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Rabbits/Rabbit scratches his ears


Dear Dana,
I am from Denmark, so first of all, i Would like to Excuse my spelling mistakes...

My little 2 years old rabbit, Kenneth has been to two diffrent vets in the last year. I took him there because he had Mites in his fur and ear... He got treated, the mites were gone and the ear scratching stoped.

After a little while the Ear scratching started again! I went back to my pet (who is an ekspert in Denmark). She notices Bacteria in one Ear and (I dont know the english word for it, but the translation said: mushrooms) in the other Ear.. He Got treated for both, but again after a little while he started scratching! I went to my vet but this time she could not find anything in his ears, but a little redness from All the scratching :-(

My vet belives tjat he might Got allergy! Therefor he got antihistamin (Atarax), but hé still scratches like crazy!
I told her that I Would take contact and now we are both watting for your ekspert advice...

She asked me to aks you if we should teat Kenneth with  Glucocorticoids... Maybe, if it is allergy, that would be helpfull?

Kenneth is only scratching his ears. His food contains lots of vegetables, hay, dried Herbs and a little bit of Water (hé gets most of the water from the vegetables) he is running around and is happy....

I am looking forward to your answer.
Thank you, Anita and Kenneth

Dear Anita,

I believe I've already answered this from my private email, but just in case you didn't get that:  I'd treat for mites again.  These can be a primary problem that fosters bacterial infection and yeast infection in the ears.

If there is an abscess developing, that could be trouble.  Bun might need antibiotics.  For serious head abscesses, injectable (NO oral penicillins!) dual-acting Penicillin G Procaine/Benzathine can be helpful, depending on the bacterial pathogen. Most strains of Pasteurella in rabbits are still sensitive to penicillin, and this is a common pathogen in rabbits.  They are not always the culprit, though.  If it's Pseudomonas, for example, penicillin will not be effective.

If your bunny is a lop (ears down), then that is also a contributing factor, as the abnormal anatomy of the ear canal with the ear down doesn't allow the aeration that keeps bacteria and fungi at bay in a normal ear.  With lops, it's a real mess once the ear starts to get infections.  :(

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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