Posts Tagged With: animal health

My Bumble Footed Bunny

Sore hocks or Bumblefoot , is a condition that meat rabbits face.  I am in the middle of trying to treat it with Christopher’s’ large male sable rabbit.The condition is more likely to show up in large rabbits who get pressure sores on their feet. The main to problems come from being over weight and from rough surfaces like wire cage floors.The condition is hard to treat but we are making head way.

sore hocks and feet on sable rabbit

sore hocks and feet on sable rabbit

I first noticed that my male rabbit was dancing around his large cage and with in days he was always humped up while sitting or would not come out of the wood portion of his cage. I never thought in 30 days we could go from

new rabbit hutch

new rabbit hutch

totally healthy to this. The male on the left is about 3 pounds heavier than the male on the right. He is also a pure bred rabbit and has a finer coat and larger ears. I think the finer coat also contributed to the condition as the finer hair is easier to rub off.

Once the condition got noticed, I realized that we  had to get the boys up off the wire floor of the cage as much as possible. The first thing I tried was to use the store-bought plastic resting boards. For some unknown reason Diesel still would not sit on it. I then tried a portion of an old asparagus crate. Both rabbits liked the wood better even though the texture was not as smooth.

Diesel sitting on a wooden crate portion

Diesel sitting on a wooden crate portion

I then started treating the wounds. I washed his feet carefully with a anti bacteria soap and made sure that the feet did not have any oozing or open sores. If I had found any sign of an infection I would have taken the buck to the veterinarian. In this case I only saw scabs and missing fur. I then used a triple antibiotic salve on all 4 feet. I washed and applied the salve every other day for a week. The improvement was visible at about 10 days.

10 days improvement to sore hocks, bumble foot

10 days improvement to soar hocks, bumble foot

Both front feet have good hair growth and no scabs and are looking better. The large scab on the left hind foot had shed and was only a small spot. The foot on the right actually looks like it also lost its scab but a new small spot appeared.  I will continue to wash and treat all the feet for the remainder of the winter off and on. I will also try to thin Diesel down some. I am just hoping that I can spend more time with him on his leash but with winter weather it maybe hard to find days like this one.

Walking Diesel in leash in the fall.

Walking Diesel in leash in the fall.

If in the next month these basic treatments do not make the sores smaller the next step is to remove him from this cage altogether. I will return him into the portable cage and take him back indoors for a while.Moving him indoors maybe the only way that he will get enough time out of his cage to heal. He would be in a much smaller cage but one that actually sits in the pine shavings instead of above them. I also would be able to soak the feet with an antiseptic every day for few minutes by using a pet carrier as a foot soak.

The carrier floor needs washed and rinsed and then a small towel soaked in a anti septic covers the floor of the carrier. The rabbit rests in the carrier for up to an hour to soak the feet with out soaking the upper hair of the foot. The recommendation is twice a day for about a month. I am sure that in my case it will be once a day for a month. This clears any infections and jump starts the healing. It also stops me from having to return a wet footed rabbit into a cold outdoor cage where frost bite on the toes could be a real problem.

This will stop us from showing him at local shows for the time being. We were hoping to take him the State Fair and some local shows this summer but for now he is just a wonderful friend for Christopher. I guess sore feet just run in the family.

Categories: animal health, Bunny, rabbit health, rabbits, sore hocks | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bunnies at the 4-H Jamboree 2014

Our first time out to the 4-H show with Christopher’s bunnies was full of highs and lows, riding the wave of the learning something new. He learned allot from other competitors who shared grooming tips and from the judges who explained technical terms to him. We had a great week of seeing friends and watching many of our friends win prizes and get more confident with their animals and projects. This is one of our families favorite weeks of every year and helping Christopher learn about showing animals was a blast.

Grand prize winning Sable buck open class 2014 4-H jamboree

Grand Prize winning Sable buck open class 2014 4-H Jamboree.

