Urine scald

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Thumperina

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One of my female rabbits has urine scald. I took her to the vet yesterday. We will be spaying her as soon as her condition allows. The doc said that the reason is that my bunny is just very furry and she shaved her private area to help it improve. I read in the net about scald and it says the reasons can be very serious. I wonder how the doc could know that she doesn't have any of those serious conditions but is just too furry?
My bunny is on the large side and has always been. She weighs 9.3 lbs according to the vet's measurements. I asked if she is overweight and she said my bunny was chubby. Don't know if this means overweight or not.
Anyway, I am applying silver sulfadiazine cream and the skin looks OK to far. My rabbits have fresh grass in the yard so unfortunately they don't eat any hay (I am offering). they also don't drink any water or very little (but I don't see or notice it). They get lots of greens: collard, parsley, Romaine, kale (is their favorite), endive, broccoli crowns, occasionally something else. Some fresh carrots and banana. Oxbow simple rewards veggie treats, raisins on rare occasion, dried apple slices.
They are in the yard during the day (let's not discuss safety issue right now; it is rather safe) and are housed in garage during night (we don't park there). Surfaces my sick bunny is at include: cement under the deck (I put rug there but they can choose just cement), grass (sometimes soil), unfinished floor in garage (most of the times they are on the large rug there). They also like to sit inside large cardboard box in garage. They have litter boxes but I am not sure if females use them 100% time. I see them peeing there sometimes, but there is also some traces of urine on the floor. My neutered male is much better about using litter box to pee.
The doc said it's OK for her to be in the yard again - what you think regarding her shaved private and being on the grass/cement/rug? For now I am keeping her inside to make sure she is not irritating her skin but she wants out.
Any advice is welcome. She is 3.5 yo, I know how bad that she is still not spayed. I hope it's not too late for this. Doc said in about 3 weeks I could spay her. She eats OK, runs around and being a good bun.
 

JBun

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If your rabbit isn't sitting in a dirty litter box or puddles of pee, there is no reason a healthy rabbit should have urine scald. So if a rabbit lives in a clean environment and has urine scald, then that would likely indicate a health problem. Being 'furry' has nothing to do with it. Most common cause of urine scald would be a urinary tract infection. Other common causes are bladder sludge due to calcium build up, uterine infection, and uterine cancer for unspayed female rabbits(though not common in very young female rabbits). If your rabbit is extremely obese, this could be a possible cause as well, though not if she is dribbling urine at all. Arthritis or spinal issues can also be a cause, especially if your rabbit is older. The truth is the vet couldn't know if it was one of these things without conducting any diagnostic tests or palpating the abdomen and bladder.

The fact that your vet didn't investigate any of these possible causes, leads me to believe your vet isn't an experienced rabbit vet. In which case I would look for a good rabbit vet if at all possible. If that's not possible, then I would talk to your current vet and say that you want a urinalysis done to check for blood in the urine, as well as checking for crystals indicating bladder sludge. Xrays can also be done to check for calcium buildup in the bladder and also check for any possibility of uterine cancer. If it is a UTI or uterine infection, your rabbit will need to be put on antibiotics, usually baytril or sulfatrim. Bladder sludge issues are more complicated and require a diet change, and may require regular sub q fluids and medication. If it happens to be uterine cancer, it's possible spaying your rabbit asap may resolve the issue if the cancer hasn't spread. If arthritis, daily metacam can often prove helpful.
http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/urinary.html

You also need to be careful of fly strike occurring. Urine soaked fur will attract the flies to lay eggs in the fur, and this can prove deadly very quickly. You will need to be extra vigilant in checking her frequently throughout the day, and trying your best to keep her clean until this is resolved. The fur being shaved away should help some, but you want to keep her butt as clean and dry as possible.
 

Thumperina

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thank you. Yes, I found strange that the vet didn't suggest any tests.
Environment is not the cleanest but it's not what you describe for the worst.
What veggies contribute the most to calcium buildup?
This vet was recommended to me by another "all creatures" center. Her site says she had rabbit and a Guinea pig as first pets and that's how she became interested in treating pets, now she said she has 4 rabbits. She knew what she was doing when she shaved my bunny.
I don't know any other experienced vet so I will be talking to her.
 

