Trimming nails

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by Bumble Bunny, Apr 25, 2019.

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  1. Apr 25, 2019 #1

    Bumble Bunny

    Bumble Bunny

    Bumble Bunny

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    Looking for any advice on trimming a difficult bunnies nails. Any tips or tricks you have would be great to hear.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Apr 25, 2019 #2

    Nancy McClelland

    Nancy McClelland

    Nancy McClelland

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    Had our vet tech show me and the biggest thing of all, my son holds them while I trim.
     
  3. Apr 26, 2019 #3

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

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    Jennifer

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    I normally just flip a rabbit over, cradle them on their back and trim quickly and with confidence. In the event that's not enough, I opt for the bunny burrito technique. I'm posting this from my phone so that I can select a victim at random and demonstrate.

    All right, I lied, it's not really that random. I've opted for Alice because she is very easy to catch but very difficult to do a nail trim on... And now I'm going to do Harley Quinn as well, because she is the only rabbit I actually HAVE to use the bunny burrito technique on in order to get through a nail trim without getting maimed.

    The key is after you use a towel to wrap them into a little burrito, flip them over on their back and pull just one paw at a time out to trim. As long as they don't love to bite, the burrito controls any kicking and scratching they might want to do with their feet and it makes them feel more safe and secure wall on their back.
    15562491759766785653301403669096.jpg 15562492934255504469068408829015.jpg

    That was Alice, and here is Harley:

    15562497026638017891162956259714.jpg 15562498143741437755852996571134.jpg

    I recommend doing a gentle squeeze with the clippers before you actually go to clip. If the rabbit jerks away, you are too close to the quick. If they don't flinch, then go ahead and clip there.
     
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  4. May 17, 2019 at 7:22 PM #4

    lavendertealatte

    lavendertealatte

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    I can't get Bunster to stay in the burrito .. he freaks out and it freaks me out!

    How do you get your son to hold him? Or how does he hold him? I want to get my husband to do that ...
     
  5. May 18, 2019 at 4:15 PM #5

    Nancy McClelland

    Nancy McClelland

    Nancy McClelland

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    He sits him on his lap facing out and has a hand around the belly and one on the chest.
     
  6. May 18, 2019 at 9:51 PM #6

    nat1234

    nat1234

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    Please dont flip your bunnies on their back as at can be dangerous
    but i agree the bunny burrito can help once you get the hang of it
     
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  7. May 18, 2019 at 10:04 PM #7

    Preitler

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    Turning them on their back isn't the dangerous thing, but when done inconsequently so that they have room to struggle, that's where serious injuries can happen. Don't know of an actual case happening, but I think that's really something to consider. It sure doesn't hurt if you've got someone to show how it's done, it also can't hurt to search youtube and practice with a stuffed toy. Thank god I don't have to clip nails, if I had to I would ask the next breeder down the road to assist. I can turn mine on their backs, no problem, but I don't have enough hands free to clip any nails then.
    Didn't try a burrito yet, but definitly sounds like a good idea.
     
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  8. May 20, 2019 at 7:49 PM #8

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

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    Jennifer

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    As Preitler said, if done properly, you won't injure a rabbit by flipping them over. I wrap my right hand under their chest (just behind the front legs) and cradle their back feet/rear end in my left hand, then use my hands to flip them over into my left arm in one smooth move where the rear feet end up tucked under my right arm. The biggest danger is if they get a chance to kick full-force into open air, so always having firm but gentle control over their rear legs is crucial.
     
  9. May 20, 2019 at 8:16 PM #9

    Popsicles

    Popsicles

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    It’s nothing to do with injuring, flipping them on their back is dangerous because it induces tonic immobility, not to mention it being cruel. Rabbits are prey animals, so the only time they would be flipped on their back would be when they are about to be eaten by a predator. The stress causes them to freeze which is why they can look very placid when placed on their back like that. Studies have shown that although they look calm, their cortisol levels and heart rate increase when flipped on their backs, which can be dangerous in itself, and can be fatal when they are flipped back over. Even if they don’t die, it’s pretty cruel imo to induce that kind of terror in your rabbits.
    There is absolutely no need for it. You can do as Larry said and get someone else to hold them - at the vets we would hold them facing away from us with one hand supporting the rear and the other holding the front limbs and pressing the chest to hold them firm against your body. I must take a photo at some point to demonstrate this as I often find it difficult to explain on this forum.
    There are also lots of other techniques such as the burrito as mentioned above, or this:
    Different things work for different people, but flipping them on their back is never acceptable and never necessary.
     
