Small Animal Facts, Questions and Medical Tips: Pet Owner Blog
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Small Animal Facts, Questions and Medical Tips: Pet Owner Blog

Hi, my name is Darma. I love rodents. I have a ferret, two guinea pigs, several rescued feeder rats and a hedgehog. I am an extremely conscientious pet owner, and I know how hard it can be to find medical tips on small animals. In some cases, it can even be challenging to find vet care for them. In this blog, I am going to write about everything I have learned in my decades of being a small pet owner. I am going to write about cleaning, nursing, feeding and taking care of small pets. I am also going to write about finding the right medical treatment for them and knowing when to seek help. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy my blog.

Small Animal Facts, Questions and Medical Tips: Pet Owner Blog

4 Things Rabbit Owners Need To Know About Wet Dewlap

Timmothy Ortiz

Wet dewlap, also known as moist dermatitis, is an uncomfortable skin condition that can affect rabbits. Here are four things you need to know about it. 

What causes it?

The dewlap is the sagging skin beneath your rabbit's chin. If this skin is frequently wet and isn't given the chance to dry completely, it can get irritated and inflamed. Later, the skin can even become infected.

This frequent moisture can be caused by a few different things. If your rabbit drinks from a bowl, not a bottle, their dewlap will get wet every time they drink. It can also be caused by living in an infrequently cleaned cage and lying in wet bedding. Dental conditions that make your rabbit drool can also lead to moist dewlap.

What are the symptoms?

If your rabbit has wet dewlap, you may notice that some of the hair on your rabbit's dewlap is falling out. The exposed skin will look red and sore. If the skin becomes infected, it may turn green and flies may lay their eggs in the area. If this happens, you will see maggots crawling on your rabbit's dewlap. If you notice these symptoms, you need to take your rabbit to an emergency vet immediately.

How is it treated?

In the early stages of wet dewlap, treatment is fairly easy. Your vet will trim or shave the fur from the dewlap so that the skin can dry more quickly. The skin will be dusted with an antibiotic powder to keep it from getting infected, and you'll be instructed to correct the source of the excess moisture.

In the later stages, wet dewlap is harder to treat. Your rabbit may be put on systemic antibiotics to eradicate the infection. Many antibiotics aren't safe for oral use in rabbits, so make sure to see an exotics vet that has experience in treating rabbits.

Can it be prevented?

You can keep your rabbit safe from wet dewlap by ensuring that their dewlap stays dry. Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Trim the hair on their dewlap so that the area dries faster;
  • Replace water bowls with bottles;
  • Spot clean your rabbit's cage every day to remove soiled, wet bedding;
  • Give them chew toys to help wear down their teeth and prevent dental problems.

If you think your rabbit has wet dewlap, take them to a vet right away. The condition can be easily treated if it's caught early, so don't delay.

To learn more, contact a full service veterinarian like Rivers Animal Hospital vet