As house pets go, rabbits offer many of the same cute-and-cuddly advantages as dogs and cats, with the added bonus that they are kept in a cage and don't run around on their own. This makes them ideal for those with small spaces or who cannot spend a lot of time with a needy pet. However, rabbits still attract problems, including fur mites, which can cause serious itching and irritation, and spread through the house. A number of methods can be used to get rid of fur mites.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Professional mite treatment
- Laundry and dish soap
- Borax powder or diatomaceous earth
Treat the infestation on the rabbit with a professional treatment such as Advantage or Revolution. Use the smallest dose recommended for the individual product, and apply it to the pet's skin between the shoulder blades or the back of the neck, where the rabbit cannot lick it off.
Repeat application once per month or as often as directed by the product's instructions. Some products may have a number of months you must apply to ensure the infestation is gone, while others will require you to use all of the product. Follow specific instructions as necessary.
Remove all material from your rabbit's cage. Wash any fabrics or cloths in the laundry with soap. Wash all dishes and bowls with hot water and dish soap, and wipe down the inside of the cage as well. Replace materials such as newspaper with fresh material. This will ensure that all mite eggs are removed and cannot re-infest the rabbit.
Vacuum all carpeted areas where your rabbit sleeps, plays or is exposed to at all. Small insects can lay their eggs in fluffy carpet completely unnoticed.
Treat the carpeted areas with borax or diatomaceous earth powder, sprinkling it onto the carpet and allowing it to penetrate the surface of the carpet. Allow for 24 hours of regular foot traffic for it to fully settle in before letting your rabbit into the area again. These products will kill eggs and mites, but can also harm the rabbit if it ingests them.
Tips and warnings
- You may need to purchase syringes or pipettes from your veterinarian to measure out the small treatment dosagefor your rabbit. However, no products require you to use needles; the material is simply applied to the skin.
- Comb your rabbit every week with a flea comb to ensure the infestation does not return. The comb will pick up the small mites or their eggs and warn you if the bugs are coming back.
- Do not use the product Frontline (fipronil) on rabbits. This product is known to have adverse psychological effects such as depression and anxiety, and may even result in death of your rabbit.
- Do not use dips or baths on rabbits. Rabbits do not take kindly to baths and will often suffer from anxiety or intense stress as a result; this can sometimes lead to permanent injury or death.
- Do not treat your home with sprays or bombs designed to treat fleas and mites. These materials leave poisonous residues that rabbits and other pets can ingest.
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