Our family originally bought our rabbits as dual purpose animals. First and foremost they are pets for my son. The other purpose for having these little guys around is to have off spring, which we will use for food, sale and to show.  This has been a year-long project as we started off writing about the rabbits as babies and we now have two mature bucks that are ready to breed in the spring if we can find a nice female to start our herd off with. So over the past year Christopher has shown both rabbits a couple of times. He  finished the year with his 4-H clubs end of the year  show ” The Jamboree”. This is where all the kids who are part of the county 4- H bring all their animals and projects for judging and prepared to go on to the State wide fair competition. At this years local show around 45 rabbits got displayed.  Christopher being the youngest competitor at age 5. Because of his young age he was in the “Open Class” this class is open to any one who wants to show an animal. The class  includes children, teens and adults it is open to any competitor. Some years we have had several disabled adults show in this class and lots of under age children compete for prizes and ribbons. It is a great place to train a young person about how  judging works, how to care for you animal and how to win and lose with Grace. The week starts with setting up animal pens and cages and getting the animal inspected for sickness and sex. Then listing the breed, age and class the child plans to show in. After check in the animals stay in cages on the show grounds and will be in the barn for the next week.  Above is a photo of Diesel in his cage at the fair grounds.The fallowing evening we got to help Christopher show his Rabbits. With help he got his rabbits groomed and clean for the show. We then helped him carry  the two 10 pound rabbits into the show ring with Christopher leading the way.

Christopher leading the group to the judges table

Christopher leading the group to the judges table

The judge inspects the animal and gives the competitor information about the animal and scores its condition, coat, conformation.

judge talking with Christopher about his rabbits

judge talking with Christopher about his rabbits

In this case Christopher was the only competitor so the judging went fairly fast with him winning 1st and 2nd in breed and Grand Champion and Reserve for the class of Open Rabbits.  It was a joy to see him get a chance to show off his rabbits and get his picture taken with the ” Queen of the Fair” and receive a large collection of prizes for his first attempt at showing off his rabbits

Christopher getting his picture taken with the fair Queen and the judge

Christopher getting his picture taken with the Fair Queen and the Judge

 

Christopher with ribbons and prizes from the 2014 4-H jamboree

Christopher with ribbons and prizes from the 2014 4-H jamboree

The one thing I have learned about Christopher these last few days is when he is unsure of himself  he tells me that he can’t do something.The night of the show he told everyone that he could not walk his bunnies alone across the area. Even though he had done so several other times over the course of the summer at different events. So this time he needed a little help holding the bunnies because they had gotten so large and heavy he was afraid he would drop one of them or they would struggle and scratch him. It was an easy fix for me and a friend to help carry the heavy guys to the judging table and back to their cages. I just hope that the support this time will make it easier for him in the future. It is all about learning and growing with 4-H and I was lucky to learn something too. Hopefully some time in September he will receive his trophy photo plaque and we will have a wonderful time at his awards banquet. At that time I will get a photo of him winning his first show and it will remind me of how small he was when we started teaching him lessons about sportsman ship, compassion, responsibility, team work, and love for animals. I am a happy and proud 4-H supporter. I know that  4-H  has changed the lives of both my boys for the better and I will be part of my 4-H family for a very long time.

Categories: 4-H, bredding rabbits, education, family fun, rabbits | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Turning a Blind Eye, Blindness in Horses, and the Choices Owners Make

Winter has really had a terrible affect on my husbands Farrier business over the last few weeks. With temperatures dropping below zero for several days in a row we just could not make our usual January rounds to the farms as every creature big or small was hiding out looking for some where warm. This is the slowest January in the 9 years, But we did make it out to see one of our oldest costumers last weekend. The Peoscek farm is home to 6 wonderful horses and two dogs and a fuzzy cat.

Austrian Shepherd named Savannah and Christopher in barn

Austrian Shepherd named Savannah and Christopher in barn

As a farm hand I met my friend Mark Peosek around 15 years ago. We have spent lots of time together over the years. It was back then, while I worked at the Hill Crest Farm, that Mark stopped in looking for a well-bred Gelding that would make a fine trail horse. He found a nice little guy about 2 that we all called “Tee Sign” at the barn. He was small for his age but he was loving and quite. Born a sorrel with a big bold blaze and white socks was a handsome young horse.  Mark had other horses and  was looking for something easy to train and ride. He got everything that he wanted from “Tee” and more. After taking Tee home things settled into a nice orderly routine. Tee was broke to ride and healthy and happy he lived in a herd with other horses mostly mares that tormented him. But he was happy, well feed and the favorite mount of my friend… ” He’s bomb proof” Mark would add to any conversation about his horses.

