There are a variety of things that can cause ear mites in rabbits. One possibility is that the rabbit has come into contact with another animal that already had ear mites. Another possibility is that dust and other particles have become trapped in their ears, leading to an infection.
If you have a pet rabbit, it’s important to be aware of the potential for ear mites. These tiny parasites can cause serious discomfort for your rabbit, and, if left untreated, can lead to other health problems.
Let’s look at what causes ear mites in rabbits and how you can treat them if your pet is infected.
What You'll Learn
- 1 Psoroptes Cuniculi (The Main Culprit)
- 2 Exposure Is The Only Cause of Ear Mites
- 3 Lop-Eared Rabbits Are More Susceptible to Ear Mites
- 4 Prevent Ear Mites By Preventing Exposure
Psoroptes Cuniculi (The Main Culprit)
The most common type of ear mite in rabbits is Psoroptes cuniculi. These parasites are tiny (about the size of a pinhead) and live off of the wax and oils in your rabbit’s ear. If a rabbit is infected with ear mites, you may notice them repeatedly shaking their head or scratching their ears.
You may also see black or brown discharge in your rabbit’s ears. In severe cases, ear mites can cause inflammation, crusting around the ears, and hair loss. If left untreated, ear mites can lead to secondary bacterial infections.
Exposure Is The Only Cause of Ear Mites
When going over the causes of ear mites, it’s important to understand that there is technically only one cause…exposure.
With that said, a rabbit can become exposed to ear mites in several ways. We will go over the six most common ways below. If your rabbit has ear mites, there’s a good chance it was from one of the following.
Exposure to Other Infected Rabbits (Or Any Animal)
One of the most common ways rabbits contract ear mites is by exposure to other animals. If another rabbit in your home has ear mites, it’s only a matter of time before your bunny catches them.
This is why it’s so important to get any new rabbits you bring home checked by a vet and to quarantine them until you’re sure they’re healthy.
Bedding & Food
Another way that rabbits can become exposed to ear mites is through their bedding or food. If you use wood shavings for your rabbit’s bedding, there’s a chance they could be contaminated with mites. The same goes for hay and other food items.
If a previously infected rabbit ate or drank out of the same bowl, this could also lead to an infection.
Any Contact With The Cage of an Infected Rabbit
If you have multiple rabbits, keeping their cages separate is important. Even if they don’t share food or bedding, an infected rabbit can leave mites in their cage. If your healthy rabbit comes into contact with the cage, it can become infected.
It’s also important to clean any cages that have been used by infected rabbits. This will help prevent the spread of mites to other rabbits.
Humans can’t get ear mites, but we can transfer them! Remember how we said that exposure is the only cause of ear mites? Well, even if we don’t have them ourselves, we can still expose our rabbits.
If you have been around another animal with ear mites, there’s a chance you could have picked up some of the parasites on your clothes or skin. If you then go and pet your rabbit, you could transfer the mites to them.
It’s important to wash your hands after handling any animals that may have ear mites. This will help prevent the spread of the parasites.
Your Rabbit Lives Outside
If your rabbit lives outside, they are at a higher risk of exposure to ear mites. This is because they come into contact with more animals and potential contaminants. If you have an outdoor rabbit, check its ears regularly for any signs of infection.
Rabbit Has Dirty Ears
These parasites feed on the wax and oils in your rabbit’s ears. If your rabbit has dirty ears, they are more likely to get ear mites. This is because the mites have a food source they can easily access.
You can help prevent ear mites by keeping your rabbit’s ears clean. This will make it harder for the parasites to infect your bunny.
Lop-Eared Rabbits Are More Susceptible to Ear Mites
While any rabbit can get ear mites, lop-eared rabbits are more susceptible. This is because their ears tend to be longer and droop down. This gives the mites a dark, moist environment that they can thrive in.
If you have a lop-eared rabbit, it’s important to check its ears regularly. If you notice any signs of ear mites, take them to the vet immediately.
Prevent Ear Mites By Preventing Exposure
Ear mites are a common problem in rabbits. They are usually contracted through exposure to other animals or contaminated bedding or food. Lop-eared rabbits are more susceptible to ear mites due to the shape of their ears.
The best way to prevent ear mites is by preventing exposure. This means keeping your rabbit away from other animals and cleaning their cage regularly. If you have multiple rabbits, make sure to keep their cages separate. You should also wash your hands after handling any animals that may have ear mites. This will help prevent the spread of the parasites.