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Rabbits/bleeding warts inside ears


I adopted my lop bunny almost 4 years ago..she is my 5th bunny I have had over a 13 year time span
in the past year she has developed warty looking growths deep inside her ear ..I had my experienced rabbit vet look at them last May when I was still in Orlando he didnt think they were anything to be concerned about at that time but told me to keep an eye on them , unplugged them didnt think they were dirty but needed to be flushed (wax )he gave me some baytril otic to use and ear cleaner ..

since that time I have had to move to Pa due to health issues and the vets here are not as rabbit saavy ..
i have kept my eye on the growths  and tonight in the right ear i could see (using a small flashlight) a few warts that were more clear and blood filled, very veiny looking, .. rather than pink fleshy skin .. i used the ear cleaner on both ears and the right ear had alot of blood inside it bright red blood .. one or more had broken open

these warts have always had minimal blood ooze out of them at cleaning time (the surface) which I do only  2 times a month due to the fact that the ears hold only a little bit of "dirt"  just more beige colored wax along with these growths that I am afraid may burst open like tonight .

I have found one vet here in Erie that helped me through stasis with my this same bunny last July ..she did not have alot of experience with rabbits or  stasis but listened to me, did whatever she could to get her through it and she made it through it so i was very happy with her .

I have a feeling she wont know so much what to do with these growths so I need to go into the appointment prepared to tell her what needs to be done ...
I know the first step is to get a biopsy .I am assuming that is done with just a local anesthetic ?
also how often is surgery performed on cancerous growths near the ear and or in the ear canal ? none of my other rabbits had ear issues (only one other lop)

one other note .she has been losing fur just behind her neck and down her spine since she got fleas in dec of 09 (when i first adopted her)
again in oct of 2011 when she was exposed to a cat with fleas and the last time was just this past sept when she was exposed to a dog with fleas ..
each time we used advantage topical 1/2 a dose (for kittens)
and that took care of the fleas but after each dose the hair loss seems to be getting worse and is travelling down her spine
u dont really see it till she bends her head down to groom herself and then it is startling to see

she is approximately 4 years old and the most mellow sweetest bunny I have had to date, she is also a huge support for my own health issues
she was in a shelter then a rescue group ..before i adopted her
i feed her timothy hay , oxbow pellets ,fresh water and romaine, parsley and cilantro at night ..

any advice would be appreciated, I am hoping to take her to a vet here in Erie this week ..

thank you so much !

ANSWER: Dear Susan,

Benign warts (papillomas) are caused by viruses, and as they slowly grow, they can develop vascularization and bleed when broken.  Sometimes they  bleed when the bunny scratches at the ear.  They are probably not dangerous, but to be really safe you could have a biopsy done.  I certainly would not want to risk general anesthesia for this; if any of the warts is easily accessible, then a light sedative and a little bit of local anesthetic should make removing one pretty easy.

I hope everything turns out fine, as I'm sure it will.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Could you give me any advice about the hair loss on her neck/spine area ? (the last part of my original email,has obtained fleas off and on )
I don't know if it is from using the advantage on her or if it is a type skin mite or something she picked up from the fleas ?
... she is bald right behind her neck , down her spine and now migrating to the sides of her neck ... she had dry skin/flakes (not allot)  at first with the hair loss ...but has not have had any flakes in a month or longer .. again don't want to stress her out with a vet visit if there is no need for it ...
thank you

ANSWER: Dear Susan,

Ow.  That looks a little sore.

Does she have a companion who's mounting her? That's almost what it looks like.  It's not typical of fur mites, but not impossible.  Please see:

Try switching to Revolution, and try applying it to the spot just above the base of her tail, instead of her neck.  The skin is a bit tougher there, and might not react, if this is a reaction to Advantage.  It will also give her neck time to heal.

I hope this helps.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: she is a solo bunny no other buns or animals around ...and the flea issue was resolved all 3 time with just one dose of advantage ..the last time we used it was in october of last year (so only used 1 time a year , broken up into 2 doses ) ...its not raw at all the black spot is actually new fur coming in ..but the hair loss is spreading to her shoulder blades ... she isn't molting or overly shedding at all .... so that is why I am a bit confused

Dear Susan,

That is odd.  It could well be a reaction to the Advantage, but you wouldn't expect that to spread.  Has the vet had a look?  Fur mites might cause this, but typically the bunny won't go totally bald.

If the hair is starting to grow back, it might just be a transient thing.  I'd watch it for a bit.  If it starts to turn grey, especially in patches, that means the new fur is forming in the skin and is starting to grow in.  Expect fuzziness to follow.  If the baldness doesn't start to resolve in a week or so, I'd get her to the vet for a full wellness check, including examination of the bald spot.  Only an in-person vet exam can really get to the bottom of things like this, in many cases.

Good luck,



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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:

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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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