Scabies in Rabbits – Symptoms and Treatment
Rabbits are disease-resistant animals most of the time, especially if they live in homes or apartments, although this does not mean they are immune to getting sick. This can occur if the care you give your rabbit is not the most appropriate.
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The rabbit is a quiet and discreet animal, so detecting any disease is often difficult. By their very nature, these small mammals often hide their discomfort in order not to show themselves weak in the face of possible predators, and so this behavior remains despite being in the safety of their home.
Scabies is an infection that can become an epidemic if it is not detected in time, so in this article of ExpertAnimal we will tell you the symptoms and treatment of scabies in rabbits , to learn to recognize this disease quickly and the best way to combat it .
Is scabies a frequent disease in rabbits?
If they are in cold climates , it is unusual for rabbits to suffer from it. However, it can occur on farms or on wild animals, originating in burrows and in poor hygiene conditions. On the other hand, in more temperate and humid climates , it is a very common disease, which can sometimes have consequences not only for rabbits but also for puppies and cats around the diseased animal.
Scabies can affect rabbits of any age, and often the animal is very skilled at hiding the symptoms of their discomfort, so it is necessary to be alert to changes in behavior, as scabies can lead a rabbit to death in only a few weeks.
How do you get scabies?
Contamination usually occurs from one infected rabbit to another . Initially the rabbit contracts the disease due to a mite, and the contact with others of its same species propitiates the propagation of the parasites.
The nymphs and larvae of the mite are lodged in the skin, where they jump from one rabbit to the other. Male mites live on the surface, while females open holes in the skin, where they lay their eggs 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 contagion, this can also occur with the parasites that are carried by the wind, by a environment infected with mites (the different types of this parasite are hardly visible to the human eye), and including by contact with a human who has been in a rabbit setting where there is scabies.
Symptoms of scabies in rabbits
Although rabbits are discrete animals, a change in behavior can easily reveal that something is wrong with the animal’s health. The lack of appetite, a negative change in the appearance of the hair or the desire to want to be isolated, indicate the appearance of some possible disease in your rabbit.
Now when it comes to scabies, the specific symptoms will depend on the type of scabies your pet has contracted, which are determined by the different parasites that trigger the disease:
1. Sarcoptic mange
It is caused by the mite Scabei sarcoptes . The symptoms are:
- White crusts in the eyes, ears, fingers, mouth and ears.
- Bad smell in affected areas.
- Itching, which causes the rabbit to scratch.
- Hair loss
- Cracks in the skin that cause bleeding.
Psoroptic or auricular scabies
It affects the pavilion of the ears, where the crusts are concentrated. You can see the mite in the animal’s skin, called Psoroptes . It presents symptoms such as:
- Wax builds up in the ears
- Bad smell
- May lead to otitis
It can extend to the outside of the ear, causing hair loss and more itching.
3. Sarna notoédrica
It is caused by Notoedres cali and affects the head. The same symptoms can be seen as in the case of sarcoptic mange:
- Bad smell
- Hair loss
4. Demodic Sarna
It is caused by the Demodex cuniculi , attacking the deeper layers of the skin, which has as a consequence:
- Thickening of the dermis
- Ear, neck and face injuries
- Hair loss
5. Chiropractic scabies
Caused by the mite Chorioptes cuniculi , which also affects the ears but with a lighter intensity.
The itching that these different types of scabies cause causes the rabbit to constantly scratch the areas where it has crusts, which triggers the onset of other infections.
If ignored, the sores can open and get worse , getting pus and blood, which together with the rabbit’s discomfort can cause anemia and then death.
Diagnosis and treatment of scabies in rabbits
The way to diagnose what kind of scabies your rabbit suffers from is to take it to the vet who will scrape the skin 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 fast, for a few weeks.
Treatment usually have as main drug ivermectin, which is given as subcutaneous injections according to the animal weight. The improvement begins to appear after a week of having started the treatment of scabies. Monosulfiram and fipronil are also used, the veterinarian will recommend the most ideal according to the type of scabies and the extent of the disease.
Avoid at all costs “traditional” treatments or recommended by inexperienced people. An example may be spraying on the kerosene rabbit to kill the mites, but in this case it will be intoxicating the animal, putting its life in danger. As for possible home remedies, it is best to rely on the specialist’s recommendations.
The pharmacological treatment should be accompanied by other care , which must be maintained as habitual hygiene to avoid reinfection and to maintain the health of the animal:
- Provide the rabbit with a good nutrition that allows it to be strong, in addition to ventilated and clean spaces.
- Disinfect carpets, cushions, furniture and other places where dust mites can be lodged.
- Shower the rabbit with shampoo against the mites to kill the parasite on the skin.
- Properly and periodically discard cages from feces and other spaces where the rabbit is.
- Disinfect and thoroughly clean the cage and various objects of your rabbit.
- Eliminate scraps of hair, also from your brush.
- Keep affected rabbits away from healthy rabbits while performing treatment.
With these tips you can identify and treat your rabbit’s scabies in addition to preventing it.
This article is purely informative, in YourCatCareguide.com.br we do not have the capacity to prescribe veterinary treatments nor to make any type of diagnosis. We suggest you bring your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.
If you want to read more articles similar to mange in rabbits – Symptoms and treatment , we recommend you to come into our section of parasitic diseases .