Thursday, June 16, 2005

The dramatic chaos of bunny nail-clipping

Last night, I finally got up the courage to clip bunny nails. Bunnies have paws like dogs and, like dogs, need their nails trimmed regularly (every 6-8 weeks). Some people mistakenly declaw rabbits, which is extremely inhumane. Rabbits don't have retractable claws like cats; their nails are part of their foot. Declawing a rabbit is like amputating their toes. We have some declawed bunnies in the sanctuary of the main foster home at the House Rabbit Society. They are crippled and live in constant pain.
Okay, off my soapbox now. So I had to get up the courage b/c every time you clip bunny nails, there's a chance you could clip too far down and get the quick (a blood vessel in the nail; also like dog nails) and cause pain and lots of bleeding. This is the last thing I want to do. Luckily, my bunnies let me know if I get too close by flinching before I cut so I've been able to prevent this catastrophic disaster so far.
So I grabbed Babs (the best one of them all for nail-clipping), sat her on my lap in the cradle hold (her back agains my chest and one of my hands grasping her gently under her forearms, around her chest, rocking her back slightly so her hind legs are up in the air so she can't kick), and equipped with a pen light and small doggie nail clippers. I have major neck pain today from craning my neck over the bunnies for so long. For each nail, I shined the pen light underneath to illuminate where the quick ended (all my bunnies have dark nails) and then carefully clipped each one. Babs was great and didn't take too long. I sat her down and gave her a treat.
Taz was a little squirmy and whimpered (so pathetic; yes, he whimpered) a lot like usual. I gave him lots of kisses and he licked my arm in an appeasing attempt to make me stop. I finished him up pretty quickly and set him down.
Then came Oscar. Ugh. What a nightmare. He struggled so much he almost got away twice. I tried different positions to see which one would be most comfortable. He bit me once on the arm and scratched up my legs with his flailing hind legs. His eyes bugged out of his head in fear so much that his third eyelid began to protrude. Poor baby. I finally got him to settle down enough so I could do each nail. It doesn't help that he is black black. Each nail looks like it's painted with black nail polish, making it almost impossible to find the quick even with the light.
Cassidy was even worse. Well, I don't know. It's close. She didn't bite me at least. She squirmed so much. She flailed her legs. She twisted like a rolling log in rapid churning waters. She made awful grunting and squaking noises. She completely ignored my soft, calming voice and kisses on her head. After a lot of cooing and several attempts, I finally got her nails done. She was so pissed at me. I gave her some oatmeal and petted her a bit.
Then, I changed everyone's litterboxes without vacuuming so everyone would have fresh hay. I was on a roll so I then cleaned the kitchen, shook out dirty bunny towels in the garden under the moonlight (the daisies are even brighter at night, I've noticed), did laundry, and put stuff away. Whew. No excuses not to exercise today. By the time I went to bed, everyone (except for Cassidy) seemed happy and content. They had all forgiven me. I was even able to kiss Oscar on the head (a big improvement for him).


Mon said...

Ah, clipping bunny nails! What fun! I use to get 1 nail every few days, and finally gave in to paying to have them clipped at the vet. Its 13 bucks, but peace of mind for me..I got my dog a few times, too short and she is 9 but has never forgotten that I hurt her a couple times and gets so nervous with her nail trims!

Rachel said...

I used to take them to the vet when I only had two. Now that I am caring for 4, it's easier logistically if I just do it.

Kevin said...

Maybe I somehow missed you sharing about cassidy...have you had four bunnies for a long time?

Anonymous said...

Hey! I just stumbled onto your site (Thank you next blog button!) and I thought I'd share something with you my aunt taught me-- Dremmel (sp?) tool-- just put the sanding cone on the Dremmel and sand away on their nails. I use it for my dogs and it works soooo well- you never have the overcut issue because you take them back slowly, and the sanding makes sure they never split. Of course, bunnies being sensitive about noise, might really hate it- but my dogs (who are rescues) got used to it after a couple of times and now they don't mind at all.

Anonymous said...

i hate clipping my rabbits nails. They start freaking out and one time i cut a little too far and it started bleeding and now i am scared to clip them again and i dont want to take them to the vet.