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Rabbits/bunny scratching ears and mouth etc


Hi Dana, my pet rabbit lives indoors but early spring i had him outside in the yard for a playtime, one day I noticed the fur from his front paw missing both under and above and he bites at it so often. Gradually began biting his toes from the hind paws and pull the hair out and I noticed him scratching his ears. I took him to the vet, he gave me conovite cream for the paw and did a skin scraping which came back clear of parasites, he did not see mites and gave him a dose of topical selamectin. After a month the bunny continues scratching and biting his paws, so i took him for two more doses of selamectin two weeks apart and a fur sample for mites which came back no mites detected. My bunny is still scratching his ears and body and after five months his front paw haven't healed because he continue biting it. I did all the cleaning and vacuuming etc. and I was wondering if it could be anything else internally. Thank you.

Hi, Anita

Have you had him to the vet for a skin scraping?  If there are no mites, this might be due to fungal infection, or even bacteria.  If you can send a picture to  I can have a better idea of what might be going on.

Also, what dose of selamectin did you use?  If you give too low a dose, the problem will not resolve.  

Finally, mange usually doesn't affect bunnies who are not otherwise compromised somehow.  A vet visit for a full wellness exam might reveal a cryptic problem that's suppressing his immune system and allowing opportunistic pathogens to take hold.

Hope this helps.



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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

RULE #1:

Find a rabbit vet at for immediate help, and don't risk your bunny's life by spending time asking questions online! If you can't get in touch with your vet, read these Emergency Sick Bunny Instructions.

If you have found a wild baby rabbit, please read these EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS FOR WILD BABY RABBITS and then use this link to FIND A LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR who can give you the right advice.

RULE #2:
Help me help you! Please make your subject line informative if you have an urgent question. then LET ME KNOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE so I can give your question highest priority over non-urgent questions. If you don't do this, then I can't guarantee timely assistance!

For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.


I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology

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