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Rabbits/Rabbit warts on ears

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Question
Hello Doctor:
My inquiry is the following. My 5 year-old rabbit has a wart-like structure on its right ear. It started out as a very tiny, hard lesion, it felt as a beach-sand grain. It kept like that for many months, until it suddenly grew. It had a rough, sessile appearance, but then it changed. It looks now as a pedunculated, hyperkeratosic lesion. The color in its base resembles that one of his normal skin, and the lesion itself is whittish-pinkish in color, with hyperkeratosis in layers, with each layer formed by spicule-like extensions from the pedicle, and on its apex, it has a brownish hue. In all, the lesion has 1x1 cm, and, apparently, it stopped growing. Is it malignant? I would really love if you could help me, because I don't live in the US, and vets in the country where I live in only know about cats and dogs.  I'm also worried, because my rabbit has other sand-grain structures on the same ear. Thank you

Answer
Dear Diana,

Rabbits sometimes develop papillomatous growths on their ears, but they are usually not malignant or life threatening.

The only way to positively identify the growth would be to excise it and have it sent to a pathology lab.  If the wart is pendulous, the vet might be able to just use a little bit of Marcaine local anesthetic and snip it off.  (Stand by with cauterizing powder, because those little suckers can really bleed!)

Hope this helps.

Dana  

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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.

Expertise

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:
THE INTERNET IS NOT THE PLACE TO SEEK HELP IN AN EMERGENCY.

...it is an EMERGENCY.

Find a rabbit vet at www.rabbit.org/vet 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.

Experience

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.

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

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

Education/Credentials
Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology
(http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare)

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