Psoroptes cuniculi is a tenacious and painful ear mite infestation that can affect rabbits. A highly contagious parasite, the ear mite is transmitted through close contact with an infected animal. It occurs more often in young animals, especially those that spend time outdoors or on a farm with many other animals. Symptoms include intense scratching of the ears and head, excessive head shaking, redness of the skin inside the ear and thick reddish-brown crusts in the ear. You will need to see a veterinarian to receive a prescription medication, selamectin, to kill the mites, but you can give your rabbit a little relief at home.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Mineral oil
- Cotton balls
- Cotton swabs
Wrap your rabbit in a towel to keep her from kicking or hopping away.
Saturate a cotton ball with mineral oil, and squeeze a few drops into your rabbit's ears.
Massage the base of your rabbit's ears to loosen the crust.
Use a cotton swab to gently remove the crust.
Repeat steps 2 through 4, adding a few extra drops of oil, if the crust is very thick.
Tips and warnings
- Wrapping your rabbit in a towel--for administering medication or clipping nails--is called a "bunny burrito." If you are unsure of the proper technique, there are many instructional videos, including this one (see Resources).
- If you suspect that your rabbit may be suffering from ear mites---or any ear problem---you should make an appointment to see your vet immediately. If left untreated, your rabbit will suffer from pain and discomfort and can permanently damage her ears with excessive scratching. Ear mites are highly contagious.
- Do not pull or pick to force the crust out of your rabbit's ears. This can tear the skin, leaving open abrasions that are susceptible to infection.
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