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Forum BEHAVIOR Mucky bum & paws – what I’m doing wrong?!?

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    • MelM
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      I’ve had my adopted Lop for 3 months now (he’s 2.5 yrs old, male, neutered him 2 weeks after I adopted him). We love him, he’s the sweetest thing. We’re dealing with something though and I can’t for the life of me figure it out and it’s driving me crazy!!  Last week out of nowhere without any major changes other than introducing fresh dill to him, his bum got SOO mucky. It was so bad I had to bring him to the vet for help getting out the mats as a gentle bum bath didn’t work. It is extremely difficult to handle him as well, he really hates being picked up, but I’ve learned how to do it for situations like this. The groomers there trimmed down his fur to help get the mats out.  His paws are also very dirty (front and back) and I’ve posted here before regarding his mucky paws, but they never did improve.

      His diet:  less than 1/8 cup Oxbow garden select pellets, variety of fresh greens about 2 handfuls/day, exclusively orchard grass hay because he won’t eat timothy hay. I decided to pull back big time on the veg since I keep reading that diet is a major factor in a dirty bottom.  He drinks a lot!  I don’t buy treats or give him much fruit or pieces of carrot at all, maybe 1-2/week if that, in very small amounts.

      Health:  The vet did an exam on him prior to neutering and never mentioned concerns over his weight (he’s almost 4 lb) or his spine (he seems to move around well and I catch him grooming his back area without issue) or his teeth.

      Behaviour:  this lil guy seems very comfortable with us, loves coming up for pats, he’s very chill, doesn’t chew up anything actually, and I catch him in his litter box for what seems to me to be very frequently. This has led me to believe it’s the “hanging out in the litter box” situation that is giving him a dirty bottom and paws! So I’ve been going crazy adjusting his litter situation to help with this. When I adopted him his paws and bottom looked very clean (paws only slightly yellow) – they had been using pine shavings (not good from what I’ve read) for litter material so I quickly switched him to thin layer of paper pellets + puppy pad. Then I noticed the dirty paws.  So I added Carefresh paper bedding on top of the paper pellets, still no difference. Then I decided to add hay on top of that, nothing improved in fact it got worse after this so I decided to revert back to separating his litter and hay like his previous owners were doing – and I went from changing it every other day to daily.  Which brings me to what we’re dealing with currently and this very mucky bum.

      I never notice any cecotropes, inside or outide the ltiter box. But I do notice darker brown staining on the fleece where he likes to hang out, which I believe happens overnite. Also crushed areas of poop, almost flakey.  Other than that, his poop looks well formed to me, dark brown color, he poops a lot.

      He has a really huge area to himself all day long, way bigger than most NIC cage set ups I’ve seen online (instead of going multi-level, I built mine with lots of run-around floor space since I have the room).

      Can anyone help me out?!?  This problem is really eating away at me, I want to prevent this from happening again, as I can’t keep going to the vet for cleanings and from what I’ve read this is a big concern.  Thank you!

       


    • DanaNM
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      Hmmmmm, could he have clogged scent glands?  It’s a bit surprising he would have poop stuck on his with no signs of soft poops otherwise, so I’m wondering if it could be his scent glands.

      Could you post a pic or two of what you’re seeing?

      Also, does he dig in his litter box? My bunnies were driving me crazy because they kept digging in the box and staining up their paws. I recently went back to using a screen and their paws are getting cleaner again.

      I use pine pellets under the screen, for reference.

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • MelM
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      Hi Dana!  If the scent glands were clogged, would they smell really bad? I don’t smell anything foul.  What happens when the glands are clogged?

      I took a couple pics, but I’m getting an error saying I’m not allowed to attach files to this post…??


    • DanaNM
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      Sorry we are still having issue with photos, but the work-around is if you add them to your profile, then they will stay in your media library and you should be able to add them to the post that way.

      You may not smell the scent glands until you start cleaning them (they have a VERY distinct smell…. kinda skunky).

      That said, since the staining on the fleece happens overnight, it could be that he’s a bit clumsy eating his cecals and smushes a few in the process.

      The other thing is that some bunnies just have really sensitive tummies to greens or pellets.  Does he eat a good amount of orchard hay? If it seems like excess soft poops, you could try and elimination diet to try to figure out if a particular veggie or pellets are the culprit.

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • MelM
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      @DanaNM – forgot to answer your other question…he’s totally not a digger. At least I’ve never seen him dig in the litter pan. He used to claw at the carpet prior to being neutered and I haven’t seen him do that since. I will try the litter pan screen insert, DIY option. Thanks for that.

