Beastly Bulbs for Bunnies - · PDF file1 Beastly Bulbs for Bunnies Every Spring, rabbit owners...
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Beastly Bulbs for Bunnies
Every Spring, rabbit owners everywhere have a secret little panic-attack. Bulbs! Flowering bulbs! Yes, they may look pretty, and most of them announce the welcome first signs of Spring, but many bunny owners know, that some of these intoxicating beauties are highly poisonous to rabbits.
And they pop up everywhere, usually in flower borders, under trees, in the lawn, and sometimes where you just don't remember putting them!
If your bunnies live outside or have regular access to an outdoor garden or yard with flower borders etc., then do a quick check for the flowering bulbs listed on the left and detailed below:
1. Amaryllis or Hippeastrum(Belladonna Lily,Jersey Lily & Snowdrops) This is one of numerous genera with the commonname "lily" due to their flower shape and growth habit. However, they are only distantly related to the true lily, Lilium (below #7).
The toxic alkaloids in these bitter tasting bulbs will cause trembling and vomiting if ingested in large quantities.
Weaker bunnies maysuffer heart failureas the poison causesextreme weakness, stomach andintestinal upsetand a rapid heartbeat.
2. Crocus Crocus are particularlynasty for pet bunnies asthe whole plant is poisonous.
The main toxin is Colchicine, and is present mainly in the bulb.
The variety of crocus that blooms in the spring cancause gastrointestinalupset in rabbits, typically vomiting and diarrhoea.
The crocus that blooms in autumn is known as the Meadow Saffron, or Autumn Crocus, (Colchicum autumnale) and is highly poisonous to rabbits, causing nervous excitement, cramping, severe vomiting, diarrhoea, increased blood pressure, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver and kidney damage, respiratory failure. and cardiac arrest. This is nasty stuff!
Symptoms of toxicity from crocus can appearimmediately uponingestion and up toseveral days later.
If your rabbit shows signsof poisoning by an autumn blooming crocus, take themfor veterinary treatmentright away or talk to a Vet now.
Also, make sure to clean their coat of any pollen, remove faecal matter from their homeand give them plenty offresh water. Some rabbit owners have reported that acharcoal cob mayhelp dissipateand neutralizeany toxins alreadyingested.
3. Daffodil (Narcissus) These bulbs can causeall sorts of problems ifingested, such as diarrhoea, tremblingand vomiting.
In fact Roman soldiersused to carry a few ofthese bulbs with theminto battle, eating themif they were mortallywounded to hasten their passage to the next world,and yes, that means death!
So if these little onion mimics can do this to a grown man, you can imagine what kind of effects it will have on your pet bunny. Even a lick to any part of the bulb, plant or flower will cause your bunny to ingest the toxic alkaloid called lycorine. Lycorine is very toxic and can irritate the tissues in the mouth and throat causing excessive drooling.
Lycorine also triggers gastrointestinal responses such asvomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.
In more serious cases, heart and respiratory problemscan occur. Severe symptoms such as these require immediate attention by a veterinarian.
Just watch out for thedrooling - This isusually one of the firstsigns you will see ifyour bunny has toxic poisoning.
If you see droolingfrom the mouth,at any time, takeimmediate action!
4. GladiolaWith gladiola, it is the corm (bulb) that is most toxic topet rabbits.
They are usually not fatalbut symptoms may include salivation,drooling, lethargy,vomiting, (occasionallywith blood), depression, diarrhoea, (occasionallywith blood), and abdominal pain.
5. Hyacinth (And Bluebells)These are members of the lily family. The bulbs contain so many toxins that only a small amount ingested can cause severe stomach upsets.
When ingested, the toxic glycosides in the bulbs can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Consumed in any significant quantity, which isn't much for a rabbit, hyacinth bulbs can be DEADLY!
6. Iris Strangely, some types ofIris are used in aromatherapyand sedative medicines,baby teething solutions, and to add colour & flavourto some brands of Gin. However, the common Iris hybrids are the ones that containthe most toxicity. Iris rhizomeshave notable amounts of terpenes,and organic acids which are toxicif ingested by rabbits. The Larger Blue Flag Iris, and others often grownin gardens, containelevated amounts of the toxic glycosideiridin. This can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and/or skinirritations.
