NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – It happens every Easter. Children beg their parents to buy them a real Easter bunny! But those little bunnies grow up to be big rabbits, and too often the children and their parents don’t know how to take care of them.
That’s how we wound up at West Esplanade Veterinary Clinic and Bird Hospital for this week’s Nola Pet Docs.
Meet poor little Diego.
He was probably somebody`s Easter present last year, but a rabbit is not the best gift for children.
“Those children are gonna love it for a week or two and then a lot of rabbits like Diego are gonna get dumped a couple of months later because they realize there’s a lot of care involved,” Dr. Leslie Pence explained. “They need to stick with it. It’s a 10-year commitment.”
That commitment includes the right food.
Did you know that a rabbit’s teeth never stop growing? Nature takes care of that problem when rabbits eat what they’re supposed to eat: hay and grass.
But when they don’t eat the right things, they can wind up needing dental work just like people.
That’s why Diego is at the doctor’s office today.
First he gets a little anesthesia to put him to sleep, and then Dr. Leslie Pence starts filing down Diego’s molars.
“He has a little bit of points on these back teeth that, over time, with improper chewing, can grow into spikes that are going to lacerate his tongue or his cheek” Dr. Pence said.
When Diego wakes up, eating will be a lot easier.
Dr. Pence said a rabbit’s diet should consist of about 20% pellets and 80% store bought hay. She recommends ZuPreem products for pellet food.
And if you’re thinking ‘why not let a rabbit just eat the grass in your back yard?’
Dr. Pence said grass is good, but a rabbit would have to graze for hours to get enough of it, and you would have to make sure there are no pesticides or fertilizer in the grass that would be toxic.
By the way, Diego is up for adoption. So if you’re interested in taking good care of him call West Esplanade Veterinary Clinic and Bird Hospital at (504) 455-6386.