JBun

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I would ask your vet why she didn't feel like it was a health problem that was causing the urine scalding.

If it doesn't clear up or you notice your rabbit dribbling drops of urine as she hops, then I would have her rechecked and insist on ruling out health related causes. Checking for a possible UTI would be a good place to start.

You really don't need to worry about calcium build up unless that is determined to be the cause or you see her peeing thick gritty or creamy urine, as it doesn't affect all rabbits. Only some rabbits are prone to developing it.
 

Thumperina

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I asked. She said that rabbits with UTI have urine that smells really bad (rotten). My rabbit didn't pee while she was there (or at least she didn't on the towel I had her on but the doc was taking her away to wash so I am not sure). I said that the rabbit smelled pretty bad before I brought her in (dry urine on the fur) but she said it still was a regular smell.
Then she said she didn't palpate any stones.
At the last... that sounds really strange.. is that my rabbit is so big and furry that obtaining urine sample going to be very hard... because she needs to insert a needle into her abdomen (I didn't understand all details but I agree that it sounds too invasive). IS this how urine sample always taken?
Her urine is cloudy (opaque) whitish with a bit of orange tint. Dries white. Both females today pee on the brand new rug I bought for them yesterday (could be easy to collect it into test tube LOL) ... Sometimes into the litter box. I saw today my sick female peeing in the litter box and it was strong flow, not dripping.
After all, she wasn't like this before, even though she was always big, that's an argument foo me that something is wrong.
Let me tell why I am concerned about calcium etc.
I recently noticed that she stays under the deck when other bunnies normally come out to eat grass. That means she doesn't get even grass (I hope she still eats some when I am not around). She doesn't eat hay or drink any water. The most desirable for her are kale and treats. She runs faster than anybody else to get a treat. I heard kale isn't so great for them. But I think eating kale is better than nothing.
Also, it's been very hot (we had a cool down during last few days but it was hot before and will be again tomorrow - around 100F). Knowing they don;t drink water I always offer them cold wet extra veggies during the day when it's hot. SO it's possible that her urine is too concentrated in oxalate. this is my concern
 

Thumperina

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asked in another office. They said they can do a simple urine analysis squeezing urine from the towel if rabbit pees on the towel. This would show if there are too many white blood cells and something else if I remember right - this would be enough to say if infection is present. To culture, they would need also to insert needle into bladder. I just can't afford at the moment to pay them for the visit + urine analysis as I just paid for the visit in the first office.
 

Thumperina

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What is a good feeding schedule? Maybe I feed them too much veggies so they are not hungry even for grass (while grass is more essential, right?) ?
I also give them a whole bunch of veggies before bedtime which is now late because of the heat. Is it a bad idea to leave a whole bunch of food overnight? They eat those veggies and some pellets but probably more towards the early morning hour. What are rabbits supposed to be doing at night? Is it OK for them to eat or should they be sleeping?
 

Thumperina

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and another rabbit here (male) got some kind of growing on his nose... it's little and looks like a circle of fur that is elevated, compared to the rest of the fur on the nose. It feels like a pimple when I touched it, and I think it was painful to him. Anybody ever dealt with anything like this?
 

Thumperina

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dont even know what to thing of the vet. She gave me Silver sulfadiazine creme and prescribed to use gloves. When I asked if gloves are necessary she said this is because it's not approved for humans.
I googled and found nothing about it not being approved... really puzzled.
 

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Normally, rabbits should be fed twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Not drinking water and not eating hay is a big red flag, especially if you don't see her eating grass anymore. What quantity of veggies are you feeding? A rabbit should eat about 10% of its ideal weight in vegetables each days, with 2/3 of leafy greens. Things like carrots should only being given occasionnally, fruits, especially things like banana are not really recommended for a rabbit with weight issues.
It's too bad it's in French, because I know a website from a very knowledgable rabbit owner whose rabbit has had severe urinary problems for years (he has a deformation from birth). She made this list of vegetables with lots of calcium : carrot and turnip tops, dandelion, spinach, clover, alfalfa, parsley, kale, cabbage.
She recommends salad, brussel sprouts, carrots, grass, celery... as they apparently have a very low calcium ratio.

