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Combating Urine Stains On Rabbits

Urine stains on a rabbit’s dewlap and paws could be a sign of a health problem.

Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
Posted: May 7, 2014, 9 p.m. EDT

face of rabbit lying down
Mini Lop rabbit Floppy/© Courtesy Michele Nickerson
A healthy rabbit does not have urine stains on his or her neck or paws.

Q: My rabbit has yellow urine stains on her dewlap and her paws. Please help me with any solution to clean this. She is a female Mini Rex.

A: Rabbits should not have urine stains on their paws and especially their dewlap. These are areas that should have no contact with urine. Therefore, some other process is staining the dewlap and paws.

The two main causes of staining of the fur beneath the chin and the paws are respiratory disease and dental disease. With upper respiratory disease, there is discharge from one or both nostrils and sometimes one or both eyes. Rabbits can be so fastidious in grooming themselves that you may not even realize that your rabbit is sick. Your rabbit will groom away the nasal and ocular discharge before you have a chance to realize there is a problem. The telltale sign will be yellowish discoloring to the paws and maybe dewlap area.

Similarly, when there is dental disease, there can be drooling coming from the mouth each time the rabbit eats or sometimes, if there is pain involved, the drooling is constant. This can stain the dewlap and paws begin to yellow yet the rabbit is so good at cleaning himself that you never see a problem until the rabbit has become very sick with dental disease.

The best way to determine what is causing the problem is to visit your veterinarian. Once these issues have been resolved, the discoloration will go away as the hair regrows and replaces the stained older hair shafts.

Like this article? Check out:
Signs Of A Sick Rabbit, click here>>

See all veterinary Q&A about rabbits, click here>>
See all rabbit health articles, click here>>
See veterinary Q&A for all small animal pets, click here>>

Posted: May 7, 2014, 9 p.m. EDT


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