The Carrot Tribune - July 2017

The Carrot Tribune

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In this issue...

  • Basic Bunny Class
  • July Hoppy Hour
  • Calling all Guinea Pig Experts!
  • If Your Bunny Has Myxomatosis
  • How the Bunnies Gained Independence
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Basic Bunny Class, July 15

1:00 to 2:00 - Handling and Husbandry
2:00 to 2:30 - Training

Bring your Rabbit or Guinea Pig. Learn easy handling and care-taking during the first hour, then for the last half hour play training games that are fun for you and your pet! 

$5.00 for an individual
$10.00 for a family
Free to BUNS volunteers

All classes are in the Humane Society Education Building, at 5399 Overpass Rd, Goleta, (to the east  of the Animal Shelter)

Our next class is July 15. Join us on our Facebook event page to learn more! 

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July Hoppy Hour

Bring your fuzzy friend, July 29 from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM and give them an opportunity to socialize with other rabbits! Socialization is a very important part of overall rabbit welfare, and a Hoppy Hour is the perfect opportunity to let your bunny play with others. 

Hoppy Hour will take place on the Humane Society Lawn, at 5399 Overpass Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93111. Admission is $10 per rabbit. All animals must be healthy and rabbits must have been spayed or neutered at least 30 days in advance.

We'll be providing light refreshments for both you and your bunny, so please join us for an afternoon of fun!

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Calling All Guinea Pig Experts!

If you have experience with piggie-wrangling and cavy care-taking, BUNS is looking for you! 

WHAT: BUNS needs volunteers (age 16 or older) with experience socializing and bonding guinea pigs, doing nail trims, health checks, grooming fur, cleaning ears, bathing, and possibly, in future, chaperoning or “bouncing” at our Pignic events.

WHO: BUNS currently has a nice assortment of super-cute guinea pig males and females in pairs and singles.

WHEN: Your talents are needed for a regular weekly shift of  2 or more hours at the shelter and / or helping at our quarterly Pignic events.

If you have some, but not all, of the above skills, we’d still love your assistance! Please email or call us at 805-683-0521.

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Miss Caress

Miss Caress is our Bunny of the Month! She's a shy but curious girl, who has a lovely spirit and  a regal manner. She appreciates pets and scratches around her beautiful ears, and speaking of beautiful - her coat is incredibly soft and shiny! Miss Caress is ready to find her forever family.

Want to know who our Guinea Pig of the Month is? You'll have to visit our website!

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If Your Bunny Has Myxomatosis

Since the beginning of the year BUNS has heard of six cases of Myxomatosis at four different veterinary clinics. The seventh case was at the shelter, Jewel came into us with Myxomatosis.  Myxomatosis is a fatal viral disease affecting only rabbits. It is transmitted by biting insects, mosquitoes, fleas, biting flies, and ticks.  We have an article on our website about the disease and how to prevent it:

This week, BUNS has spoken to two people who were afraid that their bunny had myxomatosis.  In both cases the rabbit had one or more of the symptoms: lethargy, swelling of the eyes, ears, lips, genitalia and anus.  We just experienced a case of myxomatosis at the shelter. This is what we learned.

First, make an appointment with your vet. Your vet can diagnose the illness and advise you on what to do next.  

Second, even before seeing your vet, move the sick bunny into a room with no open windows or doors, no other bunnies and little traffic. If your bunny has myxomatosis, s/he is now a source of the virus. If s/he is bitten by an insect, that insect can give the disease to another bunny.  Even if you do not have another bunny, your sick bunny could be the source of infection and death for another bunny in the neighborhood. 

Third if you have other bunnies, move them into a separate room from the bunny you think is sick.  Keep the doors and windows closed.  Plan to monitor your other rabbits for signs of the disease for 14 days. 

Fourth, make sure flea control for all your pets is up to date.  Your dog or cat will not catch myxomatosis. But they could provide a ride to a flea that fed on your bunny. That flea could transmit the disease to other bunnies in your home or even in the neighborhood.  

If you are not using flea control, start now.  BUNS is using Vectra 3D which, in addition to killing fleas, repels 80% of three of the four types of mosquitoes common in our county. However, like most flea products, its use is off-label for rabbits.  Additionally, if your rabbit weighs less than 5 lbs, you will need to use less than the pre-packaged dose.  Discuss flea control with your vet before selecting any product.

Fifth, prepare yourself, your family and your bunny for the possibility of euthanasia. There is no treatment for Myxomatosis. The disease rapidly progresses to death. However in the days before your rabbit dies, they appear to be quite miserable. Euthanasia may be the kindest thing. Spend some time with your rabbit.  If s/he is still eating, serve its favorite foods. Give lots of pets. Give your children a chance to say goodbye. Tell your bunny how glad you are that s/he was in your life. 

