Contagious Diseases? I have two house rabbits, Sunflower and Blackberry. Currently, they share a room divided by large window screens covered halfway up by plexiglas. Blackberry is an 8 week old female rabbit who has been diagnosed with rabbit snuffles. She is currently being treated with Baytril and Sulfatrim. Her clinical signs have improved greatly. My question is whether I will be able to introduce the rabbits to each other when Blackberry's symptoms stop?
Noelle Liga Auburn, AL
Answer by Carolynn Harvey, DVM: Even when rabbits make an apparently complete recovery from "snuffles," they may still harbor the causative bacteria deep in their nasal passages or sinuses. The chance of Blackberry passing the infection on to your other rabbit will be much less than when she was sneezing and having nasal discharge, but there is still some risk.
The overall health of the other rabbit, its stress level, and its previous exposure will determine the outcome. If you want to know more, nasal culture of the sick rabbit and Pasteurella titers on both could help you further assess the risk. In general, I feel the benefits of companionship outweigh the risk in this situation.
Classroom Comments I loved Carol McCall's article, "A Rabbit in the Classroom" (HRJ, Vol. III, No 10). I was hoping, however, that the article would have ended with the heartless clods (both teachers and students) in her school being educated. If possible, I'd suggest to Carol that she do a school assembly on rabbits and show, with videos or photos, how these rabbits and the rescued guinea pig, play up a storm, now that they are receiving love and proper care. If that is not possible, maybe a photo display on a school wall in the hallway? If the guilty teachers and students see that it was their own lack of compassion that made these animals seem boring and stupid, maybe they'd act differently in the future.
Susan Gordon Plainfield, NJ
Though I applaud Ms. McCall's efforts on behalf of the classroom pets she rescued, there are classrooms where pets are treated with respect. My classroom rabbit Mopsy has the run of all four classrooms on our level which is completely carpeted. At night, I've trained him to go to his cage upon voice command. Our guinea pig, Midnight Flash, receives lots of love and attention from my third graders, even going out to recess when the weather allows. With the right conditions, I've found both rabbits and guinea pigs to be very lovable, ideal classroom pets. Please keep up all the good work the Society does and the informative Journal you produce. It is a great help to those of us with "house" rabbits.
George Hall, Jr New Carrollton, MD
Some teachers are able to bring their companion rabbits into the classroom, where the children can learn about animals as individuals and the responsibility of pet ownership. Having a rabbit in the classroom requires a great deal of attentive monitoring--both children and rabbit--to make it a positive experience for everyone involved.
Matchmaking I have learned a lot, and enjoyed the HRS website (www.rabbit.org). You are all doing great work, and it cheers me to read the adoptions hall of fame. My house rabbit, Amity, who has lived with us since July 1991, just met her new partner, Radar, at a HRS matchmaking on the first weekend in April. After 4 days with the HRS fosterer, Amity and Radar came home on April 10th. It is great to have a happy, bonded pair of houserabbits in the family.
Marion Davis Arlington, VA
Special Needs Rabbits My wife and I are very active in SPCA and rabbits, including providing a copy of House Rabbit Handbook to all bunny adopters. In addition, we are caring for 13 bunnies at the moment--some ours, some fosters, some just bunny sitting for friends. Included are several "special needs" rabbits due to mishandling by previous owners or predator attacks. Needless to say, all are now indoors and spayed/neutered. Enclosed is a picture of Flipper, a special needs rabbit. She is our kitchen bunny, and chooses to live in a grocery sack. She is enjoying a snack of fresh greens and strawberries.