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Fall 1999
Volume 3 Number 3


Way Up in the Sky … the Little Buns Fly by Kismet Moore
Skin Disorders in Rabbits by Dr. Robert Nathan
When the Fur is Flying by Kristi Cole



Chapter Messages

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Way Up in the Sky … the Little Buns Fly

 By Kismet Moore, with some help from Libby Moore, Educator, Southland House Rabbit Society

Humph! The indignities I am forced to submit to! I was uprooted one snowy afternoon from my comfy pen, where I was still nosing around to find the remains of my Christmas repast. Had a tidbit of cilantro escaped my attention? Suddenly I am forcibly dragged away from my quest.

Put me down, you oafs! Stop manhandling me! I writhe and kick but am unable to free myself.

California on a Carrot a DayI spread my hind legs in order to resist being shoved into the tiny solitary confinement box, but to no avail. The bars slam shut behind me and I am now only able to stare out the tiny opening. I am imprisoned! I hear another door slam shut and know that my buddy Max has met the same fate. The sweat box suddenly lurches and sways and I am moving. The vet, I think… has to be the vet. I lick my sharp teeth in anticipation of the flesh that will await me.

But I am to be denied even that small pleasure. After a very long ride in the car, the bars open for a moment and fresh romaine and carrots are placed in front of me. Food! I can always eat! There are droplets of water on these salad fixings, which makes them even more crunchy. I inhale them with my usual speed as we lurch from place to place. I hear noise and loudspeakers but it all means little to me. If it said "Kismet Moore, there is a buffet waiting for you at Gate C-28," I'd pay attention, but that announcement does not seem to be forthcoming.

My human opens the gate and prattles something to me about being a "good bunny" and that when she sees me next, I will be in a nice warm place. Hey, I ain't ready to go THERE yet. Whatever. Just get me some food when I get there.

Another big lurch of the prison box and suddenly I am moving along on some conveyor thing. What the heck is this? Where am I going? Hey!! Someone listen up here 'cause I don't like being treated like this! I see Max in HIS little torture chamber... HE is still with the human. HE is not being abandoned! I yank on the bars with my teeth but they are solid and cruelly restrain me.

The box is thrown upon a cart and then driven all around hell's half-acre. Suddenly I emerge into the cold air. What do they think this is… the tropics? I want a hot toddy! I see another, bigger prison and in it is a snarling beast. A dog. I give him an evil stare and he cowers, whining. Mangy cur.

We sit waiting in the cold, freezing our tails off until some unmotivated human worker drone comes and dumps our jail cells into the bottom of an airplane. It stinks in here. There are no in-flight movies or cocktails served and I want to know why! Stewardess! What did the human pay for? I demand flowers in the men's room, a massage, and a margarita! What kind of airline is this?

I finally lay down on my towel and decide to sleep, though I keep one eye partly open on that dog. You never can tell with them.

I am rudely awakened by the screech of tires and a big jolt. Someone teach that pilot how to fly this thing. I have never traveled in such primitive conditions.

Once more my prison is moved, this time to some sort of warehouse. I get it. I am to be left here. Abandoned for all time. What an end for a beautiful rabbit with a sweet disposition such as mine. My ears droop with sadness as I am dumped unceremoniously on a conveyor belt. Will these indignities never end?

Suddenly my human is there, making a big fuss over me. "Kismet!" she cries. Humph. Just where has she been? Where am I? I am offended and I turn my rear towards her. I must let her know of my displeasure with this gauntlet I have been forced to run.

I see Max, looking at me smugly from his little pen. He whispers "I got to travel in cabin and she gave me her banana from her breakfast tray!" He snickers. He will pay later.

We move outside and I am warmed by the sun. I see so many people… they all have telephones growing out of their heads and sunglasses on. Hmmmm… there goes one in a bikini… I think I might like it here after all.

Human's note: Kismet, a 13 lb. New Zealand Red bun, and Max, a 4 lb. Holland lop, made a trip on Continental Airlines from Cleveland to Los Angeles in December. Kismet's fat body could not fit into an under-the-seat carrier, so he basically ate himself into having to fly cargo. Max was able to fit nicely into the 8" tall regulation carrier, so he rode all snug and comfy in cabin, complete with snacks. Kismet arrived none the worse for wear in spite of his complaints.

