sez
Oh dear. You’re describing the end stage of pneumonia caused by a very contagious organism. Unfortunately, I cannot help you identify the causative agent from here. You need a vet’s opinion for a diagnosis - take a sick rabbit to the vet ASAP, or double-bag and refrigerate a dead rabbit until your vet or a vet laboratory can do a necropsy (animal autopsy) in the near future. In the meantime institute strict quarantine measures for any remaining well rabbits.

Digestion problems
Will the probiotics out on the market today help with baby bunny tummy issues? Because of the very scarce hay in our area (well non-existent actually), my guys have had to forego this essential and use straw. I lost about a third of the 5-8 week olds to bunny diarrhea. I was wondering about herbal teas in water or maybe even sprinkling probiotic powder in their food. What do you think?

Karen Sez
Hmmm, straw works well for providing fiber, and is only slightly less nutritious than not-very-nutritious grass hay. If fed in moderation and in conjunction with a good fresh pelleted feed, this should solve your fiber needs. That's why I’m thinking there is some other reason for the bunny diarrhea. Since there is quite a list of possible organisms that could be causing the problem, from Clostridia, to E.coli, to Coccidia and more, you could speed the diagnostic process by taking some droppings or a sick bunny to your rabbit-savvy vet for a proper diagnosis.

In the meantime, yes, probiotics are usually very helpful. Bene-Bac and Probios are two very good ones. Herbal teas are good for enticing a dehydrated rabbit to drink; use tea products that are as natural as possible - tea bags rather than processed and sweetened powders or drinks.

Lastly, scrub and disinfect the cage floor well with a bleach or ammonia solution (don’t mix the two!), which will help to keep the bunnies from reinfecting themselves with pathogenic organisms.

Our Disclaimer:
Answering your questions helps those breeders who live in the USA and internationally that don’t have access to veterinary care. We answer these to the best of our ability according to the limited information you tell us, but there is absolutely no substitute for getting a precise veterinary diagnosis when necessary, if you have access to a rabbit-savvy vet.

Rabbits in the News

It's amazing what one can accomplish on just one acre (or less), which is why I'd like to introduce you to the Pankow family in Texas - One Big Hoppy Family.

The Pankows are a modern homesteading family, working normal jobs but raising their fresh, hormone- and antibiotic-free meat and veggies at home as much as possible.

If this sounds prudent to you, you'll find some great tips and ideas in the article both for animal husbandry, gardening, and feeding while minimizing pellet purchases.

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Your friends at wish you a wonderful September 2013.

Enjoy your rabbits!

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