  10. May 20, 2019 at 9:46 PM #10

    Preitler

    Preitler

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    Well, I beg to differ there.

    At least all my rabbits are immune to that tonic immobility, I've never seen anything like it. Oh, yes, they are startled for a moment when not used to it, but they are not in any way tranced or something. "Studies show", pardon me, but I got weary of that term. And, as said, they get used to it, so it's just something new, unusual, maybe uncomfortable, but a far cry from being freaked out or immobile due to neurological issues. Taking some laboratory rabbits and putting them on their back, taking their blood for sure will produce stress, although I doubt someone actually did that.

    Them being prey animals, no predator puts them on their back. That has nothing to do with it. Predators don't turn chicken on their back either. What is true that rabbits very much dislike not being in control.

    That "cruel" is a slapped on human thing, by people with an agenda. My rabbits don't like it, but they don't hold a grudge. And they are not scared while, and after I hold them that way, slightly grumpy when I do it, but that's it.

    EDIT: Just to add, I don't carry them around like babys to show off, or play with them that way, that's stupid and really not necessary, but sometimes it is a useful way to hold them.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019 at 9:55 PM
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  11. May 20, 2019 at 11:26 PM #11

    Popsicles

    Popsicles

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    Agree to disagree - I wouldn’t put animals in my care under undue stress when there are better, safer alternatives. If that’s what people feel it takes to get the job done that’s on them, but I personally would rather do everything as humanely as possible.
    There are some great papers out there on the effects of poor handling and tonic immobility, and I suggest people have a read of these. Anecdotal evidence is great, but it isn’t everything, and for me if there is a simple way of potentially improving animal welfare by reducing stress, then I will always do that!
     
  12. May 21, 2019 at 2:41 PM #12

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

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    I also can't imagine a predator flipping a rabbit over to carry them off (and even if they did, wouldn't struggling to get upright and escape be more likely to save the rabbit than going catatonic?). Now, I'll grant you that some rabbits do appear more stressed out than others by being flipped over (based on breathing and other physiological signs) and for these rabbits, I agree that there are better ways to trim nails. Not all rabbits respond this way, though.

    Honestly though, there are times when it's arguably unavoidable to flip a rabbit on their back, so it's not a bad thing to get them used to it if it doesn't cause undue stress. For example, what if they get a clump of cecals stuck to their butt or they need their anal glands cleaned? What are you going to do, hold them over your head, grow a third hand and hope you don't get kicked in the face?

    I just craisin-tested all four of our rabbits (two of whom are fairly new to us and still not really used to being flipped over) by flipping them and offering a craisin. All four scarfed it down eagerly. All four have previously shunned this tasty favorite treat during a time of stress such as being in a foreign environment like a car. That may not be nearly enough evidence to count as scientific proof, but it's enough to convince me that I'm not being cruel to my beloved bunnies. To some degree, I'm a little skeptical about the efficacy of laboratory testing to prove or disprove the danger/stress of flipping a rabbit, as being manhandled by a stranger in a lab environment is, in itself, stressful. Having some degree of trust/familiarity with your rabbit before flipping them surely reduces the stress (though the degree of this is up for debate).

    Now, poor handling is another thing entirely... but poor handling can result in injury without flipping them over, too.
     
  13. May 21, 2019 at 5:58 PM #13

    Popsicles

    Popsicles

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    My rabbit often needs grooming underneath, I hold her exactly as I described above, absolutely no need to flip her over. I’ve also had to dematt and clean many rabbits in practice, never have we needed to flip them. I have never felt the need with any rabbit I’ve met, some might mind it less but in my mind when they are better alternatives there is just no reason to put them through it.
     

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