Posted in pet health, pets, rabbits

Healthy ‘buns’

It’s important to keep your buns cool in the summer. By “bun” I really mean bunny, or house rabbit, if you please.
Rabbits don’t tolerate extremes in temperature very well, so if you want to keep your pet healthy, you’ll need to monitor the heat and humidity, even if your bunny is a completely indoors house rabbit. Some suggestions for beating the summer heat are:
•    Brush your bunnies to remove excess fur that may be trapping heat in
•    Keep a cool, sealed bottle of water in your pet’s cage to reduce the air temperature
•    Circulate the surrounding room air with a fan, taking care not to place your pet in a direct path of the breezes
•    Provide a few ice cubes in bunny’s water bowl or tube
•    Allow bunnies to lie on the cool tile floor of the bathroom or kitchen to reduce the heat
•    Check for signs of dehydration frequently, and get your bunny to the vet for rehydration fluids as soon as possible when needed
An additional hazard, for house bunnies allowed out in the grass when the weather warms, is the botfly. The mature fly looks like a bee, and emerges from the soil in spring, when the female botfly lays her eggs, usually near host neighborhoods. Latching onto a passing critter, the eggs begin to mature on the warm host. Then the larvae enters through an opening like the nose, eyes, mouth or skin.
Within a week or two, the larva will have migrated internally through the host, usually surfacing under the skin, creating a bump.
As it grows, the larva makes a breathing hole through the animal’s skin. This open sore is often what alerts you to the botfly larva’s presence. I’ve seen this stage of larval development in cats, and it appeared to be a red hole in the skin. The host — cat or rabbit or another warm-blooded animal — usually will be seen licking the spot over and over.
If you notice this type of irritation, get your pet to the vet as soon as possible. Surgery may be necessary to remove the larva safely. Don’t  attempt this at home, it may trigger a fatal shock.
If left alone, the larva will eventually leave its host. But the greater risk is that the larva may migrate to an internal organ, rather than the skin, causing severe damage and possibly death.
The better course, it seems, is to keep your house rabbit safely indoors, where it can avoid contact with the botfly and enjoy a cooler climate as well.

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Owned by three cats over age 13