Rabbit owners would generally agree that rabbits are usually easy animals to take care of because of how these small and furry creatures do not need a lot of tending to. You can think of them as smaller versions of your dogs and animals that have a gentler personality compared to cats. They are good-natured, generally friendly, and quite hardy and resilient animals.
However, one problem that rabbit owners usually run into are mites that can get into your rabbit’s fur and make life easier for your furry friend. This is a problem that can be considered a more difficult one to solve than the ticks you can find under your dog’s hair.
If you are one of those who struggle to get rid of mites in your rabbits, then we have come up with an answer to your problem.
What are mites?
A mite is a small arthropod that is so tiny that they are usually less than 0.04 inches in terms of length. Because of how small they are, you can easily overlook them as tiny specs of dirt. But in actuality, the tiny specs that you originally mistook to be dirt on your pets are actually mites that are feeding on your animals as parasites by consuming blood or possibly skin.
That is right. Mites are considered parasites that will infest your pet rabbits and can cause several problems. A few mites will not pose any significant threat to your rabbits. But once they have already colonized your bunny and have grown to a number that is difficult to count, these will cause problems that may actually lead to complications and health issues.
When mites begin to colonize rabbits, they can transmit diseases that come from previous hosts or even become the very cause of the disease itself. A colony of mites can easily cause itchy skin rashes. In fact, mange in dogs and in other domesticated animals is the cause of the Demodex mite, which lives on hair follicles and feeds on dead skin. A few of these mites actually live on our skin, but they are generally harmless when there are only a few of them. But if they were to multiply at a rapid pace on your rabbit, the Demodex mite will eventually cause problems and may even cause mange.
However, the more common types of mite you will find on your rabbit are the Cheyletiella parasitovorax and Leporacarus gibbus. These are mites that feed on the keratin layer on the skin of your rabbit and will cause several types of problems that can lead to complications or even long-term health issues on the part of your pet rabbit.
How to spot or diagnose mites on your rabbit
If you simply use visual examination when spotting mites on your rabbit, it can be pretty difficult to do. Mites, as mentioned, are nearly microscopic because of how tiny they are. And even if you can actually see them, there is a good chance that you will just simply dismiss them as specs of dirt that your rabbit picked up when it was playing in a particularly dirty or dusty part of the house.
However, if you use certain detection methods, you may be able to confirm the existence of mites on your rabbits. Such methods include using a tape that will remove a few mites from your rabbit and the skin scrape method that can scrape off samples from a shallow part of your rabbit’s skin. After using such methods, you should observe the tape or the scraping under a microscope to see if the small specs of “dirt” you got from your rabbit are indeed mites. In any other case, you might want to take the rabbit to a vet to tell whether it really is infested with mites.
Treating and getting rid of mites
Treating and getting rid of mites on your rabbit may be tougher than what you might have expected. This is also naturally a more difficult task compared to treating mites and other parasites on your other household pets because of how you can use medicated baths to get rid of mites and parasites on dogs and cats. But if you know your rabbit care basics, you would know that giving them a bath is a big no-no because of how being in the water is a stressful ordeal that can shorten your rabbit’s lifespan.
That said, here are the steps you should take if you want to get rid of mites on your rabbit:
Isolate the rabbit and throw out its bedding or anything it spends a lot of time on
The first thing you need to do is to isolate your rabbit and to take it to a place in your home that is far away from all of the other pets and from its usual stomping grounds. You should also throw away its bedding or anything it usually spends a lot of time on. The reason for doing all that is to keep your other pets safe and to get rid of anything that can be a breeding ground for more mites. You should also thoroughly clean the rabbit’s surroundings to get rid of any mites in the environment.
Put oil on the affected areas
Do not remove the scabs that were caused by the mites on your rabbit. Instead, try to do a first-aid home remedy by putting oil or even petroleum jelly on the infected parts to keep the infection at bay and to possibly control the mites by suffocating them under the oil or the petroleum jelly. But this is not a replacement for the actual treatment. Think of it as a remedy you can do before you take the rabbits to an actual expert.
Go and seek the help of a vet or an expert immediately
There is no substitute for expert veterinary care. You should always consult a professional when treating issues and problems such as mites. The doctors know what to do and what kind of treatment your rabbit needs to make sure that the mites are removed in a safe and expertly manner.
Give your rabbit medication prescribed by the vet
After taking the rabbit to the vet, the doctor will prescribe medicine you can use to get rid of the mites and other similar parasites. Your doctor will probably prescribe UltraCare or ProLabs as the medication you will be using to treat the mites on your rabbit. Repeat the treatment as necessary until the mites are gone.
You can also check this out if you want to know other ways of treating and getting rid of mites on your rabbits.
Mites are indeed small but big problems on your rabbits if you do not treat them right away. While there are plenty of home remedies that will allow you to keep the infection at bay, you have to make sure that you go to a vet to get an expert opinion and care when it comes to mites that can possibly cause a lot of skin problems on your rabbit. Of course, you should also take into consideration that prevention is better than cure. Keep an eye on your rabbit’s surroundings to see to it that it is living in an environment that is clean and free of mites.