Despite being rare, fleas can be deadly for rabbits. Fleas can transmit myxomatosis (a viral disease that is often fatal) to rabbits. Thankfully, rabbits can be vaccinated against this disease at 10 weeks of age.
You’ve just adopted a cute little rabbit and want to ensure they’re healthy and happy. You’ve done your research and know that you need to watch out for fleas, but you’re not sure if they can actually kill rabbits.
Fleas are known to carry diseases that can be deadly to rabbits, so it’s important to be vigilant in preventing them from getting infested. But how do you know if your rabbit has fleas, and what should you do if they do?
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about keeping your rabbit safe from fleas, including how to tell if they have them and what to do if they do.
What You'll Learn
- 1 How Rare is it For a Rabbit to Get Fleas?
- 2 How to Protect Your Rabbit From Fleas
- 3 How to Tell If Your Rabbit Has Fleas
- 4 What to Do If Your Rabbit Has Fleas
- 5 DO NOT Give a Flea Bath
How Rare is it For a Rabbit to Get Fleas?
Fleas are more common in outdoor rabbits, as they are exposed to more flea-carrying animals like rodents, birds, and other small mammals. Indoor rabbits are less likely to get fleas, but it’s still possible for them to pick them up from other pets or from visitors who have them on their clothing.
As long as you keep a clean house and prevent your other pets from getting fleas, it’s rare for rabbits to get fleas, especially indoor rabbits.
Why Are Fleas So Dangerous For Rabbits?
We all know fleas are uncomfortable and can cause severe itching, but fleas can be more harmful to rabbits than just causing them to scratch. Here are some of the dangers fleas pose to rabbits:
Myxomatosis is a viral disease that is often fatal to rabbits. It is transmitted by fleas, and there is no cure once a rabbit contracts it. You can vaccinate your rabbits against myxomatosis when they are 10 weeks old.
Fleas can also cause anemia in rabbits due to the blood loss from the bites. If a rabbit has a severe infestation, the blood loss can be so severe that it leads to death.
The itching and biting from fleas can cause a lot of stress for rabbits, weakening their immune system and making them more susceptible to other diseases.
Some rabbits are allergic to flea bites, which can cause anaphylactic shock. This is a life-threatening reaction that requires immediate medical attention.
Severe Skin Irritation
The bites from fleas can also cause severe skin irritation, leading to open sores, hot spots, and hair loss.
How to Protect Your Rabbit From Fleas
The best way to protect your rabbit from fleas is to prevent them from getting infested in the first place. Here are some tips for preventing fleas:
Brushing your rabbit regularly with a flea comb will help remove any fleas that may be on their fur. Be sure to dispose of the fleas after you comb them out so they can’t jump back on your rabbit.
Vacuum Your Home Frequently
Vacuuming your home regularly will help remove any fleas lurking in your carpets or furniture. Be sure to empty the vacuum after each use so the fleas can’t escape back into your home.
Keep Your Rabbit Indoors
Keeping your rabbit indoors will help protect them from fleas and other potential dangers like predators, cars, and diseases.
Check Your Other Pets For Fleas
If you have other pets in your home, check them regularly for fleas and treat them if necessary. This will help prevent your rabbit from getting infested.
Clean The Cage Regularly
Cleaning your rabbit’s cage regularly will help remove any fleas hiding in their bedding or food. Wash their bedding in hot water and vacuum their cage thoroughly.
How to Tell If Your Rabbit Has Fleas
If you think your rabbit may have fleas, there are a few things you can look for:
Excessive Scratching and Biting
If your rabbit is scratching and biting more than usual, it may be a sign that they have fleas.
Fleas can also cause bald spots on your rabbit’s fur from the constant scratching and biting.
If your rabbit has a reduced appetite, it may be due to the stress of having fleas.
Look For Fleas While Grooming
While grooming your rabbit, look for any tiny, dark specks on their fur. These are the flea eggs and can be a sign that your rabbit has fleas.
Restless or Agitated Behavior
If your rabbit seems restless or agitated, it may be because they are in severe discomfort.
What to Do If Your Rabbit Has Fleas
If you think your rabbit has fleas, there are a few things you can do:
Is Your Rabbit Vaccinated?
You have nothing to worry about if your rabbit is vaccinated against myxomatosis. If not, it’s important to take them to the vet as soon as possible.
Speak With Your Vet About Flea Treatment
It is important to speak with your vet about the best course of treatment. There are a variety of products that can be used to treat fleas, but not all of them are safe for rabbits.
A flea comb can be used to remove fleas from your rabbit’s fur. Be sure to dispose of the fleas after you comb them out so they can’t jump back on your rabbit.
DO NOT Give a Flea Bath
Giving your rabbit a flea bath can be very dangerous and even fatal. Rabbits do not tolerate water well and can easily go into shock from the stress of being bathed.
It is important to be aware of the dangers that fleas pose to rabbits and take steps to protect them from getting infected. Regular grooming, vacuuming your home, keeping your rabbit indoors, and checking your other pets for fleas are all effective ways to prevent fleas from harming your rabbit.
If you do find that your rabbit has fleas, speak with your vet about the best course of treatment. There are a variety of products available that can help get rid of fleas, but it is important to use only those that are safe for rabbits. A flea comb can also be used to remove any fleas from your rabbit’s fur.