After the next 12 years passed  Mark started to notice a change in Tee’s behavior that could not really be explained. Instead of staying with the “girls” like  he usually did in the pasture he would be alone grazing and nickering all afternoon. This continued until poor old Tee would lose his voice from the constant calling to his friends. He would not return to the barn at a fast gallop at feeding time in the evenings. It was summer time so Mark thought maybe he just did not want to come in from the green pasture.Their was plenty of hay in the field and water to drink so he was able to stay outside if the horse wanted to. The questions began a few months letter as Mark noticed that Tee was thinner when he did come down to the barn and was now spending most of his time in the upper portion of the pasture still crying for his friends when they moved away. Soon Mark had to walk the long hill to find Tee and call him to come in as the summer ended and fall began.

This is when Mark  finally realized that their was a real problem. Mark checked Tee’s eye sight by moving his hand around Tee’s eye looking for some reaction, a wink, a flinch or just a tightly closed eye. Nothing happened, Tee’s reaction was as if noting was moving near his eye. He didn’t have any idea that some one was standing to his  side moving a hand within inches of his face. Things progressed from their and Mark new that Tee was losing his sight. He called his Veterinarian and found out that Tee at about age 14 was going blind  from Moon Blindness. That Tee’s case had gone on so long that it was not really treatable. Moon blindness was going to change their relationship forever.

Moon Blindness in 14 year old Quarter horse owned by Mark Peoscek

Moon Blindness in 14-year-old Quarter horse owned by Mark Peoscek

Moon Blindness as described at this link is a general name for many problems with equine eye but most are progressive and about 20% will blind both eyes. In Tee’s case both eyes went blind in a few months of each other. By the end of last fall Tee was totally blind and Mark was facing the hard questions about what to do next.

Mark asked everyone who knew anything about horses  what they though about Tees situation. He asked his Vet, he ask Tom and I, he asked friends and family. What do you do with a blind horse? There is never an easy answer to these questions. Caring for any blind animals is  time-consuming but there is a way to keep them healthy, happy and safe. The answer that Mark got from most of us in the horse industry was a resounding, Yes! Tee could be well cared for and live a happy life with a few adjustments and the commitment of his owner.

Blind horse care is possible and  just as enjoyable if the horse is given some time to adjust to the new world that they live in. This link shares a short guide to a few often asked questions faced by the newly blinded horse owner and those who care for these animals. Blind Horse care changed a few things for my friend and his horse. Tee spends a few more hours in the barn in the winter because of ice, Mark  also watches how the mares treat him more closely and he added a bell to the halter of a mares to aide Tee’s ability to keep track of the herd. All of these things are important changes but, as you can see from this photo of Tom trimming  his feet and Christopher taking time to grooming him, things have not really changed for Tee. He is still well fed, has farrier work done and is groomed regularly.

Blind horse getting groomed by Christopher

Blind horse getting groomed by Christopher

As long as Tee’s health stays good I think we can all agree that this horse has a bright future with people love and take great care of him and there is no reason to think of putting him down. He even still enjoys a little ride time with his friends when they come to visit.

Mark Peoscek with Tee gving Christopher to ride of the day

Mark Peoscek with Tee giving Christopher to ride of the day

I am so thankful that my friend Mark took the time to let this new adjustment settle in before making up his mind about what to do with a blind horse. He did not fall prey to the myths listed below.

  1. Blind horses can not have a great quality of live .
  2. Blind horses are more dangerous
  3. Blind horses are sickly
  4. Blind horses can’t be pastured
  5. Blind horses are useless.

Mark and Tee have gained a deeper more understanding relationship over the course of the last two years and Tom and I are happily a  part of this new part of their lives.

Categories: animal health, blacksmith work, equine health, Farrier work., horse health, Horses | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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