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Rabbits/Topical agents for urine scald for bunny that likes to groom


Hello and thank you for this forum.
DeeDee is a rescue bunny who has been living with me for approximately 10 years. My vet thinks she may be 12 years old. Within the past year she has been diagnosed with arthritis and prescribed Adequan s/c q 14 days (after the loading regimen was performed). I also have Metacam for her 'bad days' but fortunately she has not needed it often. She is free range on a medium pile carpet that is covered with fabric, reusable human incontinent pads. On top of that is a fleecy blanket for a area of extra softness. This extra padded environment has helped tremendously with her mobility. She has a wonky gait however on her bad days will drag her lower legs around and off to the side.
Her linens are changed once or twice a day as she cannot get in and out of even the most shallow litter box nor will use a virtual litterbox. I have been giving her butt bathes as needed, trying to alternate with wet and dry bathes. I then dust her with cornstarch.
1.DeeDee has developed urine scald with sizeable hair loss. I've been trying to research topical agents that I can use and am confused by the literature. DeeDee loves to groom not only herself but her son, Pierre who is sharing her area. She can access the scald on her feet so I was wondering what topical soothing agent I could use besides petroleum jelly. I can't seem to find the Calendula soothing agent without other ingredients such as zinc or lavender which again some sites say are Ok while others warn against it.I also can;t find out if Calendula is safe for bunnies to ingest. I read your preference for Neosporin so I wanted to ask you if it is safe if ingested by DeeDee and/or Pierre.
2. Are there an oral supplemnts I can give DeeDee to augment her treatment plan?
Thank you so much for your time and information. I hope my questions help someone else as well

Dear Pamela,

I've found that the best way to resolve urine burn, as onerous as it is, is to give daily butt baths with a very mild shampoo, rinse well, and dry with a blow dryer on "medium" so you don't burn delicate skin.  Putting topical soothers over urine doesn't really help.  You need to remove the irritant and *then* put the soothing stuff on.

Calendula cream (good health food stores carry different varieties; not sure if there's any major difference among them) can help soothe, and it's safe if ingested.  A very *thin* layer of triple antibiotic ointment (no additives, such as "pain reliever"!) can be fine, too.  A wee bit ingested won't be a disaster, and if you don't use much, she might not lick it off.  I've used it on many a bun, many have licked it, and no one has suffered harm from it that we can tell.  I'd use it only on areas that are really raw, though.  Nothing heals up areas like that like neosporin (or generic).

I know others who use diaper creme and swear by it, but I've never tried that.  

So nothing new here.  :(  But I hope some of this helps.



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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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