SORE HOCK/HEEL INJURY TREATMENT. HELP!

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ciaraz

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Hi all, I could really use some help from people who have dealt with serious sore hocks. I’m running out of ideas and patience and can’t seem to find the answers that I’m looking for.



My rabbit is about 6/7 years old. I just “inherited” him from a friend who wasn’t able to care for him properly a few years ago, so rabbit care is practically new to me. I had him in a hand built wooden cage/pen and used shavings as bedding. I had no idea that this wasn’t the right thing to do until recently, when I discovered sore hocks on the bottom of his feet on his heel area. I immediately took him to the vet where she suggested that we changed his living situation, and also shared that he had arthritis. She prescribed him antibiotics and pain meds, and I immediately did a complete rehaul of his living environment. He now has an entire room to himself filled with LAYERS upon layers of soft blankets. Anyway, the vet just recommended soaking the hocks in epsom salt twice daily which I did, but my bunny would not stop messing with his hocks to the point that he practically ripped off his flesh leaving a very deep wound on his one heel. So I started researching ways to treat that in the meantime while waiting for a vet appointment, and I found that many people soak their hocks in bentadine, then apply antibiotic ointment, gauze, and wrap in vet wrap, then put on a sock. I was doing that twice a day for over a week and a half (with my vets approval) and it seemed to do nothing, and actually seemed to make it worse. The problem was that it was keeping his wound moist from the ointment and not able to breath, so a scab wasn’t able to form. So it started doing more harm than good, especially since the gauze seemed to pull off any healing progress when I removed it. So I switched tactics and put a “cone” around his neck so that it’d be able to air out and form a scab but he wouldn’t be able to pick at it. The cone is just a long sock with a small washcloth stuffed inside tied around his neck. Its been a week with that on, and sometimes he’s still able to reach at it and pick a bit, but it has healed significantly and turned into a scab. I put betadine and antibiotic ointment on it daily but I don’t wrap it to encourage it to scab and heal. But at this point I know that I have to remove the cone because he’s not able to clean himself properly and its driving him crazy. I know this healing process is going to take months and there’s just no way I can keep the cone on him for that long. But obviously if I take the cone off he will rip off the scab again and at that point I think the wound would be too deep to heal correctly. Also, he’s completely favored one foot over the injured one at this point and it’s making the hock on his other foot get worse (although nothing close to what the bad one looks like).



I know, a lot. But my main question at this point is what do I do? I was thinking of just putting socks on both of his feet and rechecking them every few days. I find the more that I mess with his foot (bandaging, wrapping) the more harm it does really to the healing process. I feel like at this point the less that I do the better, and all I can try to do is just keep it clean. But I also don’t want his scab to stick to the bottom of the sock and get pulled off when I remove the sock. At this point, I’m dealing with a wound on one foot, and a hock on the other. Please help!!!
 

ciaraz

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PS: I've attached pictures of his heel when he ripped off the scab the first time (sorry if they are intense). But a scab has formed over his heel since then.
 

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MuddyFarms

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Hey there, Ciaraz! Sorry to hear about your rabbit's feet! It is often quite a chore to help them heal from that. :( I have had rabbits with sore hocks, and ones that developed bleeding and scabbing, too. I have tried a number of things, including coconut oil, bag balm, and a combination of Preparation H and Nu Skin. However, just using plain Preparation H on the bare hock and scab did wonders with my most recent rabbit, though. I did not wrap it or anything; just coated the bare area with it twice a day. It was able to dry between treatments, which is definitely important. It really seemed to help the pain and reduce the inflamation in the foot. The scabs went away within a few days and the rabbit was more comfortable the whole time. I wonder if your rabbit would leave the foot alone if the Prep H helps reduce his pain. I have read (and I think it makes sense based on my experience) that whatever treatment you do needs to be able to penetrate and help it heal from deep inside before it can fully heal on the outside. It seems the betadine would be doing that, and Blue Kote and Prep H do as well.

Just some thoughts and ideas- there are also quite a few threads on here where people share treatments they have used. Some others may mention some ideas here, too. Hope you have success with him! :)
 

eco2pia

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Ok this is a short term solution. Once he has a scab starting, or for times you take off the "cone" wrap with gauze and vet wrap, not super tight. Then coat THE BANDAGE with tobasco sauce and bitter apple spray. And give him lots and lots of other yummy things to chew, like fresh tree prunings, fresh cut bamboo, blackberry vines, etc. The idea is to keep him busy and make the bandage too yucky to mess with. This has worked for me SOMETIMES with both rabbits and horses. Some are very determined to get the bandage off. I had a dog that I had to spray the wound itself with bitter apple--don't use tobasco directly on skin. That dog was determined, but with lots of distractions and lots of bitter apple spray, we got her healed up eventually.
 

hotzcatz

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Hmm, here we would just give them a ceramic tile to sit on since the bunnies live in hutches with wire floors and then leave them alone. They generally will scab over within a day if they have any sort of bleeding.

"Start the breathing, stop the bleeding & make them lay down" was pretty much the mantra when we were sailing between islands and there weren't any doctors nearby. Works pretty well for bunnies, too. A lot of times the stress of doctoring is more than the stress of the wound.
 
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