Questions about handling, nail trimming, etc.

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physalia

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Hi all,

I've had a new bun for about a month now. He's a little over a year old and he's been great. My problem is handling. Like most bunnies, he does NOT like to be handled in any way. He's in need of a nail trim and I have no idea how to go about it without hurting him. The bunny burrito sounds like a good idea, but it's the back feet that need the trimming more than the front and you can't really access the back feet in the burrito.

I also noticed that he has 2 small calluses on his hind feet, they're somewhat tough and not red or pink in color. They don't seem to bother him and I can touch them without him reacting. I thought he may have had sore hocks in the past and I've been keeping an eye on them for any change. His cage is a solid bottom and I change his litter every day to keep him dry. But again, it's extremely difficult to handle him to take a peek, especially underneath.

I have a vet in town that has some rabbit patients, there really wasn't any listing for rabbit savvy vets near me. I called them and asked a lot of questions about rabbits (I take my dog and cat there), especially about neutering, as they have performed the surgeries before. I asked if rabbits should be fasted before surgery and should they stay overnight after and the answers were no, so they passed that test. But I did call and ask about trimming nails, since I know some people here have their vets do it, and they said that they would and if the bunny was very stressed about it, there are mild sedatives that could be given if need be (inhalants) just to take the edge off a little. Does that sounds reasonable? My bun also has dark nails so I'm not only worried about handling him to do the trimming but also not being able to see the quick.

Sorry this turned out to be a long post, but as a new bunny owner, I am so nervous about handling him and injuring him accidentally that I thought I'd get input from those who know their bunnies :)

Thanks in advance!
 
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Most of our rabbits tolerate being handled, some better than others, but we tried to handle them from a young age. If you burrito him you could stretch his back legs out so you can get to his nails. The vet may also be able to show you a way to hold him where he won't struggle because there are different ways to hold them and have them feel secure. I wouldn't worry about the callouses unless they start looking irritated or red.
 
S

Sophie's Humble Servant

Oh I feel your stress! I've had Sophie for a couple of months now and I had to take her to the vet for a nail trim. Like your rabbit, mine does NOT tolerate being picked up at all. I took her to a savvy vet and after two unsuccessful burrito attempts, the vet had to get a vet tech to hold her securely like a baby to trim her nails. It was utterly stressful and awful and I'm not looking forward to bringing her in the next time. On the other hand, at least someone else is doing it. I'm so envious of the people who are able to handle their rabbits! I'm really trying hard to get her used to me handling her but I know it's going to take a lot of time and patience. Mine has black nails also!
 

woahlookitsme

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What tan loves to be handled? None of mine. They tolerate it only because they know they should or they will continue to be held upside down.

Where did you get your tan from? If it was from a breeder then he should
Be comfortable about being flipped on his back. There are many videos on YouTube showing you this but for a tan you need one that uses a little scruff. Tans are feisty and kick. . .hard. Make sure you stay away from those back feet unless you have him really secure. I might be able to get a short video for you tomorrow of how I flip my tans and trim nails. Mine are used to being flipped so you will want to go slow with your guy and make sure he knows what you want from him is to be still. If he struggles continue holding him firebelly up. Once he calms set him down immediately. You can also use this opportunity to give treats. Continue increasing the time spent with him on his back and tans being the intelligent rabbit they are he will catch on. But don't get discouraged because they can be stubborn and when they don't want to do something they fight.
The seditive really isn't necessary. Once he gets used to flipping you should be able to do it pretty quickly. Remember to be patient but stern at the same time. Another tip most of mine have dark top half and light bottom half so you might be able to situate him to where you can see. Once again all gets easier with practice

As far as the foot pad some of mine have thinner hair. Agree with everyone else unless they are open then don't worry.
 

OakRidgeRabbits

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It doesn't really matter what your rabbit "likes" to do. :p In order to care for them properly, we have to be able to handle them.

The key is to stay firm and confident. Pick him up with one hand under his belly and one hand under his rump, and pull him directly to your chest. Hold him tight. Some rabbits prefer if you tuck their head under your elbow, let their body rest on your arm, and keep your other hand securing their side (the "football" hold). If your rabbit is really difficult about being picked up, you may need to scruff him just for that brief transition from the floor until you get him up to your body. Always support his rump with the other hand if you need to use that method, and scruffing should always be a last resort, in my opinion.

Like mentioned, you'll probably have the best luck with the "scruff and flip" method for nail trimming. You may still need someone to help you. When you scruff your rabbit to flip him over, be firm enough that he cannot wiggle out of it. You will not hurt him in this hold because his hind end or body is always resting on the table. The scruff is only for support, not to carry or transport him in this case.

