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August 2013 – we took in 8 rabbits that had been living in a large hutch but could no longer be cared for by their owners, a father and his daughter. Due to the terrible weather conditions the rabbits living area had been full of mud and water and the rabbits all had dermatitis on their legs and underbellies. Some of the rabbits were very unwell and thin. One male we named Salty was particularly thin and his legs were very red and sore. The previous owners did not know a lot about rabbits and how to care for them and admitted that things had got out of hand as they had started with only 2 and at one stage had as many as 32. Once the father became ill it was very hard for him to look after the animals and to help his young daughter out. He also admitted he did not know a lot about the care the rabbits needed. So although the rabbits were in bad conditions it was not done out of cruelty or lack of care. It was simply a case of not having done the research to begin with and then things quickly got out of control. We are grateful that this family contacted us for help and that we were able to take in the 8 rabbits. Rather than cast blame at people I am more interested in the lessons that can be learned from people about this situation. Please make sure you do your homework before any new pet enters your household. Please spay and neuter and vaccinate your pets and if in trouble please contact organisations like Big Ears to ask for advice or help, we are after all there for the animals.
We took the rabbits straight to the vet and they were all weighed, vaccinated for calici, treated with Revolution for mites, given vitamin injections and most were washed and antibiotic cream applied to their sore red areas. When we got the bunnies home, one female we named Bandita immediately gave birth to 6 kits. It was a stress birth and she had not prepared a nest or anything for them. We quickly gave her a birthing box and tried to make her as comfortable as possible. Unfortunately, all of her kits passed away.
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August has seen some more sadness with the passing of Buster the rabbit. He was quite notorious for his naughty ways, including biting and chasing but he was loved by every volunteer that came into contact with him. We were doing a routine health check when I found a lump on the side of his jaw. I sent him straight to the vet suspecting teeth trouble. He had an abscess on his jaw that was tooth related but the location of the abscess was not good. The abscess was on a major artery and a nerve so surgery could not be performed.
We also said goodbye to Tilly, one of our founding bunnies who also had a terrible mouth abscess. Another rabbit named Blissie passed away as ell, she was best friends with Mr Inky and he is the one who is unwell with a kidney disease and we were all surprised when she passed away before he did.
We took in Lucky the rooster who was lovingly rescued by some people who had previously saved his friend Tangerine. Lucky had been dumped on a busy roadway and many of his friends and other hens had been killed on that road. After a number of months of trying to catch him they finally did and bought him to Big Ears. Lucky is one happy boy, he struts around the yard and has made some hen friends.
Toggle the little white lop bunny also passed away. He had been unwell and at the vet for a number of days. When he didn’t improve they opened him up and found that he had a large mass in his tummy and he could not be saved.
We also said goodbye to Sally the hen who was very ill and despite our best efforts did not make it and Leroy the rooster also passed away.