Monday, 29 June 2009

The "Smallies"

I do not like rabbits or hamsters well dislike is probably to strong a word for rabbits they just do not rock my boat. Hamsters are just happy not to be bugged. I love guinea pigs.

Guinea Pigs are happy little souls. They live in groups, squeak chat to each other, are pleased to see you and whistle greetings when you go over to join in or cuddle and chat to them and generally they do not get ill.

Hamsters are evil little sods, my fingers have bled to much from their chisel teeth taking chunks from them to have any love of them. I had them as a kid and they were never friendly, came out at night and just wanted to be left alone. I know someone that used to breed and sell hamsters. She would put a male and female in with each other and stand there with 2 plastic mugs. If they were not ready to mate or as soon as they ended mating she would "wap" the mugs over them or they would try and kill each other.

Rabbits are neurotic. The only noise they make is the odd scream if scared or hurt and then they have to have extreme stress to make a noise.
They get gut stasis at the drop of a hat, if you look sideways at them, if the dog 3 doors down farted 2 days before, any excuse really they get gut stasis.
Then you have to try and syringe feed them every hour 24 hours a day give or take a couple of hours for you and them to recover. This goes over several days till they are eating and passing faeces again.
Most hate this and spit 99.9% of food out so you have to try and get extra in. Not helped as the very finely ground food insists in blocking in the syringe which you need to keep poking free with a needle. Most rabbits try and kick you and some take chunks out of your fingers.

They have catheters in their ears and you have to give them bolus of fluids as they are not drinking, again same as the food regime. The problem is the ear catheters are so fine even if flushed with hepflush (anti clot drug) they clog and so you have to swop ears every so often or when the ears buggar up totally give the bolus under the skin which can hurt.

Rabbits teeth are a nightmare, they are always growing and they do not get fed properly. The best food for rabbits is their more natural one, lot’s of hay and wild grasses and plants, a few brassicas and some pellets.
This is rarely the way they are fed, instead owners get the bags of yummy mixed rabbit feed, this rabbits pick at like kids taking their favourite sweets. Some people have started to feed rabbit pellets which is all the mixed food ground down and made into a brown pellet. Rabbits have 10,000 taste buds in their mouth so can be fussy.
This bad diet pellet or mix does not grind the teeth down. They are given fancy wood to chew and other gimmicks… just feed proper diet. However this is so boring against what is on offer in the pet shops…init!.

The teeth grow and push the jaw out of line causing pain, or spurs form on the back molars and cut into the gums so the rabbit stops eating in pain. They have their teeth burred down and then they often get gut stasis through stress. Some rabbits need the extreme dental of having their front teeth removed. This does not guarantee that no more teeth will come through.

The other problem in uk is that the stock that in the wild which would die as their teeth are misaligned so the animal can not eat in UK these have teeth burred and are used to breed these are sold on and you end up on a merry tooth wheel of trouble for the poor bunny.

And as for abscesses these are a speciality of rabbits, generally in the head area from teeth and are a nightmare to try and get rid of. Longest running one l know of was 16months and counting. As l was a locum at the practice, for all l know the abscess is still being treated. The vets kept advising it wasn’t fair but the owners refused to listen.

Give me a cute squeaky guinea pig rather than an obnoxious hamster or neurotic bunny any day. This out burst was caused from 3 nights of hands ripped to bits from 2 bunnies with gut stasis.


JuliaM said...

"If they were not ready to mate or as soon as they ended mating she would "wap" the mugs over them or they would try and kill each other."

If she could find (and lift) some six foot mugs, we ought to employ her in some of our local pubs and nighclubs, to fdo pretty much the same job with the local 'youff'.. ;)

Hamsters are a lot cuter though. And maybe less prone to bite!

Shalom said...

If you're in the UK, you can get robotic guinea pigs that generally act like the real things... when their batteries get low they follow you around until you "feed" them (their battery charger has a plug at the end of a plastic carrot which plugs into their mouths), if you buy two of them they "play" with each other, etc. Not sure if this is cute or creepy. search for "gupi".

Vetnurse said...

Welcome Shalom err not for me thanks l will stick to the live variety!! :-))

However l do think maybe for kids it would be a good idea a lot of smallies are injured as they are bought as children's pets and damage easily when dropped, squeezed or trodden on.