Category Archives: Thoughts

Rabbit Savvy Vets: The Catch 22 Situation

For the vast majority of us raising pets, these animals tend to be “infused” into our lives and they become a part of the family. We as pet owners care for them and want the best for them. The slightest sign of sickness would throw our day’s routine upside down and our hearts/minds become burdened and worrisome until we know for sure our beloved pets are well on the way to recovery.

Up until today, throughout the world, rabbit owners are still struggling to find rabbit “savvy” veterinarians. Rabbit savvy veterinarians are very rare due to the nature of veterinarian practice and how much opportunities they are given or exposed to. I have written about the main reason why not many vets are well-versed with rabbits and it still remains the same today. The main reason most people do not send their sick rabbits to vets is because the cost of treatment can be higher than replacing the sick rabbits. Sadly, that is the attitude of many pet owners in general. But that has changed over time. We now have rabbit owners that are willing to seek the best healthcare for their rabbit but unfortunately, we do not have many vets who are good with rabbits which are considered as exotic animals.

Because of how precious our pet rabbits are to us, it is impossible for us to subject them as experimental or learning subjects for vets that are willing to “try” treat them. At the same time, without practice, they will never learn and we will never have vets that can treat rabbits. A catch 22 situation.

We all know how vulnerable rabbits are and being animal of prey, the moment they show signs of sickness like curling up at the corner of the cage or have stopped eating, most of the time it could mean that they are in dire need to medical attention. More often than not we are down to a 50:50 chance battle.

I often think about emergency situations while raising Holland Lops for the past 7 years and to be very honest, I found that there are not many choices. Treatments are usually either invasive or non-invasive. Invasive may be in the form of surgery and placing a sick rabbit under surgery would be similar to euthanasia. Most of the time it would be non-invasive and treatment with careful doses of drugs. We depend a lot on the expertise of veterinarians to diagnose and prescribe the best combination of drugs.

Again, we might only have about 50% chance to bring bunny back to recovery mode. What if we are faced with the other 50% and lose our bunny after giving our best shot?

While mourning the death of a beloved pet, it is only normal that we question how and why, the should and could haves will play constantly on our minds. But I must say that there are many variables that can cause death in animals under treatment. Like humans, it also depends on how the body reacts to treatment. There is also the element of the type of drug used. The potency of the drug down to the chemical content of the drug. It is very difficult to pin point the real reason unless a post-mortem is done. What good is a post-mortem when our beloved pet has already passed on? Unless we want to learn so that we can avoid a repetition of such situation, a post-mortem would be a reasonable decision.

I felt that veterinarians have taken a lot of blame under many different circumstances. Not only here in Malaysia but many places throughout the world especially with Internet and how much information is on our fingertips. Then there are the forums as well. We really have to understand that a cry for help on cyberspace will most probably be responded by numerous advices from a vast number of different experiences, each unique to a its own scenario (variable). We have to analyse all the responses very carefully before concluding which should be the best solution. A vet on the other hand, have to face a situation real-time and react the best he/she can not under a virtual environment but real life scenario. The reason why they do what they do as vets is because they are trained under such circumstances and we as pet owners must trust their decision which is made with their vast experiences and knowledge.

If a treatment fails and we lose our beloved pet, I believe that as pet owners, it is our responsibility to be open and share our thoughts with the veterinarian who have treated our pet. I feel that it is very important firstly for our closure of losing a pet and secondly, there will be something that everyone can learn from our experience. By sharing with the vet openly and honestly, it will help the vet understand the situation better, and if it was a mistake, to learn from it and be a better vet. Most often than not, we tend to shun our vets and the only thing they will learn is that they are getting less customers coming to their practice after words of their (one) alleged mistake spread in cyberspace. I believe that is very unfair and counter productive. We should seek clarification to dispel our own assumptions. We should also respect vets who are willing to learn, admit their mistake and never afraid to face any situation head on. The least we can do is tell them of our concerns and hope they will be receive them in good faith. I always believe that there is an opportunity to learn from every situation and unless we share the knowledge, we will never grow. I might lose a pet under certain circumstances today, but if I share the situation and learn from it together with my vet, somewhere down the road, the knowledge can be used to save more lives.