If you choose to euthanize, you may take your bunny to the vet. If you would like it done at home, ask your vet. If they are not able to come to your home, BUNS has contact information for several mobile vets. Decide on your pet’s final resting place. Your vet can take care of the body or arrange for cremation. You may decide on home burial.  

The loss of a pet can be as painful as the loss of a family member. If your bunny had a buddy plan of spending extra time with them. Consider how best to help children in the family. Be sure to include yourself for a little extra TLC.  You can always come to the shelter for some bunny time or someone to talk to. The House Rabbit Society has a list of resources:  The Tufts University Pet Loss Support Hotline is available 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm EST Monday through Friday.  They have a downloadable brochure with advice helping your children and companion animals:



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How the Bunnies Gained Independence

By Jean Silva.

In the spirit of the fourth of July.

In the early ‘90s the County Animal Shelter, where BUNS operates, barely had enough staff to care for the dogs. The director of Animal Services was a former health educator with a passion for children but not for animals.. He was happy to have volunteers caring for animals.

When bunny lovers began to care for the rabbits no staff paid much attention. Gradually, we took on more responsibility and more rabbits. The House Rabbit Society had information about diet, housing and exercise. Dr. Haskell helped us with sanitation, disease control and veterinary care. Our friends in the Dog Adoption and Welfare Group (DAWG) let us use their non profit status and we raised money for the rabbit building. We were feeling pretty confident.

The dogs were another story. County staff and DAWG volunteers continually disagreed. The most passionate disagreements dealt with euthanasia and who would decide which dogs would die. But, the volunteers had a role in euthanasia decisions.

The disagreements reached the boiling point and a new director was hired. He was an emergency medical technician with no experience in shelter management. At first the new director spent a lot of time talking with staff and volunteers. We were hopeful that he would bring us all together to work on behalf of the the animals.

One day I arrived at the shelter to find a dog volunteer standing by a kennel sobbing. The staff had taken a dog to be euthanized with no warning. That was how DAWG volunteers learned that they no longer had a say in euthanasia. After that all volunteers were afraid. If a rabbit was left the shelter, volunteers would fear the worst. We learned to put notes on the cages and sign in sheets for rabbits that had gone to foster, the vet or had been adopted. Some days we would see a group of staff, with little smiles, carrying the red box full of euthanasia drugs and know that another dog was about to die. And, weekly, we found dog volunteers mourning over lost friends.

The County did not attempt to euthanize rabbits. Instead the new director informed us that he was moving all rabbit hutches to the Lompoc and Santa Maria Shelters. We had just finished the rabbit building. Our volunteers were talking among ourselves about giving our hutches to the other shelters. But, when the new director announced he was seizing the hutches, we said no. The hutches belonged to BUNS not to the County.

Dr. Haskell had recommended that new rabbits be held in hutches until we were sure they were healthy. The new director responded that rabbits had no value and did not merit this consideration. He did agree that we could have 2 hutches. We continued to use the hutches. One day, I arrived at the shelter to find that staff had taken an axe and demolished a hutch. The pieces were left on the ground in the rabbit area. Shortly after that the new director had staff move all the rabbit hutches to the rear of the shelter and forbade us from using them as long as they were on county property.

Enough was enough. The rabbits decided to fight. We allied with the DAWG volunteers. They had a base of public support. We had people who knew county politics. We drew up Memorandums of Understanding for both groups and presented them to the Public Health Director. We had meetings with members of the Board of Supervisors. We made contributions to political campaigns and held fund raising parties. We reached out to volunteers in Lompoc and Santa Maria and lobbied our supervisors on their behalf.The dogs and the bunnies dug deep, bit hard and would not let go.

It was a painful time. Full of stress. Each time you approached the shelter, you did not know what you would find. Or what would happen when you left. Often at night my husband and I would watch Zulu, a movie about a small band of British soldiers fighting thousands of Zulu warriors. Like them we too hoped to survive, but the outcome looked grim.

Good things did come from our efforts. BUNS and DAWG had their MOU’s approved by the Board of Supervisors. DAWG used part of a bequest and a grant to improve the kennels in Lompoc. The Director of Animal Services was removed. Supervisor Wallace, a vet, visited the Santa Maria Shelter - a derelict house that was too small for health or safety. He left in tears with a dog. A new director Jan Glick, who was an animal shelter professional, was hired as the new director. The County built a beautiful new shelter in Santa Maria.

Since that time, BUNS has had control over what happens within the fence that surrounds the rabbit area. We have been able to provide a no kill shelter in an open admission stray animal shelter. We have been very fortunate and owe a great deal to all the people who supported us, DAWG, the Board of Supervisors and to our director Jan Glick.

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