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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > DIET & CARE > Seeking Advice - Sore Hocks!
Last Post by Scarlet_Rose at 8/06/2007 3:01 PM (6 Replies)
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User is Offline Timmy
San Francisco
9 posts Send Private Message
8/04/2007 1:39 AM

First of all, I tried the search function on this forum but it seems to be not working at the moment? I'm not sure if it's just me...

On to the point... nothing out of the ordinary has been happening with Timmy recently. He's eating and pooping and acting just fine. I did notice he started to groom under his feet which he never did before for the past few days but at first I just ignored it. Then today it sparked on me that animals lick their wounds and I got worried. So during his nail clipping session tonight, to my surprise I saw a bright red sore hock on his left foot and his right one was more pink than normal. After finishing cutting his nails, I immediately went to look up some information online about them. I read in a couple places to use things like cold tea bags and neosporin. So I took Timmy and put on some neosporin on his sore hock and he flinched... it was then I noticed he was bleeding a little bit from it. I then wrapped some bandages around so he wouldn't lick the neosporin but of course he took that off in a few hours... I'm hoping that the medicine has sunk in by then.

I'm quite shocked and not sure if I should make an emergency appointment with the vet or not? He is still eating and pooping normally, but he just licks his sore hock once in a while. It's a coincidence that I just got him rug samples for his cage and a 1/4 inch screen for his litter box (for his digging)... I'm not sure what caused it either. Perhaps the hard floor he has had in his cage? Or maybe that his hind foot was periodically drenched in his urine because he always pushes his litter aside before peeing regardless if I fill it up after he does it and that I clean the box up every evening... My house is carpeted and there are no hard floors for him besides his cage which is now lined with carpet. I've heard that carpet can be abrasive so I'll be looking into sheep skin rugs or maybe some straw? I think I've fixed the major problems that may lead to sore hocks... but since he has it now I'm really not sure what my next step should be. Any advice?

Sorry my post is so long but I guess my major concerns are...

Is licking the sore hock really bad for him? Especially since there are remnants of neosporin there... I've been petting him to stop when I see him licking it.

Which may be worse for him regarding sore hocks... a 1/4 square inch screen across his litter box vs him digging out/pushing aside the litter so his pee would drench his feet (I've read somewhere both can do harm to his feet?)

I think my carpet sample is of nylon, I'm not sure... is that bad for him?

Should I be making an appointment with my vet or what is suggested that I should do for his sore hocks? I know they take a while to heal.

This isn't really related in any way... but this is the fourth week of switching him from alfalfa hay/pellets to timothy. He hasn't been eating too much timothy but does when he is hungry. Should I completely stop giving him alfalfa hay and pellets after this week is done with?

Also unrelated but... he is molting big time now and I've been using a cat slicker to groom him. I feel this brush is not good enough... any suggestions?

Thanks alot from an extremely concerned bunnymom!




User is Offline Scarlet_Rose
4371 posts Send Private Message
8/04/2007 6:29 AM

Sore hocks (or  pododermatitis) are usually the result of a surface they are hopping on for a regular basis and other factors can cause it as well from being urine soaked etc. Too much thumping can also cause it as well. I receommend going to and looking up sore hocks under small animals.  It is a good write up where you can read more about it. Rather than performing a search, there is an excellent medical guide dedicated just to bunnies:

Wow, they broke the skin? That is not usual, normally it is just pink and swollen that I've seen. Your carpet piece may be too rough or the wire may also be the cause.  Check with your hand to see how abrasive the carpet is, you really want one with a thick pile.

Since they have broken the skin and infection is possible, I would recommend taking your bunny to a vet to have them checked and to see if an infection has set in and how far it has gone.  You do not want it to get into the bone.  This affliction is very painful and go for smooth, clean dry surfaces.  In the past berber fur - pieces of fabric or "fake sheep skin" has been used while bunny is healing.

What I usally do is call my vet and talk to him (not the assistant or receptionist - this is important) and tell him what is going on and ask him if he feels I need to bring my rabbit in.  This is something you may want to keep in mind for future questions about taking your bunny to the vet.  Unfortunately every hour counts with a bunny when they are hurt or ill and if or when in doubt, take them in to be looked at right away, especially when an open sore is involved.

