Poopy butts in Rabbits: Causes, Treatments and Cleaning

Poopy butts in rabbits is a way of referring to a condition where your bunny has some poop dried up and stuck on its bunny butt. Although they are clean animals, this condition is rather common and should be dealt with appropriately. From this article, you will k=find out the cause of your rabbit’s poopy butt, how to treat it and how to clean them.

The right way to handle your rabbit’s poopy butt is to clean it immediately and then proceed to get treatments if need be. Poopy butts can lead to dangerous health problems in rabbits like skin problems and fatal consequences of a fly strike. Hence immediate action is necessary to keep your rabbit safe.

While cleaning your rabbit’s poopy butt may sound easy, there is a right way to do it so that you do not hurt the skin. You should also know if your bunny’s poopy butt situation is one for the vet or one for just a good wash. To figure this out, it is important that you understand what causes a poopy butt, and whether your bunny’s is just a healthy natural act or one that needs treatment.

What you need to know about Poopy butt in rabbits

Poppy butt in rabbits occur when some of the soft feces passed out by the rabbit is stuck on its butt, it later dries up and results in this situation. Many rabbit owners do not know that their bunny’s pass out soft feces because they are used to seeing only the hard round ones, but rabbits, in fact, pass out two types of feces. The reason why owners do not see the softer feces is that it is reabsorbed through the anus.

The rabbit’s biological build is in such a way that it can excrete two types of feces; the hard one and the softer one (cecotropes), the hard one is the end result of completely digested food while the cecotropes are the result of incomplete digestion which means that it still contains useful nutrients to the rabbit. As a healthy practice, the rabbit ingests the cecotropes through the anus to absorb the nutrients left and finally passes it out after proper digestion. This is a natural means to ensure that rabbits are getting enough nutrients from what they eat. The process of ingestion of cecotropes through the anus is what causes poop to be stuck on the rabbit’s bum.

Rabbits normally clean after themselves, they usually eat whatever cecotrope may be stuck on their anus before it dries up and results to the poopy butt situation. However, a couple of reasons might hinder the rabbit from cleaning up efficiently and this is where you come in.

What causes rabbit’s poopy butt

Although the re-absorption of cecotropes is a natural biological process and poopy butts happen, when you start to notice it happening frequently you should be ready to intervene. Because rabbits clean themselves it is not normal to have this kind of situation often, and if you do then it will be from two likely causes; diet and a mechanical problem.

Poopy butt resulting from diet: A rabbit should maintain a healthy diet or fresh fruits and vegetable servings daily, this food is digested at the end of the day, some of them through re-absorption, however when a rabbit passes out too many cecotropes or does so too frequently, it is unable to absorb everything and clean it all up. This will result in excess of the cecotropes staying on the butt and causing a stinky situation. In this case, you should try to adjust your rabbit’s diet by adding more fiber from vegetables and cutting down the sugars from the fruits. If you are the type to give your rabbit sweet treats frequently, you might want to cut that off as well, you can reduce their servings of sweet treats or seek healthier options. A rabbit has a delicate digestive system, so it is up to you to try to balance their foods, try adding more hay to its diet and or speak to other rabbit owners or professionals about getting your rabbit a balanced diet.

Poopy butt resulting from a mechanical problem: Mechanical problems are things that might be affecting your rabbit’s ability to move properly and clean itself up. It could be from injuries, or from obesity. Check if your rabbit has sustained any injuries on its legs or anywhere that might stop it from being able to move properly and reach its butt if it has you should treat the injury accordingly and know that you will be responsible for helping it clean up for a while.

If there are no injuries and your rabbit is obese therefore unable to properly bend and clean up, then you should check that as soon as possible. Obesity other than hindering movement ca cause the feces to taste bad and the rabbit will be reluctant to clean up, it can also lead to many health problems that could be fatal to your rabbit. What to do in this case is to correct your rabbit’s diet to include a lot of fiber and try to make it exercise a little more without going overboard. With time, the rabbit will lose some weight and be able to exercise and clean up better.

How you can clean your rabbit

Immediately you start to perceive a foul odor from your rabbit and you realize the poopy butt, it is best practice to clean up your rabbit as soon as you can. Cleaning up your rabbit is not the same thing as giving it a bath because rabbits do not like to take baths, in fact, a bath can be dangerous to the health of the rabbit.

