How to deal with long fur on the feet.

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Flashy

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I'm fairly certain that some bad advice is being given out (not on here, but by some people I currently 'work' with) about how best to deal with the fur on the feet of rabbits with long fur.

Can any one who has extensive knowledge and experience of long furred feet and how to deal with them please explain what you do with the feet to keep them healthy, and why.

So far, all I've seen is matted feet and sore hocks, which is what is making me think the advice is wrong. By the way, these are not my buns, nor buns in my care, or anything to do with me, I just need to know so I can do damage limitation if the issues arise again.

Thanks in advance.
 

BlueGiants

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Can you give a better description of the situation? Are the feet being trimmed? Bottom of the feet or top? Fur cut too short? Sore hocks with long fur or short? Are the nails being kept trimmed?

When I had wooled breeds, we never cut the fur on the feet. But it was necessary to be vigilant about the nails.

Are they kept on solid floors? If we got one in with matted feet, the mats would be trimmed and brushed out. Once they were cleaned up, we very seldom saw a repeat of the problems.
 

Flashy

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What do you suggest for care of the underside of the foot, I guess is what I'm asking. Like do you suggest brushing it, keep it clean and fluffy, etc.

The advice that has been given out is to not touch the underside and let it get some sort of hard layer (which I can only imagine is dirt?!?!?!?!)so effectively the fur is forming a hard layer to protect the feet (or something). but the buns I have seen like this have matts on the underside and these are pulling fur away from places like the heel and also further up the foot. To me, it all sounds really wrong and poor to advise that, but I could be wrong, which is why I wanted to check.



This is just for those bunnies with long fur, like the wooly breeds, or the cashmere type breeds, or teddy lionheads, etc.
 

BlueGiants

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Yes, we kept thefeet brushed and clean. No, I never let them mat up. That's a recipe for irritation,bacteria and infection.All the wooled breeds need to be brushed frequently anyway, we just did the feet at the same time. (Are these rabbits being kept properly? Brushed often?)

My daughter had Jersey Woolies that got brushed once or twice a week. Doesn't take long if they are done often enough not to matt up. The fur would get compressed on the bottom of the feet, but it would brush right out.

I'd hesitate cutting off the fur. If the rabbit has an issue with the feet matting, maybe I'd "trim" the bottom of the feet, with an emphasis on keeping it as long as possible.

Another consideration is thatregardless of how longthe fur is on the bottom of the feet, it may be thin or of poor density. Not thick enough to cushion the toes or hocks. Close cutting the fur will make this problem worse. It will remove what little padding is there.


Edited to add: I'd brush them out. Try to remove the hard mats and loosen up some of the fur to cover the hocks better.
 

Flashy

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Thank you Cathy.

Sadly the answer is no (and is related to my post in the VIP forum). I just wanted to make sure I had the right info so in the unlikely event it crops up again, I can give the correct advice.
 

BlueGiants

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I suspect that the main issue here is the cleanliness of the cages.Dirty, mattedfur will hold moisture against the skin causing all kind of problems. Fur will loosen up and fall out, the skin will itch and the rabbit will dig and scratch, pulling out the fur. Exposed, irritatedskin (any where on the body) makes them suseptable to infection, fly strike, injury, etc. It comes down to proper care.

If you don't want to brush and maintain a long coat, get a different rabbit! Plenty of short coated breeds out there that don't require high maintenance.
 

OakRidgeRabbits

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I have Woolies and Hollands, both of which have relatively long feet fur. I don't brush or groom their feet at all and have NO trouble.

What do I suggest? Wire floors. Are these pet buns we're talking about or breeder buns? If they're pet buns- the pet world has been led to believe that wire flooring is bad. Wrong. Wire flooring is GREAT for most breeds because of how clean it is. That doesn't mean the bunny can't have regular romps on solid ground, but housing them in a wire cage helps keep their feet off the litter and out of anything wet as well.
 

Flashy

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Thanks Cathy.

Oak, so you don't touch their feet at all? I'm guessing they are completely clean feet despite that.

These are all going to be pet buns (but the ones in question are pet buns). I don't think we could do wire though, because when we rehome its to 50sqft permanent access (this is related to the fact I do home visits for people adoption rabbits from the local RSPCA) and you wouldn't ever get anything wire that was that big. I hear what you're saying though. Thanks for replying :)
 

Bunnymom,K

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I brush the hair on the feet of my angoras and check their feet on a regular basis to be sure they are clean (no hay or other things stuck in the hair). The hair on the bottoms of the feet should never be shaved off because this is what protects their feet.

Wire floors or solid doesn't matter as much as keeping their living space clean.
 

OakRidgeRabbits

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Flashy wrote:
Oak, so you don't touch their feet at all? I'm guessing they are completely clean feet despite that.
Nope, I don't do any grooming to the feet and they stay completely clean and tangle free. All of my rabbits actually have litterboxes too, so I can say with certainty that just keeping the area clean and dry will do wonders. The only breed I would think that would need feet grooming is possibly the Angora breeds. Short haired breeds shouldn't.

Bunnymom is right, fur is what protects the feet, so it should never be shaved off. It does kind of naturallysmoosh downinto a protective coating. I'm not sure how to describe exactly...my bun's feet look kind of like a comb-over. LOL!:pFrom birth, it all tends to sweep one way and cover the foot. As adults, if you try to flip it the other way, it comes up all together for the most part. Foot fur is not supposed to be as flowy and gorgeous as body fur since it is a protectant. But it definitely should be clean and not matted. I am on vacation this week, but can take some pictures to better describe it when I get home.;)
 

BlueCamasRabbitry

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Bottom of the feet should be fluffy, not hard.

I don't normally brush my bunnies feet, but I do check them for sore hocks, and to see how well-furred they are. Of course I clean their feet when they are dirty, too.

Emily
 

Flashy

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Thanks guys this is really useful.

How would you each deal with matted feet?
 

bunnybunbunb

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Cameron had a few matts in his feet when I brushed his last - mind he had to have had them when I got him as I have had him 32 days xP Anyway, all I have to do was use the flee comb and they where gone. Unless they are bad and to the skin using a flee comb should work.
 
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