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Friday, November 10, 2017

GROWING SILING LABUYO

I've had several posts over the years on growing siling labuyo.  If you're thinking of complications of propagation and care, don't.  The plant I'm showing you is about 3-4 feet high already and has been blooming for months now.  But I didn't even plant it.  I think here's what happened.

I have a nearby sili plant.  It bloomed.  The "fruit" fell. The seeds germinated wild and grew into this big plant.  No watering.  No fertilizer.  No special soil.  So I guess just throw a couple of old sili (the ones you don't want to eat anymore) on the soil near plants that you water.  Wait for a few months. That's it.  In fact, I saw a few other small sili plants nearby.

You can even grow it in pots if you want.  Good luck!

Saturday, November 04, 2017

RABBIT FIRST AID IN THE PHILIPPINES: HELP MY RABBIT SURVIVE GI STASIS THROUGH THE NIGHT (19)


GI Stasis is one of the most common rabbit killers -- perhaps only next to baby rabbit diarrhea.

Has your rabbit been lethargic, ignoring hay, veggies, pellets and water?  Has been hunched in a corner?  Has had very few, small and deformed poop? Has been behaving very differently from what you're used to?

These are telltale signs of GI stasis.  You should make plans to bring your rabbit the moment the rabbit vet clinic opens.  Keep in mind that a rabbit is not like a human that can survive weeks of poor appetite.    You're not counting weeks; you're counting hours.

In the meantime, here is the first aid I do for my bunnies:

1) I check if the tummy is bloated (feels like a balloon).

2) Do tummy massages throughout the night.  I tend to do 30 minutes at a time and then let my bunny rest.  Watch Youtube videos on how this is done.

3) Give simethicone at 1 ML / hour for 3 hours via syringe (available in Mercury at about P100 / 10 ML)

4) If tummy is NOT bloated (or has subsided from #2 and #3), hydrate your bunny by force feeding Pedialyte and / or dextrose water.   In my case, it's been easier said than done so I can't really place a limit.  I only give as much as my rabbit lets me.  But just keep in mind that a rabbit can roughly finish a 200 ML drinking bottle in a day (give or take a few depending on the bunny).  Hydration is an urgent concern. 

5) If  tummy is NOT bloated, offer a variety of veggies almost constantly.  Different rabbits will respond to different veggies.  But more often than not, the fragrant ones win the day for me (cilantro, basil, and dill).   Simply putting a bowl in the cage or room is not enough.  Put the veggies in front of your bunny's face.

5.1) Mix the veggies with some Critical Care.  I've had zero luck feeding CC by itself, but good enough chance when I lace the veggies with CC.

6) Keep your rabbit warm.  I usually put a blanket.

7) Give gut motility drugs (metoclopramide & ranitidine).  I use the dosage prescribed by my vet beforehand.

8) Give pain killer (meloxicam).    I use the dosage prescribed by my vet beforehand.   Pain management is extremely important for GI stasis (i.e. they won't eat while in pain).

9) Give probiotics (benebac. NEVER dairy probiotics).  GI comes with a bacterial imbalance that needs to be corrected.

Once you get to the vet, I now always ask for a 100 cc hydration.  Without hydration, the poop in the tummy can harden, causing a blockage which will complicate matters even more.  Even simpler, dehydration can also kill your bunny really fast.   Aside from hydration, your vet can further assess the concern (i.e. is there excessive bacteria in the gut (for antibiotics), are dental issues causing the GI stasis).

Please don't make the mistake of NOT going to the vet.  You are risking you rabbit's life by doing that.  In fact, you may need to bring back your rabbit repeatedly, especially for hydration.

Disclaimer:  I'm not a vet.  I'm not an owner with 200 years of experience.  But I have faced GI stasis so many times this year and I've researched the first aid over and over.  And there's nothing I wouldn't do for my bunnies.    Please do your own research.   I'm merely telling you what has worked for me.

Good luck dear bunny owner!