Let us not keep our grieves to ourselves but turn it into something positive while we find closure for losing our beloved pets.

I am not asking you to volunteer your pet rabbit as an experimental subject for vets but if you have chosen a good vet for your pet, please follow through and have an open communication policy with them. A good vet will and should always be open to discussion and willing to clear any doubts that you have.

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Which Do You Prefer, Dead Or Alive?

If asked to pick one from the following, which will you choose?

Picture taken from gas2.org/

Picture taken from gas2.org

Picture taken from zastavki.com

Picture taken from zastavki.com

Both are mustangs in different forms and both are magnificently gorgeous!

I don’t know why but for some reasons, I tend to choose to have the real horse because since from a very young age, I am always drawn to animals. While growing up, most of my friends in high school were into cars and down to the very technical details. As for me, I spent most of my time raising dogs, cats, green iguanas, hamsters, fishes, sugar gliders, hedgehogs and everything in between – rabbits of course!

My rationale, it is better to spend money on something alive than dead!

I like taking the responsibility to keep pets alive and ensuring that they not only thrive but live very long and healthy lives. It gives me a great sense of achievement to have companion animals live through their full lifespan. On the contrary, I totally hate spending money maintaining a car, have it breakdown, burst a tyre and feeding it expensive fuel throughout its lifespan.

We live in a very digitized and materialized world. We move in such a high paced world and have no time to pause for another living being. Most of the time, our jobs tend to take so much time from us that our lives seemed to be drained from all the stresses. We have become people that shun responsibilities and inconveniences. Picking up our pets’ poop seemed to be an inconvenience though we can make a choice to get them litter trained (initial time investment). It is due to convenience that we saw the birth of the Tamagotchi (if you remember), Furby and the many toys that mimics pet animals. They all come with less hassle and just consume little battery power.

As I was walking around the toy store over the weekend, I saw something that reminded me about this simple choice in life.

Between the very much alive and the mechanically alive, which will you choose?

Dead Or Alive?

Dead Or Alive?

On the left is what I saw at the toy store and on the right is one of my daughter’s pet hamsters.

That goes to show that until today, I still choose and prefer LIFE!

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Animal Rights Activists Need To Rethink

There is a little “activist” in each animal lover. We all tend to get angry and feel compelled to react to any incident of animal abuse. But at the same time, we tend to forget that we might have helped or contributed directly or indirectly to the cause of these abuses.

For example, we all get excited whenever there is an pet expo/fair. I have friends who totally boycott such events because live stock are sold openly and most of the time there are no regulations as to how the animals are caged. Since I have always like and intrigued by animals, I used to visit these expos and fairs until recently due to my busy schedule.

With better clarity of the situation now, I can safely conclude that there are many sources and causes to animal welfare problems. Abuses, neglect, abandonment and many other problems take root from overpopulation and animals being treated as commodity.

And up until today, I am still trying to figure out how to strike a balance and whether or not I am indirectly or directly causing and supporting people that are causing the same problems we are trying to avoid.

What if I told you that the event that you are promoting is organized by the same people who are causing the problems you are trying so hard to render your assistance? You may be spending most of your time volunteering to re-home abandoned dogs but at the same time you are encouraging people buying from unscrupulous sources.

I do not know about hardcore animal activists. I do not think they own any pets but if they do, I wonder where they get their pets in the first place.

By you re-homing abandon animals, do you think that your action may encourage unethical breeders to breed even more since there are demands?

I do not know about you but I am very careful what I promote these days be it on this weblog or on my facebook account as I do not want to waste my resources “helping” someone else create more problems.

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Culling Most Foul

I am not sure if you have watched the video of Marius being “dissected” in front of a group of zoo goers. I regret watching it because it is really disturbing and is beyond my imagination how a giraffe can be slaughtered and “sliced apart” like your regular live stock. I do consume beef, mutton and chicken just as long as I do not see how they are killed. But a giraffe?!

Taken from the World Wide Web through Google Search.

Taken from the World Wide Web through Google Search.

How can someone possibly kill (without remorse) such an innocent face and have it sliced to pieces before feeding lions with one of the pieces?

This is beyond my imagination, and that my friends, is a form of culling!

