Updated: Mar 5
One of the common problems bunnies experience is sore hocks. Bunny parents, we understand that it's not easy to look at your bunny in pain while playing.
Let's know more about sore hocks.
Sore Hocks or Pododermatitis is a foot problem that makes rabbits' feet raw and inflamed. It starts on the surface of the foot, and when left untreated, it can cause severe damage to deeper tissues.
Sore hocks usually happen in the hind feet because they support the rabbit's weight more than the front feet, so it's painful when the feet have direct contact with the ground. It will not be easy and fun for the bunny's playtime.
Normal Rabbit Hocks
A typical rabbit's hocks are described as a tiny pale pink patch of callused skin beneath a flap of folded-over fur common to giant bunnies. The coat supports the hocks; it's more comfortable when the feet land on the ground. The fur is like an additional cushion for the bunny's feet.
Photo by Alana Lambert
Sore Hocks in House Bunnies
House bunnies experience sore hocks even though they live in a fully-carpeted home. What are the causes?
When a rabbit has enough space to play, hop, and binky, the support of the feet to its body is pretty balanced. In contrast, a rabbit that doesn't have enough space to play tends to rest and sit for longer, causing more pressure on the hind feet.
We always emphasize the rabbits' area in the house to allow them to play and exercise.
Other things that can cause your bunny to have sore hocks are the flooring of the house and the litter box you are using. How to choose a good litter box?
Some litter boxes have sharp grid edges that could cause wounds and sore hocks to your bunny. It's best to choose litter boxes with smooth grids and feet-friendly for your bunnies to prevent them from sore hocks.
Bumbox is available on Amazon.
How to Determine if a Rabbit Has Sore Hocks?
All you need to do is carry your rabbit carefully to check its feet. You need to start on the hind feet, where sore hocks typically occur. Fold the fur of the bunny's heel and see underneath.
If you see a patch of rabbit's heel that's a bit red and has scabs, that is probably sore hocks. Repeat the process and check all the feet, including the whole bunny's sole.
Disclaimer: We are not professional veterinarians or medical doctors. We created this blog based on our experiences with pet rabbits. We volunteered hours in the rabbit shelter, did extensive pet product research, and asked experienced peers. The purpose of this blog is to provide information about properly taking care of rabbits. Please know that it is still best to visit the vet regularly. For medical emergencies, contact a rabbit-savvy vet. Always observe your rabbits around new products or environmental changes.
Sore Hocks in Rabbits: Treatment
It is easier to treat sore hocks when you see them immediately before they become worse. Here are some ways to help you treat your rabbit's sore hocks, but when you see severe redness in the hocks, take your rabbit to the vet.
1. Rabbit Fur
Some bunny owners use gauze or bandages alone to cover the rabbit's hocks. It is better to collect fur from a healthy shedding rabbit and then use it to cover the other rabbit's sore hocks before putting the bandage so it would feel more natural. Don't wrap the hocks too tightly.
2. Soft Floor
While treating your bunny, provide a softer floor like a pile of sheets for the feet comfortability and to not worsen the condition.
3. Trim Nails
Trimming is essential so that the nails will not grow longer and curl into the rabbit's foot, causing it to hurt and start sore hocks.
Final Thoughts on Rabbit Sore Hocks
Avoid getting more pressure on your bunny's hind feet by monitoring its diet. Rabbits who are larger and heavier are most likely to develop sore hocks.
Provide your bunny with a bigger space to play so it won't stay sitting most of the day. This kind of problem shouldn't be ignored. When sore hocks are left untreated, it could lead to severe cases.
Along with providing bunnies with a comfortable floor, they must also have a feet-friendly litter box.
BUMBOX is available on Amazon.
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