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Miscellaneous Conditions

Sore Hocks

A Sore hock is inflammation on the heels of a rabbit's hind legs. They are most often caused by improper housing. However, some rabbit breeds will be more prone to developing them no matter what they have in their cage. Mini-Rex and other rabbits with less fur on their feet have a tendency to develop hocks. So make sure they don't have grids in their cages or carriers. Grids inside a litterbox need to be buried under the litter. The grids in most pet store cages or hutches dig into a rabbit's feet and damage the tissue in their heels which is why we recommend against them.

Symptoms: Limping, weight shifting when standing or sitting. Bleeding from the feet.

What your vet may do:Check the feet for signs of infection. Debride the wound if they are severe. X-rays may be taken if the wounds are severe to make sure the bones have not been affected. Antibiotics may be given if infection is suspected. Other balms or sprays might be prescribed. Meloxicam may be given for pain management.

Treatment:Apply any meds to the feet as needed. make sure they have lots of soft cushy bedding in their cage. change it frequently to prevent infection. Give pain meds as needed.

Costs: Vet visit $50. Antibiotics around $25.


The inflamed callus on the bottom of the foot is from being housed in a cage with wire floors--10 years ago.


Myxomatosis(Myxo) is a virus spread in European rabbits(domestic rabbits only in the U.S.) with a 99% mortality rate. Luckily, in the U.S., domestic rabbit outbreaks of the disease have been limited to Western states. It is believed that cottontail rabbits have some immunity to the disease and that is the reason why the disease has not spread further. In Europe, a vaccine has been developed and is given to all pet rabbits. It is spread through mosquitoes, fleas, mites and flies and infected rabbits.

Symptoms: high fever, swollen lips, eyelids and genitals, lethargy, breathing difficulty. They will die within two weeks. No cure is available. We have no vaccine approval in the U.S.

Viral Hemorrhagic Disease

Viral Hemorrhagic Disease (VHD), also known as Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease is a calcivirus that only affects wild and domestic European rabbits. Like Myxo, U.S. cottontails are believed to be immune. It is spread rabbit to rabbit or by items that have been in contact with infected rabbits, including humans. Birds and rodents are believed to be intermediate hosts. There is a vaccine available in Europe. There have been intermittent U.S. outbreaks, but the vaccine is not available here. There is now a new version called RHDV2 that affects US rabbits and has an available vaccine. Please read more about RHDV2 here.

Symptoms: Loss of appetite, high fever, spasms, sudden death. Death occurs in 48 hours. No treatment is available.

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