Monday, March 19, 2018

Feeding Rabbits in the Philippines: Why You Don't Give Grass from the Sidewalk / Open Lots (20)

Even to non-gardeners, it is fairly common knowledge that dog & cat poop are dangerous to your garden.  Your favorite pets' poop and urine have dangerous toxins, bacteria and parasites that can harm you and your other pets.

Would you eat herbs and lettuce coming from a field with dog / cat waste, garbage and exhaust from the nearby road?

Probably not.  The concept at work is phytoremediation.  Plants clean the soil and air by absorbing the toxins.  That means though all the dangerous stuff are in the roots, stems and leaves.  That's why you don't eat them.

That's why you shouldn't feed rabbits grass and plants coming from high-risk lots (parks, empty lots (people frequently throw garbage), gardens with pets).

If you're thinking of adopting a rabbit because you think these nearby "food sources" will make feeding them cheap, think again.  It's a bad idea that will harm rabbits.

Do read my prior article related to this (link below).

SaveRabbitsPH Phytoremediation Article

Friday, January 26, 2018

My 2018 For Animals

It's been over a year since I last ate meat.  At the tailend of 2016, I made a call to stop eating meat cold turkey (now a seemingly inappropriate reference).   Let me be clear.  This has nothing to do with health.  It's a not a "diet".   These are not doctors orders.

It has everything to do with my bunnies, with my love for animals, with consistency of character.  

I suppose a lot of people cannot begin to relate with that (or are even interested to).  At the most basic, a lot of people love their own dogs and cats.  They pamper, buy nice things and give medical care.  Their own dogs and cats.   But they are unable to transcend this care to other dogs and cats that are being abandoned and abused.  As such, they see only a microcosm of the issue.  They breed one or two pups to be given away or sold to friends.  It seems harmless until you think about the thousands of animals that have no home. One more you breed is one less that can have a home.

If at that level, we already don't recognize the problem, then we probably won't understand that a cow deserves as much love and care as a dog.  I recall this bruhaha about the killing of a dog in a film last year.  While I agree with the indignation,  I can't help but hope (in vain) that people will take that indignation and extend it to other animals.  Millions of animals get slaughtered every year.  Why cry over the dog and not all the other animals?  

There's also the case for church going, spirit preaching, love for fellow man espousing folks.  They too are unable to transcend this pursuit of purity with mercy for animals.  How does this not reek of hypocrisy?   Pray and kill.  Pray and kill.

Or perhaps there is a valiant bread winner who takes pride in putting food on the table.  That is noble, no doubt about it.  But it can also be achieved without being cruel to animals.  With proper planning, you can have sufficient nutrition from all plant sources.  Ultimately, his human drama is not a reason to kill.

I always lament that found my soul very late in my life. And even now, I haven't even reached half my destination. I am still unable to give up fish, cheese and some other animal products.  But my hope is that at least, my awareness is already there and that I will find the strength to be more compassionate to animals.  Let's see what 2018 brings.  My most tangible steps for this year will be to shift to non-dairy milk.  Fortunately, I find both almond and rice milk to be delicious.

Friday, November 10, 2017


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


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!


First Aid Kit

Rabbit Vets in the Philippines

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


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


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


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.


Good luck on your vet trip!

Saturday, September 16, 2017


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


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.

Saturday, July 29, 2017


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.

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