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Fleas in Rabbits - Detection and Prevention

 
By MarĂ­a Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. Updated: March 25, 2019
Fleas in Rabbits - Detection and Prevention

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Can fleas live on rabbits? Rabbits, just like dogs and cats, can get fleas, ticks and/or mites. If you are wondering how to detect fleas on rabbits and how to treat or prevent fleas on rabbits, keep reading here.

This parasitic insect can transmit a variety of bacteria into a rabbit’s bloodstream and therefore, if you think that your rabbit has fleas, treatment is required. Fleas also lay eggs in their environments, therefore, deworming your rabbit is key in making sure that this does not occur. For more about how to identify, remove and treat fleas in rabbits, keep reading here at AnimalWised.

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Does my rabbit have fleas?

So, you may be wondering, can indoor rabbits get fleas too? And the answer is yes they can, especially if there are dogs and cats in the home.

The first sign of fleas in rabbits is itching, whereby you will notice your rabbit scratching or biting itself. Fleas are hematophagous insects, which means that they feed on blood (through bites) extracted from the animals they parasitize. This causes a rabbit discomfort and itching. In addition, fleas can trigger allergic reactions in some animals which can be identified by in itching, hair loss, sores and scabs (especially on the spine).

Does my rabbit have fleas: how to detect fleas in rabbits.

As we’ve already mentioned, fleas in rabbit symptoms coincide directly with skin problems.Therefore, to know whether or not your rabbit has fleas, you need to analyze your rabbit’s skin, looking for parasites and detecting them. Examine your rabbit in detail by moving its hair aside to check it’s skin. But, what do rabbit fleas look like?Fleas on rabbits are identifiable by their elongated bodies of about a few millimeters in length. Fleas have hind legs which allow them to jump great heights. If cannot visibly see any fleas, it doesn’t mean that they are not present. Sometimes, flea infestations may be identified as small black granites, similar to grit, which are in fact flea droppings. If you wet these granites you will see that they are bloody.

One must also be aware that fleas don’t only live on animals, but can also nest within the animal’s environment. It is in the environment whereby fleas lay their eggs. These eggs are then able to develop into adults. This is when they return back to the animal, finally completing their cycle. Therefore, in terms of flea in rabbit treatment, one needs to prevent fleas on the rabbit as well as in their environment, killing off both the adult and immature forms of the parasite.

If, however, your rabbit is scratching itself excessively but there are not visible or apparent fleas/grits, you should consult a veterinarian. This itch, if not caused by fleas or mites in rabbits, may be a sign of another pathology.

Does your rabbit have dry skin? For more, we recommend reading our article where we discuss mites and skin diseases in rabbits.

Fleas in Rabbits - Detection and Prevention - Does my rabbit have fleas?

Fleas in rabbits: rabbit fleas on humans

Fleas in rabbits should not only be avoided for the rabbit’s sake, but also for any other animals or humans that they come into contact with. So if you are wondering, do rabbit fleas bite humans? The answer is YES THEY DO. For these reasons, it is essential that you establish a proper rabbit deworming schedule, following your veterinarian’s rules and recommendations.

In addition to damaging the rabbit’s skin, a high infestation of fleas can cause anemia, specifically because fleas feed on blood. Special care and attention needs to be given to baby rabbits, sick rabbits or elderly rabbits, especially because fleas can transmit a very serious rabbit disease, myxomatosis.

Myxomatosis is a viral disease which can be fatal if not treated correctly or in time. Myxomatosis in rabbits symptoms include lumps, inflammation and associated skin lesions. A rabbit suffering from myxomatosis will experience a diminished immune system, which opens the door for secondary bacterial infections such as conjunctivitis and pneumonia. Myxomatosis in rabbits prevention includes a veterinary performed vaccination. For more, we recommend reading our following articles:

Fleas in rabbits: prevention

As we’ve already mentioned, prevention of fleas in rabbits and/or other parasites, requires an appropriate deworming by a veterinarian. To prevent and treat external parasites in rabbits, your veterinarian is likely to prescribe pipettes or sprays. For internal parasites in rabbits, one would administer usually deworming pills or syrups.

Because there are no flea collars for rabbits, many people decide to use cat and/or dog flea collars. This is NOT recommend as this product is formulated specifically for OTHER animals. For more, we recommend reading our article about vaccinations for rabbits.

Fleas in rabbits: treatment

Are you wondering how to get rid of fleas in rabbit? There are several rabbit anti-flea products on the market. You should always consult a veterinarian before administering anything to your rabbit, as some products that are not formulated correctly could result in severe poisoning.

In general, pipettes for rabbits should be administered on the head, between the ears, ensuring that your rabbit is unable to touch or lick it. In addition, if you live in a house with other animals, you need to prevent them from licking the liquid as it could cause poisoning. Antiparasitic powders or flea shampoo for rabbits are generally less recommended for rabbits as they are difficult to bathe.

In addition, you will need to comb and brush your rabbit’s fur with a special flea comb (to catch the fleas). These combs are small and metallic. When passed through a rabbit’s fur, the parasites become trapped between the closely placed tines. It is important to know that these combs are simply an aid, but do not substitute a deworming product.

And, finally, you must not forget to clean and deworm your house. Make sure to wash textiles and apply insecticides on surfaces, always consulting a veterinarian to make sure these products are not harmful to your rabbit or other animals. For more, we recommend reading our article where we list poisonous foods for rabbits.

Fleas in Rabbits - Detection and Prevention - Fleas in rabbits: treatment

Fleas in rabbits: home remedies

Have you heard of apple cider vinegar for rabbits? Lemon for rabbit fleas, vinegar too, are both attributed to repellent affect against fleas. However, if you are dealing with a home infestation, we recommend using a veterinary prescribed product, which also serves as a preventive. The problem with using lemon water or vinegar spray for rabbit fleas is that the strong smell they carry can cause rabbit stress.

These home remedies for fleas in rabbits can be used in cases of urgency, such as when we detect parasites and cannot book an immediate veterinary appointment. Either way, you should always consult a veterinarian as these rabbit flea home remedies cannot solve the problem alone. Have you already applied vinegar or lemon for rabbit fleas and are wondering if your rabbit is stressed? Find out by reading signs of stress in rabbits.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Fleas in Rabbits - Detection and Prevention, we recommend you visit our De-worming category.

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