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camilouwho

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Hello!

So in the past few months I have sort of...ended up with a rabbit. It's a bit of a long story but basically I work at a nonprofit (on a farm) that works with at-risk girls and horses. One of the girls had a bunny she couldn't care for and brought it to us. The poor thing was underweight and had some really gross, matted fur. I took him to the emergency vet, got him cleaned up, and now he lives here on the farm.

Turns out...I am OBSESSED with this rabbit. He's so cute and snuggly and loves people. The vet told me rabbits are basically tiny horses so since I care for horses I had a jump start on rabbit ownership. But I had a couple of specific questions.

1) I'm having trouble keeping his bottom area clean. He's got very long, fluffy hair and it's been a bit of a struggle to keep poop from sticking down there. Any advice on how to keep him clean?

2) He's a male (fairly young I think, since I'm pretty sure besides gaining weight he's also gotten a bit bigger in the three months I've had him). Should I get him neutered? I'm thinking it might help with the keeping him clean situation down there.

3) He's in a bit of a small hutch right now. I'm working on having something built for him. We are in NC and it gets so dang hot during the summer. Any clever ideas about how to keep him cool outside? I'm not opposed to him being indoors to be cool but there's not a great indoor space for him to get enough exercise. Currently I let him out in our dog run to hop around for a couple hours a day but only supervised as it's not covered and I know there are hungry hawks around.

I am super excited to learn more about this adorable dude and hear everyone's great advice!
 

JBun

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If he's getting poop stuck to his bum, it's more likely to be a dietary issue. It's probably his cecals sticking there and that means he's not consuming them properly like rabbits normally do(they are consumed as they contain necessary nutrients for rabbits). Diet is most often the cause of this. Other possible causes are arthritis or obesity making it difficult for him to reach down there and consume his cecotropes, being distracted from eating them normally(being in a new home/area, distracting environmental factors like loud noise or predators, or being a young bunny are all possible causes of being excessively distracted to eat the cecals), or sometimes dental issues can cause a rabbit to not eat it's cecals. If it is the cecotropes sticking there, do they seem to be fully formed blackberry type clusters or are they coming out pasty? What is your rabbits exact diet like?
http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/GI_diseases/drop/Drp_en.htm
 

nat1234

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absolutely get him fixed! i wish my mom had gotten ours fixed as it will help so much with litter training and territorial issues, and you could get him a friend one day if he's fixed (buns are very social)
also please do not keep him outside, its very dangerous as he will be exposed to predators, bugs, and bad weather
you also won't have a great bond if he's stuck outside all the time
i'd try to find an area to set up an x-pen or nic cage that is at least 2ft by 4ft but if that truly isn't possible you could look into free ranging so your bun can have the whole house
you'd just need to bunny proof your home (lennon the bunny on youtube has some great videos on free ranging)
good luck!!!
 

Augustus&HazelGrace

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@nat1234 Buns can be very safe outside, given the right hutch, All of mine are outside I have 6 now, well 4 are mine and the other 2 are my parents. 2 are show buns, but my other 2 I have a great bond with, I spend 2 hours with them at least every day they also get 1 hour of exercise every day when weather permits, this is not just my two but all 6 get 1 hour of exercise a day, yes there could be a better bond with them if they were inside but I am not allowed to have them inside. My hutches are predator, and weatherproof and there shouldn't be any problem with bugs, so long as she keeps his area clean. My two are not yet fixed but they will be. I am selling my show buns and my dad's rabbit will be my only show bun and my mom's rabbit is a breeder. And she has this rabbit on a farm and free-ranging her bun doesn't sound like an option unless she decides to take him home. Which I applaud if you do @camilouwho taking care of buns can be fun, frustrating at times but most of all rewarding in many different ways. I agree with getting him neutered, this will help with his potty habits. Freeze 2-liter bottles and put them out there when it is really hot and switch them out when one thaws. They will lay beside it, lick it, and it will cause cool evaporation to get in the air. But most of all provide cold water throughout the day, I keep gallons of water in the fridge too keep it cold and dump the water out and refill it after a few hours, but if you can't do it every few hours then you can refill it in the morning and at night, they drink more at these times anyhow.
 

camilouwho

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For his diet he gets pellets twice a day, a handful of turnip or mustard greens or mixed lettuce and whatever other treats I mix in the for the week (herbs, a couple of carrots, banana, berries, or some apple). He also has unlimited access to timothy and fresh water. It's not his cecals I think as it's mostly normal pellets. I should mention it's not too bad, just sometimes a little left over from the night or his normal pellets. It might just be rabbit butts are sometimes a little gross but I wanted to make sure!