Related:

First Aid Kit

Rabbit Vets in the Philippines



Wednesday, October 25, 2017

CARING FOR RABBITS IN THE PHILIPPINES: THE IMPORTANCE AND URGENCY OF RABBIT HYDRATION (18)

Rabbit hydration can save your rabbit's life.   In fact I would argue that urgent rehydration has saved my rabbits' lives multiple times.
Here's my story.  Take note of the time stamps.  At 9 PM, my rabbits water bowls are usually replaced.  Lily was still her typical self throughout the night (running & playing).  As I left for the office at around 5 AM, I noticed that her water bowl still seemed rather full.  I replaced her water and left.  Stupid me, I didn't think much of it because I've been very worried about Daisy and her hay intake and took for granted that I may have two sick bunnies at the same time. 
In the middle of meetings, I would typically send SMS to my sister as she normally watches over the bunnies in our absence.  I kept asking about Daisy as I normally do.  At about 3 PM, she told me that she noticed Lily wasn't eating or drinking.  Holy crap -- it suddenly dawned upon me that it may have started from the past night.  That's 18 hours! 
Naturally, I drove home with my wife (I always drive in rabbit emergency situations) and naturally employed my public utility driver ethics on the road.  This was a very urgent situation.  Our vet was in VIP Mandaluyong only until 6 PM (QC to Mandaluyong can be as brutal as 2 hours if you're lucky).   Given those constraints, we didn't have time to observe Lily at all.  I had my sister prepare her stuff so that we can leave right away.  
#Lily_SaveRabbitsPHSo let's pause a bit.  By this time I already knew that she will need 100 CC of fluids.  Whatever the diagnosis may be, I knew that she will need rehydration.  So why not oral rehydration at home?  It will be nearly impossible for a rabbit that doesn't want to eat or drink to be force fed that much.   SubQ was a lot more efficient and fast acting.  
In the car, Lily was already lethargic.  The behavior persisted even when we got to the vet (yes, we made it with time to spare).  So this is where understanding your rabbit's normal behavior comes in handy.  Lily hates being in the vet, especially with dogs.  She thumps and thumps when there are barking dogs.  That time, she was just quiet and not active.  
So while there, she was given 100 CC of a Sodium Chloride solution (.9% I think) along with Baytril (prescribed following a fecal exam), B Complex and a pain killer.  Once that was done, I had the confidence that she would be okay.  
Upon getting home, she started eating small bits of kamote leaves soaked in drinking water.  Within the hour, she pooped some really small dehydrated fecal pellets and peed dark colored urine -- both clear signs of major dehydration.  But she recovered.  By the following morning, she was back to producing giant poops.  
On the side, she was prescribed Baytril and so I'll keep giving that for a couple of days.  I'll also observe and give gut motility as needed.  I was also prescribed pain meds, but did not give that anymore since she regained her appetite right away (key point -- if rabbits are not eating, they are most probably in pain).  
So let me end this with another reflection.  This was a happy ending.  I would reckon, however, that if she did not receive the hydration at that point, things could have easily gone really bad.  Not eating will induce GI.  No drinking will compact the contents of the tummy and make pooping even harder.  Without the first aid, that story would've been over in a day (bad ending).  
For rabbit owners, if your rabbit has the not eating & drinking symptoms, don't hesitate.  You need a rabbit vet immediately or your rabbit can die.  You're not counting days.  You're counting hours. 
In succeeding posts, I'll talk a little more about hydration. I've had a good number of episodes related to this.  Until then, please keep your bunnies hydrated.   



Friday, October 13, 2017

MY MOPHEAD HYDRANGEA IS NOT BLOOMING

Wow, I just realized that my hydrangea is now seven years old.  It's hands down my oldest plant alive.  The problem is that it hasn't bloomed in about 3-4 years.  Well this year I finally sat down and tried to figure it out.  Since it was very prone to wilting, I placed it under a well shaded tree.  It turns out it needs some sunlight in order to flower.  So I pruned the calamansi tree that shades it.

Furthermore, the last time it bloomed, it had pink flowers. I bought it specifically because it had lavender blooms.  To fix that, I also mulched it with some banana peels since supposedly potassium turns it blue.

If you look at the picture, it does look pretty big now -- just no flowers.  Well let's see in a few months if it blooms (I expect March or so).



Thursday, October 12, 2017

RABBIT VETS IN THE PHILIPPINES (17)

As a responsible rabbit owner, one of the first things you need to find is a rabbit savvy vet in the Philippines. Why?  Normal vets can frequently misdiagnose rabbits and give the wrong medicine.  At worst, your rabbit could die.

Fortunately one of our rabbit loving friends is compiling a list of "exotic" pet vets as it's called.  If you know of any ethical bunny vets that are not on this list, please do tell me so that we can add them.

RABBIT VETS IN THE PHILIPPINES

Good luck on your vet trip!



