ALL ABOUT RABBITS
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The House Rabbit
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Why Breeding is Bad
Confronting Animal Abuse
 

 



 
 

Healthcare
Common Illnesses

Fur Mites

Fur mites can be seen with the naked eye, but it is usually a hard exercise. One simple method of detection is to use sticky tape. Stick it to the affected skin part and observe for the presence of skin parasites with a magnifying glass. Still, they are tiny, less than 0.5 mm in size. If you plan to consult a vet, refrain from doing this test as the vet will have difficulties finding the remaining parasites.

The symptoms (flaky skin, etc) indicate the presence of mite or mange (burrowing mites), but it can also be fungal or bacterial dermatitis. Fur mites are usually found on the back and behind the neck. The skin becomes bald and is usually accompanied by severe scaling.

Mange is very hard to detect by eye and even deep skin scrapings are not always successful. The presence of mange is accompanied by pruritus (itch); the rabbit will scratch that spot, which can lead to alopecia. The heavy scratching and automutilation of the skin can be accompanied by secondary bacterial infection of the skin. Mange should be taken seriously as it can lead to severe anemia and death of a rabbit within weeks.

Lastly, some types of mange are contagious and can be transmitted to humans.

Bacterial and fungal dermatitis should be considered if no parasites are discovered and should be treated appropriately after culture/determination of the causing agent. This step is important, indeed, some type of medication may be effective against bacteria, but will act as fertilizer for yeast or fungi.

Treatment of skin parasites (mites or mange) is quite simple. For fur mites, usually an injection of Ivermectin is given at intervals of 10 to 14 days. For mange, three injections over a total of 6 weeks is required.

Those repeats are very important; the adult mites are killed during the first treatment, but eggs that remain in the fur or the environment will hatch and the larvae will grow and lead to a new infection cycle. The second treatment will kill the later ones.

Be it mites or mange, the rabbit’s environment should be carefully cleaned with anti-flea products and towels boiled. If the presence of one of those parasites is established, but treatment is not effective, the presence of asymptomatic carriers which are in contact with the rabbit(s) should be considered.

 

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