BUNS Annual Meeting, Safe Salads, and more...The Carrot Tribune - October 2018

The Carrot Tribune

In this issue...

  • Annual Meeting: October 23
  • Basic Bunny and Guinea Pig Classes
  • October Pignic and Hoppy Hour
  • Guinea Pig of the Month
  • Safe Salads: How high calcium vegetables affect your rabbit
  • Ralphs Community Rewards Program
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Annual Meeting

Our Annual Meeting to elect members to the BUNS Board of Directors will be October 23, starting 6pm at Rusty's Pizza Parlor (5934 Calle Real, Goleta CA, 93117)

In order to vote for board members, you must be a volunteer in good standing over the age of 18 and completed more than 20 hours of volunteer service with BUNS in the six months prior to the meeting. The meeting is also open to the general public.

Check our Facebook Events Page later this month for further details...

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Basic Bunny and Guinea Pig Classes

Our next class is October 13. Join us on our Facebook event page to learn more! 

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)

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Pignic and Hoppy Hour

Bring your fuzzy friend, October 27 from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM and give them an opportunity to socialize with other rabbits and guinea pigs! Socialization is a very important part of overall rabbit and guinea pig welfare, and a Hoppy Hour is the perfect opportunity to let your fuzzy one 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 or guinea pig. All animals must be healthy and rabbits must have been spayed or neutered at least 30 days in advance.

Please join us for an afternoon of fun!

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Guinea Pig of the Month

Frankie is a shy and sweet piggy boy who likes a good cuddle. He calms down nicely with pets and treats, and gives you a chance to really appreciate what a nice chap he is. Frankie's great hope is to find a calm and loving home where he can thrive!

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Safe Salads: How high calcium vegetables affect your rabbit

By BUNS Volunteer Jean Silva

We’ve all seen the yellowish white crust in the bottom of the litter box.  It is calcium. Rabbits need calcium. Calcium helps growing rabbits build strong bones and teeth.  Adult rabbits, because their teeth continue to grow, continue to need calcium.  A 5.5 pound adult rabbit needs around 510 milligrams (mg) per day.  A shortage of calcium in the diet is suspected as a cause of weak bones and dental disease. 

Rabbits absorb calcium into their blood stream from their gut.  The process is passive. The more calcium in the gut, the more calcium is absorbed into the blood stream. It is up to the kidneys to filter excess calcium out of the blood stream. Calcium is passed from the kidneys, in urine, to the bladder and your litter box.  The calcium builds up in the litter box as a yellowish white crust.  This is normal.

Sometimes, though, calcium begins to accumulate in the bladder or kidneys.  Ask your vet, but they will tell you that no one knows exactly why this happens.  But a build up of calcium in the kidneys and bladder IS a problem.  So, as you clean the litter box, keep an eye out for visible amounts of calcium floating in the urine. Calcium can show up as a white, sludgy grit or fine sandy gravel that your pet will pass in along with urine.  As you can imagine, passing sludge or fine gravel is painful. A trip to the vet is called for.

Calcium can also form stones in the bladder and the kidneys.  Stones in the bladder scratch the bladder wall which opens the body to infection.  Stones can also block the urethra preventing your pet from peeing.  Large stones must be removed surgically: never a happy prospect. The illustration shows a rabbit that has stones in her kidney, urethra and a very large stone in her bladder 

If you find that your pet is peeing sludge, dribbling pee, and/or straining to pee and tooth grinding while peeing, he may have a bladder stone. You will need to seek immediate veterinary care. 

Although the causes of bladder stones are unknown, we can give our rabbits the healthiest diet we know how.  That diet must include enough calcium to meet your bunny’s needs.  Healthy levels of calcium can be found in grass hay. Grass hay should be 80% of your rabbit’s diet.  Grass hay is what they evolved to eat.  It keeps their teeth, gut, kidneys and bladder healthy. The same amount of alfalfa or clover hay, on the other hand has 2 to 5 times as much calcium.

Make your salad using vegetables that have moderate levels of calcium.  I use a lot of cilantro, romaine or other lettuce, and chard.  To these vegetables I may add one vegetable that is higher in calcium. When I make a salad I use a ratio of three vegetables with moderate calcium to one high calcium vegetable.  Common vegetables with high levels of calcium are kale, parsley and dandelion greens. THe BUNS website has a list of calcium levels in vegetables for your use

Pellets also provide needed calcium. The percentage of calcium is listed on each bag of pellets.  For an adult rabbit, look for a pellet that shows the recommended level of 0.6%.  Oxbow makes adult rabbit pellets with the recommended level of calcium.  Do not feed pellet mixes, with grains, dried fruit and vegetables.  When completely eaten, they will provide the calcium level shown on the bag. But rabbits will eat the items they prefer, causing their calcium intake to be different from that shown on the bag.

While fruit is low in calcium, it is recommended in small amounts only due to their high sugar content.  Sugar, while not “dangerous” to rabbits, can make your bunny fat. It can also make your bunny turn up its nose at foods that are a healthier choice. Use fruit as a treat 

For more information on calcium in rabbits and guinea pigs go to https://rabbit.org/lowering-blood-calcium/ and http://www.guinealynx.info/chart.html

For more information on Salads read: http://www.bunssb.org/bunnies/salad-days/

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Ralphs Community Rewards Program

If you haven't done so already, it's itme to renew your Ralphs Communicty Rewards Program! 

For Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter to benefit from your purchases at Ralphs, you must register your Ralphs Rewards Card or phone number on their website. Once you have registered, you must re-select Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter each September.

For step-by-step instructions on how to register, see the Ralphs Community Rewards Program page on bunssb.org.

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