Author Topic: New carpeting lethal? Please help!  (Read 2932 times)

Offline Gypsy Heart

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New carpeting lethal? Please help!
« on: January 01, 2007, 06:39:11 PM »
Hi all. I'm new to the Rabbit section. I'm usually over in Rat's Rule. I have a question concerning my daughter's rabbit though. About 2 months ago, we decided to allow her to bring home one of her rabbits that she bought and is housing at her boyfriend's parents house. Our Christmas present (early) to her was to purchase the parts to make a cage from those wire shelf kits. About one week after bringing SweetPea home, he died from unknown causes. He had had surgery to fix a tear and remove one testicle due to an injury from a fight months before and seemed completely recovered from that. The only thing I can think of, is that (a) he was chewing on the carpet edges unknowingly to us, or (b) the brand new carpet we put down had too much new-carpet chemicals in it. I just removed the OLD carpeting that was on the 2 higher levels and replaced it with new, so I am worried that this could cause problems in the new bunny she brings home.
Does new carpeting cause potentially lethal problems in rabbits? If so, does letting them "air" for a while (how long?) allow the chemicals to "evaporate"? Or might there be a problem I have overlooked?
She is wanting to bring her bunny home tonight. I am making her wait another week to see what you people say, and perhaps "air" the new carpeting out.
Thanks in advance for any and all replies.

Offline BlueMoon

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Re: New carpeting lethal? Please help!
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2007, 12:15:02 AM »
I recently got new carpeting in my basement (where most of my animals live), and even though the new carpet smell was still pretty evident after a few days, none of my animals had any problems with it. So, I'd venture to guess that the chemicals aren't a serious problem (for mammals, at least) when breathed in. I'm not sure what effects ingestion of the carpeting might have, though, and based on the links below, different types of carpeting use different chemicals, some of which seem to have some degree of toxicity.

Overall, though, it seems more likely that a rabbit would get impacted from ingesting carpet fibers, rather than getting sick from the chemicals on the carpet itself. It might help to know how old your rabbit was, was he eating & pooping normally before he died, or did he seem to have any difficulty breathing, etc.

Here are a few articles you might want to check out -

3M Scotchgard products:
3Mís new fluorochemical technologies have been extensively tested which show they are stable polymers with minimal to no environmental impact and have minimal toxicity, even when given in large doses in laboratory tests. In addition, the new fluorochemical technologies are based on materials that will not bioaccumulate in people or wildlife. These new products not only have excellent protection performance, but they also have a very favorable environmental, health and safety profile.

A series of links relating to possible toxicity of Stainmaster (teflon) carpeting and an article specifically discussing the effects of teflon on pets. This article is mostly in regard to birds, but scroll down to the section called "Brain" where rabbits are mentioned. Keep in mind this article is discussing the breakdown of Teflon at high temperatures... not carpet temperatures... so the products released into the air may not be quite the same.

Offline DazzleMe

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Re: New carpeting lethal? Please help!
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2007, 06:43:30 AM »
 I'm afraid I do not have anything to add but just wanted to comment that I've never seen that the teflon also affects rats and mice (as stated in the article). That is amazing and makes me wonder. Back in 2002-03 we had a teflon pan but no longer use them due to the general harmful properties to animals and humans, even.
 Thanks for that link, BlueMoon!
-Melina & Crew

Offline SarahD

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Re: New carpeting lethal? Please help!
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2007, 10:33:59 AM »
Rabbits hide illness very well and without a necropsy it would be very hard to tell what exactly caused the death of the rabbit.  Did you notice anything unusual prior to his passing like drooling, not eating, swellings around the face, not producing stool, losing weight, labored breathing, any eye or nasal discharge, lethargy or just being less active...?  How old was the rabbit?  Had it ever been seen by a veterinarian?
mom of 7 rats
RVT at an all exotic specialty clinic
Founder of EARPS, Inc.

Offline Gypsy Heart

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Re: New carpeting lethal? Please help!
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2007, 10:38:07 AM »
Thanks so much for your replies.
I'm not sure how old SweetPea was, but I think fairly young (I can't keep track of all the animals my daughter and her boyfriend's mom have). He was pooping normally, but according to my daughter, his litter pan was free of pee - so over the weekend, I guess he hadn't peed. I feel awful, since she had left him in my care over the weekend (on top of all our other animals here). I had taken him out for free-range (in one room only, since we have dogs and cats), and he seemed lethargic then. I just (stupidly) figured it was due to his "mommy" leaving him behind. It's really unusual that I didn't figure something was wrong with him, because I usually get worried over every little thing with my animals. I don't have much experience with bunnies though, and have heard they hide their illness very well. To the point that if you're not aware of it, once you notice they are ill, it's usually too late for them, or at the least a trip to the vet's is needed ASAP!
Anyway, I HAVE heard of the Teflon problem in birds, since I had a pair of budgies way back, and got rid of all my Teflon.
And I'm glad to see they are coming out with much safer materials in the carpeting (3M). I didn't see anything on the packaging that said they were stain resistant or anything. We just bought a cheap 5'x8' and cut to size. I had read in these forums that some people duct tape their edges to finish them, which would be way easier than sewing an edge.