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Thread: De-matting a flighty rabbit

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    Default De-matting a flighty rabbit

    Hi all, I have two rescue rabbits Truffles and Piccollo. Piccollo is definitely a Lionhead and I think Truffles must be a mix - she has a few sprouts of long hair on top of her head and behind her ears. Herein lies the problem. As they are both rescues, neither of them have been handled much, however we're making good headway with Piccollo. Truffles is another matter (BTW she is probably just over one year old and has been spayed). She is very flighty. Although she happily takes food from us and even beg for treats, but will only accept stroking on her terms, which is rarely and only when she's feeling relaxed. Most of the time she will avoid your hand coming towards her body. I've just noticed her fur is starting to mat behind one of her ears. She's really reluctant to let a brush or my fingers go anywhere near it as she can see what I'm up to. She has a startle response and runs away. Obviously I don't want it to become a big problem. Do I persevere and hope she will at some point accept what I'm doing? The only other options I can think of are to hold her down and one of us comb it out (but will she ever forgive us????? ) or take her to the vet and get it done. Any suggestions most welcome. Also can anyone recommend any great rabbit grooming equipment? Thank you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trufflesmum View Post
    Hi all, I have two rescue rabbits Truffles and Piccollo. Piccollo is definitely a Lionhead and I think Truffles must be a mix - she has a few sprouts of long hair on top of her head and behind her ears. Herein lies the problem. As they are both rescues, neither of them have been handled much, however we're making good headway with Piccollo. Truffles is another matter (BTW she is probably just over one year old and has been spayed). She is very flighty. Although she happily takes food from us and even beg for treats, but will only accept stroking on her terms, which is rarely and only when she's feeling relaxed. Most of the time she will avoid your hand coming towards her body. I've just noticed her fur is starting to mat behind one of her ears. She's really reluctant to let a brush or my fingers go anywhere near it as she can see what I'm up to. She has a startle response and runs away. Obviously I don't want it to become a big problem. Do I persevere and hope she will at some point accept what I'm doing? The only other options I can think of are to hold her down and one of us comb it out (but will she ever forgive us????? ) or take her to the vet and get it done. Any suggestions most welcome. Also can anyone recommend any great rabbit grooming equipment? Thank you.
    I would wrap her firmly in a towel and get someone to hold her securely on their lap. Then start by gently stroking her head and talking quietly to her. Offer her a treat, although she may not accept it. Once she has settled and accepted the stroking then you can attempt to trim out the matted fur using round ended scissors. If, however, you feel she remains too 'flighty' to do this safely then it may be a job for the Vet/Vet Nurse

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    The best way I have found is to let someone else hold the rabbit, someone who knows how to, then the other person can comb or brush the fur. Sometimes with Lionheads it is necessary to cut the knotted bits out and care must be taken not to get too close to the rabbit's skin. I usually snip a bit at a time if I am not sure where the skin is and when you get nearer to the skin you can sometimes open up the clump and leave it, as the knots were higher up. They get over it fairly quickly and it is less stressful than taking them to the Vets. It is easier if the person holding the bunny sits on a chair and the rabbit can sit on their knee, of if standing up the person holding the bunny must be able to keep hold if the bunny struggles as you don't want to drop him/her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonibun View Post
    The best way I have found is to let someone else hold the rabbit, someone who knows how to, then the other person can comb or brush the fur. Sometimes with Lionheads it is necessary to cut the knotted bits out and care must be taken not to get too close to the rabbit's skin. I usually snip a bit at a time if I am not sure where the skin is and when you get nearer to the skin you can sometimes open up the clump and leave it, as the knots were higher up. They get over it fairly quickly and it is less stressful than taking them to the Vets. It is easier if the person holding the bunny sits on a chair and the rabbit can sit on their knee, of if standing up the person holding the bunny must be able to keep hold if the bunny struggles as you don't want to drop him/her.

    Tonibun has lots of experience with rabbits and this is excellent advice

    Just one thing to add, if you can get the prongs of the comb between the matted fur and the skin, you will be safe knowing that you're not going to cut the skin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trufflesmum View Post
    Hi all, I have two rescue rabbits Truffles and Piccollo. Piccollo is definitely a Lionhead and I think Truffles must be a mix - she has a few sprouts of long hair on top of her head and behind her ears. Herein lies the problem. As they are both rescues, neither of them have been handled much, however we're making good headway with Piccollo. Truffles is another matter (BTW she is probably just over one year old and has been spayed). She is very flighty. Although she happily takes food from us and even beg for treats, but will only accept stroking on her terms, which is rarely and only when she's feeling relaxed. Most of the time she will avoid your hand coming towards her body. I've just noticed her fur is starting to mat behind one of her ears. She's really reluctant to let a brush or my fingers go anywhere near it as she can see what I'm up to. She has a startle response and runs away. Obviously I don't want it to become a big problem. Do I persevere and hope she will at some point accept what I'm doing? The only other options I can think of are to hold her down and one of us comb it out (but will she ever forgive us????? ) or take her to the vet and get it done. Any suggestions most welcome. Also can anyone recommend any great rabbit grooming equipment? Thank you.


    Regarding grooming equipment, I posted this comb a while ago, and quite a few RU-ers took up the suggestion and tried it. It won the best award for most useful grooming comb. Worth a look

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rosewood-Pr...+grooming+comb

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    Quote Originally Posted by MightyMax View Post
    Tonibun has lots of experience with rabbits and this is excellent advice

    Just one thing to add, if you can get the prongs of the comb between the matted fur and the skin, you will be safe knowing that you're not going to cut the skin.
    That's sometthing I've never thought of

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonibun View Post
    That's sometthing I've never thought of

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    Thanks for all the advice. I've bought the grooming comb. Very useful. I think we're getting somewhere slowly.

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