When you can, it would be good to go to another vet as yours doesn't seem very reliable (it's really hard to find a vet who knows about rabbits). You can't just rule out kidney stones by "palpating", you need an ultrasound or x-rays... And yes, you need a needle to get a urine sample from the rabbit but it's nothing difficult to do, it's just not the most pleasant 2 seconds of your rabbit's life and it's a lot better for the rabbit than to wait for her kidney to fail her ^^'
 

Thumperina

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thank you Aki.
"Normally" doesn't quite apply to the situation here unfortunately. I am picturing a rabbit who sits in a comfortable temperature, all alone and confined, so it's easy to control what he ate.
Here, rabbits may not be eating because it's too hot. Also, one rabbit can be eating majority of what was given, I can't watch them pretty close as I am gone during the day. Also, if I serve anything in what you refer as "evening", they will ignore it because at twilight they want to run around, and I don't like when the vegetables are wasted (it happens sometimes). So, I have to be really flexible and do what works for them in a particular setting. Not long ago I was observing a lot of small size poop, so I increased amount of veggies and poop is now much better. I can't force them to drink water, correct?
How much veggies I give - It's hard to measure, but I think rabbits wouldn't eat more than they need - ? sometimes they don't feel like eating veggies so they don't eat them. IF veggies are eaten, It tells me they have good appetite.
The sick bunny is doing better, her private area looks good. She is active and eats well. Don't know if she would if she had a serious internal problem. I will keep an eye on her.
I have some money saved for the spay, this will be #1 priority.

Not to mention, indoors are 10 cockatiels, and those guys tend to have problems if not taken a good care. I know this doesn't help the bunnies... I will be trying hard to accommodate everybody.
 

Thumperina

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for the veggies, it's a dinner plate of a regular size, full of green veggies, twice a day. I have 3 rather large rabbits.
Well, I start thinking maybe I overfeed veggies...
 

Thumperina

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here are my bunnies. Thumperina who has urine scald is further away on the right. On the front of the picture is her daughter FooFooLina who is much smaller in size genetically. White bunny is our only remaining male , he is also Thumperina's son
 

Thumperina

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thank you.
I wonder, when I apply antibiotic creme, and the rabbit wants to either eat her feces or just clean/lick that area, is she not consuming the creme orally? I think she would, and it probably isn't that great. ?
 
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Thumperina

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JBun, would you please comment when you have a chance? You seem to be very knowledgeable here, thank you in advance.
 

JBun

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I don't know what to tell you. Without a good rabbit vet to investigate the issue properly, there is only so much you can do on your own. If the urine scalding is continuing to be a problem and you suspect a UTI, maybe ask your vet if you could at least try a course of antibiotics. You should be able to just call in and ask to pick up the meds without having to pay for an additional office visit. It should only be the cost of the antibiotic. Sulfatrim(SMZ TMP) is a relatively inexpensive one that can be used for UTI's in rabbits. Though antibiotics will only work if it is an infection causing the urine scald. If it is something else then the antibiotics won't resolve the issue. Though I don't know how you would make any progress on discovering the cause without a decent vet willing to investigate the issue properly.

It is possible that your rabbit is getting the urine scalding due to environmental factors and it isn't a health issue at all. But it's not something I can determine for you, not being there to see the rabbit and circumstances for myself. Only you can figure out if it is something that is occurring in the rabbits environment. And certainly if the urine scalding continues to be a problem and/or gets worse, that would point to it more likely being due to a health problem.

I wouldn't worry about what veggies you are feeding unless you are for sure seeing a bladder sludge issue. Calcium build up is only an issue for some rabbits. Most rabbits don't have a problem with it.
 

Thumperina

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thank you. I want to give her a butt bath tomorrow and will look at her bottom attentively. She should be growing fur that was shaved there so I will see if if it's stained with urine again or not. Do I need to apply anything on affected area after the bath?\
That vet told me that I will need to bring Thumperina from time to time for shaving as she was sure it will continue because "this rabbit is too furry"
 
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squidpop

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I just read through these posts and thought I would comment quickly on the oxalates. I do think maybe you should be careful about some of the veg you feed, the kale and parsley would be high in oxalates. Maybe cut down on those and feed more romaine. Also, if you can't easily feel your bunnies ribs it may be an indication she is a bit fat. I wonder if she is too fat if she is having a hard time cleaning herself.
 
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