      OK I’ll have to check out the scent glands and give them a clean  😐 I’m still so new to him and he’s tricky to handle for too long.

      It worked, I posted the pics. This is 4 days after being cleaned and trimmed at the vet’s. This isn’t the worst it’s been, his paws (especially hind paws) have been darker. You can still see some matting as they said they couldn’t get it all out, so I’ll be working on that tomorrow.

       


    • CottonTheLop
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      17 posts Send Private Message

      Hi! So I feel the need to respond to this since I had a rabbit who had issues that looked just like that on his paws but it was on my rabbit’s tail too. First, I want to inform you about flystrike. Flystrike can happen when urine or sludge gets on your rabbits paws. This can burn their skin and cause flies to, practically, eat at their skin. This is not meant to scare you but I feel that you should be informed that you have to quickly solve this problem. Next, I want to tell you that your rabbit could have a UTI. A urinary tract infection could cause sludge or (in the case of my rabbit) it could make it so that they can’t lift up their tail and pee — instead, their urine just dribbles over their back end. (Also called wet tail). I got my rabbit to the vet and it turned out that he looked EXACTLY like your bunny above and he was dribbling urine due to a UTI. He got antibiotics and a pain med and his tail was fluffy and perfect after. (The mats eventually got out after the vet got most of it out and we did gentle bum cleaning.) It could help to clean his litter box more frequently. I had rescued my bunny and they originally said to clean it every 1-3 days but I cleaned his everyday because he would sit, lay down, and dig at his litter box, loll.

      I hope this helps and please update.

      Thank you!!


    • DanaNM
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      To me that looks more like urine staining than anything from poop, but that could be because it was cleaned recently. If there is constant wetness from urine that could cause poops to break apart. Does he pee outside the box often or seem to be dribbling urine at all?

      I use pine pellet litter, which is really good at absorbing urine. You might try using a set-up with pine pellets, a screen, and then scoop out the wet areas twice a day for a while to see if that helps. The screen makes it pretty easy to do this. Going to link to Wick’s post about their litter box set up, as it keeps things very clean and tidy, as well as another thread with lots of litter box set-up options:

      Rabbit makes a mess of his litterbox!!!

      Detailed description of litter tray preparation

      It’s always good to rule out medical causes, and then once you are sure he’s healthy, you can experiment with his box set up until you find something that works. It might not be obvious immediately, because the staining won’t really go away until the new fur comes in.

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • MelM
      Participant
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      @CottonTheLop – thanks for your input. Flystrike has been a concern for me, as it is getting warmer in these parts.  I never thought of a possible UTI, so thanks for that.

      Amazing thank you @DanaNM for the links and your help 😉 the screen + pine pellets will be a good thing either way, should get him checked as well. I never see urine outside the box since being neutered, however I’m not sure if that staining on the fleece is urine or smushed cecals like you mentioned. I feel like he drinks a lot compared to what I read oline, but he does eat a lot of orchard grass too.


    • pinkiemarie
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      My rabbit recently had an issue where he was wet all under and up his backside above his tail and everything. The underside looked a lot like that. I had to give him a butt bath and cleaned him up but still missed a spot above his tail! Anyhow it turned out that the way one of his litter boxes was arranged was causing him to sit in a puddle. I changed his setup and he has stayed clean so I definitely suggest checking for any areas where he could be sitting in a mess and fixing it. If changing things around doesn’t fix the situation or if you have any reason to believe he has fly strike or a uti or anything else though definitely get him into the vet sooner rather than later.


      • MelM
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        Thank you @pinkiemarie, appreciate your help. I had to do another bum bath yesterday, but it didn’t go well, he saw the basin in which we did it last time and he really freaked out, I’m so worried about him injuring himself. But it’s costly to keep going to the vet just to clean him. Yesterday he did a full urination (not just a dribble) outside the litter box, which he’s never done before. I separate his hay and litter because this keeps his paws cleaner. Anyways, I use a hay bag feeder and needed to wash it so his hay was in a different container and he managed to get it everywhere and I think he thought, “hey this is where I go pee” 🙄 he’s is always very good about going pee in the litter box.  So now he has even dirtier paws. It feels like this will never end! I’m picking up some galvanized hardware mesh today to make a screen for the litter pan.


    • Hazel
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      I have the same plastic mesh for a litter screen as Wick, I really like them. They’re super easy to cut to the right shape and I think they might be easier on their feet than metal screens (to be fair though, I don’t have any personal experience with metal screens).

      I definitely agree that he should be checked for a UTI.

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Forum BEHAVIOR Mucky bum & paws – what I’m doing wrong?!?