Culling a sick animal to relief it from all that it is suffering can be considered humane but to kill a poor little helpless, healthy giraffe bred in captivity is too cruel in my opinion. Killing it to avoid narrowing the gene pool is unacceptable in my opinion. He should be transferred to another zoo if they are really sincere and genuine in conservation of this otherwise majestic animals.

How I wish the world is a little more compassionate…

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Obituaries

I know at first glance at the title of this post, many will be wondering what happened to my rabbits. Rest assured that this post has nothing to do with rabbit related deaths.

There are a few things that I dislike whenever I am doing bunny chores.

I do not know about you but I use a lot of newspapers in my rabbitry. Newspapers are used to line litter and cage trays to keep them clean and less effort needed to clean the next time. To a certain extent, newspapers can help mask odour (just a little).

The one thing that I dislike most is discovering that the stack of newspapers I am about to line the trays with are made up of the Obituaries centrefold. This situation usually catches me off guard and for a while, it usually makes me wonder whether I should pause a moment to say a prayer for the deceased or apologize that my bunny will urinate or/and defecate on his/her face.

What would you do?

orbituary

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Firecrackers

Year in and year out, the common complain during festives season for rabbit owners in Malaysia is the stress caused by firecrackers.

There has been some incidences of rabbit deaths due to the loud noises. It is not uncommon for such deaths to happen because rabbits can easily be shocked by sudden loud noises.

I for one have been advocating how breeders and owners should raise rabbits accustomed to the environment. Given the multiracial settings of Malaysia, fireworks can be expected at least 3 times a year during the Chinese New Year, Eid and Diwali. If we are not careful, we can lose up to 3 rabbits per year to suddent death caused by loud noises.

Just like how most breeders are not able to get their rabbits into prime condition in our constant warm weather, rabbits should also be “trained” to survive the firecracker seasons.

How I do it?

I use the vacuum cleaner a lot especially where my rabbit is. Since birth, my rabbits are exposed to the loud vacuum cleaner sound on a daily basis. No, I do not mean turning on the vacuum cleaner next to their ears but I go about cleaning the space with it. It works well for me and I have no fear that any of my rabbits going into a fit hearing the loud firecracker noises.

It goes without saying and I cannot emphasize enough how one should have pets that complement his/her lifestyle and not having to go out of the way accommodating them.

Hope my tip can save more unneccesary deaths and of course, reduce the same rantings and grumbles every year.

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Swift Like Kung Fu

January is truly the time when everything is being renewed. I just ordered my membership renewal with the ARBA for another 3 years and that made me realized how fast time has crept up on me. Though the membership does not bring much tangible benefit to me at the moment, I still feel happy making the numbers count. It is nice to be apart of such a huge organization grown out of a wonderful hobby. There are always opportunities to grow further whenever I am ready to venture more into the hobby by ensuring my membership does not lapse. Besides, the Domestic Rabbit magazine do provide a lot of information that helps me keep abreast with the latest developments in the hobby.

Soon it will be Chinese New Year. I remember not too long ago, it was the year of the Rabbit and it was such a busy year for the rabbits and I. We were so busy participating in interviews and photography sessions. This year being the year of the Horse, I believe that horse stables around the country are getting a lot of attention at the moment with journalists trying to write a little more about the animal. Though the rabbit is out from the limelight this year, my father seemed to be at centre stage each year with his captivating paintings. Horse being his favourite painting subject, he painted quite a sizeable collection this year. Please feel free to browse through his works at www.simonchanart.wordpress.com. You will notice a few different painting styles as you go through his “online gallery”.

In the blink of an eye, we are all a year older and so are the rabbits. It scares me to think that they are growing old too quickly and that I might be bidding them farewell.

Murdoch is now over 2 years old and at his “prime” age. As I was going through old photos stored in the computer, I found a photo of him as a little wee bunny. He was so adorable back then and he still is although he is going through quite a major moult right now.

Murdoch

Murdoch in 2012

Murdoch in 2014

Murdoch in 2014

Here wishing all celebrating the Chinese New Year safe travels and Gong Hei Fatt Choy. May the new year brings you prosperity, joy and health!

