In this article we are going to talk about a nasty parasite. Specifically, fleas. We will also teach you how you can detect and eliminate fleas in rabbits.
Detecting fleas on rabbits
Rabbits, like any pet, require great responsibility and care from the owners. You have to be attentive to how they act to be able to detect abnormal behaviours that may be due to diseases or infections.
If your rabbit scratches too much throughout the day, the first thing to do is inspect its fur to check for fleas. Fleas not only affect dogs, but also rabbits, so you have to be cautious and detect them in time to treat your pet correctly.
If when you check your rabbit, under the hair, you discover some brown spots, it may be flea droppings. These droppings have a texture similar to small grains of sand, for this reason when Tambor had fleas he came to think that it was dirty. To be sure, look under the ears and into your rabbit’s nose, as these are the places where fleas usually lodge.
Any anti-flea treatment must be directed both to the rabbit and to its habitat, and to both the adult forms of the parasite and its eggs. It is very important to know that fleas are not only found on the animal, in fact, in the rabbit we can see fleas adults that are feeding, but it is in the environment where they lay their eggs and where they develop into adults that they climb back onto an animal, completing the cycle. Therefore, any flea treatment should target both the rabbit and its habitat, and both the adult and immature forms of the parasite.
If our rabbit scratches and we do not find fleas, we must go to the vet because the itch may be present in other pathologies that must be diagnosed.
How to eliminate fleas in rabbits?
Fleas bite animals to feed on their blood and this causes excessive itching that leads our pets to scratch continuously, being able to get wounds and, when scratching on those wounds, infections.
That is why you have to be careful to detect these parasites before the rabbit harms itself. As soon as you detect it, you will have to carry out some treatment that will make the fleas disappear from your pet’s body.
If our rabbit scratches and we do not find fleas or it is already dewormed, we must go to the vet because the itch may be present in other pathologies that must be diagnosed.
In less serious cases where your rabbit has only a few fleas, the best treatment is to get a flea comb to help you get rid of them; they are small, metallic and with the quills very close together. As they pass through the fur, the parasites are trapped between the quills. They are helpful, but not a substitute for the use of a deworming product. To use it, the first thing you should do is comb your rabbit deeply with the special comb. Then, soak the comb in warm water and rabbit soap to drown the fleas.
In more severe cases, when your rabbit is quite infected with fleas, you should go to the vet to recommend a special treatment for your pet. There are thus topical solutions that are applied to the back of the rabbit’s neck, where the animal cannot lick it, in the same way that it is applied to dogs and cats.
If your rabbit lives with other rabbits, once the solution is applied, you must isolate it. This is because if the other animal ingests the drug by licking it, it can become poisoned or reduce its effectiveness.
Areosols or powders
This remedy is the least recommended since powders and sprays often contain chemicals that can cause allergies and other dermatological reactions in your rabbit. The only case in which they should be applied is after an evaluation by the veterinarian.
Another treatment to avoid is flea collars. A rabbit will continually try to bite the collar and, in this way, not only can it harm itself but it can become intoxicated
And finally, we must not forget the deworming of the house, which is where most of the fleas will be found in their immature stages.
Diseases transmitted by fleas in rabbits
The fleas on rabbits are not only a health problem for them, as they can spread to other animals that live together and also people. Therefore, it is essential that we establish a correct deworming calendar, following the recommendations of our veterinarian.
In addition to the damage that the parasitic action can cause to the skin, a high infestation of fleas could cause anemia, since they feed on blood, especially in more vulnerable rabbits such as the young, the elderly or those that already had a disease. But it is that fleas can transmit a very serious disease: myxomatosis.
This viral disease carries a very high mortality and is characterized by the appearance of lumps, inflammation and associated skin lesions. The immune response is diminished, which opens the door to the development of secondary bacterial infections such as conjunctivitis and pneumonia.
The best thing to prevent your rabbit from becoming infected with these parasites is to prevent. Thoroughly clean beds, cushions, rugs, and key places where fleas can hide. The best thing is that once a week you pass the flea comb to your rabbit. In this way, you will ensure that they are not infected again or you will be able to act in time in case they have fleas again.
Home remedies for fleas on rabbits
- Chamomile: It is as simple as infusing a couple of chamomile sachets in about 200ml of water. Let it cool a little so as not to burn our pet’s skin. Once it is warm we separate the hair and apply all over the body.
- Apple cider vinegar: We mix apple cider vinegar and water in equal parts and moisten the body of our bunny.
- Pennyroyal: We can place bags with dry pennyroyal leaves on your bed, or as with Chamomile, we will infuse a couple of bags in 200ml of water, when this warm we will moisten our pet’s skin.
- Eucalyptus : To keep fleas away, we can place several bags with eucalyptus branches under your bed. The scent of these plants will ward off external parasites.
- Lavender oil : Add 12 drops of lavender oil to a sprayer with warm water (200ml) and spray on your pet’s skin.
Although some products such as lemon or vinegar are attributed a repellent effect against fleas, the truth is that, once we have an infestation at home, we must treat with a veterinary product, which will also serve as a preventive. The problem with using water with lemon or vinegar is that if we apply it with a spray we can stress the rabbit, which, in addition, can be disturbed by its smell. For this reason, these home remedies for fleas in rabbits can be used in emergencies, such as when we detect parasites at a time when the vet is not operational, but we must always go to the specialist .
Hope these tips for detecting and eliminating fleas on rabbits have helped you. There is nothing better than seeing your rabbit healthy and happy.