It does not take long to clean the rabbit and all you need is a wet towel if the poop has not hardened, if it has, you would need a bowl, warm water, a small soft towel, paper towels, and animal shampoo if you want (you can do without the shampoo). A sink can be used in place of a bowl.

You are to put the towel at the base of the bowl or sink firstly to provide a soft base for your rabbit and then put some water in. the amount of water you put should be little, only enough to cover the rabbit’s butt and add pet shampoo if you are using one. Otherwise, proceed to pick up your rabbit, holding its upper body close to you with one hand while you insert its soiled bum in the water. Then follow to use your other hand to pat water onto the rabbit’s butt until the feces soften and fall off. then you bring out the rabbit and dry the wet area with a paper towel, another towel and/or a dryer just remember to pat gently. If you will be using a dryer, you should set the heat to the lowest so as not to burn your rabbit.

Rabbits should not be given full baths often, because they can be exposed to cold temperatures from the water. Also make sure to dry the wet area as soon as you are done cleaning out the poop and do so gently because the skin around the anus is tender and can hurt easily, causing discomfort and possible infection for your bunny.

Make sure not to pull at dry poop from your rabbit’s butt as this is extremely painful also do not shave the fur so that you do not expose the area.

Normally a bath is enough to help you get rid of poopy butt but then there are certain situations that will make you want to see a vet and take extra precautions. This involves the state of the poopy butt and frequency of it happening.

How do you know when it is time to contact the vet?

When it comes to poopy butt, there are two scenarios that will warrant your visit to the vet.

  • Reoccurring poopy butt after trying all of the above approaches: if you have already tried the home treatments of correcting your rabbit’s diet and helping it exercise but the poopy butt won’t just stop, then it is time to visit a vet. Perhaps there is a deeper problem your vet will be able to figure out. To do this, the vet will get a sample of the fecal matter stuck on your pet’s bum and inspect it for bacteria or any sign of a hidden condition and treat your rabbit accordingly. Also, your vet could suggest some healthier meals for your rabbit.
  • Signs of maggot on the poop of the rabbit’s butt: this is a huge cause for alarm because it shoes that a fly strike had occurred. A rabbit can quickly die from the result of a fly strike which happens when flies get attracted to the poopy butt and lays eggs on it, which hatch to maggots. These eggs are usually laid on dead bodies or on injuries by the flies and if they have been laid on your pet, they can eat at the pet until it dies. In this kind of scenario, what to do is to visit the vet immediately and not try to wash it out as you could worsen the situation. The vet will swing into administering immediate treatment and help you get the maggot and the fecal matter off your pet.
  • Skin infections noticed on the butt: if after you wash your rabbit, you notice that it has some infections around the butt, it indicates some fungal or bacterial infection most likely from the poop or the environment. In that case, you should visit the vet and have him look at it. It could be a sign of an internal problem the rabbit has or an external problem, either way, your vet will tell you the right thing to do.

At the end of the day, you can either treat poopy butt at home or involve the vet if need be. It is important not to panic and get into a frenzy when you notice poopy butt, especially if it is at a dangerous stage requiring a vet. All you need to do is take the right steps of cleaning, adjusting the rabbit’s diet, exercising your rabbit and visiting the vet if it is needed. The first thing to do is always to clean the rabbit if you notice poopy butt, except if you notice maggots on it in which case you should head straight to the vet.

Related questions

How can you keep your rabbit’s butt clean?

You do not necessarily need to keep your rabbit’s butt clean actively as they can do that themselves. However, if you notice any problem that may hinder them from doing this, like obesity or injuries in legs, you will need to frequently check for cecotropes residue and clean your rabbit’s butt as explained in this post.

Can you clean your rabbit’s butt with baby wipes?

Yes, you can clean your rabbit’s butt with baby wipes. However, while you do this it is essential to keep in mind that the rabbit’s butt is made of very soft skin and can easily be hurt or bruised. Therefore, you should do so with very gentle rubs and if you will be doing it frequently, you should mix it up with using water so that you can avoid giving it a bruise. Also, note that the sensitive butt area of the rabbit does not react well with chemicals so you should make sure to check for the contents of the wipes, make sure they are alcohol and fragrance-free and also free from allergens.

In conclusion, poopy butt is not a dire situation that is out of your control, all you need to do is immediately clean your rabbit and find out the possible causes. After that, you can commence appropriate treatment and continue having a happy and healthy rabbit.


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