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Rabbits/Second treatment for mites


QUESTION: My bunny was diagnosed with mites in November.  The vet told me to use 6 treatments of Lyme Dip.  I did the treatments, but he is still chewing himself.  He is a mini Rex with very thick fur.  I took him back to the vet today, to have him checked again.  She checked fur and did another scraping sample for the microscope. She said that before she only saw one mite and eggs, and now she sees a lot of mites and no eggs.  The dip obviously didn't work, probably because his fur is so think.  Today she prescribed 3 oral doses of ivermectin,  10 days apart.  She told me to clean his cage with 10% bleach solution every time I give him the medication.  I will throw his toys away and get new ones.  One question I have is about his ramp.  His ramp is made of wood and carpet, and he uses it to get in and out of his cage.  How do I clean the ramp, and do I have to do something with my carpets?  I get him out to,play each day in my house.  I want to get rid of these pesty mites!  Any other tips would be appreciated!  Thanks so much!  I appreciate your site and knowledge! :)

ANSWER: Dear Kathy,

We never recommend lime/sulfur dip for rabbits, as bathing a rabbit is stressful and potentially dangerous.  Oral ivermectin is okay, but it can cause GI upset and transient runny stool, so watch for that.  We pretty much use ONLY Revolution (selamectin) for mites, but at double the published dose (we use 12mg/kg once every 2 weeks).  It works very well and we have seen no adverse side effects.

As far as your bunny's ramp is concerned:  Is there a way to remove the carpet from the ramp and replace it?  If not, then try to remove the ramp, take it outside and wash well with soapy water, rinse well, and leave in the sun to dry.

If you're not sure this vet is very experienced with rabbits (and from the description of treatment prescribed, I have my doubts), you can find another vet for a second opinion here:

The treatments your vet prescribed would be appropriate for a dog or cat, but not the best for a rabbit.  I would hope the vet knows other cautions for rabbit medicine, such as Frontline being deadly and that certain antibiotics (e.g., Clavamox, cephalexin, etc.) must never be given orally.

Hope this helps.


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

Thanks so much for your response.  I have a few other questions.  First of all, is Revolution a prescription or can I buy it over the counter?  My bunny weighs 5 lbs. 2 oz.  Would I use the 12 mg/km  dose once every two weeks, and how many treatments would I give?
I can remove the carpet from his ramp, and I will clean the wood part.  What is safe to use on my carpets in my house, or do I not need to treat them?  He plays in the house outside of his cage each day.
Thanks so much!

Dear Kathy,

Revolution is a prescription medication, and though there are some web sites that will sell it to you without one, I am suspicious of them.  You never know if you're getting some counterfeit product made in China or the Middle East, and certainly would not know if it's really selamectin, or if it had any harmful additives.  So a trip to the vet is in order.

We use 12mg/kg once every 2-3 weeks, and that's often sufficient to solve the problem.  If it recurs, or doesn't clear up completely, you can give another dose.

If you're concerned about mites in the environment, it would not be a bad idea to steam clean the carpets and any cloth furniture where bunny or other pets have been.  It's not unlikely that the mites came in on your clothing, or even blew in from outdoors.  And I've even seen wood shavings (bedding) teeming with them!  If you're using wood shavings as bedding, better to switch to something else, such as pelleted sawdust covered with a soft layer of timothy hay.

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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