Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hot*Hot*Hot!

After wondering if summer was ever going to bless us with her presence, she has shown up.  And she is yelling loudly that she is here!  I am happy because this is finally making my garden grow.  I was starting to get a little bummed about planting so much food, and counting on it to feed us!

With the hot weather comes good things, but also bad.  Our animals need to stay cooled down.  Rabbits are especially susceptible to heat stroke.  So I have been concerned about Eliza most as she seems to be most affected by the heat.  Peter Pan the Rabbit (yes, that's his name) seems to do better, but we still watch him carefully.  

We have frozen gallon jugs that we put in their cages.  They like this because it's cold and they can lick the water off it.  

                                                                    Eliza cooling off
Fresh mint is also great for cooling them down.  We also have a circulating fan on them, Eliza would sit on it if she could.  Silly rabbit.  


                                                        Peter Pan the Rabbit enjoying his newly cleaned cage

I found this really great article on heat stroke-- prevention, signs and how to deal with it on ehow.com.  If you have rabbits, it's a great read!

Red Flags

  • 1. Lethargy. If your rabbit doesn't want to move as much as usual, or can't be tempted to move by its usual motivators, continue to assess its health.
    2. Slow movements. If the rabbit doesn't move at its usual speed, but pads sleepily along, keep looking.
    3. Lack of appetite. One early sign of heat stroke is less-than-usual consumption of rabbit chow, or no eating at all.
    4. Panting. Is the rabbit working hard to breathe without exercising, or panting? He could be trying to cool himself down.
    5. Dehydration. Dry mouth, dull eyes and strong, concentrated urine are signs of this condition.
    6. Reddening of the ears. Check the concave, normally pink side of the bunny ears. If it's red, it's a sure sign that it's trying to cool itself.
    7. Excessive Salivation. If your rabbit has drool on his chin, he's salivating too much.
    8. Poor coordination. The movements will not be synchronized, leading to clumsiness.
    9. Confusion. The rabbit's behavior will not be logical or usual.
    10. Seizures. This will look like severe, violent shaking. It is a veterinary emergency.
    11. Unresponsiveness. The rabbit will not try to defend itself even from uncomfortable or painful stimuli. This is also a veterinary emergency.

Emergency Stabilization

  • 1. Move the rabbit to a cooler away from the sun. The basement is a good choice.
    2. Mist the pink (red) sides of the ears with cool water.
    3. As an alternative, cool the ears with an ice cube that's been wrapped in a thin cloth.
    4. Bathe the rabbit in room temperature, not cold, water only up to the neck. Do not submerge it.
    5. Feed wet vegetables, if the bunny will eat, and supply cold water.
    6. Blow a fan near the rabbit, but not directly on it.
    7. Call your veterinarian immediately.

Prevention

  • 1. Groom the rabbit regularly to remove loose fur.
    2. Keep the rabbit away from sunlight and out of hot areas.
    3. Provide fresh, clean water at all times.
    4. Run a fan in the area but not directly blowing on the rabbit.
    5. Supervise him in warm weather.
    6. Freeze water in an empty soda bottle and lay it in the cage. The bunny will cool itself next to it.

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