Rabbits need exercise, plenty of water, toys

There's money to be made in scooping poop

My pet rabbit had some impacted poop and I took it off.
I noticed worms and it looks like his rectum is tender. We
cleaned it with warm water and peroxide. He has an appetite and is
drinking but is not walking like he normally does. What should we
do?
Q: My pet rabbit had some impacted poop and I took it off. I noticed worms and it looks like his rectum is tender. We cleaned it with warm water and peroxide. He has an appetite and is drinking but is not walking like he normally does. What should we do?

A:

The worms you see are probably fly larvae or maggots. When excretions accumulate around the vent of a bunny, flies quickly appear and lay their eggs. The larvae that hatch look like little worms and they cause surface irritation, likely the reason for his tenderness and the change in his hop or walk.

Warm water is great for cleaning the area around a rabbit’s vent, but peroxide can actually be irritating and might not help the problem. Use a mild dish soap and be sure to rinse it off thoroughly. Repeat this cleaning several times the first few days. But if those “worms” persist, you’ll need a veterinarian to help with treatment and to prescribe proper medication.

Impactions occur all too often in rabbits and many times they can be prevented. Proper diet and plenty of water are important. But exercise is also crucial. All rabbits need exercise. Sedentary bunnies, especially those that are overweight, are more likely to develop impactions. Rabbits like to play with toys, so let him out to roam in the house or in the yard and have a toy ready for him. A plastic ball is perfect for pushing around and one with a bell inside is even better. (Believe it or not, rabbits love to make a little noise!) Give him a balanced diet, plenty of water and a cool spot to play. All this and your bunny will be healthier and happier.

Q:

Our German shepherd, Sam, injured his tail the other day. No one saw it happen, but he cried out and then came into the house with his tail literally hanging limp. It’s better today, but he still can’t hold it up very well. Our vet told us there isn’t much we can do, but prescribed some steroid pills for him. He told us that the tail should return to normal in a few weeks, but I wonder. Will he get his tail wag back? Or do some dogs end up with a limp tail for life? He looks so pathetic right now.

A:

It sounds as though Sam hyperextended his tail and damaged the nerves. This injury happens mostly to dogs that hold their tail up high. Sam probably fell backwards or was hit from behind by another dog playing.

If the small bones in the tail weren’t separated or pinched too severely, the prognosis is good. Usually if the patient can lift or wag his tail at least a little, he should regain most of his tail movement.

But if the tail dangles loose and limp, and there’s no voluntary movement, the prognosis is grim. In these unfortunate cases, the tail has to be amputated.

You mentioned that Sam’s is a little better today. That’s an encouraging sign. It may be a few weeks before full movement returns. But give him time and TLC, and hopefully he’ll be waggin’ happy in a few weeks.

Q:

We live near some redwoods and one of our dogs got sick. The vet says he has leptospirosis but should recover. We’re vaccinating all the other dogs right away. But the vet says we should see our own doctor. He says that lepto is contagious to humans. How dangerous is this to our kids? And why don’t we have to vaccinate our cat?

A:

Leptospirosis is caused by a microscopic spirochete organism. It’s found in wildlife (including mice, rats and raccoons) and sometimes in domestic animals. Lepto is passed in urine and other body fluids and can survive in the environment (particularly in water) for an extended time.

This bug killed a number of sea lions a while back, and experts believe those marine mammals may have been exposed by contaminated runoff water from the hills in the Carmel valley where wild pigs were found to be infected. Humans can also fall victim to leptospirosis. It causes flu-like symptoms, and children are more susceptible because of their immature immune system. Serious cases can cause kidney failure and hepatitis. I agree that you should consult with your regular doctor to make sure that your children are safe from this dangerous disease.

For some reason, cats have an innate resistance to leptospirosis. They are exposed to the disease just as much as dogs, but fortunately, they rarely fall ill. There is no vaccine available for kitties.

This is a disease that should concern all dog owners that live or play in an area where there is a lot of wildlife. A vaccine is available for at-risk canines. Talk with your veterinarian about whether or not your dog should be inoculated.

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