Continental was our airline of choice, as they have begun to make a name for themselves as pet transporters. They were attentive to my concern for Kismet's well-being, and the captain even called down to make sure Kismet was not left behind in Cleveland. The flight was non-stop -- I would certainly recommend that if possible. Continental allows two pets in cabin per flight, but they must fit in the under-seat carrier, and you must give advance notice. They also require a veterinary health inspection certificate that must be signed no more than three days in advance. Lastly, the animal must be able to turn around in the carrier. I was impressed at the rules that seemed designed for the animals' well-being. The cargo area was heated and pressurized, and occupied only by pets. There is a $50 charge per pet on Continental; other airlines may charge different amounts.

Many airlines do not allow rabbits in cabin at all. If you want to carry your bunny in the cabin, which of course is preferable to cargo, choose one that will let him accompany you! The flight attendants fussed over Max and he seemed to take the flight in stride, in spite of being a rather high-strung rabbit. A friend of mine flew recently with her rabbit, and the flight attendants rounded up all the extra baby carrots from uneaten salads and gave them to the bunny!

My flight was four hours, so I did not give large amounts of food or even a bottle of water (which would have spilled in the carrier). Instead I soaked lettuce leaves and carrots, letting the rabbits get a bit of water from them instead. An international flight would definitely require a spill-proof water bottle in the carrier.

With a little planning and the right airline, your bunny's flight can be smooth and relatively stress-free. Both of my rabbits came through with "flying colors"! If you have any questions about flying with your bunny, feel free to email me at libarmstrong@earthlink.net

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Skin Disorders in Rabbits

by Dr. Robert Nathan
Bird and Exotic Specialty Hospital
4873 Richland Avenue
Norton, OH  44203

The quality time you spend cuddling with your rabbit provides a good opportunity to check his skin. A variety of skin diseases are common in pet rabbits. Signs of skin disease include fur loss, redness, itching, scales, and odor.

The rabbit fur mite, Cheyletiella parasitivorax, is a common cause of skin disease. Typically, you will sees fur loss with scales on the top of the neck and rump. The mite causes variable amounts of itching. Veterinarians will usually diagnose this mite by taking a skin scraping and examining it under the microscope. If present, the mite is treated with an injectable medication, Ivermectin, every two weeks for two to three treatments.

Ear mites, Psoroptes cuniculi, cause significant irritation to the rabbit. Rabbits frequently scratch at their ears and shake their heads. These mites can be seen by your veterinarian with an otoscope or under the microscope. The treatment is either a topical medication or injectable Ivermectin given every two weeks for three treatments.

Rabbits can become infested with fleas if they are housed with infested dogs or cats. There are a number of products that have been safe and effective for eliminating fleas in rabbits. Ask your veterinarian first before using any flea product on your rabbit! There have been anecdotal reports of fatalities using certain products.

Ringworm is occasionally seen in pet rabbits. In large rabbit colonies, there may be stressors that predispose rabbits to infection. Ringworm is actually a fungal skin disease that has the potential to be zoonotic . A zoonotic disease is one that is transmissible from animals to people. Therefore proper hygiene after handling your rabbit is important Ringworm frequently causes dry, scaly skin with thinning hair that falls out easily. It may or may not be itchy. A fungal culture is often used for diagnosis. Treatment varies depending upon the severity of the infection, but may include clipping of affected fur, topical sprays/creams, and systemic oral antifungal medication.

"Sore Hocks" or ulcerative pododermatitis is another common problem, especially in large, sedentary, obese rabbits. There may be a genetic predisposition to develop this disease. It starts with small erosions (ulcers) in the skin on the bottom of the hocks. If left untreated, these ulcers become severe enough to affect underlying bone. This is not an easy disease to treat. Foot bandages and systemic antibiotics are often necessary. If allowed to become severe the lesions may never heal. The best treatment is prevention. Allow frequent exercise for weight control. Be sure cages are kept clean and dry. If housed on wire, make sure adequate padding is available.

