Ear mites (Psoroptes cuniculi)
Are a common parasite of rabbits. An infected rabbit will scratch at their ears and may shake their head. A brown crusty exudate is seen in the ears. Treatment can either be a series of injections or ear drops.
Fur mites (cheyletiella)
Live on the surface of the skin. Dandruff and a flaky skin may be noticed as some patches of hair loss. This parasite doesn’t usually cause rabbits to itch. Treatment can either be a series of injections or a topical parasiticide.
Can also affect rabbits so we recommend a monthly spot-on as a preventative measure.
Flies cause maggots. The common blowfly that we see every summer can be responsible for maggot infestation (known as flystrike) on your rabbit. Individuals at greater risk are those who are obese, have dental disease, arthritis, diarrhoea or skin wounds; but any rabbit can get flystrike. The flies are normally seen in hot and humid weather, and the season is considered to be April to October; but flystike can occur at any time of the year.
Flies are attracted to any area that is damp or odorous, whether that is urine or faeces on the rabbit, or dirty bedding and bowls. It is therefore vitally important to check that your rabbit and his environment is clean and dry. Rabbits should be checked at least twice a day for any sign of flystrike as maggots can hatch within 12 hours.
If you see any signs of fly eggs or maggots, contact the surgery and be prepared to bring your rabbit to us immediately. Flystrike can cause horrific wounding, shock, and ultimately death if left untreated.
If your rabbit has one of the conditions listed above that makes them more susceptible to flystrike, or they have had flystrike previously we would recommend preventative treatment. These include;
Xenex Ultra Spot-On
Contains Permethrin (toxic to cats). This product is applied in the same way that spot-on treatments are given to cats and dogs. One application last 2 weeks, and not only kills the flies but will repel them too. One pack contains 12 weeks of treatment. This product also treats mites, ticks and lice.
Contains Cyromazine. A topical treatment applied to the skin in the areas of the rabbit that may attract flies (generally the hind quarters). One pack gives a single application that will last 8-10 weeks, but must be applied thoroughly. This product does not repel the flies, but prevents maggot development
Even if you are using these products, please check your rabbit regularly.
Rabbits and Other Animals
Contact with cats and dogs must be closely supervised if allowed at all. Rabbits should ideally not be housed with guinea pigs for a number of reasons.
- Rabbits may carry bacteria that can be harmful to guinea pigs
- The two animals have different dietary requirements
- Rabbits may kick or bite guinea pigs, even if they have lived with them for years. Male rabbits are particularly renowned for this. If you must keep rabbits and guinea pigs together, the rabbits must be neutered to reduce any aggressive tendencies.
- Never put a rabbit hutch in sight, or smell, of ferret hutches or falconry birds.