Saturday, September 16, 2017

CARING FOR YOUR RABBIT 16: MY PERSONAL GRASS, FRUIT AND VEGGIE SELECTION FOR MY BUNNIES

Here's a list of grasses and vegetables and fruits that I've tried feeding my bunnies. I'll also put in some that I keep seeing, but haven't tried. For me, grass hay takes 80% of the diet, pellets about 10% and greens another 10%. I'll indicate the max amounts I've tried. Clarification: I don't try them all at the same time. Remember, I just feed 10% greens of the daily diet

This is by no means an exhaustive list. This is just my personal preference. To each his own, right?


Common NameMax TriedComment
Carabao Grass10%1 small bowl per day
Bermuda GrassNAHaven't tried, but common enough in PH
Napier Grass10%About 3 long strands per day (2 ft strands)
Wheat GrassNA
Oat Grass2%1 small bowl per day. Very limited supply
Barley Grass2%1 small bowl per day. Very limited supply
Banana Leaves10%Roughly 12 x 4 inches leaf per day
Basil Leaves5%6-12 mid sized leaves. I give this unlimited during a GI Stasis episode. One of the few my bunny will eat
Mint Leaves1%Very limited supply. I rarely give it.
Dill Bristles5%One foot step. I just feed the bristles, NOT THE STEM. Secondary food during GI stasis.
Sweet Potato Leaves10%About 6-10 mid sized leaves. I give this unlimited during a GI stasis episode. The top food my bunny will eat during an attack
Water Spinach10%About 6-10 mid sized leaves. I give this unlimited during a GI stasis episode. However my bunny hardly eats this during a GI stasis attack
CilantroNACommonly cited as a GI stasis favorite. I haven't tried it
Madre de AguaNACommonly cited as fodder. This is ideal for pigs, not rabbits (very high protein, very low fiber)
Moringa1%I very rarely give it. My bunnies don't like it much
Tarragon1%I very rarely give it. Fattening
Lemongrass1%I very rarely give it. Very limited supply
Pineapple1%I give one small piece every week. Supposedly helps digestion. 


Barley Grass, Carabago Grass, Sweet Potato #SaveRabbitsPH

Barley Grass, Carabago Grass, Sweet Potato #SaveRabbitsPH

Sunday, July 30, 2017

CARING FOR YOUR RABBITS 15 - HOW DOES NEUTERING / SPAYING REALLY IMPACT THE BONDING PROCESS?

I'm excited to see progress in Dexter and Ethan's bonding.  In this post, I explained the relationship between these two bunnies before and after they were "fixed" in order to highlight how important neutering / spaying is for rabbit bonding to succeed.

https://www.facebook.com/SaveRabbitsPH/videos/436080550106512/



Saturday, July 29, 2017

HOW MUCH DO YOU LOVE YOUR RABBIT 14 - THE RABBIT SPAY

In this post, I wrote about my emotionally charged adventure with Dexter's spaying.   It was a difficult struggle; risk her life with cancer by not doing the spay or risk her life in the surgery.  It was an extremely hard decision that took many, many months to figure out.  In the end, I believe we chose right.






Thursday, July 27, 2017

RABBIT CARE IN THE PHILIPPINES 13 - MORE RABBIT BONDING

I figured that since both my kids will be stressed during the entire trip to the vet anyway, why not let them console each other.  This picture was in the car ride I think, but both were likewise stressed even at the vet proper.  And why not?  There was about a dozen giant barking dogs.  Heck I was afraid of them.  

As the theory goes, even rabbits that would likewise be hostile to each other, might appreciate each other's company when there's a stressful situation.  I don't know if there's a long-term effect in their relationship, but it would be nice if they both remembered that they had a moment of bonding.

Visit postscript: This happened over the weekend.  As of today, Ethan's ear ringworm is looking a lot better; Lily started eating shortly after we got home and is now voracious as ever.  

Please consider making a donation to my cause to save 100 bunnies in the Philippines via https://www.paypal.me/SaveRabbits



Tuesday, July 25, 2017

RABBIT CARE IN THE PHILIPPINES 12 - RABBIT BONDING

We see lots of pictures with rabbits piled up on top of each other (in a good, happy way).   And so most of us probably think that is normal.

That is not normal at all.  That requires a lot of work.

I've written two posts so far about my attempts to bond my bunnies.  It's promising in that there's no downright hatred, but it's quite apparent this will take time.   As you will find over and over in all rabbit care sites, before you attempt the bonding process, you need to get your rabbits neutered and spayed by a rabbit savvy vet.




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