Urine scald occurs from constant skin exposure to urine. This may occur with obesity, urinary tract infections, and kidney disease. A thorough medical work up may be necessary to determine the cause. Blood work, urinalysis, and radiographs may be required. Treatment depends upon severity, and correcting any underlying disease is necessary. Gently clipping the affected skin and applying topical astringents is helpful. In chronic cases, surgery has proven helpful in alleviating the scald.

Constant drooling or "slobbers" from dental disease may cause a moist dermatitis around the chin. It is best controlled by treating the underlying dental disease.

These are just a few of the common skin diseases found in pet rabbits. Regular grooming, including nail trimming, is an important part of rabbit care. Most signs of skin disease are fairly easy to spot. As with most diseases, dermatological problems are easiest to treat when caught early. With care, you will have a long, happy relationship with your rabbit and not a "hare" raising experience.


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When the Fur is Flying ...

by Kristi Cole

Put multiple rabbits in a household with a husband suffering from allergies and asthma, and you'll have to learn, as I have, how to keep allergy symptoms to a minimum.

noses knowOne of the most noticeable improvements came when we purchased some air cleaners. The kind that have HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters are the best for allergy sufferers. We have 3 HEPA air cleaners; one in the bedroom and one in each of the two main rabbit areas of the house. We also have a filter in our furnace that is designed to block microscopic allergens. All of these filters help improve the quality of air in the house and should be changed frequently. They have made a significant difference in the severity my husband's allergy symptoms.

The doctor recommended having a "safe haven," a room in the house where no pets are allowed and that has filtered air so that the allergy sufferer can get away from the irritants. The bedroom was the best choice, because that way the body can rejuvenate itself while sleeping without having to fight allergens. We took his suggestion.

Frequent dusting and vacuuming are very important. As we rabbit lovers know, when bunnies shed, the fur can really fly and get into areas we never imagined. Along with this fur is the dander that so severely affects some people. Hay also can put dust and pollen into the air. If hay seems to be a big factor with your allergy, have someone else handle it if possible. If you are the sole caretaker, try handling the hay with gloves and wear a dust mask over your mouth and nose. It really helps. Groom your rabbit outside if practical -- that way the fur and the dander aren't in your living area. Taking your medicine and protecting yourself by wearing masks before exposure works best. It's easier to prevent the symptoms from occurring than trying to stop them once they've surfaced. Since it is hard to get an allergy attack under control once it has started, it's much better to prevent it from ever escalating to that point.

Over-the-counter and prescription remedies can be very helpful in controlling allergy symptoms. The doctor prescribed several kinds to try and my husband is using the most effective ones regularly. The market offers a variety of different pills, inhalers, eye drops, and nasal sprays, so ask your doctor about them. Once the doctor understood that getting rid of the pets was not an option for us (of course the first suggestion is to remove the irritant), he was willing to work with us to minimize symptoms.

For more severe cases, you made need to consider tests to determine if you are allergic to hay, rabbits or to both. A rabbit serum in the form of an allergy shot is now available to desensitize you to that specific allergen.

There are ways to manage your allergies while sharing your life with rabbits. Yes, it takes a few changes in routine, some diligence, and sometimes a cooperative physician, but it is well worth the extra effort!

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Our Readers Write: Chocolate Dipped

by Missy Mansfield

Our house rabbit, C.D. (Chocolate Dipped), is doing well and adjusting to all the new commotion in the house. I had twins last October! The kids like "their" bunny and squeal with delight when they see him. And he likes to tickle them with his whiskers. I'm teaching Rick and Kala to pet him with the back of their hands so they don't accidentally pull his fur. We all need to live and play together because we all share the same space. C.D. has never had a cage since we rescued him.

I've come up with a way to camouflage his litter box, since it's in the living room. I bought one of those cheap accent tables from Walmart/Kmart. First, I put it over his box until he got used to it. Then, I bought a table cloth to cover the table, cutting a slit up one side and tying back the opening to form an inverted V. Once C.D. gets used to it, I'll let the slit down to totally conceal the box. I bet he'll get used to that too -- he's so smart!


