The Missouri House Rabbit Society
August Happenings

What Kind Of Bunny Am I?

This is a Silver Fox.  Her name is Chloe.
  Her silvery coat is the distinctive feature of the breed.  The texture is slightly coarse and resembles the pelt of a fox.  The Silver Fox breed is a large rabbit weighing 9-12 pounds.

Chloe was offered among "stuff" at a yard sale and had the good fortune to be noticed by Lisa Randolph who bought Chloe and took her home.  Lisa contacted us for advice and gave Chloe what we suggested: a big dog crate for her domicile in Lisa's family room, a big water bowl, a big litter box, a hay rack, good timothy hay, good pellets, a cardboard box with two holes, and lots of chew toys (cardboard tubes from paper towels and toilet paper, natural baskets from the dollar store.)

Unwanted rabbits are hardly ever fixed - their owners not wanting to invest the money - and Chloe was no exception.  She ignored the litter box and was aggressive, biting and scratching when Lisa tried to pick her up.  When Lisa had Chloe spayed, Chloe became a much calmer and contented bunny.  Lisa joined our chapter and became a volunteer.

Sunday Breakfast?

Bunny Trivia

(1)  True or False:  When you have a cold, you should stay away from your rabbit. 

(2)  True or False:  When you have a cold sore, you should not kiss your rabbit. 

(3)  True or False:  Fresh corn is OK as a rabbit snack

Answers at bottom of Happenings.

Question for Scooter, the Bunny Editor

"So, what's the deal with scent glands? 
Why does my bunny have them and why do I have to clean them?"

Scooter replies:  I am a civilized bunny; I am fixed.  Before I was fixed, I used my scent glands to secrete oil that I used to mark my territory.  You've undoubtedly noticed that we lagomorphs are very big on claiming territory.  Essentially, we claim everything we see.

"I have two scent glands.  If I allowed you to look at my 'privates' and you parted my fur, you would see a fold or pocket on each side of my vent (from which I pee and poop.)  The pockets are scent glands.  When a bunny is not fixed, he empties his scent glands to mark, so his glands stay clean.  When a bunny is fixed, he stops marking and stops using his scent glands.  But the glands continue to secrete some oil which coagulates in the folds.  The oil often hardens into a crusty glob.  Sometimes, it will become so large as to be uncomfortable for the bunny.  If our scent glands are not cleaned, they can become infected.

Tip: We bunnies enjoy having a human clean our scent glands.  We find it soothing and relaxing.  My human cleans my scent glands then, while I am completely relaxed, he proceeds to trim my nails.

Procedure:  Just as you would hold an infant to bottle-feed, cradle your bunny in one arm, leaving the other hand free to clean the glands.  Dip a Q-tip in baby oil or mineral oil and stroke it on the glob in the pocket to soften it.  Then gently whisk it away.  We bunnies like the pungent smell of our secretions; humans don't find it as appealing. 

Some bunnies secrete a lot; some bunnies don't.  Examine the glands before you trim the nails, which should be done every three months.  If you are member, our chapter provides free nail trims at our meetings and at The Bunny House in Fenton.  If you bring your bunny to our Holiday Animal Boutique on Sunday, Nov. 2, we will clean his glands in the Bunny Spa.

Fun For A Holland Lop
  In this video, Mog Troll enjoys a simple maze that incorporates a cardboard tube (concrete form)
available at Home Depot and other hardware stores.

Petting Should Be More Than Just "Petting":  I was petting Shelby and she pulled away from me when I stroked the right side of her face.  That made me suspicious.  I took her to the vet and, sure enough, Shelby had a spur - a sharp point - on a molar.  The vet anesthetized her and filed off the point.  If I had not noticed that something was wrong, the point would have continued to grow until it cut into her cheek or tongue. 

Points, spurs, spikes: They're all the same thing - and they are pretty common.  A rabbit's teeth grow continuously; they are worn down by grinding food and hay.  When molars do not wear evenly, they develop points.

Tip:  A vet experienced with rabbits will use a speculum that holds the mouth open and pushes the tongue aside so he can see the 22 molars which are hidden far back under the eye sockets.  Our vet uses a nasal speculum.  Without it, she would have to anesthetize a rabbit to see the molars.

Does your vet examine your bunny's molars during checkups?  If not, you need a new vet, one who is experienced with rabbits.  The best way to find a qualified rabbit vet in your area is to ask the people who rescue rabbits.

