Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Rabbit Died

These rabbits fortunately did not die, they are some of the precious buns who live in the wild on our street.

For whatever reason (maybe because it's Easter), the conversation turned to the "Rabbit Test" while we were coloring Easter eggs this afternoon. I have often heard the phrase "The rabbit died" as an idiom for someone being pregnant, but never knew the horrible truth behind it. In the early part of the last century, a test was developed to test for pregnancy by taking a sample of the possibly pregnant woman's urine, injecting it into the ear vein of a female rabbit, then waiting 36 to 48 hours to dissect the rabbit and examine its ovaries. If the woman was pregnant, the rabbit's ovaries would change in response to the hormone hCG, interestingly enough, the same hormone detected by those trusty pee-stick tests you can get at your corner pharmacy. It seems the rabbit would die regardless of a positive or negative result, because either way, the bun had to be cut open. I can't imagine they'd have put the little guy under anaesthesia, sewn her up and saved her for the next test if the result was negative.

Anyway, happy Easter all, and let's all celebrate the cheap and easy availability of bunny life-saving pee sticks at our local pharmacies!

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