Photo credit: bbbunny
Older rabbits aren’t as flexible. They’ve got tired bones and things just aren’t as bendy as they used to be. This means it is harder for them to reach those private parts and keep everything nice and tidy. You may notice the dreaded streaks on your floor, or even a less than flowery odor. The thing is this: there are far more serious problems here, and ones we’ve got to do something about.
As the poo accumulates on your rabbit’s bum, it starts to dry. This dried poo can be like having pebbles stuck in their fur. Imagine sitting on that! And the fur is being pulled too, since it is stuck in the matts, and this makes things even more uncomfortable. Ouchie!
Urine gets soaked up or trapped by this mess as well, so the rabbit will often end up with urine scald – irritated skin caused by the urine staying in contact with the skin. Urine scald can be painful, and the skin can become infected. In the worst cases, there can be open sores.
So now your bun is sitting on a gravelly mess with very tender skin underneath it. That is no good thing.
This mess also gets in the way of the caecotrophs that your rabbit needs so much for nutrition. If caecotrophs are lost in the mess, or they smell funny and your rabbit won’t eat them, we’ve got an even bigger problem on our hands.
You may not think an evening giving your bunny a bum bath sounds like a rockin’ good time, but you’ll be doing your friend a HUGE favor.
Contrary to some very popular videos that continue to make the social media rounds, please do NOT bathe your entire rabbit. This can be very traumatic for them. It can also make their fur felt like a Woolrich blanket, making them fur-bound and preventing free movement.
You CAN soak your rabbit’s bum in a nice lukewarm stream of water (it should fee no warmer than body temperature to your hands), and use your fingers to gently loosen the goo. Make sure your rabbit feels secure – the more you can support every part of your rabbit, the better. Go slowly, take your time. Remember, you are working with an already irritated area, and rabbits are sensitive!
If your rabbit is upset by a bum bath, you can use a large bowl instead of the sink. Just lower your rabbit into the bowl gently, and make sure that if your rabbit jumps out he won’t jump off a table! Towel dry very gently as much as possible (remember, there can be some sensitive skin under there), then air dry, and then take a good look at the situation. If there is any pink skin, any signs of urine scald, get some help from your veterinarian. It may help to clipper the area, and there are creams and antibiotics to prevent or get rid of any infection. Your bunnies’ behind is going to need some careful monitoring.
As we get older, the maintenance regime grows every day. Although we may resent the extra tasks for our own upkeep, doing the extras for our friends is not so hard. There is something about seeing them more comfortable, happier – they really make any effort worth it, don’t they?
Looking for a little extra support for your older rabbit? We’ve got just the thing – Young at Heart Blend.