Update: September 3, 2014:
Cooper no longer suffers from poopie butt, after years of suffering I have found where my error was. As you all know, Cooper is an extremely picky eater to the point that he only ate a certain brand of pellets. These pellets were high in sugar which I did not know. I spoke with a friend that has a rabbit rescue and she suggested I changed his diet. Something I had tried before, but found extremely difficult and Cooper would not voluntarily eat for days.
I consulted with our vet and he walked me step by step on how to change his diet. I followed the vet’s instructions carefully, however, Cooper would not oblige.
I removed ALL sugar from his diet to help a bit with his poopie butt, but nothing helped him change his eating habits. It wasn’t until I brought in a foster rabbit into our home. We fostered a Lion Head named Lady, by fostering Lady for a month, Cooper learned how a rabbit should eat, he started eating Oxbow Adult Rabbit Food and stopped eating the unhealthy pellets. Lady also taught Cooper how yummy veggies are and he is now a full vegetarian, ha!
The wonderful influence that Lady had on Cooper completely changed the bacteria in his cecotropes and he now eats them, resulting in no more poopie butt!
I am leaving the below context for those who have bunnies that suffer from poopie butt.
Often I am asked; How do you clean Cooper’s butt?
I mentioned in my previous blog that Cooper does not eat his cecotropes, resulting in a messy, poopie butt. This only happens to him during the day, since he sleeps all day and doesn’t eat them, they become a big pile of poop! During the weekends it’s not as bad because we are home and are able to keep him active. During this time, he actually drops the cecotropes while he’s running around. Unfortunately, I’m not home during the weekdays so he just sleeps his days away like a bunny should do.
How I cleaned Cooper:
I try to remove as much of the poop with toilet paper as possible. I then let the faucet run until I have warm water; this will help loosen the poop off from his fur. Since he is so tiny, I cradle him like a baby in one arm, placing his bottom in my left hand and against my body. (Making sure, I have him securely held to avoid any accidents. Cooper is extremely docile and is used to being handled). I lean over the counter and place his bottom part close to the faucet, underneath the running water. With my other hand, I work the water through the poop, loosening it off from his fur. I only keep my hand in the running water, allowing the water to reach his fur. Since I have to do this on a daily basis, I try to avoid soaking his fur. This will moisten the poop enough to become loose and come off.
Since he sits on the ceotropes all day and continues to pee and poop, the skin around his private parts becomes irritated due to the urine. This is why I make sure to rinse his entire private parts as I mentioned above. Keeping his private parts clean prevents serious urine burns and constant trips to the vet.
Once I see that there is no remaining poop and no dried urine, I dry him off with a towel. Making sure, I completely dry his private parts and all the fur around his bottom part. There have been times where the skin around his private parts becomes red and irritated due to the urine. When this occurs, I submerge his bottom part in about an inch or two of warm water. This will loosen any dried urine and poop.
**I do not submerge his bottom part in water every day to avoid getting his fur soaked. It takes several hours to fully dry soaked fur.**
After submerging his bottom part in warm water and completely drying him off, I apply Neosporin in the affected area. I apply it twice a day for two days, if the irritation is not serious. If I notice the irritation continues I take him in to see the vet.
**Using Neosporin was suggested by Cooper’s vet, so check with your vet before applying it on your own rabbit.**
For more information about cecal please read “The Scoop on Rabbit Poop” on our page or directly on Rabbit.org.