What are mites?
There are several different species of mites, however the most common one to affect rabbits is Cheyletiella which causes mange. Fur mites are also common and the ear mite, Psoroptes cuniculi, causes a condition known as canker.
Cheyletiella mites are also known as mange mites. Symptoms include a patch of dandruff either above the tail or at the nape of a rabbit’s neck and the condition is also known as ‘walking dandruff’ as sometimes the dandruff moves due to the mites’ movements. Mites are so small that they can’t be seen by the naked eye. Cheyletiella mites can travel on hay and often carry myxomatosis.
Fur mites usually affect the skin on a rabbit’s back around the tail. They are a lot bigger than the Cheyletiella mites and are two tone in colour. They can just be seen by the naked eye. Again, fur mites often travel on hay.
Ear mites, Psoroptes cuniculi, invade the ear canal where they cause intense irritation which results in a discharge from one or both ears. This condition is often known as canker. Symptoms include scratching ears and soreness at the base. A grey-brown scaly crust often develops within the ear and, if left untreated, mites and discharge can be found on the cheeks and neck of the rabbit.
A variety treatments are available to help treat rabbits infested with mites. For further information please contact your vet, country store, pet shop or pharmacist.