Most importantly, do this often. It's really important that you get him used to handling. He doesn't need to enjoy it, but he does need to learn to tolerate it for you to give him proper care.

And (in my opinion) never, ever, ever do a bunny burrito or similar restraint. Rabbits should not be so restricted that they can't move properly if they kick. If a rabbit tries to kick or freaks out while wrapped in a blanket or trapped in another restraint, they can severely injure their back, legs, or both. There were tattoo sleeves being sold for awhile that used the same idea, wrap the rabbit so it can't move. A lot of people have moved away from these because they've had rabbits injured. The scruff/flip method is safer for nail trimming because they are secured on the table, against your body, but if the rabbit is really making a fuss, you can very quickly return them to the upright position for a quick break.
 
S

Sophie's Humble Servant

And (in my opinion) never, ever, ever do a bunny burrito or similar restraint. Rabbits should not be so restricted that they can't move properly if they kick. If a rabbit tries to kick or freaks out while wrapped in a blanket or trapped in another restraint, they can severely injure their back, legs, or both. There were tattoo sleeves being sold for awhile that used the same idea, wrap the rabbit so it can't move. A lot of people have moved away from these because they've had rabbits injured.

Omg, really? Well it definitely didn't work when the vet did it anyway but this scares me in the fact that this was a rabbit vet and she tried to burrito twice! Good to know for next time! I will just tell her I don't like that method. Thx
 
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There are times when restricting a rabbit is necessary. We've used a tattoo wrap numerous times without issue, but I recommend two people. About the only time we have to do this is when we're doing ear tattoos.
 

OakRidgeRabbits

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Omg, really? Well it definitely didn't work when the vet did it anyway but this scares me in the fact that this was a rabbit vet and she tried to burrito twice! Good to know for next time! I will just tell her I don't like that method. Thx

I'm not surprised that the vet tried it, a lot of people have recommended it in recent years. But I've trimmed enough nails and tattooed enough rabbits that I'm not comfortable with the method personally. I'd rather the rabbit be able to move than be restrained. They're not quite like a dog or cat where you can just hold them still and they may push or shove but will be fine. Rabbits have such powerful back legs that one sudden, strong push in a restraint can mean permanent injury. :/ Of course, that can happen unrestrained too, but I feel as though being able to move freely is best.
 

physalia

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Thanks for all the great advice. I have watched videos on the "scruff and flip" method and we have been practicing. :) He's tolerating it ok, but I have only been flipping him for a short time, then releasing. We're definitely making progress.
 

caramel17

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I have nine full grown rabbits that tolerate handling pretty well, including my baby Caramel. It usually depends on the breeder that you get them from for handling, I haven't had experience with Tans because we don't usually see them around here. I have gotten all of my rabbits from breeders that handle them ASAP and now that I have my own baby ones that I am raising I am hoping to get them used to handling by handling them as much as possible (now that I know I can due to the help on here). With clipping nails on the dark colored nails I tend to get help with them since I can't afford to go to the vet with my rabbits to get it done. To avoid the quick is a bit challenging which I usually cut the most amount of nail off without scarring myself and it usually helps. To completely avoid the quick I find it best to just clip off the point of the nail off, but the bad part about that is they will get really long which is bad.
 

woahlookitsme

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I have found that holding tans against your chest and in the football hold are a no no. Tans will either bite or kick respectively. Tans arefighters but I love them for it and there is so much good than bad that comes from them. Sounds like you're doing good so far. The more practice you do the better he will understand what you want.

Another tip with tans. Don't let any person at a vet clinic take them to the back unless absolutely necessary. A friend on here has had to experience the drama and pain of having a tan injured because people didn't know how to restrain them properly. If you feel comfortable being in the room while they do whatever they need to then be there to supervise. Tans are not common an many people do not understand what they are capable of. Just for future reference
 

lindemanbunnylover

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My two buns...we just clipped their nails like 5min ago. Me, my mom, and my younger sister had to do it together. It took an hour and a half to do both rabbits! We wrap our buns up in a bunny burrito and one person pets the bun while the other shines a flashlight on the nails so we can see the quick while the other (usually my mom) cuts the buns nails. We usually push a piece of gauze on the paw so we could see the nails clearly and use a pair of toenail clippers to clip the nails. If we do cut the quick, we have a formula called quick stop which is a powder to stop the bleeding.
 

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