Three Little Ladies Rabbitry, Jersey Wooly
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Sore Hocks - Symptoms, Solutions, Prevention

Check this out for other health issues: healthRabbit Health Issues

Sore hocks can be very painful for your rabbit, and distressing for you to look at and treat. Sore hocks are not limited to just large breeds, but can occur in any rabbit breed. We have been fortunate with this problem, as we have yet to have a rabbit get sore hocks.

Symptoms

Sore hocks generally appear on the hind legs. Usually, hair will be missing from the leg near the elbow area of the back leg and on the underside. There will also be redness in the the hock area which my extend all the way to the feet. If not treated infections will develop as well, and open wounds may be visible. Untreated infections can lead to bacterial infections of the blood and bone, and eventually death of the rabbit.

Causes

Generally the cause is unsanitary conditions within the live quarters of the rabbit. Either there is accumulated droppings in the cage, or wet bedding material. For larger breeds, the problem can be associated with wire cage bottoms creating the sores because of the rabbits weight. Less likely, but possible causes are long toe nails and a hereditary predisposition to sore hocks.

Treatment

The treatment of the sore hock itself is not complicated. First make sure your rabbits nails are clipped. Wash the leg thoroughly. You may need to trim back some of the fur in infected areas. Then treat with ointment such as Bag Balm, calamine lotion or Epsom salts. Open wounds should be treated with an antibiotic type ointment such as Neosporin. A generally antibiotic such as Terramycin Soluble Powder may be helpful in preventing further infection.

Second, you must remove the source of the problem. Clean the living quarters from top to bottom. If a wire bottom cage is used, check for any snags in the wire that may be irritating the leg. Provide a solid bottom area for the rabbit to rest on while recovering. Continue to treat the sore hocks and clean the cage daily until all signs of infection are gone.

Conclusion

Untreated soreness of the hocks, will lead to an animal that is suffering. Eventually it will not eat because of the pain. Secondary infections can also occur, and eventually will lead to death of your rabbit. Prevention is the key to avoiding this problem. Check your rabbits daily for any signs of illness, which includes sore hocks.

Should you find that treatment provided here is not successful, visit a veterinarian immediately.

Rob Usakowski
Three Little Ladies Rabbitry


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