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Rabbits/Baytril Otic causing itchy ears?


My 10.5 year old rabbit is being treated for an ear infection currently.He has oral antibiotics (something that starts with a t. Not Baytril because he is sensitive to that and goes in to stasis) in tandem with Baytril otic. He has had 2 drops in each ear for about a week now. About 2 days ago he started scratching at one of his ears an excessive amount. One...not both..even though he is receiving drops in both ears. My question is, can Baytril Otic cause itchy ears?
I'm scared his infection isn't being treated effectively or that he has a yeast infection that the antifungal properties in Baytril are not strong enough for. I will be calling my vet on Monday, but it is currently Saturday and I am very worried about my old man.

A secondary question is do you know of any oral antibiotics that are safe for rabbits? My vet said except for the one we are using, Baytril is the next safest. So if this treatment doesn't work, we don't know what to do.

Dear Allison,

It is very unlikely that the Baytril is causing the itching.

However, treating a bacterial infection in the ears can sometimes remove too many species of bacteria, including the beneficial ones the compete with other microorganisms in the ear canal. When this happens, you can get an overgrowth of yeast (which are fungi, not bacteria), which are not sensitive to antibiotics.

If this has happened, then a slightly acidic ear wash (for example, there are commercial chlorhexidene ear washes containing a small amount of acetic acid) can be used to flush the ears for a few days to get the yeast back under control.  But DO NOT do anything like this without consulting your vet.  You need to get a positive yeast diagnosis, or you could end up making things worse.  My description here outlines only a likely possibility; it is not a diagnosis.

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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