Scabies in rabbits: symptoms and treatment


Rabbits as pets are animals quite resistant to diseases if they are well taken care of. However, this does not mean that they are immune, since sometimes they can develop different pathologies. In this article we explain specifically what is mange in rabbits.

Is scabies in rabbits frequent?

It depends on the environment, if rabbits live in cold climates, it's really rare for them to have scabies, However, in hotter, humid areas and especially in rural settings, it can be more common in rabbits. It is especially frequent in farms, where rabbits are overcrowded, or in burrows, where hygiene conditions are somewhat precarious.

Scabies It can affect any rabbit and is really contagious to other animals, like dogs or cats. However, rabbits are very skilled camouflaging the symptoms, so you should remain vigilant and Check your rabbit's body frequently to see if it has scabies. If left untreated, an infected rabbit can die in just a few weeks.

How mange is transmitted

The main means of infection of scabies in rabbits is direct contact. This disease can spread very quickly.

How does it work? Scabies is produced by a mite, male mites lodge on the surface of the skin, predisposing to jump to another body if they have a chance. On the other hand, females prefer to stay inside the skin, so they open furrows under the dermis, there they find the ideal temperature to lay their eggs. Each mite has a life expectancy of only 3 weeks, but they have an amazing proliferation capacity.

Direct contact is not the only way to spread scabies among rabbits, since These parasites can be transported by the wind and infect other animals.

Sarcoptic mange

The responsible is the Scabei sarcoptes mite. The symptoms are:

  • White scars on the body, especially in ears, eyes, fingers, ears and mouth
  • Bad smell
  • Hair loss
  • Cracked and cracked skin, sometimes even with bleeding
  • Itching

Atrial mange

The Psoroptes mite lodges specifically in the ears, where we can see the scabs. You have these symptoms:

  • Restlessness
  • Earwax Accumulation
  • Itching
  • Bad smell
  • Crusts
  • It can lead to otitis
  • If it extends to the outside of the ear, it also causes itching and peeling

Treatment of scabies in rabbits

If you think your rabbit has scabies, You should go to the vet as soon as possible. He will do a skin scraping and a culture to confirm that they are mites, and in that case, know what type it is.

The main treatment for scabies in rabbits is the ivermectin injections, although there are other options. The veterinarian will determine which one is best suited for your rabbit. Always trust your rabbits and flees from "alternative", natural treatments or recommendations of non-veterinary professionals.

Other care you should take into account if your rabbit has scabies are:

  • Give your rabbit a healthy environment and good nutrition to keep their defenses up.
  • Disinfect all places in which the mites could have accumulated.
  • Bathe your rabbit with anti mite shampoo.
  • Keep the cage very clean and the rest of the places your rabbit frequent.
  • Remove the remains of dead hair from everywhere.
  • If you have several rabbits, Isolates the sick from the healthy to avoid contagion. Don't put them back together until they have completely healed.

These tips will also help you prevent scabies in rabbits.

Remember that It is very important to follow the advice of professionals so that your pet recovers as soon as possible.

What is scabies in rabbits

Although rabbits are usually quite resistant to disease, sometimes certain viruses or bacteria can be spread. In the case of scabies, It is more common in animals that live in hot, humid and rural areas than in urban spaces or with well-marked winters.

It is even more likely that a rabbit will get scabies if it lives overcrowded or in conditions of poor cleaning and care, as can happen in a farm or farm not legislated.

Scabies in rabbits is very contagious, not only among animals of the same species, but also from others such as dogs and cats.

The main means of transmission of scabies is direct contact with an infected animal. Once it appears, it spreads quickly. Parasites can also 'travel' through different fabrics (for example, a person's clothes or a blanket) and even by the wind. They are also tiny and almost impossible to see!

The person responsible for this disease is a mite: males can jump (like fleas) and females are responsible for creating furrows in the dermis where they can lay their eggs. Their reproductive capacity is amazing and although they only live three weeks, they can leave a descendant of millions of copies.

Symptoms of scabies in rabbits

Rabbits can 'camouflage' the symptoms and when we realize the disease is quite advanced. The best way to identify scabies is to check your pet's fur frequently (mainly the head) and pay attention to certain behavioral changes. The main symptoms of scabies in rabbits are:

  • Appearance of white scabs on different parts of the body, including the ears, around eyes, nose or mouth and between the toes.
  • Bad smell generalized
  • Hair loss outside the molting season (usually in spring)
  • Cracks in the skin, sometimes with bleeding
  • Excessive scratching and nervous that produces her>

How to treat scabies in rabbits

If there is less doubt about scabies in your pet, it is very important that you take it to the veterinarian so that it can indicate an adequate treatment. Probably perform certain studies that include skin scraping and culture to confirm that they are mites and what type (can be Scabei sarcoptes, Psoroptes, Notoedres, Demodex or Choriptes).

