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Rabbits/Red raw bald patch on back of neck


Conti Giant doe
Conti Giant doe  
Dear Dana,

I have an 11 month old Continental Giant doe, who I rescued with her son, from a family who couldn't cope with them.  They thought it was mum and daughter, but I sexed them when they arrived to me and babe was a boy.  Up until then, they had been kept together in their house, so there is a possibility that mum is pregnant, although son is only 6 months old so possibly not!

When they arrived to me, they both had a small bald patch behind their ears on the back of the neck, which I thought perhaps was their grooming rough as they lived together before they came to me.  Mum's, in the last couple of days has got considerably worse, I've checked for mites and there is no signs, the skin is otherwise in good condition over the rest of her body, no scurf or flaky skin, she is cleaning herself, bottom end is clear, stools of good consistency, regular urine etc, however the patch has got worse, has spread, and become more inflamed and sore.  I have attached a picture for you to see.  I have put Hilton Herbs "Phytobalm" on it to help soothe it but it's not had it's amazing effect as it has on other wounds I've treated.

I obviously had to separate them, and they are living in huge dog crates where they can see each other, but not actually get to each other.  Behaviour wise, she likes to bury herself under the hay and straw, she is eating and drinking fine, no change there, and she is not showing any signs of lethargy.  She has become more vocal, a lot more grunting in the last week or so, and I was thinking this could be a hormonal issue, perhaps due to pregnancy.  

I have considered the environment, however, I felt that if it was that, then the son would be suffering with the same conditions perhaps, but he is absolutely fine.  

I would be so grateful if you could share your thoughts on this, whether you've seen this before, and what you think could be the possible causes and best treatment.  
Many thanks,

Dear Jenny,

From the picture it really does look like an overgrooming problem.  I am guessing that now that the buns are separated, the lesion will start to heal and improve.  This might have been something the boy developed from being bored in his old home.  So temporary separation might be a good thing for him to unlearn the bad habit.  To prevent neurotic overgrooming, provide lots of running space and plenty of interesting things for the bunnies to do to distract and entertain them.

I hope mama isn't pregnant.  But just in case...

Not great to breed mother to son, as I'm sure you know. But what's done is done.  While they are separated, you might consider having the boy neutered so the risk of further pregnancies is gone.

Good luck with your new babies!  I would LOVE to see a Continental Giant in person!  :)



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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

RULE #1:

Find a rabbit vet at for immediate help, and don't risk your bunny's life by spending time asking questions online! If you can't get in touch with your vet, read these Emergency Sick Bunny Instructions.

If you have found a wild baby rabbit, please read these EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS FOR WILD BABY RABBITS and then use this link to FIND A LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR who can give you the right advice.

RULE #2:
Help me help you! Please make your subject line informative if you have an urgent question. then LET ME KNOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE so I can give your question highest priority over non-urgent questions. If you don't do this, then I can't guarantee timely assistance!

For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.


I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology

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