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Rabbits/zymox for ear infections


Hi Dana,
my 4 year old bun, Molly,  has been suffering from different ear problems ever since she got fleas 2.5 years ago after spending a week in a house with another pet who had fleas...
since then she has contracted benign warty growths that bleed , ear infections and just recently ear mites
this last time around she had 3 shots of ivermectin every 2 weeks and immediately I knew it was working as her personality would bounce back in a days time , after about 10-14 days when the abx shot would wear off  I could tell she would start to feel not well again
we have used  baytril antibiotic otic drops in the past
and zymox enzyme otic liquid

back in feb you advised after looking at some pics i sent to you that  she could have skin mites and so i used revolution and it worked !! her fur grew back and she has been good since then
until about 3months ago ... the fur under her chin has disappeared , gets crusty at times, her eyes are still watering off and on and her ears are a mess ... all of the above issues smell terrible (eyes, ears, nose) she is not wheezing , no respitory disorders

this last time around when she had the mites/infection my vet gave her a shot of ivermectin , and instructed to put 2 drops of zymox in each ear for 2 weeks , she got a 2nd shot of ivermectin 2 weeks later and then again 3 weeks later (after 10-14 days i can tell she is not feeling well again)
the combo of ivermectin and zymox wworked great but 4 weeks later when i looked at her ears they were a mess!
so i pulled out the baytril otic and used that for 5 days
the next day i could tell she felt better (personality back)

I also just started using the zymox again ...any ideas on what could be causing her ear issues ? it seems like a bacterial infection since she feels better after the ivermectin and or the baytril otic ... how can we find this out for certain ?
(i have been to the vet a few times and i feel i am falling on deaf ears at this point, he is bunny saavy but also very busy)

i  clean her ears with an ear cleaner i got from my vet every 2 weeks , i only use it every 2 weeks due to the warty growths that tend to bleed if i use it too often (softens them , bleed more )
kind of in a catch 22 on what to do
if I take her back to the vet what all should i have him test for? can he do a culture of her ear gunk ?

also is the zymox safe to use on a daily basis long term as maintenece to keep the infections at bay ?

than  you so much for you help
you were  spot on back in feb about the skin mites and using revelotion ...

Dear Susan,

Is she a lop?  Lop rabbits can have ear problems for life, as their ear canal anatomy is abnormal, and promotes bacterial and other infections because of a lack of air flow.  So if she's a lop, this could be a lifelong ordeal.

I would keep her on Revolution and zymox on the vet's orders.  It sounds as if she doesn't have much of an immune response when it comes to her ears.

Is she outdoors?  Indoor rabbits will usually have fewer problems like this.

If you suspect an ear infection, it could be either bacterial or yeast or both.  Antibiotics could make things worse if there are yeast, so both would have to be treated if both are present.  You might consider going to another rabbit-savvy vet for a second opinion if the current one doesn't seem to be interested in helping more aggressively.  Just a thought.

I 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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