The most common treatment for scabies in rabbits is with injections of a special medication. The dose and repetitions will be indicated by the veterinarian. It is also common to accompany treatment with an oral antiparasitic (pills).

The owners in turn will have to comply with very strict hygiene habits, mainly in the cage and areas where the rabbit usually spends time. In addition, in order for scabies wounds to heal faster, special topical treatment with a medicine called benzyl benzoate must be applied.

If you have more than one rabbit, we advise you not to leave them together when one of them is infected with scabies, because it can infect others.

And to prevent the onset of this disease, in addition to the complete hygiene of the home and the animal enclosure, we recommend that put anti-mite products in their cage and remove the remains of dead hair that fall off the animal.

In this way it will be easier to eradicate the mite and prevent the disease from spreading among all our pets.

Is scabies a frequent disease in rabbits?

If they meet in cold climates, it is not usual for rabbits to suffer. However, it can arise on farms or in wild animals, originating in burrows and in poor hygiene conditions. On the other hand, in more climates temperate and moistIt is a very common disease, which can sometimes have consequences, not only for the other rabbits, but also for dogs and cats that are around the sick animal.

Scabies can affect rabbits of any age, and in many cases the animal is very skilled hiding the symptoms of their discomfort, so it is necessary to be aware of behavioral changes, because scabies can lead a rabbit to death in just a few weeks.

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How is scabies spread in rabbits?

Usually, contagion occurs from an infected rabbit to another. Initially the rabbit contracts it thanks to some mite, and contact with others of the same species promotes the spread of parasites.

The nymphs and the larvae of the mite lodge in the skin, from where they jump from one rabbit to another. Male mites live on the surface, while females open furrows in the dermis, where their eggs can grow and where the larvae will grow. Each mite can live a maximum of three weeks.

Direct contact with an infected rabbit is not the only form of infection, it can also occur with parasites that are transported by the wind, by an infected mite environment (The different types of this parasite are hardly visible to the human eye), and even by contact with a human who has been in a colony or rabbit farm where there is mange.

Sarcoptic mange

Sarcoptic mange is an allergic reaction caused by mites scabei Sarcoptes. It often presents itself as a white or beige crust along the eyes, ears, mouth, nose and toes, and emanates a faint foul odor. The area that is affected by scabies is likely to bite, so you can see your rabbit scratching excessively.

2. Psychoptic or atrial scabies

It affects the pavilion of the ears, where the scabs are concentrated. It is possible to appreciate the mite in the animal's skin, called Psoroptes. Presents:

  • Restlessness
  • Itch
  • Crusts
  • Ear wax builds up
  • Bad smell
  • It can lead to otitis

It can spread to the outside of the ear, causing hair loss and more itching.

5. Chorioptic mange

The culprit is the mite Chorioptes cuniculi, which also affects the ears but with a milder intensity.

The itching generated by these different types of scabies causes the rabbit to constantly scratch the areas where it has scabs, which leads to the appearance of other infections.

If the condition is ignored, the sores can open and get worse, suppressing pus and blood, which, together with the general malaise of the rabbit, can cause anemia and subsequently death.

Diagnosis and treatment of scabies in rabbits

The way to diagnose what type of mange your rabbit suffers is to take it with a veterinarian, who will perform a skin scraping in order to determine the type of mite with observation through the microscope. If the parasitic infection is detected in time, the treatment for scabies in rabbits is quick, a few weeks.

The treatment usually has as main drug ivermectin, which is administered in subcutaneous injections according to the weight of the animal. The improvement begins to be noticed after a week of having started the treatment of scabies. Your veterinarian will recommend the most suitable medication according to the type of mange and the extent of the disease.

Avoid "traditional" or recommended word of mouth treatments at all costs. An example may be to spray the rabbit with kerosene to kill the mites, but in this case you will poison the animal, putting its life in danger. As for possible home remedies, it is best to rely on the recommendations of the specialist.

