Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cleaning Brighid's Scent Glands

Also, titled: Sean Does Not Get Paid Enough! 
Our house bunny, Brighid had begun to boast an odiferousness to rival any foul odor you may have encountered- somewhat akin to skunk wrapped in a teenage boy's tennis shoes and you begin to come close. I cleaned her cage. I emptied her litter box. Nope- stinky bunny remained. There was only one thing left to do: call in Sean to clean her scent glands.
All bunnies need to have their scent glands attended to; some as often as you trim their nails, some less or more often than that. Each bunny is different. But, it is an important and necessary part of being a conscientious bunny keeper. Besides, smelling badly (world's biggest understatement) the health of your bunny can be at risk. The glands can get impacted and become infected if they are not cared for when it becomes needed.  

Bunnies have scent glands under their chins, which is why you will often see bunnies rubbing their chins against objects. They are, in effect, saying, "That's mine." They, also, have anal scent glands. These are slits located on both sides of their urethra. Though the task is somewhat unpleasant- for both you and your bunny, it is not particularly difficult to do nor painful to your bunny.
You will need: petroleum jelly, q-tips, and clean hands. I suggest protective gloves, too, if you have them available.
1. Hold your bunny so that it cannot wiggle out of your grasp. This is the most difficult part because bunnies DO NOT like to be placed on their back and they will struggle against you. It is helpful to talk calmly and soothingly to your bunny and to stroke them to help them to relax.

Full Scent Gland
2. Carefully, move the fur aside to find the glands. These look like slits. If they are full, they will have a black, waxy appearance coating the inside of them. Once, you locate the gland, use a q-tip with petroleum jelly on the tip to gently wipe away the waxy build up. This will smell VERY, VERY badly. Be certain not to pull hard or push the q-tip deeply into the gland- it is not necessary and could harm your bunny. 

Clean Scent Gland
3. When the first gland is clear, repeat on the second side. Dispose of the gland build up, q-tips and definitely wash your hands!

Whenever we (read that: mainly Sean) have needed to clean a bunnies scent glands, it has been our experience that said bunny immediately returns to having no notable smell, which is the desirable outcome. After Sean attended to Brighid this evening, she was much more pleasant to be near, for sure!

Bunny snuggles when all is done.
Just now, bunny is snuggled next to Sean's leg getting ear rubs. All seems to be forgiven on her end- though, if I were he- I would not fall asleep in her vacinity any time soon.
Thanks for stopping in to visit this evening. We are sure glad you came!
Sonja ♥