Urine scalds in rabbits is a very serious condition that will needed to be treated immediately. Some rabbits are more prone to this than others and a number of factors can cause urine scalding.
Urine scalding occurs when the rabbit is unable to project the urine away from their rear end, resulting in urine soaking fur and skin, this then leads to scalding . Urine scalds are very painful for your rabbit and it will make the skin raw and painful. If it’s not dealt with the urine scalds will get worse and the skin will start to crack and possibly even bleed. Urine scalds can also result in fly strike if untreated; flies will be attracted to the warm wet area of your rabbit. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to check your rabbit’s rear end every day.
- Obesity is one of the main common causes of urine scalds. Obese rabbits will be unable to lift themselves into the right position to urinate due to excess weight and potentially large folds, resulting in them urinating on themselves.(Healthy Diet for a rabbit)
- Arthritis is another main contributor; rabbits suffering from this will be unable to raise their rear end effectively resulting in them urinating on themselves.
- Rabbit suffering from “Urine Sludge” are more likely to suffer with urine scalds. This can be linked to excess calcium in their diets. Rabbits suffering with this condition have thick sludgy urine. This will stick to the rabbit’s rear end and cause urine scalds.
- If your rabbit has recently suffered from an injury they will be less likely to be able to move into the urinating position, again resulting in them urinating on themselves.
This is not an exhaustive list of reasons why rabbits may suffer from urine scalds, if your rabbit is affected it’s important that you seek veterinary advice from a rabbit savvy vet. They will be able to identify the causes and provide the appropriate veterinary care.
You should check your rabbit every day; in the most extreme cases you can give your rabbit a bottom bath. However, this should only be used in extreme cases and not as a daily/ weekly ritual for cleaning. If there are any signs of fly strike DO NOT wash your rabbit’s rear end as this will make it difficult to remove the maggots. Seek veterinary assistance immediately.
If your rabbit has matted fur round their rear end brushing it away with a rabbit comb can prevent urine from getting soaked into the fur and causing urine scalds.
Sudocrem is excellent for soothing raw skin. Apply the cream in a thin layer over the affected skin. The antiseptic qualities help prevent infections and create a barrier between the urine and the skin.
Vaseline is also an excellent barrier between the urine and skin; it should be applied in the same way as Sudocrem. Although not a cure it can help prevent scalds from developing.