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Flight with a bunny!

(This document is written by Kotoyo Hoshina for Wisconsin House Rabbit

Society News Letter, on 2010. Information about quarantine may be
obsolete. )
Hello WHRS members!
My name is Kotoyo, brought three bunnies from Japan and adopted two
WHRS bunnies.
My English may be strange sometime but I hope you bunny lovers can
enjoy it with an open mind!
On Oct. 2nd, 2010, I completed one of the most anxious flight from
Narita Japan to Washington DC. In the animal cargo room, there was a
small 9 years old male rabbit my friend Yumis beloved bunny Usachu.
How an old bunny like Usachu can survive 14 hours international
Yumi and I discussed what is the best way for Usachu again and again.
We had to carry out the plan for Usachus happy life, though we knew
its a high-risk choice.
This note reports what we prepared and how they worked well.
1) Choosing a best season
People live in Wisconsin may not know how awful a Japanese mid-summer
is. Outside temperature will rise up to 100F. Humidity is always over
80%. For a bunny with thick fur, its just unbearable.
The main problem is there is no air conditioner during transportation
of animal cages to airplane and waiting time for loading/unloading.
Considering these environment, spring or autumn is the best season for
flight with bunnies.
2) Quarantine
Whenever we move animals to abroad, we must prepare for quarantine.
Fortunately, USDA doesnt require any over-night stay for imported
rabbits. On the other hand, Animal Quarantine Service in Japan requires
three days stay at quarantine for both exported and imported rabbits.
It is important to make a reservation at least one month before because
rooms for animals are limited.
The third day will be the flight day. Some quarantine may not count
weekend and national holiday as required three days. It is highly
recommended to contact quarantine before you reserve air ticket.
During the inspection at quarantine, feeding animals and cleaning cages
are owners responsibility. I know there is another quarantine that
takes care of animals during the stay, but I didnt choose the option
because they may not know about rabbits well.
I booked hotel around Narita airport, and it was fun to look around
Narita city. If you stay in Narita City, Narita AEON MALL is the best
place to get bunnys vegetables as well as many Japanese products :)

Usachu at quarantine. P100 vari-kennel fits the cage though you need to
lift up the kennel above attached water dish. I used four adhesive tape
rolls as pedestals.
3) In-flight preparation
Choosing proper airline is essential for moving animals. I chose All
Nippon Airline (ANA) because they offer special cargo room for animals
with adjusted temperature and pressure. It is very dangerous to put
rabbits in an ordinary cargo room because inside temperature may drop
under 40F.
On the other hand, ANA international flight does not allow bringing
animals in cabin. If you want to keep your bunny beside you, you need
to find other airlines.
Another point you should consider is how the airline keeps on-time
flight. In this summer, my roommate Koushi experienced awful flight to
US, she shut up over 12 hours inside the cabin and eventually the
airplane flew back to Japan!
Many Japanese airline companies do not allow having vegetables and
pellets in bunny cage during a flight.
In this case your bunny must survive with hay and a bottle of water.
We trained Usachu to use water bottle and eat hay well from one month
before the flight.
(However, I still hided iceberg lettuce under hay bed just in case if
Usachu does not drink water)

The kennel must meet airlines requirements. Most of airline allows

vari-kennel with a key lock so that animal cannot open the door. I also
recommend taping water bottle with adhesive tape.

Usachu in vari-kennel. I used my suitcase key to lock the door because

I didnt have any other key. Do not forget to prepare a key, otherwise
airline company may not accept your kennel!
4) At the USA custom
At the USA custom, we have to show a certification of health record
given from Japanese quarantine.
They do not allow importing hay; you have to dump all hay in kennel
Your rabbit pellets will be inspected too. This time they allowed
importing small amount of Japanese rabbit pellets, but it may depend on
officers opinion so I recommend buying pellets and hay online and
shipping them to new home beforehand.
5) After care finding good vet or rabbit rescue group at destination
in advance!
I believe it is one of the most important preparations for moving
Yumi and I had contact with HRS Maryland branch over two weeks before
Usachus arrival.
Usachu survived 14 hours flight, however, he stopped to eat anything
even his most favorite food cabbage.
Taste of vegetable may differ in different country!
Since we didnt prepare for syringe feeding, we called Maryland HRS on
9 PM and obtained critical care and syringe.
It was essential treatment at that time, otherwise we had to wait until
next morning and Usachu might have severe GI problem.

Fortunately, Usachu recovered his appetite gradually and got well after
one week later.
During the treatment, Yumi got opportunity to meet other HRS members at
Petsmart, who were running bunny adoption campaign. I think she was
relieved to know other bunny-lovers near by her new home (Yumi moved to
MD just one day before arrival of Usachu!).
It is difficult to find a bunny rescue group in Japan, unfortunately.
There is no HRS branch, no large organization that can support your
However, if you move to Kanto area (including Tokyo metropolitan),
there are some skilled exotic-animal veterinaries. Some vets are
specialized for rabbits.
If you understand Japanese, you may be able to find many good vets for
rabbits with google search.
Usachu is now enjoying USA life with Yumi. I finish this article with a
nice Usachus kiss!