As for the ointment, make sure it is the one without pain killer in it.  Just the plain old one I've been told by my vet is just fine.  (Community Leaders, please give input here) You do not want them to injest it, but it does on occasion happen.  As for bandaging, place some gauze on it and wrap with "vet wrap" or "Co-Flex" - It's an adhesive flexible bandage that sticks to itself and it sold in rolls, there are several brands and I often find it in the horse section of a feed store and also have seen it in other places as well, like the dog section of a pet store.  You'll definately want to be concerned with it becoming infected. 

**For reference I cannot cut & paste either, that function seems to not be working.


User is Offline MooBunnay
Dallas, Texas (Allen)
3088 posts Send Private Message
8/04/2007 6:47 AM
Hi! I have heard the same thing about Neosporin - the regular (as opposed to the neosporin PLUS) is the one to use - apparently buns can't tolerate the PLUS part very well

Has Timmy been thumping a lot lately? I have heard before of bunnies thumping a lot and that causing their sore hocks to open up. Also, I can't seem to remember, how long have you had Timmy? His sore hocks most likely originated from somewhere where he was living on a wire cage - do you know if he was? I have two bunnies that were found running on the streets that had sore hocks, probably from being in one of those *yuck* wire cages. SO, maybe the wire over the litterbox irritated them - maybe just because they were fresh? My vet had recommended using a small amount of surgical cue to glue together te fur around the sorehocks together, so that it then covered the sore hocks and protected them from the floor - maybe your vet will recommend the same things which will protect lil' Timmy's feets!

User is Offline Scarlet_Rose
4371 posts Send Private Message
8/04/2007 6:55 AM

Thank you MooBunnay for coming to the rescue on the part withthe ointment. It's always good to have verification!

User is Offline Timmy
San Francisco
9 posts Send Private Message
8/05/2007 7:38 PM

I think the culprit is the urine from the litter box that doesn't get soaked up by the Carefresh. After screening it, his feet are always dried now, thank goodness. I use aloooot of hay ontop of the screen so that it may prevent his feet from getting worse...

The bleeding only really occured after putting on the neosporin. Thank you for telling me about not using the plus one... I'm not sure if that had anything to do with the bleeding but I only noticed a tiny bleeding after putting that on him. I quickly grabbed some regular neosporin from the market and he seems fine with that one... no flinching like he did with the pain one. Must be something he doesn't agree with in it?

Where can I get some of this sheepskin? I think it would be best for Timmy rather than carpet definately.

Nope he barely thumps... at max once a week for an unknown reason. Probably something he smelled from the kitchen! I've had Timmy for about 6-7 months now. He was only on a wire cage for the first week and never had any wires after that since I changed the cage. He had a hard and slippery floor though for months... The only change I made just a couple days ago was the screen and carpet. I'm pretty sure he had sore hocks before I made this change.

Thanks for the input. I will try to contact the vet asap. He is no longer bleeding(there was only minor bleeding about 30 mins after the neosporin...) and it seems to have scabbed up and not gotten worse but we can never really be sure.

User is Offline BB
San Francisco Bay Area
Forum Leader
8994 posts Send Private Message
8/05/2007 8:06 PM

TimmyBunny - well it looks like you have taken steps to prevent it from getting worse and aid healing. Sounds you like you just trimmed his nails, that is also good because that will help keep the pressure off his heels. It's important to keep his nails trimmed.

Sore hocks can often be be very difficult to heal just because once they start, a bunny can further irritate it by licking and, of course, just by walking. It really is a good idea to have a vet though treat sore hocks as they can give pain meds(which not only make your bunny comfortable, but may help in preventing him from wanting to lick them and further irritate them). Vets usually give an antibiotic and inflammatory med to aid in healing and prevent infection.

I know you said it was healing already, so if that is the case that's great, but just check daily so you can make sure they are continuing to heal.

P.S.    Regarding the search function.  It wasn't you.  We just got it working again. However, it still has a bug in it where if the search results are long, it will superimpose over the rest of the stuff below.  Working on it!


User is Offline Scarlet_Rose
4371 posts Send Private Message
8/06/2007 3:01 PM

No problem Timmybunny! You'll want the fake fur that is like sheepskin.  You can get it at fabric stores and some craft stores by the yard.  Some may even have scraps in their "scrap" bin too. Berber fur works great too.  Ouchy with the ointment, I'm glad you made at rip to get the other without the "plus."  Is the area where the sore is red or swolen? You can also use A & D ointment as well.

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