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The subject of intentional breeding or meat rabbits is prohibited. The answers provided on this board are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet.  It is your responsibility to assess the information being given and seek professional advice/second opinion from your veterinarian and/or qualified behaviorist.

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Forum DIET & CARE Urine Scald and dirty bottom in a no touch rabbit

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    • Biscuit@Smores
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        Hello! I have a rabbit who despises being touched and is also an outdoor rabbit (he has a safe enclosure). Recently, he has been a little more accident-prone, peeing in his crate and the weather has also been dewy, so his bottom gets messy when he plays.  I’ve also noticed a urine scald. The problem is he is not the type of rabbit who likes to be touched, I tried to train him when he was younger + his brother loves being pet and held but he still hates it. I’ve also struggled to find vets that take rabbits and don’t cost an arm and a leg. Any ideas would be appreciated!


      • LBJ10
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          How old is he? Sometimes these types of problems are associated with arthritis.


        • Biscuit@Smores
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            He is 7 years old. I have been watching for arthritis in both my buns but no signs of it, his eating is fine but he tends to drink a lot of water, and he still plays around, runs, and binkys like usual.


          • DanaNM
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              Urine scald is not normal in a healthy rabbit and is very painful. He could have a UTI, arthritis,  E cuniculi (which can cause incontinence), or even a kidney problem.

              You need to change his set up so he stays clean and dry, and see a vet to see what’s causing this. I had an incontinent senior and it really helped to putting down washable pee pads (like for dogs) with “sheepette” fabric on top. I would wash the pads and blankets 1-2 times a week.

              . . . 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.  


            • Biscuit@Smores
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                I see, I have started placing newspapers down in the crate. As for his incontinence, could his drinking water excessively be an issue also? I know it might not be possible for rabbits as it is for humans.  He often doesn’t drink in the day (he has access to water)  but when he goes in for the night he guzzles it down just standing and drinking for a few minutes. If I try moving him he will not budge.  Both rabbits don’t drink from a bottle but rather a bowl meant for large dogs which I usually fill most of the way up, when I take them out in the morning it is probably at least halfway through. I know it’s him as his brother doesn’t drink much.


                • DanaNM
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                    Excessive drinking can also be a symptom of illness. Often either kidney issues or sometimes a dental problem. I once had a bun with a molar abscess that was drinking tons of water (and peeing everywhere as a result).

                    Newspapers may help some but they are easily saturated. Puppy pee pads would be better (either disposable or washable would help), as long as he doesn’t eat them. I do hope you can get him to a rabbit savvy vet to try to find the cause. Treatments may not be as expensive as you may think (EC and UTI treatments for example are very affordable). Good vets will try to work with you to avoid tests that are not essential.

                    . . . 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.  


                • Biscuit@Smores
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                    I’m currently on the search for a vet, many in my area consider rabbits ‘exotic’ so it’s a little tricky. As for kidney issues, should I look out for other signs? The only difference I’ve been seeing in him is the potential scald and accessive drinking (which I had assumed was because he doesn’t drink during the day). Thank you for your help! 🙂


                    • Wick & Fable
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                        As a general FYI, in the veterinary field, rabbits do categorically fall under the “exotic” pet category, so a rabbit veterinarian should indeed be an exotic vet, as opposed to a standard dog/cat vet.

                        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.


                    • LBJ10
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                        Hmm… yes, the excessive drinking is definitely cause for concern. I agree with Dana, it could be kidney-related. EC can present as urinary incontinence sometimes. This is because EC can attack the kidneys. Rabbits can also just have kidney failure for one reason or another, but it seems less common. Dental issues can also cause excessive drinking. You often notice other symptoms though, like not wanting to eat certain things.


                      • Biscuit@Smores
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                          From what I’ve checked his teeth are fine, hes also very food motivated and actually has been eating foods he used not not like as a young bun (oranges) along with his usual, (pellets, orange leaves, apples, and such)

                          I’ve been skeptical about arthritis and just age related incontinence. I don’t 100% know if he is actually drinking excessively since I am comparing it to my other bun who doesn’t drink water so much.

                          I have attempted to dry his fur and clean him which he wasn’t a fan of. (Like I mentioned before since he was young he’s never been a rabbit that likes petting, and picking up is a big no for him)

                          All in all I’ll take your advice which I am grateful for and keep searching for a vet + try doing what I can for him.

