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Rabbits/Vet couldn't find any mites or fleas, but I'm being bit.

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little grey bug
little grey bug  

2nd pic of bug
2nd pic of bug  
Hello,
I have ha my bunny for 3 years now, but as of the last few months every time I enter my bedroom, which is where I keep her, I get bit. The bites typically happen in groupings. The worst of which involved 5 bites going along my lower back and upper buttocks as well as legs and arms. I have also seen some mites that looked small and red, but I don't have any pictures. I took her in to the vet, but he wasn't very experienced with bunnies and he said he couldn't see any on her or the bedding I had brought in. Ellie doesn't seem to be infected, but if I spend time in the same room I come out with bites. I use pine wood chips as bedding and she has to have hay, but I don't know if those could have brought the pests in my home. What could they be and what can I do?

Answer
Hi, Kaila

It sounds as if you have a mite problem.  That's miserable!  We've had it, too.

Believe it or not, I have seen packages of pine shavings *teeming* with mites!  The chips are supposed to "repel" them, but they do no such thing.  Weird!

Pine shavings aren't good bedding, anyway.  I'd switch to pelleted pine sawdust (e.g., AllPet Pine or horse bedding from a feed store) and cover it with a layer of soft hay.  That's the best, safest bedding, and we've never had a mite problem with that.

To get rid of the mites you have, I'd recommend throwing out all the pine shavings, then washing all your bedding, throwing all pillows, blankets, etc. in the dryer on HOT for a couple of cycles, and vacuuming the heck out of any carpets or rugs.  Mites hide in fabric and crevices, so you'll need to clean those out.

In case Ellie is harboring any mites, find a good rabbit vet here:

http://www.rabbit.org/vet

and ask for some Revolution (selamectin) to apply to the back of her shoulders.  DO NOT USE FRONTLINE, which is deadly to rabbits!  The Revolution will act for 2-3 weeks to kill any mites that bite Ellie, and so the population will decline and die off.  And don't worry if you can't see any mites on her.  They can be wicked hard to locate.   But they are there, and don't let anyone tell you they're not, just because they can't find them on the bunny.  If there aren't many on her, it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Revolution also works on fleas, so you'll be covered.

I 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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