Internal and external parasites in rabbits cause serious health concerns. But they can be managed and even prevented.

 

Internal and external parasites in rabbits

Rabbits are really fun pets but sometimes maintaining their health can be tricky. Protecting your bunny from all kinds of problems is necessary, and it is important to have knowledge about what you may have to deal with. If you have a bunny and want to know about internal and external parasites in rabbits, this article will be your guide.

It is crucial that you know about all kinds of internal and external parasites in rabbits. Here we are going to provide information about some common parasites. Stay with us, and we’ll guide you on how you can prevent your bunny from getting parasites.

ear problems in pet rabbits

External parasites

Several parasites can cause skin problems in rabbits, including fleas, ticks, mites, and fly larvae. It is vital that you save your pet rabbits from these parasites.

Let’s learn more about common parasites in rabbits.

Fleas

The most common type of external parasite is a flea and it is quite common in rabbits and other pets. Fleas cause itching and skin irritation along with hair loss.

If your rabbit is constantly licking or nibbling on the skin then that’s your sign to look for fleas. Fleas can be seen by the naked eye and you can remove them from your bunny’s skin using your hands or comb.

Ticks

Ticks on rabbits can be removed with their teeth from parts of their bodies that they can reach, but they often fail to remove them from their faces and ears. You may find these parasites in your pet’s ear canal or beneath its luxurious fur, which is a common place for them to hide. Signs include thick scabs near the ears and face, dandruff that is scaly, and a thin coat if your bunny has been infested.

Mites

Rabbits can suffer from itching, discomfort, and secondary infections as a result of mite infestation that live on their skin and fur. The mites on your pet tend to live on them all the time, unlike fleas, which jump on and off all the time.

If mites are present in large numbers, they can cause severe damage and irritation in your pet rabbit.

Fly larvae

Some flies, like Cuterebra flies, lay their eggs in grass, and larvae can get attached to your rabbit’s skin. If your bunny has a wound on its skin then flies can lay their eggs in that wound too. If you see a lump or spot where you suspect a larval infestation, you need to contact your vet because it can cause serious health problems for your rabbit. The vet will remove the larvae surgically and give the medication to prevent further complications.

Internal parasites

Compared to cats or dogs, rabbits are much less likely to carry worms, but these wriggly parasites can still be present in them. It is important for pet owners to know the common internal parasites in rabbits.

Coccidia

Coccidia are one of the common parasites found in rabbits. They are present in the internal lining of a rabbit’s intestine. Swallowing contaminated soil or feces can be the reason your bunny has coccidia in its body.

Young rabbits are more likely to get coccidia. This parasite can cause severe diarrhea and weight loss in your pet. It requires immediate treatment because it can be fatal for your bunny as diarrhea can lead to dehydration and can ultimately cause death if prolonged.

Tapeworms

Rabbits serve as the intermediate hosts for a number of tapeworms that affect dogs and cats. A rabbit can become infected if it grazes in a garden inhabited by a dog or is visited by a fox having parasites.

Most pet owners now deworm their pets with tapeworm preparations that are effective against these parasites, so their incidence of infection is not high. Segments of tapeworms appear as white worms that can look like rice grains or seeds, usually found in feces. Being a responsible pet owner, you should grossly examine the feces of your pet regularly.

Pinworms

Pinworms live in the small and large intestines of rabbits. The feces of rabbits carry their eggs into the environment. Passalurus ambiguous, a tiny pinworm, is the most common worm that affects rabbits.

Signs may not be prominent but affected rabbits may show, skin irritation, poor coat condition, and weight loss. The symptoms of diarrhea, lethargy, and substantial weight loss can appear in young rabbits, especially near weaning.

Signs and symptoms for internal and external parasites in rabbits

Rabbits are good at hiding the symptoms of a disease if they are sick. They inherit this habit from the wild. So you will have to look for the signs closely.

When your rabbit has infestation from an internal or external parasite, it can show some of the below-mentioned signs

  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy 
  • Irritated skin
  • A small circular hole in the skin
  • Small white worms in the feces.
  • Scratching/nibbling at their rear end

Prevention

Prevention is better than cure, so it is better to protect your bunny from parasites before it gets infected. It is important you take the following precautionary measures to save your bunny buddy from getting the parasites mentioned above.

  • A flea infestation can be prevented by maintaining hygiene. Wash your rabbit’s daily use stuff with hot water.
  • Clean their hutch regularly.
  • Make sure there is no contamination or feces in their living or play area.
  • Always provide your bunny or bunnies with fresh water.
  • Don’t let them out in dirt grass. Always make sure they play in high-quality hay.
  • Use a flea comb to comb your rabbit’s hair regularly.
  • Do not forget about the annual checkup of your rabbit by a veterinarian.

You might use insecticides to remove external parasites from your house. The insecticides used for cats and dogs are usually safe for rabbits too. But to be safe, check with your vet first.  And we recommend keeping your pet out of the treated area for some time after treatment, just to ensure safety.

ear problems in pet rabbits

Does Your New Pet Have Any of these Internal and external parasites in rabbits

When you get a rabbit, consider taking it to the vet for a thorough checkup of internal and external parasites. Your vet may perform a fecal examination to observe the worm eggs in it, in addition to an overall checkup.

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