Infestation of Mites in the Ear in Rabbits

Treatment and Care


The Psoroptes cuniculiis parasite is contagious, making it necessary to treat all rabbits that are in contact with the rabbit that is infected, and thoroughly clean and treat the environment in which the rabbit lives. 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.


There are specific antiparasitic drugs, called ivermectins, that can be used to eliminate the mites from your rabbit's ears. The crusts on the skin should not be removed, as they will only reveal exposed tissue. Once treatment has begun and the mites are no longer infesting the crusted skin, the underlying skin will be able to heal and the crusts will fall away. 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.


Living and Management


An ear swab and physical examination should be done one month after the initial therapy has commenced. For most patients, the prognosis is excellent. In cases where the infestation is severe, and the ear drum has ruptured due to infection, a resulting inner ear infection can lead to permanent loss of hearing. This outcome is relatively uncommon.


In either case, continue to disinfect and maintain a very clean environment for your rabbit, and contact your veterinarian if it appears that there is a return of the parasites, or if your rabbit does not appear to have fully recovered.