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Internal Parasites and Skin Parasites

There are a variety of skin infections and parasites that can affect a rabbit. This section is just an overview of a few common infections. Prevention is the best course of action and most of these are highly unlikely to occur in a rabbit housed indoors. Internal parasites like worms can greatly affect the health of your rabbit, we treat all bunnies for these parasites when they come into our shelter. Fur mites, ear mites, fleas, ticks, botfly, flystrike and ringworm are all fairly common in rabbits.

Internal Parasites

There are many possible parasites that can infect a rabbit. Following is a very brief overview of the most common parasites. Rabbits who live indoors are at a drastically lower risk for contracting these parasites. Regular vet checks and fecal tests offer more assurance that your pet is parasite free.

Tape Worms, pinworms, hookworms, whipworms

Symptoms: Perhaps none, possible weight loss, itching, redness around anus. Some worms or their eggs may be excreted in their feces.

Treatment: We de-worm all rabbits that come into our shelter. Make sure to treat all other pets who venture outside with preventatives. Indoor rabbits rarely get these parasites, but a fecal test performed at your regular vet check can assure owners that their rabbits are parasite free.

Skin Parasites

Ear mites:


Symptoms: A crusty build-up inside your rabbit's ears.

What your vet will do: Take a scraping of your rabbit's ear.

Treatment: Revolution applied once a month.

Photo of a rabbit's ear encrusted with ear mites.


Fur mites:

Symptoms: A very itchy rabbit. You may see flaky skin and redness on your rabbit's back.

What your vet will do: Take a skin scraping to check for mites--you can't see them too easily.

Treatment: Revolution(the cat flea med) will be applied to your rabbit once a month. The vet may require a re-check to see that it has cleared. This is easily spread to other bunnies, so have them all checked if one of yours is positive. Absolutely no baths should be given.



Symptoms: Your rabbit will scratch constantly. You can see the fleas when brushing them and if they've had them for awhile flea dirt(feces) will be present.

What your vet will do: Check for fleas or take your word that you saw fleas on your rabbit.

Treatment: Revolution once a month for three months. They are rare on a truly indoor rabbit and may have been transmitted by another pet. Treat everyone and vacuum everywhere.


Symptoms: Seeing a tick embedded in your rabbit's skin.

What your vet will do: Help you remove the tick if you cannot.

Treatment: Revolution again.

Botfly Infestation:

Also referred to as Cuterebra.

Symptoms: Small lumps on the rabbit's body. You may feel them move.

What your vet will do: Remove all the larvae. These have been laid in the rabbit's body and need to be surgically excised. It may take more than one treatment. Antibiotics may be needed for infection.

Treatment: Care for the wounds as directed by your vet and give all the antibiotics, keep an eye out for recurrences.


Symptoms: Visible wounds on your rabbit's body. These wounds are severe and life threatening. The flies were attracted to a wound already on your bunny. Whether it was a sore hock, infected eye or even a tooth, they laid their eggs in the wound. The maggots then hatch and begin to eat the rabbit.

What your vet will do: Debride the wounds and remove the maggots. There can be hundreds and

this will require ongoing care and wound management.

Treatment: Wound care as prescribed by your vet.

Pain meds and antibiotics. Not housing your rabbit outside prevents flystrike and botfly infestations.

cuterebra next to size 7 ring.jpg

Cuterebra infestation removed.

Cuterebra "hole" seen in skin.

cuterebra holes.jpg
blow fly infestation after   debridement

Flystrike damage.


Symptoms: Visible scratching by the rabbit. Raised patches of skin usually round in appearance. Humans can pass this to rabbits. It is a fungus, not a parasite. Treatment is important as infection can become severe.

What your vet will do: Take a skin scraping.

Treatment: Antifungals.

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