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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20915
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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I have 2 rabbits as pets...one is 10 yrs old, the other 7 yrs

Customer Question

I have 2 rabbits as pets...one is 10 yrs old, the other 7 yrs old. they both develop large sticky piles of their feces all in their rear ends and well entrenched in their fur. Most times I can cut out some of it but they keep "piling up" back there. What's the best way to remove this without irritating their bottoms? Thank you very much!!!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.
Now it is important to appreciate that there are no secret to removing feces when it gets stuck to our rabbit's backsides. When we do so at our practices, it is a case of giving the rabbit a bum bath (using cool water +/- dish soap to help you break down the feces) to loosen the feces from the hair, massaging it our of the fur, and then clipping or shaving what cannot easily be removed.
Instead, the key to these situations is preventative measures and addressing the reason they are producing sticky stool and not cleaning themselves. To start, for prevention, the first step is that the hair around the rectum should be shaved short. If the hair is short, there is less material for the feces to adhere to. So, this would be ideal after you have removed any current feces stuck, or something you can have your vet or groomer do for you. Afterwards, it will be a case of keeping it short and daily bum checks to remove any small amount that is caught. This will be easier in their long term maintenance and avoid the developing secondary fecal scald or moist dermatitis in this area (which if they have any, salt water bathing and thorough drying helps, though do not be tempted to use any antibiotic creams since these can cause fatal diarrhea for bunnies).
Further to this, sticky feces trapped in their fur can often be a sign of a more systemic issue for the rabbit. The most common reason is the presence of too little fiber in their diet. Fiber is what make their feces firm and non-sticky. Therefore, you will want to review their diets and make sure you are only offering high fiber veggies. As well, you may need to consider cutting back on any pellet feeds and offer hay and/or fresh grass (as long as its weed killer free). If they are rabbits that are addicted to pelleted feed, then there are OTC fiber supplements that can be used (ie Protexin Pro-Fiber, Fiberplex, etc) to help meet this requirement.
Finally, while less likely with too bunnies, I would note that obesity and arthritis are two other factors that can increase the risk of this type of situation for rabbits. Therefore, if you suspect your rabbits are overweight or are grooming less in general (usually the only hint we get of sore joints in a prey species), then we'd want to consider a check with their vets. Depending on which is confirmed, your vet may dispense rabbit safe anti-inflammatories to ease any joint discomfort or help you put them on a diet. And if we address either of those should they be lurking, we can again ease the trigger signs for what is leading to this abnormal feces and their poor overall hygiene. And if we can do that we can help break this cycle, which means less cleaning/shaving of bunny backsides for you.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
Dr. B.
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