Rabbit Diseases - Ear mites

Ear mites in rabbit
  • Ear mites in rabbit are also known as rabbit ear canker and the mites themselves are called Psoroptes cuniculi.
  • It’s a worldwide problem for rabbits, and is generally noticed when a rabbit begins to get crusting, scabs and itching in the inside of the ear.
  • This is caused by the mites themselves that bite into the rabbit’s skin to feed on the blood.
  • They may be found in only one ear, or in both, and in some cases may spread to the surrounding areas – the head, neck, abdomen, and genital regions.
  • One thing that you should never do if you have a rabbit with a suspected case of ear mites is to pick off the crust that forms inside the ears. Not only will this cause pain, but there is also the risk of secondary infection problems.
  • Rabbits kept outside in hutches or on the ground in rabbit tractors are most likely to get ear mites.
  • Ear mites are not serious, but if left untreated, an ear mite infestation can lead to a secondary bacterial infection which can extend to the middle and inner ear and cause deafness and in worst case scenarios can cause neurological problems and even meningitis which is likely to prove fatal.
  • Your vet can find these mites by examining the wax and crusting from the ear under the microscope.
  • Being a contagious parasitic skin disease, rabbit ear mites are generally spread from rabbit to rabbit by direct skin contact between infected and non-infected rabbits.

    • Signs and Symptoms:
    • Mild, moderate or intense itching around the ear, head, and neck
    • Head shaking and scratching
    • Affected areas may become extremely painful
    • Thick, brown to beige crusty exudates in the ear canal
    • Hair loss and peeling of skin around the ears
    • Signs of ear infection may also occur
    • Mites and lesions may extend to the face, neck, abdomen, perineal region, and even feet via grooming

      Earmite Treatment in rabbit Treatment
    • Ear mites are a condition that needs to be treated by a rabbit savvy veterinarian.
    • There are specific antiparasitic drugs, called ivermectins that can be used to eliminate the mites from your rabbit's ears.
    • Other ointments and preparations that may be used for the ear may include antibiotics for any infections that are found on the outer part of the ear.
    • Oral antibiotics will be prescribed for inner infections.
    • If your rabbit is in pain, your veterinarian will also prescribe a mild pain reliever.
    • You may also use any mineral based oil, such as baby oil or even vegetable oil. The oil will suffocate the mites and kill them.
    • Besides these you have to remove and discard all organic material from the cage, including wood or paper products, and bedding, replacing the bedding with shredded paper bedding that can be discarded.
    • The cage should be thoroughly cleaned every day during the treatment period, with nothing reused. Combs, brushes, and grooming utensils will also need to be discarded, or thoroughly disinfected before reuse, otherwise, you will find that your rabbit has become reinfected.

    • Maintain a clean living environment for your pet by routinely cleaning and disinfecting the cages where the rabbits are housed.
    • Proper care, balanced nutrition, and protecting your pet from stressful situations can also help toward preventing mite infestation.