7. LilyTrue lilies are membersof the Lilium family.
Many other plants have"lily" in their commonname but are not relatedto true lilies.
Some are not harmfulwhile others, such as'Lily of the Valley' forexample are extremely toxic. From the Asparagaceae family Lily of the Valley grows from rhizomes and all parts of the plant are very dangerous, including the pretty red berries.
The following species of lilies (L. longiflorum) are the more commonly known and garden variety lilies and are poisonous for rabbits if ingested: Asian lily, Calla lily, Day lily, Glory lily and the Japanese lily.
If ingested, even in small amounts, lilies can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, and a reduced heart rate.
There are roughly 38 different cardiacglycosides (cardenolides)that have been found in thelily plant. These toxinscan cause damage to thekidney and effect urine control,which may lead to acute renal failure.
It is also important to remember,most lilies have very toxicpollen, which can easily brush off on to a rabbit'scoat. If this is licked off during groomingit can cause poisoningand severetoxic effects.
8. Star of Bethlehem The Star-of-Bethlehemis a one-foot tall, onion-like plant with alarge bulb and small whiteflowers.
The bulbs, if eaten cancause nausea and vomiting. An irregular heartbeat, similar to digitalisintoxication, has alsobeen reported, howeverpoisoning is usually not severe.
Some of the plants in the genus are very poisonous and have been known to kill grazing animals, yet other are edible and used as cooking vegetables.
The bulbs contain alkaloids and cardenolides, which are toxic. Strangely, Ornithogalum has been listed as one of the 38 plants used to prepare Bach flower remedies, a kind of alternative medicine promoted for its effect on health.
9. TulipTulips can causeskin irritations whenhandled in largequantities, as well asdizziness, stomach upset,convulsions and, in rarecases, death, if eaten.
Tulips contain allergenic lactones.Lactones are derived from chemical compounds and taste bitter and bitlike whiskey, which fortunately may stop a rabbit eating them.
Theres no antidote ifyour rabbit ispoisoned by eatinga tulip bulb, and severe symptomsneed immediatetreatment byyour vet.
10. Eranthis HyemalisAlso known as WinterAconite, and Guinea Gold,the Eranthis is actuallya tuberous rooted plantand not a true bulb, butI include it here for it'simportance to this list.
It is actually part of the'deadly-to-rabbits', buttercup family, Ranunculaceae, and is toxic to rabbits and mostother animals.
If you have small children or pets that are likely to dig in the garden, it would be a good idea to remove them from your garden completely.
The entire plant, especially the underground tuber,is toxic and ingestion may cause nausea, vomiting, colic attacks and visual disturbances. Contact may also irritate the skin.
ConsiderationsIf a flowering bulb isdangerous to humans, its most likely toxic to rabbits too.
Keep the following in mind if youhave bulbs in your garden:
Keep bunnies away fromareas with flowering bulbs.
Wear gloves & protective clothingwhen handling bulbs.
If skin irritations occur, washthe area with soap & water.
For eye irritations, gentlyflush with lukewarmwater for 5 to 10 minutes.
If a poisonous bulbis eaten, call your vet immediately.
And take the bulband/or plantwith you.
Most bulbs are poisonousfor pets but more so for rabbits. Dogs and cats, don't delvearound in the flower borders etc. like bunniesdo, so the danger is not as elevated as it is forpet rabbits.
Rabbits are in more danger from toxic bulbsbecause of their naturaldesire to dig and rootabout in soil.
They are also very good at it, getting through large areas of soil before you even notice.
If a rabbit comes across anything that causes an obstruction to building that perfect tunnel, it will be ejected immediately, usually by mouth.
When contact is made with the bulb, by the mouth of the rabbit, just a small touch or a lifting bite that breaks the surface of the bulb, will release toxinsinto the rabbit's mouth, causing no end ofmisery and upset,sometimes even death,especially in cases ofweak, old, sick, or veryyoung rabbits.
The best advice for dealingwith toxic bulbs is to not havethem in your garden at all.However, you can still have thecolour and beauty that these plants offer, by planting themin a rabbit-safe planter ornon-accessible tub.
Your rabbits need asmuch space and freedom as possibleand making yourgarden safe willalso bring extrapiece of mind.