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Rabbits/Sore hocks (bumblefoot), rabbit in a lot of pain!


Worst sore, grows sideways
Worst sore, grows side  

Other sores
Other sores  
I have a seven-year-old mini Rex rabbit.

A few months ago she got a sore on one flight and it started growing sideways. I brought in the vet and he thought she had just pulled it off herself, He put her on antibiotics and said it would probably never heal completely.

It Seem to regrow exactly like it did before but she was in a lot of pain so I just Left it, but put peroxide on it twice a day. After about a month of doing this one day I noticed that she had multiple sores all over her feet now. I've been checking her every day and it seems that they came extremely quickly.  I then took her back to the vet. He thought that it could either be cancer or sore hocks. But that it would more likely be cancer as she had lost weight and she had a sore on the side of her foot which is not normal for sore hocks.

She is now on prednisone and antibiotics to try to help with the pain and keep infection away. I have done lots of research on sore hocks now and I think that is probably what she has. Or at least that is the only chance I have to treat her, because if its  cancer there's nothing much I can do.

She is in a lot of pain but It is not so bad now because of the prednisone, I would really like any information that anyone can give me on how to treat this so that she can still live happily.

I have attached pictures

Thank you!!

Dear Frances,

Jeez.  What is it with the vets in Canada who just do not seem willing or able to deal with rabbits?!?  I'm amazed that there are so few knowledgeable rabbit vets up where you are, but I hear of stories like yours all the time.  :(

I hate to gainsay your vet...but I have no idea why the vet would tell you that the foot wound would "probably never heal completely."  Well, no.  Not if you don't *treat* the wound.  I can't see the wound from here, but I have a hard time believing that nothing more can be done than antibiotics and corticosteroids (prednisone).  

One thing that tells me this vet may not be well versed in rabbit medicine is the prescription of the prednisone.  Prednisone is an absolutely *terrible* idea.  Not only will corticosteroids interfere with the rabbits immune system (and hence, her ability to fight infection in the sore hocks), but also rabbits do not deal well with corticosteroids.  If this were my rabbit, I would wean her off this drug starting NOW.  I would give her half the dose next round for two doses, then a fourth, then an eighth, and then finally stop entirely.  (Do not stop "cold turkey" with corticosteroids!)  You can discuss weaning her off the pred with the vet, but I truly would suggest you find a more rabbit-savvy vet, perhaps on the lists linked here:

What antibiotic is bun getting?  For problems like this, some are much better than others, and some will be ineffective.  Still others can be deadly.  If your vet is as inexperienced with rabbit medicine as s/he sounds from what you've told me, I have to worry a little about this.  Please see:

If there is a flap of live tissue on the bottom of the foot, then it might be possible to surgically repair it, though the surgeon may need to be a bit creative. The edges of the flap would need to be "freshened", as would the edges of the area where the flap tore out.  The entire wound bed would have to be completely disinfected and possibly packed with antibiotic-impregnated mesh to give constant protection in this relatively poorly-vascularized area.  But I would not rule out repairing the wound.

In the meantime, here is a site that will explain how to wrap your bunny's feet so she can begin healing those sores:

I hope it will get her on the road to recovery.

If you have questions, please email me directly at as I've had to put myself on hiatus on AllExperts for the moment.

Hope 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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