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Rabbits: Real Pets with Real Commitments
At All Creatures' Animal Clinic, about 10% of our practice is rabbits. Dr. Hughes began studying about rabbits in 1978, while still a student, when he acquired a pair of them and turned them into "house rabbits". This was well before house rabbits were mainstream. Rabbits were quiet, clean and flew under the radar of dormitory rules. He was amazed to discover how intelligent and personable they were. But rabbits are not for everyone. These are important facts about them:
1. Rabbits are as intelligent as dogs or cats. That means you must interact with them daily, letting them run freely through your house as possible. Imagine what your dog would be like if you kept it in a cage all day, every day!
2. Rabbits should not be kept outside in Florida. Rabbits are built to withstand cold, not heat and humidity. Also, predators will tear through wire or screens to attack your rabbit. Plus, bot flies will lay eggs on your rabbits skin and the worms will migrate under the skin, erupting in disgusting holes in horrible places. Don't ask.
3. Rabbits only live a year or two and never need veterinary attention. Wrong, rabbits should live to be 9 to 11 years old, sometimes longer. They need to be surgically neutered, as the females often get breast or uterine cancer if they aren't. The males will develop hormonal behaviors towards their favorite things, which might include you. Once again, don't ask. Just neuter him.
Basically, rabbits are more work than a dog or cat, but can be loving and rewarding pets. But one needs to think long and hard before making such a commitment.
Learn as much as you can before making the commitment of owning a house rabbit. Here are additional sources of good and helpful information:
Tampa Bay House Rabbit Society @ www.pigsnbuns.org
Orlando House Rabbit Society @ www.OrlandoRabbit.org
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