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When It Is No Longer Fun

image

Happy Sunday to one and all! How fast time flies and we have crossed over to the second half of January.

My thoughts this morning revolves around the word sustainability. Through the years I have noticed that we have to always reinvent ourselves to stay fresh and relevant. Though the source remains unchanged we try to “pimp” things up to add a little spice and attractiveness to otherwise mundane stuff.

Take the mobile phone for instance. Manufacturers only produce a set number of designs but look at all the casing and “skins” one can purchase to give the phones different “personalities” so to speak.

So how do you sustain a hobby like raising bunnies as pets?

We have seen that adding colors, establish friendships with like minded people and even hanging out at shows can help us renew, rejuvenate and keep the “fire” burning.

But when all these have come to pass, what is truly at the very core that sustains us in the hobby?

In my opinion, nothing will ever last. Not even love itself. It takes a little more effort to stay in love. The little effort is waking up every morning deciding to love. A little more and less, it is all about decisions.

So what is making you want to be in love today?

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Thought Process

Why people keep pets?

What makes keeping animals as pets an interesting hobby?

The two questions above was prompted by two things that happened yesterday and today. Yesterday while I was at the mall, I stumbled across a cute little French Bulldog puppy in the pet store. This little puppy was imported from Taiwan and appeared to be cock-eyed – where both pupils are far apart from each other in opposite directions. My first thought was why importing such an inferior quality animal and sold for such a high price. On the tag, it was also stated “Grand Champion Lineage”. The image of the puppy lingered on my mind as I spent time at the mall today. It is interesting to walk around the mall looking at all that are put up for sale. Window shopping sometimes put a lot into perspective between necessity and luxury. Materialism can really get the better of us.

Then it dawned on me that animals are sometimes mistaken as materials or commodities – they sell!

So why do human beings keep pets?

I did a Google search and found some interesting answers.

I have a few takes on this question and would like to break them down as the following:-

The Lover In Us

I would like to believe that most humans are compassionate. There is an altruistic part in us instilled by either our upbringing or religion. We seek to nurture and want to love or care unconditionally. I do hope this is the most of us.

The Dominance In Us

Some may feel good being above others – better or stronger. Knowing that one is far superior than another being can make us feel good and that itself can be used to feed the ego.

The Loner In Us

Humans are also social beings and living in a situation without constant affection by another of the same kind may be a little depressing. Keeping a pet for company is not a bad idea especially one that do not talk back or argue.

The Greed In Us

Those aspired and inspired to seek riches exploits all the above people. They are out to do anything to achieve their goals which is making a sale and get the numbers. “Champion Bloodlines”, “Imported Bloodlines” and many more tags are some of the ways in which one can claim credibility. Credibility as we all know, sells!

Bear in mind, I am just thinking aloud instead of saying it is right or wrong here. No matter what one say, it cannot be that powerful to influence. Everyone can and should make his/her conclusion.

I believe it boils down to principles and what is the cause one chooses to support or fight for.

For me, this brings me back to the French Bulldog puppy. Being a sucker for flat faced pets, I spent a few minutes going through some local classifieds just to see what are available in the market. I was totally shocked by what I found. There is one particular classified that showed a photo of a Frenchie puppy that looked like a teacup Boxer – it was scrawny, thin and in no way resembles a Frenchie. It was from “Grand Champion Lineage”.

I have concluded that if I ever own a dog, it would be a mongrel adopted from reputable rescuers. The main reason for my conclusion is because I am sick and tired of greedy people exploiting something cute and selling them as commodities and materials to the materialistic.

The sad thing is, it is happening in the “Rabbit World”. The same reason why the Holland Lop and the Netherland Dwarf are the two most popular rabbit breeds. A title grants exclusivity and claims superiority.

It all boils down to whether if it is merely a THING or a LIVING THING.

We WANT that THING but LOVE the LIVING.

WANT or LOVE?

Love

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Psst, it’s getting too obvious!

One of the easiest things to do in life is stating the obvious. It takes less effort to enlighten the simple minded most of the time especially those that have the blinding trust and believes in everything that you “say, hear, read or write”.

Don’t believe it when I say that I am merely STATING THE OBVIOUS!

Let’s have a good laugh as 2013 comes to an end…

ShowDrama

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