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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 20548
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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I have a 12 week old bunny, she trapped her foot underneath

Customer Question

I have a 12 week old bunny, she trapped her foot underneath a door last night and she seemed to be in pain. It was bleeding for a while, I bathed it with warm salt water and it stopped bleeding however she is not putting any weight on it still. I also woke up this morning and she has had diarrehea throughout the night. Please could you advise on the best thing to do?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

 

Poor Kiki!!

 

I have to say that I am quite concerned about your bunny. This will be a seriously painful injury for Kiki if you could appreciate that this was distressing her. The reason why her obvious distress is so worrying is because as a prey species, her natural instinct is to hide pain and distress (since they would make her a target for predation). Therefore, to see a bunny in distress, means we need to take this seriously and be proactive. Furthermore, while the diarrhea is likely a side effect of stress, this too must be closely monitored and addressed since this is a species with a very delicate GI (and where GI upset can lead to more serious issues for them).

 

Now in regards XXXXX XXXXX the bleeding wound, it sounds like your approach has been appropriate so far. Stopping the bleed was, of course, very important. And salt water bathing (1tbsp salt to a pint warm water) is a good mild antiseptic to keep bacterial infiltration at a minimum. In regards XXXXX XXXXX care to this wound, it will depend on how deep/wide it is. If this is a superficial graze, then salt water bathing may be enough at this stage (+/- antibiotics if it is a wide area or very open). If the wound is keep or full thickness through the skin, then it may need to be stitched closed to facilitate successful healing. And if the skin has been peeled away, then this can be even more serious, potentially requiring intense bandage care or even skin grafts. So, the further approach to the wound will depend on the extent and severity of it.

 

In regards XXXXX XXXXX lameness on this foot, this is a clear indication of significant pain. Depending on how the door caught her foot, we do also have to be concerned about fractures, muscle strains, and tendon damage. In this case, you will need to consider seeing her vet so that they can rule out internal damage and so that rabbit safe pain relief can be dispensed. This will be the best way to assess the gravity of her situation, allay her pain, get her moving more comfortably, settle her stress with its knock on GI effects, and get her back to normal.

 

Turning out attention to her diarrhea, as I noted before this is likely being triggered by stress at this stage. Still, in this species this can be just as serious as the original inciting issue. This is because stressful situations like this cause the body to release stress hormones that have a side effect of dampening the immune system. This means any infections that could have been lurking subclinically or any not-so-good GI bacteria present can take advantage here to cause GI signs like this. In this situation, since we don't have an overt infection to treat at this stage, we need to focus on getting the GI back in balance. Therefore, I would suggest making sure she has ad lib access to roughage/hay to increase her fiber. Any high water veggies can be restricted for the moment, as long as she is drinking well. Furthermore, and most importantly, I would suggest supporting her with a GI microflora support and fiber supplement. The fiber would help bulk up the feces and ensure proper fecal formation and passage. The microflora support would aid in settling the GI upheaval and help get thing back to normal within the guts. The two products that you might want to consider (and are available OTC at the vets) are the paste formulation called Protexin Fibreplex (link) or the pelleted fiber product called Protexin Pro-Fibre (link). Finally, monitor her appetite closely. We can sometimes see appetites wane in period of stress and this can be very dangerous for our wee ones (as it can lead to life threatening GI stasis). So, we need to make sure she keeps eating well. Or if she is struggling, then you may need to start syringe feeding her a critical care diet like
Oxbow’s Critical Care feed (http://www.oxbowanimalhealth.com/vets/products/critical_care) or Supreme Recovery Diet.

 

Overall, Kiki's reaction to this trauma is as worrying as her potentially having a significant wound. Therefore, we do need to start the above but I would strongly suggest having her seen by her vet today to prevent this from escalating any further and to get her on some rabbit safe pain relief. Luckily, I see you are in the UK, therefore this means that that most veterinary practices in this country do have contingency plans for emergency care for their patients. This means that if you ring the practice and they don't have normal consulting hours today (an increasing number of the urban vets are open Sundays), they will likely have a message to direct you on how to contact their emergency service. And if you don't have a vet you can find one local to you, you can check RCVS register (LINK). or you can check here to find your local Vets Now (LINK) who are open all nights/weekends.

 

 

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best for wee Kiki,

Dr. B.

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