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Rabbits don’t have to scratch any more than you would. If your pet rabbit seems to be suffering from excessive itching and scratching a lot, it has a problem that needs to be solved. Various problems, from mites to allergies, can cause itching and scratches, but fortunately, they can be treated.
Why do rabbits scratch?
When an animal has severe itching, it is called pruritus. In a rabbit, it may be due to fur, skin or ear parasites, dry skin, allergies, or infections. Whatever the cause, it is important to take care of it immediately to ensure the health and peace of mind of the rabbit.
Cheyletiella parasitivorax are microscopic mites that live in the fur of rabbits. Cheyletiella mites are blood-sucking parasites that bite your rabbit to feed, which makes it scratch.
Fur mites are also called “walking dandruff” because they are often seen moving dead skin on rabbits, creating the appearance of mobile skin cells. They can start in a small area of your rabbit’s fur, but if not treated, they can spread throughout the body, in the environment they live in, and to other rabbits and other pets.
Even if your rabbit never comes out, it can get fur mites from food or the bedding you bring into the house.
Although they are not as common as other parasites, lice can also infest rabbits. They are species-specific, so humans and other pets that are not rabbits cannot take them.
Many people do not believe that rabbits can have fleas, but this is wrong.
Female fleas lay up to 50 eggs every day, so even if you only see one or two adult fleas on the rabbit, they’ve probably already laid hundreds of eggs. Fleas also bite humans, but female fleas can’t usually produce viable eggs when human blood is their only source of food.
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Indoor rabbits can take fleas just like outdoor rabbits. Other pets in the household can give fleas to the rabbit. Fleas can also find their own way into homes just like other insects, such as ants.
A flea comb will help you find the insects and their dirt. Flea filth is the cylindrical feces that turn red if rubbed with a wet cotton swab. This is a good trick to see the difference between digested blood and normal environmental dirt.
Your rabbit can develop dry skin, which can make it scratch over and over again. Rooms with very low humidity, dusty environments, poor diets, and too dense bathing of the rabbit, or the use of inappropriate shampoos can help dry your pet’s skin. If you can determine the cause of dry skin, then you should be able to eliminate it. For temporary relief, ask your veterinarian to recommend a spray for rabbits.
Psoroptes cuniculi are ear mites that cause itching. They can be spread from rabbit to rabbit, so wash your hands after handling a rabbit with sick ears. You may notice hair loss around the ears and/or crusts, or the ears of the rabbit may seem particularly dirty. Tilting the head, the ear standing down, and shaking the head are also signs of mites infestation, which does not always affect both ears. If you notice any of these signs, take the rabbit to your veterinarian.
Like humans, some rabbits are allergic to certain substances that cause them itchy sensations. Usually, these allergies are organic in nature and not food-based, so you can make changes to bedding, cleaning solutions, and air purifiers to make your rabbit more comfortable at home.
Common environmental allergens include dust from certain bedding or rabbit hay, as well as laundry conditioners and detergents used on blankets.
Rabbits can also be allergic to some parasites, such as fleas and fur mites.
Irritants to the skin
Besides allergies, rabbits can also get irritations from certain products, especially if they are not intended for rabbits. Shampoos, conditioners, sprays, and air fresheners can cause skin irritation in rabbits. If you use a new product, such as a shampoo, and the next day your rabbit suffers from itching, it may be because it was too hard for its skin. This is often the case with products intended for dogs that are used in rabbits.
Caused by two main types of organisms, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, and Microsporum canis, fungal infection causes hair loss, itching, and red lesions in rabbits. People can also contract the disease from a rabbit.
The main cause of ringworm, as well as fleas and mites, is direct contact with an infected rabbit. When you bring a new rabbit into your home, keep it separate from the other rabbits until you are sure it has no infection. Rabbits can also contract fungal infections from dirty environments and brushes that have been used on an infected rabbit.
Scalding with urine and feces that have remained in prolonged contact with the rabbit’s skin and generally unclean environments can cause the rabbit to develop a skin infection. The infected area can become red, inflamed, and itchy and should be treated immediately.
The methods used to treat a rabbit’s itch depend on the cause. However, a number of problems are solved by the same means.
Fur mites are highly contagious to other rabbits. If you have other pets in your home and your rabbit is diagnosed with Cheyletiella mites, be careful not to spread these parasites to other animals. Wash your hands after handling the rabbit and throw the food and litter out of its cage.
For fur and ear mites, lice and fleas, freeze all unused food and bedding you have purchased from a pet store or online. Parasites can be brought into your home with such objects, so freezing them before use is also a good way to prevent an infestation.
If your veterinarian diagnoses your rabbit with mites, he will most likely prescribe a medicine, which will stop the infestation without harming your rabbit. Over-the-counter products are usually not safe for rabbits and you should always consult your veterinarian before administering such products.
If you find fleas or flea dirt on your rabbit, treat the rabbit and all the other furry pets around the house with a safe medicine, just like for fur mites. You will also need to clean and treat the environment around your home. Some rabbit owners use boric acid powder in their carpets and various flea sprays sold at pet shops. If you choose to use these products, make sure your rabbit is outside the room you are using pest control for at least 24 hours.
If your rabbit has environmental allergies, use baby balms and detergents for sensitive skin without perfume to wash their blankets. If symptoms continue, look at other possible allergens in your rabbit’s environment. for example, dust or pollen from an open window during spring or summer, and try to correct them.
Fungal infections are usually treated with topical ointments or oral medications prescribed by your veterinarian.
Skin infections usually require prescription medications. Anti-itch sprays that are safe to use in rabbits are available, but if the root of the problem is not found, the spray will only provide temporary relief.
How to prevent the itching
Often, the itching in the rabbit can be prevented by keeping the environment clean. The frost recommendation for any rabbit supply is an excellent start, as is the use of fragrance-free laundry products for any washable rabbit litter.
Make sure your pet has a clean cage. Daily and weekly maintenance can make a significant difference in its health and prevent many skin infections. When bathing your rabbit, use only products specifically designed for rabbits.
It is also a good idea to regularly examine the rabbit’s fur. This will help you easily recognize any abnormalities and take immediate treatment measures that can prevent an ear infection or skin problem from getting worse.
At the same time, take precautions for any other pets in your home, regularly using products such as flea prevention. Be careful not to expose your rabbit to other animals that could transmit any of these problems, especially if it is kept outside or is allowed to go out.
If you suspect that your pet is ill, call your veterinarian as soon as you can. For health-related questions, you should always consult your veterinarian, as he has examined your pet, knows its health history, and of course, can make the best recommendations.