bunny whose urine soaks into the fur around her vent and is in constant contact with her delicate skin.
There are many possible reasons for a rabbit to dribble urine and/or
sit in urine, and the only way to know for sure is have your rabbit
completely examined by a veterinarian
experienced in rabbit medicine.
Many rabbits rescued from hoarding situations or found living in small cages, unclean living conditions, and/or neglect are most often victims of urine scald and need treatment. Typically in these situations, proper physical care and clean water with proper vet check will help the rabbits through. Sometimes it can take months depending on the situation. (Rhonda)
Other possible causes of urinary incontinence (and hence, urine scald) to consider are the following:
When excessive amounts of calcium/oxalate salts precipitate in the urinary tract, they sometimes manifest as a thick, curry-colored "sludge" that sometimes has a consistency as thick as toothpaste. This can be very painful in the bladder and when it is passed, and sludge buildup can cause urine leakage and incontinence.
Bladder stone (urolith)
Diagnosed via radiography, a bladder stone is a mass of calcium and/or oxalate salts that has precipitated into a solid mass. Like sludge, a urolith can cause urinary incontinence and dribbling. Unfortunately, the only viable treatment at this time is surgical removal.
Urinary tract infection (UTI)
The best way to diagnose this particular ailment is by a Culture and Sensitivity Testing. This will reveal (1) what species of bacteria is causing the infection and (2) which rabbit-save antibiotics (with good urinary tract penetration) will kill them.
Arthritis of the spine or pelvis
Arthritis of the spine or pelvis can result in the rabbit's inability to posture correctly for urination. This can cause urine to collect in the fur and soak into it, causing urine scald.
Rear limb/pelvic paresis
Paresis is defined as a weakness without total loss of movement in a particular area of the body. This problem is not uncommon in older rabbits.
Unspayed female rabbits have a very high risk of developing uterine cancer, and a large tumor can sometimes interfere with normal urination. All female rabbits should be spayed for their health and longevity.
Incontinence due to hormone imbalance
Because rabbit spaying is a relatively recent notion, data are not yet complete on the long-term effects of early spay.
Caring for your bunny with urine scald:
While your veterinarian is performing diagnostic tests to determine the reason for your rabbit's urine scald, your job will be to keep her comfortable, clean and dry. You can do this by giving her regular "butt baths" when she is soiled (follow the link for instructions), and by administering analgesia (e.g., Banamine) as per your veterinarian's instructions.
Butt Bath Link: http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/buttbath.html**Please consult your vet as the bath may not be necessary for your situation or may cause more irritation.
Cream that helps treat Urine Scald:
Taking into consideration that rabbit are grooming themselves often and may ingest the cream, all used ingredients are safe:
- Chloramphenicol : 1 gr
- Zinc oxyde : 20 gr
- Cod liver oil : 15 gr
- White vaseline : 60gr
The cream is applied once a day to once every other day, after cleaning the skin with water and “allercalm" (Virbac). It is important that the cream stays on the skin, and does not penetrate it.
Footnotes and detailed reading: