First Aid Care of Rabbit Scratches

by Laurie Stroupe

My arms look like I raise tigers instead of rabbits. I’m just not as careful as I should be. I’m not very fond of long sleeves – even in winter. And I haven’t quite figured out how to handle those pre-juniors who haven’t been out of the cage much yet and have needle-sharp nails. Plus, I still have on my to-do list lining the cage openings on the third row with plastic edging. Probably half of my scratches actually come from cages (my lack of depth perception really comes into play there!)

But awhile back the mother of a friend landed in the hospital with septicemia, I believe it was, from a common cut. My friend fussed at me a bit for not taking better care of my scratches. She knew all too well what it could lead to. Believe it or not, I listened to her and started paying better attention.

chocolate polish rabbit at arba convetnionSo I added triple antibiotic ointment to my barn supplies and my show supplies. I make even better effort to thoroughly wash my hands and arms after coming in from the barn, paying special attention to the cuts. I’ve always been a hand-washer, but the wrists and forearms might only have gotten a token washing before.

I generally carry Gold Bond antiseptic wipes with me to shows and used to keep them in my barn. Even though they are antiseptic, I admit I like them most because of the pain killing feature. And, at a show, the convenience of coming with their own wipe and being individually wrapped is wonderful.

So, if you are not yet convinced of the importance of tending to those small cuts, scratches, and scrapes, let me list a few things that you can get from rabbits (from Rabbits: Health, Husbandry & Diseases by Virginia Richardson):

    * infection
    * dermatitis
    * arthritis
    * meningitis
    * septicemia

True, other than a simple infection, the other effects are rare. But if you are the one to get it, it’s 100%.