Fleas, Parasites and Other Problems
It's not just dogs and cats that can be affected by fleas, lice and other parasites - small furries such as rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets etc. can all pick up infestations. If you notice your pet is scratching more than usual, it is possible that they have an infestation of some sort. There are several over-the-counter products available to treat mites, lice and ticks in pets such as rabbits, ferrets, reptiles and birds.
There are products available for rabbit flea treatments. The safest treatment is a prescription treatment (which means a vet will have had to have seen your pet in the past twelve months) or there is an over-the-counter treatment, but this will need using with caution as it is potentially fatal to other pets (particularly cats).
However, we would always advise that you seek the advice of a vet, especially if your pet is scratching to excess or is losing hair - some conditions can cause similar symptoms and will require veterinary treatment.
Rabbits are vulnerable to a protozoal parasite called Encephalitozoon cuniculi (E.cuniculi). It is found in the environment including gardens, is present in contaminated foods such as hay, and can be passed from the mother. It is sometimes called 'floppy rabbit syndrome', and can cause weakness, paralysis, kidney problems and sudden death. Preventative treatments are available, such as Panacur Paste and Lapizole liquid. Rabbits are also at risk of flystrike. This occurs when flies lay eggs on the rabbit, which develop into maggots. Flystrike is a serious problem, and unfortunately often necessitates the euthanasia of the pet. Regular cleaning of hutches is essential to prevent attracting flies, and rabbits should be checked at least twice a day - more often in warm weather - to prevent the problem taking hold. A prescription product is also available which can be applied to the rabbit and can help with prevention. Additionally, dental problems, digestive upsets and obesity can all predispose a rabbit to flystrike. If you have any questions about rabbit husbandry, you are always welcome arrange an appointment with one of our veterinary nurses.