He would not stay outside at night, just during the day when someone is around to keep an eye on him! Unfortunately taking him home is not an option as I have a cat and a dog who really would like to have the bunny as a snack. I like the idea of the frozen 2-liter bottles!

Thanks everyone!
 

JBun

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If it's his normal fecal poop sticking to his fur, those should never be sticky or sticking. If they are then that means there is some sort of irritation occurring to the digestive tract causing mucous to coat the fecal poop and make them sticky, possibly from sugars in the diet, parasites, or sometimes when medications are being given. It's definitely not normal. Normally rabbits should never have poop sticking to their fur. Rabbits bums should stay pretty clean as rabbits are constantly grooming. If it isn't clean then there is likely some sort of issue that needs to be worked out to clear it up. If it's the cecals then it usually means the microflora in the cecum isn't right and usually that is due to sugars and starches too. How much pellets do you feed per day, how much does he weight, and is he actually eating his hay well, a pile the size of his body per day? I would stop the sugary/starchy treats completely. So no carrots, fruit, or anything else sugary/starchy. The herbs and greens are likely fine. You may also need to reduce pellet amounts depending on how much he's getting and how big he is.
https://rabbit.org/intermittent-soft-cecotropes-in-rabbits/

Another possibility to consider is intestinal parasites causing the irritation. If so, deworming may be needed. If you aren't familiar or comfortable deworming animals(though I would imagine you are), I would suggest a check up with an experienced rabbit vet. For deworming I prefer to use liquid fenbendazole(Safeguard goat dewormer) 20mg/kg once a day for 5 days, 10 days off, then one more dose. Or 10 days straight.
http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/GI_diseases/Parasitic_diseases/Pass/Pass_en.htm
http://wildpro.twycrosszoo.org/S/00dis/Parasitic/Pinworms_inf_lagomorphs.htm


Poop sticking to the fur also posses a risk of attracting flies, and has the potential to cause fly strike, which is very dangerous and can prove fatal very quickly.
http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/Skin_diseases/Parasitic/Myiasis/Miyasis_fly.htm (contains medical related photos)

Here is some info and tips on helping keep a bun cool in warm weather. Keeping them out of direct sunlight is extremely important as well.
https://myhouserabbit.com/rabbit-health/recognizing-heat-stroke-in-your-pet-rabbit/
 

Didi

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For his diet he gets pellets twice a day, a handful of turnip or mustard greens or mixed lettuce and whatever other treats I mix in the for the week (herbs, a couple of carrots, banana, berries, or some apple). He also has unlimited access to timothy and fresh water. It's not his cecals I think as it's mostly normal pellets. I should mention it's not too bad, just sometimes a little left over from the night or his normal pellets. It might just be rabbit butts are sometimes a little gross but I wanted to make sure!

He would not stay outside at night, just during the day when someone is around to keep an eye on him! Unfortunately taking him home is not an option as I have a cat and a dog who really would like to have the bunny as a snack. I like the idea of the frozen 2-liter bottles!

Thanks everyone!
Just on your animals, I am new to keeping a rabbit, too. I've only had Rodger about four weeks now and still learning but I have a dog and three cats. Rodger is a house rabbit and when my dog/cats met him, they were very curious and watched him for hours, dog barked a few times which I stopped, and one of the cats poked her claw in to him, trying to get hold of him but I stopped that, too. Now, the cats are mostly taking him for granted and ignore him. One of the cats loves him and they kind of play a bit. Rodger always runs up to the hutch when he sees Betty the cat and they kind of communicate. The dog likes him quite a lot and stands there doing all kinds of tricks in front of him which Rodg seems to like. That is not to say that I would let Rodger out of his hutch yet. I've ordered a play pen and a little igloo and when I set it up, that will give Rodg a bit more space to hop around in. Will be interested to see what the cats think of him then because he will be hopping and that opens up a whole different situation. I am aiming for Rodg to have free rein in the house eventually but am taking it all very slowly.
 
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