What are sore hocks in rabbit?
The medical name for sore hocks is Pododermatitis. Sore hocks lead to inflamed, red, broken and bleeding skin on the rabbit’s feet, if left untreated it can become infected. In more serious cases where sore hocks have not been treated it can lead to the tendons moving out of position and cause crippling.
Small pale pink calluses on the tip of the heel covered by a fold of fur is normal.
Why do rabbits get sore hocks?
Here are some common reasons why rabbits get sore hocks:
- Soiled bedding and litter trays.
- Overgrown nails cause an increased amount of pressure on the heel due to positioning.
- Over weight and obese rabbits have an increased pressure on their feet which can lead to sore hocks.
- Immobility can cause rabbit to remain in a constant position which not unlike bed sores in humans can cause sore hocks.
- Hard flooring causes an increased pressure on the skin due to the pressure of hard bone and hard flooring trapping the skin in between.
- Giant breeds are more susceptible due to their size and weight increasing the pressure on the foot.
- Rex Breeds are more likely to develop sore hocks due to the fur of the breed providing less cushioning on the feet.
- Physical confirmation of your rabbit can also increase their risk of getting sore hocks.
Preventing/ Treating sore hocks
- Make sure you change litter trays at least daily and remove bedding when it becomes soiled.
- If your rabbit’s nails are too long then clip them down using rabbit friendly nail clippers. Follow this link to find out how to safely cut your rabbits nails. If you do not feel confident doing this then you can ask your vet to do this for a fee.
- If your rabbit gets sore hocks due to being over weight, introduce them to a diet that is suitable for rabbits. Follow this link to find out what and how much you should be feeding your rabbits.
- If immobility is an issue then you should make sure that your rabbit has access to a run 24 hours a day. Ensure that your accommodation is suitable for rabbits and allows them to exhibit their natural behaviours. Follow this link for some great ideas on inside and outside accommodation that doesn’t include small hutches!
- Provide soft bedding for your rabbits such as straw, hay or shavings. This will allow your rabbit’s nails to sink into the bedding releasing some of the pressure put on your rabbit’s feet.
- Check your rabbit’s feet regularly, although hocks are more prone to getting sore the whole of the foot can also be susceptible, front and back. If you notice your rabbit has sore hocks seek advice from a rabbit savvy vet.
- Applying Sudocrem to the area can help prevent infection due to the antiseptic properties, seek advice from a vet before applying the cream.