photo credit: bunnyapproved.com using doll bed from Ikea
Today we continue talking about how to help our Elderbuns. Did you miss the first part of our info on arthritis? No problem, it is right here.
Many of our older animals deal with arthritis, general stiffness and soreness, aches and pains, and some chronic inflammation – just like we do when we get up there in years.
A softer surface might be appreciated when bones are achy. A softer area for resting can not only ease aching joints, but also helps keep hocks from getting sores and infections. Your rabbit may or may not be able to jump up onto a bed like the one pictured, but there are some other options too. Certainly, foam comes to mind, covered with a nice thick blanky. The issue with foam is chewing: is your friend going to chew up all that foam? That wouldn’t be good at all. Nobody should eat foam. Folded towels can work for some rabbits – a nice thick towel folded up into a mattress. Again, chewing can be a factor. You may have luck placing foam or bubble wrap under a piece of carpet.
Sometimes, warmth feels good. Sometimes, cold helps more. You may need to do some experimenting to see what your elder friend appreciates. It can be difficult to find a good way to provide warmth since we never want to give rabbits the chance to chew on those gel-filled hot packs. Even many of the ones that say “animal safe” are dangerous if ingested. Of course, the heating pads that plug in are not an option. Here’s a hint: heat up a pizza stone in the oven at about 150 degrees. Then take it out and LET IT COOL for a bit. When you can rest the palm of your hand on it comfortably, wrap in in a towel and put it in your rabbit’s area. Make sure your rabbit has enough room to get away from it if she becomes too warm, and never put it under a rabbit who has any difficulty moving. Remember – overheating is a very dangerous thing for rabbits especially. Make sure your rabbit can avoid the warm area if he chooses!
Some rabbits may prefer a cool place to rest when sore. Same trick, really. Take a ceramic tile and stick it in the freezer for a while, wrap it in a blanket and put it near your rabbit. Same rules as above apply: make sure you rabbit can move away from it, and never place it under a rabbit who cannot move off of it. Some people freeze folded towels, but then the towels must be put into a plastic bag before use…and we don’t want anyone (not naming names, just pointing here to all the small animals) chewing the plastic bags.
If you are lucky enough to have a veterinary acupuncturist in your area, you may want to consider making an appointment. Acupuncture can be a terrifically effective therapy, and avoids the use of prescription medications that often have nasty side-effects. Here is a site that will tell you if there are any veterinary acupuncturists in your vicinity.
If you are interested in herbal support, take a look at Small Pet Select’s Vita-Licious Essentials, coupled with Young At Heart Blend. Vital-Licious Essentials supports all the body’s systems, and Young at Heart is an added boost just for seniors. Feed both together, along with tons of good hay and at least three types of fresh greens daily to give your older friend the best whole nutrition possible.
Next up: Elderbun bums!