Itching or Scratching in Rabbits

Pruritus in Rabbits

 

Pruritis is the sensation that provokes the rabbit to scratch, rub, chew, or lick a certain area of its skin. This is often indicative of inflamed skin which can occur in any of the animal's many dermal layers. The condition also affects the systems used to regulate skin secretions.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

  • Scratching
  • Licking
  • Biting
  • Chewing
  • Hair loss
  • Self-injury
  • Skin inflammation (i.e., redness, swelling, rash)

 

Causes

 

  • Skin tumors
  • Parasites (e.g., ear mites, fleas, fur mites)
  • Allergies (e.g., food allergy, medication allergy, etc.)
  • Irritants (e.g., soaps, shampoos, bedding, harsh cleaning solutions)

 

Diagnosis

 

Because there are many conditions which cause animals to itch, each must be ruled out. For example, if cancer is suspected, a biopsy and needle aspiration of fluid will need to be taken. The veterinarian will also conduct blood, urine and cellular analysis of skin scrapings, as well as take X-rays of the rabbit's brain and face.