Pharmacological treatment must be accompanied by other care, for which it is necessary to maintain as usual forms of hygiene to avoid reinfection and preserve the health of the animal:

  • Provide the rabbit with a good diet that allows it to be strong, in addition to ventilated and clean spaces.
  • Disinfect carpets, cushions, furniture and other places where mites could stay.
  • Bathe the rabbit with shampoo against the mites to kill the parasite in the skin.
  • Dispose of feces from cages and other spaces where the rabbit is regularly and periodically.
  • Disinfect and thoroughly clean the cage and various objects of your rabbit.
  • Remove hair debris, also from your brush.
  • Keep affected rabbits away from healthy ones while healing.

With these tips you can not only identify and treat your rabbit's scabies, but also prevent it.

This article is purely informative, at we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Scabies in rabbits - Symptoms and treatment, we recommend that you enter our section of parasitic diseases.

Trixacarus caviae

The Trixacarus Caviae , or scabies by the burrow mite, is rare in rabbits. Unlike the bark that can occur with sarcoptic mange, rabbits usually start scratching excessively only when they are affected by mange by the burrow mite. The pain associated with constant itching can cause your rabbit to tend to depression or aggressiveness.

If you think your rabbit has symptoms of scabies, consult a knowledgeable rabbit veterinarian to start treatment immediately.

Signs and Symptoms of Scabies in Rabbits

Her> scratches compulsively. In the same way they also tend to lick the affected areas. As a consequence this leads to alopecia (loss of hair).

Often you can observe the secretion of an aqueous material that form scabs after drying. The self mutilation will result in wounds and secondary bacterial infection. Severe infestation leads to anemia and leukopenia (decreased white blood cells in the blood). The rabbit becomes lethargic and can die within a few weeks.

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How to diagnose Scabies in Rabbits

Diagnosis can be difficult and visual examination is not always enough to confirm the presence of these mites. Detection methods include the tape method or the vacuum aspiration method on a filter paper. However, the most common is the skin scraping. This scraping will be shallow if skin mites are suspected and deeper if tunnels are suspected in tunnels.

Scraping or aspiration samples should be distributed on a microscope glass and dissolved in KOH. This sheet then are examined under a microscope. There is a great opportunity to see at least one mite or larva or eggs. The coat can also be sampled, using the solution in KOH. This is examined under a microscope to detect the presence of eggs.

If there is no mite present in the first sample, other places in the body should be controlled. If the presence of mites in tunnels is suspected, but none were found after a deep skin scraping, a biopsy In the area where mite infestation is suspected, it is advisable.

Treatments of Scabies in Rabbits

Your veterinarian may recommend one of the following options for the treatment of mites responsible for your rabbit's scabies. Fortunately, all of those we name options are normally used to treat both types of mange in rabbits.

One option is the oral ivermectin or ivermectin injection. If you opt for ivermectin, your rabbit will need a minimum of three doses of ivermectin every two weeks. Scabies is treated with 3 injections of ivermectin, one every 14 days.

The environment must be thoroughly cleaned, since the mite can survive for weeks without the presence of the rabbit host. Wounds can be treated with Benzyl benzoate every five days

The Moxidectin It has proven effective in the treatment of sarcoptic mange in rabbits. So far it has not shown any side effects in rabbits when administered orally, while side effects have been observed sometimes after subcutaneous administration.

Another option for the treatment of scabies is the form of medication selamectin or Revolution It is used in cats. Your veterinarian will prescribe the correct dose and instructions for how often the medication will be administered. Rabbits usually receive the medication between their shoulder blades once a month for a minimum of three months.

Always use the dose prescribed by your veterinarian. Giving too much medication could lead to a fatal overdose.

Other problems of Scabies in Rabbits

Sarcoptes scabiei It can infect dogs, cats and man. If the sarcoptic mite infestation It is not resolved, the presence of dogs and cats, both possible asymptomatic carriers as well as parasites that survived the treatment should be considered.

If the affected rabbit has severe anemia, a blood transfusion may be necessary from a healthy donor rabbit.

Mites dig tunnels in the skin and can fall and contaminate the environment. During the treatment for mites, careful cleaning of the cage and the environment is recommended. The treatment of the environment is important. It can be done with boric acid as or some aerosol acaricide. While doing the cleaning treatment of the environments, rabbits should be kept in another part of the house to avoid the danger of contact with the products.

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How to prevent Scabies in Rabbits

Mites can spread very quickly> Your veterinarian may recommend treating any other rabbit that makes life at home to prevent the spread of mites. In addition, the mites can fall from the rabbit in the living spaces so cleaning the area of ​​your rabbit and your bedding when you start a treatment to eradicate the mites is one of the best ways for the infestation to spread.