How to Clean Bunnies Feet?
As a General Rule. You can use a warm water wetted towel to clean the feet of your rabbit. You can use vinegar mixed water to clean the feet of your rabbit. Simply, rub the brush around the feet and then wash with the water. This will help in the removal of the dirt easily. Alternatively, you can also use some veterinary-recommended soaps/chemicals. Keep in mind that, you should talk to your vet before using them. Try to clean the rabbit’s feet almost three times a week.
In this article, we are going to discuss “Rabbit foot care “along with other relevant things under the light of scientific literature and general field experience.
Do Rabbits Have Padded Feet?
How to Clean Bunnies Feet – This is a very common question that is usually asked by rabbit owners. There are some anatomical variations among mammals. For instance, cats have padded paws. On contrary, the rabbits don’t have paw pads because their feet were developed for strength and durability instead of speed.
Additionally, a thick and coarse layer helps in protecting and cushioning the rabbit’s feet. This thick layer of fur can be found underside the rabbit’s along with under the toes and hock.
Caution: This is notable that fur pads protect the rabbit’s feet. However, there are various problems which are associated with fur pads. Remember, the shorter fur pads put the rabbit at higher risk of getting ulcerative pododermatitis. Being a responsible owner, this is your responsibility to take of the overall foot health of your beloved bunny.
Interesting fact: Rabbits are the only mammals that don’t have paw pads.
What are the Important Causes of Dirty Feet in Rabbits?
There are various causes of dirty feet in rabbits. However, here we are going to discuss some key causes below
- The hopping around the grass may cause some soil and dirt on your rabbit’s foot. However, this only happens in the case of outdoor rabbits.
- Urine staining: This is one of the common and major reasons for dirty fur and feet in rabbits. Keep in mind that, rabbits produce lots of urine especially in the summer season when they drink plenty of water. So, you may observe the yellow urine staining on the feet/fur.
- The unclean environment of the cage: If you don’t maintain the cleanliness of your rabbit’s cage it may lead to dirty feet along with other serious health issues. So, being a responsible owner, keep your rabbit’s cage neat and clean.
- Unneutered rabbits: Unneutered rabbits have the bad habit of urine spraying. They tend to mark their dominance and also disturb the environment of the cage. Their urine splashes stain the feet/fur of the other recessive rabbits. This is a big problem for the owners.
- Disease/health-related issues: Generally, rabbits are considered clean animals. They keep themselves clean and maintained. However, in cases of diseases/health issues, they can’t maintain themselves and thus you may observe dirty feet with furs.
Are Yellow Stains a Cause for Concern?
Many rabbit owners show concern about the yellowing staining of the rabbit feet. As discussed earlier, urine is responsible for the yellowing of the rabbit’s feet. However, the stress can also cause the yellowing of rabbits’ feet. There are many other conditions that are responsible for the frequent yellowing of the rabbit’s feet. For instance, kidney diseases and other feet problems are also involved in the yellowing of rabbits’ feet.
Solution: If you find yellowing in your rabbit’s foot, try corn flour. Rub it gently over the yellow feet. This may help get rid of yellow feet. A dry bath is also a good idea. Keep in mind that, it is not a good idea to give wet baths to rabbits so frequently unless it is quite necessary.
Attention!!! Make sure that your rabbit’s case is always 100% clean and hygienic.
What are Common Sore Feet Problems in Rabbits?
Different conditions affect the rabbit’s feet. However, we have discussed “Sore hocks” in detail.
Sore hock is medically called “ Pododermatitis” which is a serious condition of rabbit’s feet. These conditions gradually progress and destroy the deeper tissues of the rabbit’s feet.
The main cause of this condition is the constant contact of the rabbit’s foot with the ground. This leads to the development of pressure on the blood vessels of the paws. Ultimately the foot becomes raw and inflamed.
Note: Keep in mind that, the sore hocks may lead to the development of serious foot infection in the rabbit. It is highly important to reach the actual cause of sore hock and treat it as early as possible.
- Pregnant rabbits are also at a higher risk of getting sore hocks.
- Some giant breeds of rabbits are at a higher risk of getting sore hocks.