Update on Woody:  Woody is the Mini Rex who was abandoned in a park and rescued by a family visiting the park on June 22.  He came to us with severe facial injuries that included a broken jaw and injured eye - injuries consistent with being dropped or thrown.  His jaw has healed and you can see that his eye is healing beautifully.  He will never have vision in that eye, but his other eye is perfect and he will be available for adoption when he is fully healed.

Woody is being cared for by Nancy Taylor, who cares for many of our special needs rabbits.  With everything that Woody has endured, Nancy says it is remarkable that he is so sweet and loving.  "He seems to be grateful for everything we are doing for him," Nancy said.

Woody's medical bills have topped $600.  We are grateful for your contributions toward his care using Paypal on our website:

                                                                                   Woody as he came to us.

Two Babies Arrive With Injuries
  Within the last two weeks, we received a baby that had been abandoned outdoors to fend for himself.  He came to us with a reticulated maggot, the size of a thumb, that was under the surface of the skin on his neck.  The maggot grows under the skin for 30 days, then drops out and turns into a bot fly.  It was a nasty thing that would turn your stomach.  The neck bore a long, red gash, appearing as if his throat had been cut.  Indy got immediate attention at Hope Animal Hospital, recovered in a foster home and now is a wonderful candidate for adoption.

Gizmo arrived with three and a half legs.  His owners had sold his siblings, but offered the handicapped bun in a yard sale.  Gizmo needs a major medical procedure: When he is a bit bigger, the partial back leg will have to be amputated.  Rabbits try to use partial limbs and, in using it, Gizmo would wear the skin off the bone, opening it to infection and pain.  Bunnies are resourceful creatures and we expect Gizmo to adapt well to being a tripod.

A Happy Ending for Sparkles

Sparkles was dumped at an area Petco store because she refused to cooperate with children who wanted to dress her in doll clothes.  We accepted Sparkles into our shelter and we were overjoyed to receive this message from her adopters.

"Sparkles has been a part of our family for 3 weeks now and we are totally in love!  I am so happy I found your society and Sparkles.  I have sang your praises to everyone that will stand still long enough to listenWe are already looking forward to adopting another bunny in the near future.


Thanks again for all the help we received from start to finish.

I cannot say enough good things!"

                                                  Amber Bauer

This Parisian establishment was spotted by member Rick Goforth and his family during their European vacation.


A few spaces remain for the national House Rabbit Society Education Conference in St. Louis on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 27/28.  If you want to attend, or perhaps you know a veterinarian who wants to know more about rabbits, you can register and review the classes and speakers at
Can you volunteer to help us host this event?  Unless you have already notified Joy, please contact her:  Type conference as the subject.  This event is attracting about 200 rabbit people from across the country and we need help with the following:
  • Can you open your home to an attendee for the weekend (we need one more bedroom to satisfy a request)
  • Drivers to/from the airport for arriving and departing attendees
  • Drivers to/from hotels and the conference site (the Humane Society on Macklind)
  • Driver to pick up boxed lunches Saturday and deliver to the conference
  • Driver to pick up boxed lunches Sunday and deliver to the conference
  • Set-up on Friday
  • Conference duties Saturday and Sunday
  • Clean-up on Saturday after the conference
  • Clean-up on Sunday after the conference
  • Cleaning our shelter Thurs./Fri. Sept. 25/26 for the welcome reception & tour


Tuesday, August 19, St. Louis meeting at 7:30pm:  We always meet on the third Tuesday of every month.  Our topic for this meeting is "Bladder Sludge."  Meetings are free and we offer nail trims that are free for members; $5 for non-members. Bring a towel so bunny can relax on your table and a bit of hay or greens for a snack.  We meet in the lecture hall of the Humane Society of Missouri, 1201 Macklind Ave., one stoplight west of the St. Louis Science Center.  Please bring with you a donation of paper towels for the shelter.

Next meeting in O'Fallon Illinois is October 16. We meet at 7pm Thursday, October 16 in the O'Fallon Public Safety Building (Police Department,) 285 N. Seven Hills Road, opposite the O'Fallon YMCA.  Bunnies welcome.


Shelter Cleaning Weekend Aug. 30/31:  Bobbie Shewmaker is planning this with military precision; husband Frank is bringing his power washer.  We will start at 9am both days and end at 4pm.  Bunnies will be placed in carriers.  We will break down the bunny crates and carry them outside for power washing.  We will set up stations to clean litter boxes and the partitions between the crates.  The floor will be power scrubbed, then the crates will be reassembled.  We need your help to pull this off and a few persons who can do heavy lifting.  We will provide beverages and sub sandwiches for lunch.  If you can bring a side dish, great.  To help Bobbie organize this, please tell her what day you will come and what time you will arrive.  Bobbie:

Adoption Events
  We will be staffing these adoption events and encouraging people to consider a bunny for a pet.  If you can help at any of these events, please tell Marjorie Manahan: or call 636-734-3964.

