Preventing Sore Rabbit Hocks – Learn how to prevent sore hocks in rabbits and how to treat rabbits with the condition.
The other day my brother showed me some photos he had taken in the woods near our home. They were pictures of bear tracks. Black bear tracks. Yes, we live that far north.
One thing he pointed out in the photos was that some of the tracks were deeper than the others. Evidently bears rest more weight on their hind feed than they do on their front feet – just like rabbits. The back part of a rabbit’s hind foot is called the hock, and this area supports most of the bunnyweight. The hock is normally covered with a thick layer of fuzz, but sometimes this fur wears away, and the skin on the hock and break and bleed. Average rabbit owners call this condition “sore hocks,” though vets might term it pododermatitis or ulcerated foot pads. I’m not sure what you call it in bears.
Sore hocks can develop on any rabbit, but certain ones are more susceptible. Those would be the Rex-furred breeds (since they have short fine fur), the very large breeds (since they have more weight to bear), and excitable rabbits that stamp their feet a lot. It’s also more common in rabbits that are housed in cages with wire floors. Put two of these factors together (i.e. rex fur + wire floor) and you will need to be proactive if you want to prevent ouchie bunny feet.
Unfortunately, once sore hocks have developed, they’re very hard to treat. If the fur gets worn away, it will seldom grow back. Plus, since rabbits spend so much time on their feet, the skin doesn’t have much of a chance to heal. So it’s worth the trouble to institute a Pododermatitis Protection Plan.
That plan doesn’t have to include moving your rabbits to solid-floored cages. I don’t even recommend it. The reason why most rabbits are housed on wire floors is because wire floors are best for them. Cleanest. Safest. Healthiest. In fact, I read a study from the World Rabbit Council (summarized several years ago in Domestic Rabbits magazine) that said rabbits seemed to actually prefer wire floors if given the option.
So how can get all the benefits of a wire floor with none of the disadvantages?
Enter the EZ-Mat
Plastic resting mats (also known as EZ-Mats) are extremely popular with rabbit owners, and for good reason. They’re simply hard plastic mats – made of quality, non-toxic ABS – that lay over the top of the cage floor, giving your rabbit a place to rest off the wire. They have very smooth surfaces; all the edges are carefully beveled to prevent wear on your rabbit’s feet. And they are super sanitary. They have slots punched out that allow waste to fall right through into the drop pan. And if the mats ever get dirty, they’re easy to wash with soap and water. You can even put them in your dishwasher! (My family has never been cool with that idea, though.)
Ask around to your bunny friends, and you’ll probably find that most of them use resting mats. If you don’t have any yet for your bunnies, today is a great day to go EZ-Mat shopping, because a popular rabbit supply company is offering a three-day sale on EZ-Mats right now.
Sale on EZ-Mats
Follow the below links to save money on EZ-Mats from Premium Rabbit Supplies.
While you’re at Premium Rabbit Supplies, check out the other supplies we offer: cages, carriers, nest boxes, dishes, toys, and lots more. If you have any questions while you’re there, just call 1-800-809-8752 or sign into live chat. We’ll be happy to help!
But wait, has your rabbit already developed sore hocks?
If your rabbit already has sore hocks, resting mats can definitely help. Additionally we recommend that you apply some Bunny Balm (also used during rabbit tattooing) on the sore area to help get rid of the condition. I personally apply the KBtatts All Natural Bunny Balm when my rabbits get sore hocks.
You can grab some for use via:
Have a hoppy day!