TH E B U N OL OGIST

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July 2012
• • • • • • Shelter buns need greens Fur protesting on Chapel St Rabbit Run need help A Hutch is not Enough campaign Life at the Do Hop Inn Encephalitozoon Cuniculi

Bunnies tuck into banquet
20 July 2012 – Herald Sun (Aus)

Arthur Galan fur protest
22 July 2012 (Aus) Members of Freedom for Farmed Rabbits, Radical Rabbit and PETA recently stood protesting outside the Chapel Street store of Arthur Galan. Arthur Galan is a designer that sells a large amount of fur items to the public and this winter has been no exception.

Fresh serve: Leigh Munro feeds a rabbit at the Keysborough animal shelter Time poor animal lovers are sendnig meals on wheels tto hungry bunnies at the Keysborough Animal Shelter. Online shoppers are using the internet to send fresh veggies right to the door of the Australian Animal Protection Society. Scores of rabbits are now sometimes lucky to enjoy crisp, fresh bok choy, baby carrots, wombok, chicory, radish tops and other leafy greens. Rabbit attendant Leigh Munro came up with the idea to promote the shelter’s homeshop on the AAPS website. “A lot of people are keen to do their bit and don’t mind paying for the peace of mind of helping out orphaned animals, but they just don’t have the time to personally get involved. They know rabbits are particulaerly hard to rehome yet still need very fresh greens every day for their health. We are getting top quality produce straight to the door, which the rabbits really appreciate.” Arthur Galan uses assorted rabbit, particularly rex rabbit, fox and raccoon, all imported from China where humane treatment is non existent. Freedom for Farmed Rabbits have been tackling stores that sell fur since 2011 with great success. Many of the stores have now stopped stocking fur items due to public pressure.

www.aaps.org.au

www.freedomforfarmedrabbits.com

Bunny home in need of rescue
18 July 201 – Ranges Trader Mail (Aus)

“We’re dedicated and it’s a passion, but we don’t necessarily have all the expertise in running a charity so we need people that can help us and guide us in the fundraising and funding side and all that come with it,” she said. “We’re just trying to take bunnies off death row, care for them and re-home them.” The pair have stopped taking in bunnies and are working hard to get their current group of furry animals out of harm’s way and ready to go to good homes. “To make the decision to stop taking them in and to face the reality we might have to sell the property and close the orphanage permanently is just terrible,” she said. “We just want to make sure there are things behind us that can stop the whole thing from collapsing so we can fund it without going through our own personal finances.” Anyone who would like to help can contact Judi and Bryce Inglis at Rabbit Run-Away Orphanage on 9751 1229.

VICTORIA’S one and only dedicated rabbit rescue is facing closure and could potentially leave hundreds of bunnies without a place to go. Olinda based Rabbit Run-Away Orphanage is in dire need of funding and donations, requiring about $100,000 to stay afloat. Heartbroken owners Judi and Bryce Inglis said running the not-for-profit rescue service on a full-time basis had put them under a lot of financial strain, and years of putting their own money towards the cause has finally caught up with them. The pair, who are two of three educators for the House Rabbit Society, need about $30,000 for their special needs bunnies and to desex the current lot, and also $70,000 to remain on their current property. Ms Inglis said she and her husband held the charity close to their hearts and put all their efforts towards helping rabbits and educating the public, which has also been to their detriment. “Every time a bunny is sick or needs to be de-sexed, if the money isn’t in the charity account, we just throw our own money in and that’s how we came into such an unstable financial situation,” she said. “The charity needs to now take a step up and support itself.” Ms Inglis appealed to other rabbit and animal lovers to show their support and help bring the cash-strapped charity back into business. She said they needed people from all sorts of backgrounds to help out, such as those with time to spare who would like to volunteer and those with expertise in running charities and fundraising. She said more volunteers would alleviate the constant pressure on her and her husband, which would give them the opportunity to find full-time work and pay for their house.

www.rabbitrunaway.org.au

A Hutch is not Enough

The campaign ‘A Hutch is Not Enough’.was started thanks to the Rabbit Welfare Association in the UK. The campaign is directed at people who still don’t realise what rabbits need to lead full and contented lives and should not be left isolated and forgotten in a backyard hutch. They have a brilliant video too. You can see it here on Youtube - http://youtu.be/m4z_Mrg-lpc

www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk

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Life at the Do Hop Inn
By Karen (www.boingonline.com)

EC tests
Recently we took Saffy, Finn & Tinkerbelle to the Melbourne Rabbit Clinic for a blood test to check whether they are carrying the parasite Encephalitozoon Cuniculi.

Missy
After last month’s life saving surgery for Missy, we are happy to report that she is still fabulous & doing super well!!

Saffy & Finn (the “fuzzlies”) The Melbourne Rabbit Clinic are undergoing a study on healthy rabbits without any symptoms of EC to see how many actually carry the parasite. Results next month!

Ginger

Tinkerbelle

Hugo

Ginger had a recent checkup due to his teeth issues. He has a reoccurring molar spur that grinds down into a very nasty point. It’s been 9 months and now it’s reappeared. Not too bad really. Goes to show a good hay diet can keep molar spurs down quite significantly!! Anyway, he will be booked in soon for a molar trim to grind down that nasty spur. Fortunately, we have caught it just before it caused any ulcers or pain inside the mouth.

Indoor bunnies means a second moult in the middle of winter so it was inevitable to have a sick bunny at some stage. Hugo was moulting and didn’t feel well one night. Critical care feeds and fluids and he was fortunately back to his happy self the next day. Just in time to boss his sister Ruby & mum Lucky around!

Encephalitazoon Cuniculi
www.melbournerabbitclinic.com

How do we diagnose EC?
A blood test (serology) is available that tells us if your rabbit has produced antibodies to this parasite. Although serology is useful to rule out EC as a cause of symptoms, a positive result only indicates chronic or latent infection or a mounted antibody response but resolved infection. A positive result does not necessarily mean that the parasite is causing the symptoms in a sick rabbit. A second blood test run one month after the first could help identify active infection. If a negative result is obtained, a second blood test is recommended to be repeated 1 month after the first, to confirm that the rabbit has not been recently exposed to EC. It takes 1 month for the body to produce antibodies against EC. Over this period do not introduce any new rabbits into the household. The only definitive test for an active infection is to take a sample of brain (not really an option for a living rabbit).

What is EC?
Encephalitozoon Cuniculi is a single celled organism that commonly infects rabbits. It has also been detected in rodents, guinea pigs, cats, dogs, sheep and other animals. EC is also recognized as an opportunist parasite and can infect immunocompromised humans (humans at risk include AIDs patients, patients undertaking chemotherapy, children and the elderly). Rabbits are infected through ingesting or inhaling the spores (that are passed in the urine of animals with active infection) or from the mother during pregnancy. In studies in other countries (eg. UK, Germany, Italy, Japan, Czech Republic) it has been reported that 40-70% of rabbits have this organism. Not all rabbits with the infection will show clinical signs, about 40-50% of infected rabbits showed clinical signs at the time of the studies. This means that some seemingly healthy rabbits harbour this parasite and one study did show that ¼ of healthy rabbits suffer from active infection. There has not been a study to investigate the prevalence of EC in pet rabbits in Australia. Only studies involving wild rabbits in Victoria in 1980 and Western Australia in 1997 were conducted with 0% and 25% of the rabbits with the organism found respectively.

Can we cure an EC infection?
Unfortunately, as this organism lives in cysts, and total elimination is thought to be impossible. Rabbits previously exposed to EC are at a risk that stress or another suppressive factor (eg. another medical condition) may act as a trigger for reactivation of the infection. Fenbendazole (panacur) and similar drugs may decrease and limit the load of EC in the body. It is recommended to treat rabbits testing positive for EC with Fenbendazole for an initial course of 30 days and then treat for a course of 9 days every 6 months.

Where is EC found in the body?
EC commonly targets the brain, the spine, the lens in the eyes and the kidneys. In acute infections, it can be present in the lungs.

Why do we not know more?
There is still not a lot known about EC and how to treat this in rabbits. As rabbits are just becoming popular pets, it is only now that research is starting in this area. The Melbourne Rabbit clinic is currently conducting a study to determine how common EC infection is in pet rabbits – both in healthy and sick rabbits. Ask one of our staff members how you can participate in this study.

What does it do?
Although many rabbits can live quite normally with an infection, some rabbits can show signs of kidney disease (drinking and urinating more), balance problems (head tilts), seizures, spinal problems (difficulties walking, urine scalding and paralysis). We can also see cataracts caused by EC when the rabbit is infected prior to birth.

What can you do at home?
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Blood testing of all rabbits in the household is recommended so that their EC status is identified Rabbits testing positive for EC should be treated and separated from rabbits testing negative for EC In-contact rabbits should be commenced on prophylactic treatment for EC Strict hygiene practices should be employed at all times The spores shed in urine are readily destroyed by most routine disinfectants. Spores are shed in the urine of infected rabbits and can otherwise survive for <1 week at 4 degrees, but are viable for at least 6 weeks at 22 degrees and in dry conditions It is also recommended to restrict contact of infected rabbits with humans at risk

6. Bunny with head tilt

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