- The rabbits suffering from other health conditions such as leg problems (mobility issues), spinal injury, and arthritis are at higher risk of developing sore hocks.
- Long nails, damp bedding along poor hygiene are also important causes of sore hocks in rabbits.
- Overweight rabbits are at a higher risk of developing sore hocks.
Caution: This must be your top priority to provide your rabbit with even/smooth flooring. The rough flooring is a major factor that is involved in the sore hocks of rabbits.
Signs & Symptoms:
A rabbit suffering from sore hocks shows several signs. However, for the better understanding, we have summarized a few important key signs below:
- You may observe bald/inflamed patches.
- You can see raw sores on the rabbit’s foot.
- Localized alopecia (loss of hair)
- You may also observe the bleeding from the hind limbs of the rabbits. (Only in severe cases).
- Anorexia can also be seen in a sick rabbit. This may occur due to the pain.
Diagnosis of sore hocks is critical and a certified vet can help you in better diagnosis of this condition. For a better diagnosis and understanding of this condition, we have divided this condition into the following grades:
(Grade-I) No symptoms because this is an early stage of the disease.
(Grade-II) Skin is intact, though you may observe mild symptoms (pinkish areas etc).
(Grade-III) Thickening of the skin, alopecia, and moderate signs can be observed.
(Grade-IV) In this stage, the involvement of the deeper tissues can be observed. All along with that, you may notice the abscess.
(Grade-V) This is the advanced stage of the condition. It involves bone infection, extensive damage of the deeper tissues with a poor prognosis.
How to Treat Rabbits Sore Hocks?
The treatment of sore hocks depends upon the condition of the foot and the extent of the damage. However, your vet can suggest the following things as the first line of treatment:
- Washing of the affect foot with the antiseptic solution. All along with that, some topical antiseptics can be used to deal with the infection.
- Anti-inflammatory medications can also be given to deal with the fever, pain and inflammation.
- It is better to control the movement of the rabbit during the healing time.
- Keep the dressings/bandages dry and clean.
- Also your vet may suggest some systemic antibiotics to check the secondary bacterial infections.
- Keep the rabbit’s feet clean.
- Trim the overgrown toes.
- Provide dry, soft bedding for your rabbit.
- Try to control your rabbit’s weight.
- Try to provide a stress free environment to your rabbit.
Attention!! Rabbits are more prone to stress. They grow well and perform best in a stress-free environment.
How to Clean Your Rabbits Feet?
Here, we are going to share some important tips with you to clean the feet of rabbits.
- You can use warm water wetted towel to clean the feet of your rabbit.
- You can use vinegar mixed water to clean the feet of your rabbit. Simply, rub the brush around the feet and then wash with the water. This will help in the removal of the dirt easily. Alternatively, you can also use some veterinary recommended soaps/chemicals. Keep in mind that, you should talk to your vet before using them.
- Try to clean the rabbit’s feet almost three times in a week.
The rabbits are clean animals. There are many conditions that affect the foot of rabbits’ i-e sore hocks. This is important to take care of the rabbit’s feet by taking all precautionary measures. Remember, rabbits are good at hiding diseases. This is your duty to regularly monitor the feet health of your beloved bunny friend. In case, find any problem, talk to your vet on emergency grounds. Last but not least, timely diagnosis guarantees early recovery.
Author: Dr. Juon Abbass
DVM Ph.D. (Veterinary Microbiology)
Murakami, T., Inoshima, Y., Watanabe, K.I., Kobayashi, Y., Matsui, T., Kurazono, H. and Ishiguro, N., 2011. Pathogenesis of experimental amyloid protein A amyloidosis in sore hocks-affected rabbits. Amyloid, 18(3), pp.112-118.
Mancinelli, E., Keeble, E., Richardson, J. and Hedley, J., 2014. Husbandry risk factors associated with hock pododermatitis in UK pet rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Veterinary Record, 174(17), pp.429-429.
Mikó, A., Matics, Z., Gerencsér, Z., Odermatt, M., Radnai, I., Nagy, I., Szendrő, K. and Szendrő, Z., 2014. Performance and welfare of rabbit does in various caging systems. animal, 8(7), pp.1146-1152.