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Medications for Ear Infections in Rabbits

Medications are prescribed to treat ear infections in rabbits caused by bacteria, protozoa, and mites. More than one organism is often present in a rabbit ear infection. The veterinarian will likely perform a culture and sensitivity test on exudates from the rabbit's ear before prescribing medication, because many strains of bacteria are resistant to certain drugs. The veterinarian will treat symptoms as well as the underlying cause to reduce discomfort and secondary damage.

Baytril

Baytril is the trade name for enrofloxacin, a fluoroquinolone antibiotic (a synthetic drug similar to quinine). It is usually the first antibiotic prescribed to rabbits because it is non-toxic and rarely has side effects. Many of the bacteria that cause rabbit ear infections are resistant to enrofloxacin. It is administered by injection or flavoured drops.

Ciprofloxacin

Ciprofloxacin is very similar to enrofloxacin, but fewer bacterial strains are resistant to it. It is administered orally or by injection.

Bicillin

Bicillin is an antibiotic made of penicillin G procaine mixed with benzathine, a drug that slows uptake into the rabbit's system. Most penicillins are fatally toxic to rabbits, but Bicillin is safe. It is usually injected.

Chloramphenicol

Chloramphenicol is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that is administered topically or by injection. Many bacteria are resistant to it, and side effects may include liver, kidney, blood, and bone marrow damage.

Aminoglycosides

Aminoglycosides are antibiotics made of sugars derived from certain bacteria. They interfere with bacterial reproduction. They are administered topically and by injection. Oral administration is ineffective for treating ear infections. Some bacterial strains are resistant.

Panacure

Panacure is a common anti-parasite drug used to treat infections caused by the protozoal parasite Encephalitozoon cuniculi. This parasite infests rabbits' ears and goes on to cause extensive brain damage. Panacure is administered as an oral paste and may cause loose stool.

Ivermectin

Ivermectin, trade names Stromectol, Mectizan, and Ivexterm, is an antiparasite medication used to treat ear mites in rabbits. It is usually administered by injection. It is important to also treat ear mite-infested rabbits for secondary bacterial infections.

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are used to reduce inflammation associated with ear infections in rabbits. Reducing inflammation relieves discomfort and symptoms such as ataxia (falling over) and head tilt, and speeds healing by increasing blood and air flow to the area. Corticosteroids are injected or applied topically.

Meclizine

Meclizine is an antihistamine and anti-nausea drug. It relieves the vertigo and nausea caused by ear infections and allows the rabbit to continue eating and drinking during an ear infection.

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About the Author

Angela Libal began writing professionally in 2005. She has published several books, specializing in zoology and animal husbandry. Libal holds a degree in behavioral science: animal science from Moorpark College, a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and is a graduate student in cryptozoology.