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Home Sweet Home

by Snooks Eash, with some help from Jean

Hmmm ... a garageMy name is Snooks, the "Easherbunny." My first accommodations were a huge box. I litter trained myself in two days and then advanced to a cage. Well, the Eashes decided the cage looked a little tacky in their new foyer, so Paul and his carpenter friend set out to build me a house. I got to help pick out the design, as you can see in this first picture.

When all was finished, I had a brand-new, two-story, single garage home with tile floor for my litter box and carpet on the second floor (especially nice for my afternoon naps). Wire mesh is on the main floor for my hay, which sometimes falls into a metal drawer that slides under my front porch. Jean and Paul thought of everything! Why, there are even miniature blue lights under the eaves and a chimney that I don't need. I'm allowed to run free, but I love my house. It's big enough for two bunnies. Maybe one day I'll get to share it with a friend!

the Snooks residence


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More Rabbit Vets

This has become a feature on the website, updated as we get more information.  Click here to find the Recommended Vets.


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The Roaming Bunny

by Patricia Na, 1999

Once upon a time,
A little bunny roamed.
Searching high and low
Through hill and dale she combed.

What would such a small
Bunny need so badly?
Up and down she went,
Racing almost madly.

Then one rainy day,
She sat below a bush.
Getting very wet,
Her head, her tail, her tush!

Next a car drove up,
The driver now had stopped.
Slipping on the mud,
He caught her though she hopped.

Soon our little friend,
Was sitting in a cage.
Right by cats and dogs,
Both young and of old age.

All around our bunny,
Strange sounds rang day and night.
Even in her bed,
She shivered with much fright.

Five long days passed by,
For our bunny hero.
Visitors there were many,
But for bunny? Zero.

Then one pleasant morn,
Two people came to see.
Little bunny thought,
"Are they coming for me?"

Yes! The people stopped
And opened up her box.
Gentle little pets,
Then no! Again the locks!

Still alone that night.
She ate but rather sadly.
Please come back again,
She wished it very badly.

Morning came again,
Our bunny full of hope.
"I won't give up!" she thought.
"Not now, not ever, NOPE!"

Suddenly a sound
Bunny turned around.
What a sight did she
See and jumped with glee?

The person was back!
I think it's time to pack!
Yes, she came to pet me!
I'll join her if they'll let me!
Oh yes, she put a sign,
It says "This bunny's mine!"
I'll never have to roam,
'Cause this bunny's got a HOME!!!


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Beware of... Raccoons??

by Kristi Cole

I want to tell the story of one of the rabbits I fostered this summer. He was a stray named Hudson (after the city where he was found). The lady who found him was awakened in the night by screaming outside. She ran out to find a raccoon dragging Hudson by his face! She distracted the raccoon with a branch to get him to stop and brought Hudson into her garage.

When I got him, he had lots of holes and scabs on his very swollen face. Our veterinarian had to anesthetize him and peel off all the scabs in order to flush out the wounds. He said the raccoon teeth had gone all the way through into the mouth and when he flushed the wounds, it was like a sprinkler. Hudson was put on antibiotics and his wounds were flushed at home twice daily. At a follow-up vet visit, we were all pleasantly surprised with Hudson's progress. No abscesses had formed, which was our biggest fear. Six weeks later, you can hardly tell what happened, and for that we are thankful.

However, Hudson was very lucky. Raccoons are a very underestimated enemy of rabbits and can actually fatally wound them. If your rabbit spends some time outdoors, please make sure he is under close supervision by you and has a very secure enclosure. Raccoons can be very clever and have unique ways of getting into areas that we think they cannot access. Please do not leave your rabbit outdoors at night. That is the more likely time that predators would have an opportunity to attack. And remember that rabbits can actually shut down and die from fear alone, so there doesn't have to be direct contact for your rabbit to come in harm's way.


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Chapter Picnic!

The Buckeye HRS picnic held in June at the Doherty's home in Aurora was a big success with close to 50 people this year. There was a lot of fun, good food, and socializing with other rabbit lovers. Several chapter foster bunnies were there and one got adopted that day. Another two were adopted later as a result of their new families' meeting them at the picnic. Stories and photos were exchanged, as were offers of future bunnysitting services. The photo contest was a big hit. Next time, we'll publish the winning photos in the fall issue of Harelines, so get those cameras ready. We look forward to seeing familiar faces next year and hope that those who didn't make it this year will join us next summer. your photo can go here!

Members participate in the photo contest
at the Buckeye HRS
summer picnic


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7/90 to 11/98

You were my precious old B-Bop who would always come into my room before bedtime for your nightly dose of bunny kisses.

Your lips were so cute and orange after eating carrots - your favorite treat.

You were the sweetest and most "human" bunny I have ever known.

You sensed when I was unhappy or worried and always nudged me to let me know you loved me.

Romeo, you are in my heart forever and are truly a lover bunny.

We miss you "Old Wise One".

 -- Gina Stumpfl (Mommy)

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Special Dates

Congratulations and best wishes to these cherished bunnies and their devoted human companions!

Celebrating in September:

Cocoa, 2 years with Katy; Hasenpfeffer with Rita; Lucy, 1 year with Paul; Murphy, 1 year with Susan and Michele; Carmel, 3 years with Christine; Betsy, 1 year with Georgia; Louie, 7 years with Liz; Ricky, 2 years with Pat; Helo with Carolyn; Yugo, 3 years with Jennifer; Silly-Bunny, 4 years with Bob; Lucy, 3 years with Kris.

Celebrating in October:

Buster, 2 years with Lori; Cocobunny, 2 years with Carole; Ricochet, 5 years with Julie; Snowball with Cathy; Max, 1 year with Liz; Flower with Karen; Snoopy with Debi; Zoe, 2 years with JoAnn; Arlie and Jazz with Joni; Bucky, 8 years with Kim.

Celebrating in November:

Smudge, 5 years with Bob; Buddy, 1 year with Allie; Snickers, 7 years with Diane; Princess with Eileen; Cinibun, 1 year with Shannon; Sashe with Michella; Superbunny, 2 years with Victoria; Pooky and Tribble, 3 years with Joyce; Cooper Bun-Bun, 3 years with Gina; Laurel with Scott; Coco and Pepper, 3 years with Clay and Nancy.

Celebrating in December:

Vincent, 2 years with Carla and Patrick; Lauren, 3 years with Kathy; Mitzi, 6 years with Kathleen and David; Bugs, 8 years with Tony and Vicki; Molly, 1 year with Susan and Michele; Deidra, 1 year with Sydney; Richmond, 1 year with David and Herta; Pepper Winston, 5 years with Debbie; Peanut, 3 years with Marie; Bundles, 2 years with Susan and Henry; Ashes and Freckles, 2 years with Donna; Valentine, 3 years with Bob.


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Chapter Messages

Spay/Neuter Help Needed

Please consider an extra donation to help us with the costs of spaying and neutering all of the foster bunnies the Buckeye HRS takes in. The past six months have been the busiest time in the history of our chapter and we could really use some additional funds to help cover these important procedures. Thanks in advance for your generosity.


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Newsletter in Print

This webzine is based entirely on the Harelines printed newsletter. The printed copy is sent out to members much before it appears here -- that's one way we can encourage you to support it by becoming a member. If you find you are reading this website regularly or with special appreciation, please consider becoming a member of the Buckeye House Rabbit Society.

Now's the time to join! Your $10 membership donation pays for one year's issues of Harelines AND helps us help needy rabbits here in Ohio. We are an all-volunteer, federally-recognized non-profit organization and depend solely on YOUR generous support. Don't forget, your donation is tax-deductible! Kari loves Buckeye members

Don't let this issue of Harelines be the last to reach the web. Send your membership to us today!


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Special Thanks to:


Harelines, the Buckeye House Rabbit Society Newsletter, is published by the all-volunteer, non-profit Buckeye House Rabbit Society, Vickery, OH. The House Rabbit Society assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions.

Newsletter editor Herta Rodina

Layout and Design Ellen B. Eder

Contributing Writers
Kristi Cole
Kristen Doherty
Jean Eash
Eileen Matias
Libby Armstrong Moore
Patricia Na
Dr. Robert Nathan

David Sharpe

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