You are here:

Rabbits/Ear infection in rabbit


My 6yr old Holland lop has an ear infection in his right ear.  It was diagnosed in Nov/15.  Initially There is pus in his ear and the vet has me cleaning his ear every day and putting antibacterial drops in. It is a Tris EDTA solution that she had made up for her.

Initially we has treated him Mametamex and  then put him on Duplocillin subq every 3rd day for 1 month, as well.

She said it can take a long time to clear up.

He doesn't have head tilt and seems to be eating quite well.

Any other suggestions you might have.

Thank you

Dear Debbie,

The course of action your vet has taken is sound.  I would continue this and see how your bunny does.  As the vet says, ear infections can take a long time to clear.

Has your vet discussed with you the possibility of flushing the ear to really remove the detritus that makes it hard for the infection to really clear up?  This can be done in her office, if she has the proper equipment.

The main problem is:  your bunny is a Holland Lop.  Lops have abnormal ear canals that are pressed shut when the ears are flopped down.  This creates a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, so even if you are medicating, the environment is ripe for bacterial overgrowth.

Some vets take a more aggressive approach by marsupializing the ear.  This means surgically opening the ear canal so air flow can resume a more normal pattern, and this can really help solve the lop ear problems.  You can see what I'm talking about here:

(Caution:  gruesome pictures of abscesses.  But if you go all the way to the bottom of the page, you will see the results of an ear masupialization in a big white bunny who had an ear canal abscess like your bunny's.)

Note that I'm not talking about ear canal ablation, which is much more drastic (and gruesome), and would be used only as a last resort, if all else has failed:

(Caution:  bloody pictures, but all's well that ends well.)

Hope this helps.  Please feel free to share with your vet, if she is amenable to receiving information from total strangers on the Internets.  :)



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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

©2016 All rights reserved.