                          Thanks!


                        • DanaNM
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                            I know this isn’t the purpose of your post but your description of his diet is a bit concerning. Does he eat hay? Rabbits’ diet should be about 75-80% grass hay. Fruit only occasionally and citrus really shouldn’t be given. The issues with teeth are usually the back molars which are not possible to see with special tools and anesthesia. If he doesn’t eat hay then there is an even greater likelihood of dental issues as eating hay is what grinds the teeth down (they all grow continuously).

                            7 is really not that old for a rabbit, so I wouldn’t assume anything is simply age related. I would say he is comparable to a human aged 60 or so. If a 60 year old human suddenly became incontinent, you would likely be concerned. Even “age related” usually has a root cause which is often treatable. It’s true that joints may start getting more stiff, but not complete loss of functions.

                            . . . 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.  


                          • Biscuit@Smores
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                              I hadn’t mentioned but he does get a lot of grass and hay, again since they are outdoor they have full access to grass and such (I made sure all the plants we own are rabbit safe), I just listed some of his favorite treats. He also has chews which wear his teeth down.

                              For citrus fruit I wasn’t aware so I will cut that back as he only has started eating them recently. He does eat the leaves which I’ve also cut down in recent times, though he still has open access to those.

                              I have found a few vets that aren’t that close by but aren’t too far. Hopefully in a few days I can get him out to one.

                              Thank you all again for your help!


                            • LBJ10
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                                Incontinence isn’t age-related. Only a secondary symptom of some things that come with age. I agree that 7 isn’t super old for a rabbit. But depending on their size, arthritis can start to creep in around this age. Arthritis can make it difficult for them to get in and out of the litter box.

                                Although EC can flare up at any age, it seems the risk goes up as bunnies age simply because their immune system doesn’t do as good a job of suppressing it anymore. Again, EC can cause incontinence as well.

                                As for the teeth, simply looking at the front teeth isn’t going to tell you anything unless they have a serious problem with their incisors. Overgrowth on the molars is much more common and is difficult for even a vet to see without using special tools. I agree that his diet sounds concerning. If you notice that he doesn’t want to eat hay or pellets as much, then it can be a sign of dental issues.

                                I hope you can find a vet to take him to. There is definitely something medical going on. If you have trouble finding a vet, sometimes you need to look at vets that advertise as avian vets. Sometimes places don’t have “exotic vet” in the name. But if they specialize in birds, sometimes they have someone on staff that does other exotics (including rabbits). This was how I found my vet.


                              • CathWhiley
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                                  My 7 year-old holland lop, Gus, was diagnosed a couple of years ago with vestibular disease. He used to be litter trained & never missed a beat,  but after 4 months the vestibular miraculously disappeared! However, ever since he only very occasionally uses his litter box. He developed urine scald so we bathe him. Recently we found an exotic vet who prescribed an ointment Flamazine. The urine scald cleared up immediately! She indicated he may have a touch of arthritis which is affecting his ability to posture correctly when urinating. It’s difficult that bunnies develop issues while growing old, and I’m wondering if Gus has dementia since having vestibular. He’s either forgotten he needs the litter box or doesn’t know how to use it anymore 🙁  We’ve tried re-training but no success.


                                • Bam
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                                    Vestibular disease can be a symptom of e cuniculi. The differential is a middle ear infection. E cuniculi can affect any organ system that has a high blood flow, and its not uncommon for it to affect the kidneys. This can lead to incontinence and loss of litterbox habits.

                                    Ec never quite goes away, but the immune system tries its best to keep it down. I’m guessing that could have been what happened with Gus’ vestibular disease -although a middle ear infection sometimes can heal on its own too.

                                    Ec flare-ups are not uncommon and as the bun gets older, the immune defense gets weaker -just like it does in humans. Did your vet consider ec at all? There are tests but they are notoriously unreliable, so many vets choose to treat on suspicion. Treatment typically consists of 28 days of Panacur (fenbendazole).

                                    I dont know if buns get dementia. They probably could if they get old enough.

                                    Happy to hear the flamazine ointment has worked so well for him!

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                                Forum DIET & CARE Urine Scald and dirty bottom in a no touch rabbit