PetSmart adoption events - on Saturdays:
Saturday, Aug. 16, 11-4pm, Brentwood Promenade
Saturday, Aug. 23, 11-4pm, Chesterfield, 262 THF Blvd.

PETCO adoption event - on Sunday:
Sunday, Aug. 24, noon-4pm, Creve Coeur, 12519 Olive Blvd.

Sunday, Aug. 17, Whole Foods protest: The national House Rabbit Society is involved in a "day of action" protesting Whole Foods' decision to sell rabbit meat.  A member recently sent us a photo of rabbit meat in the Brentwood store.  These are domestic (tame) rabbits, the same rabbits that share our homes.  Our chapter supports the protest, but we have no formal plan to participate because we are up-to-our-ears preparing for the upcoming conference.  If you are interested, we can put you in touch with others so you can get together as a group.  Contact Joy:  Type protest as the subject.


Missouri Lottery tickets that are not winners: We use them, so please don't trash them.  As a nonprofit, we can earn points with lottery tickets that were losers to buy products we can use.  When you go to the shelter, drop them in the shopping bag hanging in our store or mail them to The Bunny House, 75 Elizabeth, Fenton, MO 63026.  Thank you!

Seeking Tents: Do you have the type of canopy tent that sits on a hard surface, rather than staked to the ground?  We may need to borrow some for the evening welcome reception on our shelter parking lot Friday, Sept. 26 for visitors attending the conference.  Contact Pat Daly:

Volunteers are sewing pads for the bunnies' crates in our shelter.  If you have the following items to donate, please contact:
a)  thread (cotton or polyester)
b)  sewing machines.  We need a machine that will do a basic straight stitch; is hefty enough to sew through a couple of layers of blue jean fabric; and comes with an instruction booklet or at least an explanation of how to thread and wind the bobbin. 
Sewing Machine Repair: Can you do maintenance and repairs to sewing machines, or know someone who can? Contact Bobbie Shewmaker:
Seeking Sewing Volunteers:  Perhaps you have a friend or relative who likes to sew.  We can give them fabric and a pattern to sew rectangular pads to fit our bunny crates.  Contact: Pat Daly:

Pillowcases:  We can use your old ones.  Just drop them off at the shelter or at our meetings and mark them for Bobbie Shewmaker.

Upholstery Recovering:  Do you know an upholstery person?  We have two office-style settees that could use new fabric on their cushions.  Contact Pat Daly:

Shelving Units:  Does anyone have unused shelving units that are not taller than 6 feet?  Contact Pat Daly:

Trivia Answer 1 (false):  Humans do not transmit colds to rabbits.  A rabbit with a respiratory infection will not transmit it to another rabbit nor to a human.  Dogs, cats and rabbits will not transmit colds to each other.

Trivia Answer 2 (true): 
Rabbits are highly susceptible to the herpes simplex virus which causes cold sores in humans.  The virus can cause brain infection (encephalitis).  There are at least two reports of healthy rabbits who developed encephalitis at the same time their owners had cold sores.  So, if you have an active cold sore, wash your hands before you touch your rabbit - and definitely do not kiss your rabbit until the cold sore is gone. 

Interestingly, human infants face the same risk: If a newborn is exposed to the virus from an active lesion within the first 30 days of life, it is frequently fatal because the infant's immune system is undeveloped, said Kay Robbins, one of our bunny parents and a certified registered nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at St. Mary's Hospital in St. Louis, as well as a certified lactation consultant.  If a mother has an active cold sore, she can handle her baby after washing her hands and breast feed the baby, but she cannot kiss the baby.  (The cold sore herpes virus is different from the genital herpes virus, which also can be fatal for infants.)

Trivia Answer 3 (false):  A rabbit should never have corn - in any form - not fresh, not cooked, not dried, not popped.  The hulls resist digestion. A woman wrote that her bun had a mass that he finally passed, and the mass and was nearly solid corn hulls!  The bunny was lucky; blockages are often fatal.  Stores offer brands of rabbit pellets containing corn, seeds, nuts and other junk.  Do not buy them!  Stick with plain timothy pellets.

Happenings Author: Pat Daly, volunteer and educator
Share your stories, photos, videos, questions for Scooter.  Contact Pat:

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