Sunday, April 5, 2009

Bathing a Bunny

Rabbits should, technically, need baths about as often as cats. Some ex-spurts will tell you that this is never. However, bunnies have very delicate digestive systems and things can set them off and they will get what I politely call, "yucky tail." Bunnies digest grass/hay twice, just like cows. Cows vomit up the grass and eat it again (chew their cud), bunnies have two types of poop, one they eat again (Their cecals) and one that in theory goes into their litter box. What "yucky tail" often is is a great big gloopy mass of stinky, mucasy cecals stuck to their tail. And that's if you're lucky and catch it before it dries. AFTER it dries.. well, they could have built the Hoover Dam out of the stuff.

So. Every so often, a bunny gets a butt bath. Bunnies can die of fright (literally!) so immersing them in water isn't generally a good idea. You also have to be very careful that they don't get cold, or any other system shocks. Every so often however, you get a freak, er, I mean, ADVENTUROUS rabbit who likes water. I have one of those.

Scout, my little two pound Napolean hates water. She, of course, has complete digestion issues and is often the one who gets butt cleanings. She takes butt baths much like a duck takes baths. Water from the sink goes everywhere. Occassionally I get to refill the sink to try and get the crud off her because there's not enough water left. The human (that'd be me) is soaking wet on these occassions and thinking anyone who owns a dog is freaking insane for trying to EVER bath a fifty pound animal.

Sage, however, loves water. She once took a shower with me. She loves playing in the puddles outside and I swear can detect if there's any to jump in before the door even opens. So, today when I was about to trim her back claws I see a mucky mass glued under her tail. I didn't even smell it and normally cecal masses stink to high heaven. I look at her, look at it, look at her. "How the *&#! do you keep getting out of getting your rear claws trimmed??" She gives me the "Stoopid hooman" look. Which i always translate to "Stop questioning the rabbit and give her a treat." Too bad she rarely gets the treat.

So. Onto the kitchen table she goes, sitting on the towel that was meant to go back into their carrier post wash and dry but never quite made it that far. I start filling the sink and there's Sage sitting up on her back paws to look at the sink with interest. In recent past every time I filled the sink to do dishes, Sage peed. I eye her to make sure she doesn't think this is a great time to relearn that trick. Nope, her ears are forward, she's periscoping and I swear the expression is "WOO! BATH TIME!"

Sink filled, I pick her up and carefully put her hindquarters in the water, making sure her front paws can grasp the edge of the sink. It helps Scout feel more secure, less likely to panic and more able to soak me with water. Its habit to do the same with Sage since Sage gets so few butt baths. Sage cocks her head to one side and seems to be studying me. I put one hand on her shoulder to say "Yeah, try and escape, it won't work." and then start fishing around her tail in the water to start prying off the hardened goop. I will mention it's about this point the smell hits me. You know how cow poop makes most people's gorge rise? Oh yeah, cecal masses do the same to me. Ugh. Telling myself I won't vomit on my bunny, I work most of it free.

Sage is still sitting there most calmly. Scout would have been through the roof at this point. I would have pried her off my shoulder six times. Sage, all five and a half pounds of her seems more interested in what I'm doing than freaked out. I finally decide its as good as it's getting without a fine toothed comb and out of water and stop cleaning tail. You'd think that was a green light. Sage promptly removes front paws from the edge of the sink and is standing in the water. "Don't you -" I start saying as she promptly flops in the water.

Miraculously, she doesn't get ME soaking wet, but here she is, splattering around in the bunny cecal infested water, happy to get completely soaking wet. I, of course, now have to fill the OTHER sink to the clean the rabbit. Even better, clean warm water for her to play in. The kitchen sink isn't really roomy enough for her to swim in, but I suspect if I ever bathed her in the tub she would swim about it happily. Sorry rabbit, ain't gonna happen, too much to scrub clean. I then spoil her fun by pulling her out and placing her on the towel. Oooh, drippy rabbit. She even puts up with being toweled with good grace. She's very proud of herself, and I'm not sure I wanna know why.

Dried as well as five towels and one human can, I dump her back into the bunny room and leave her to be groomed dry by her sister. "Eeeek, your wet!" Scout thumped at me. I just gave her the hairy eyeball and said "Should I check YOUR tail while I'm at it?" Tone of voice is a marvelous thing, she thumped again and ran. Smart bunny.

I then got to go back to the kitchen and clean up the remains of the cleaning. Squooshy, wet, smelly, disgusting cecal poop that smells almost as bad as a hockey bag. Yummy. I once again chant to myself "Its a good thing they're cute."

No comments:

Post a Comment