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Welcome to our page! We do our best to provide to-be and current bunny owners up-to-date info on the best care for their house rabbits. When we adopted our first bunny in 2005, there was almost nothing on the internet to tell us how to care for him. Just in the past few years, information has exploded online, and now it can be confusing! We try to simplify it by posting weekly articles on current issues, daily care, concerns, proper feeding, and other info so you can enjoy your house-bun! If you are just finding us, feel free to look through the older posts also. Please email us if you have any questions! Happy bunnies make happy hearts!
Email: thebunnyhut101@yahoo.com

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Ear Mites in Rabbits- Contains pictures that may be distressing for some people.

(Post afterwards includes a structural look at the rabbit's ear)

Some big and small cases of ear mites, what they look like and what is done to get rid of them.

As many of our rescue friends are having new rabbits come to them, the rabbits will often have ear mites. Sometimes these cases are very bad, to the point they don't know if the rabbit will make it.  What is going on when this happens and what does it look like? What should we look for? Will my rabbit get this?

 Rabbits kept outside are likely to come in contact with ear mites. Ear mites are not likely to be serious, but left untreated, they can lead to infection and deafness.

Here is the rabbit mite...Yuck! Can I say, NO LOVE!

 The ear mite is a parasite, known under the name of Psoroptes cuniculi. they are a member of the arachnid family, which includes spiders and scorpions! (At least for me, again YUCK!) The average life span of an ear mite is 21 days.

Symptoms and clinical signs

Itching ears, frequent shaking of the head, and scratching up to the stage of auto-mutilation. In the beginning, small, tightly adherent skin scales appear deep in the ear canal and the earlobes and are surrounded by alopecic (balding) regions. Those yellow-gray scales can become rather thick. They carry large numbers of the parasite, mite feces, skin cells, and blood

 Over the next day or two the waxy build up will become scab-like or flaky in its appearance. Your rabbit will also have several scratch marks in his ear.

 If no treatment is started at this stage, the scales will grow into crust and may reach a thickness of 2 cm in extreme cases. The ear is no longer able to stand up, and droops. The scales/crust should not be removed; if removed, they leave bloody eroded skin. The crust will fall off within 10 days after the first administration of oral or injected ivermectin. Earlier removal is also very painful, and may lead to screaming.

Treatment (See an exotic vet! Bunny will likely need something for pain.)

The scales/crust should never be removed !!!

Removing them is horribly painful to the rabbit, leading to screaming (see video). 

Ear mites are effectively eliminated by avermectins:

    Ivermectin: 400 mg/kg, PO (oral) or SC (subcutaneous injection), 3 times at intervals of 14 days (life cycle of Psoroptes cuniculi is 21 days); 200 mg/kg has been found ineffective.

    Selamectin: Revolution® (US) or Stronghold® (Europe) - Pfizer, 6-18 mg/kg. A single topical (local) dose should be sufficient; if not, repeat after 30 days. If the affected rabbit presents severe anemia, a transfusion of blood can be attempted from a healthy donor rabbit.

    Moxidectin (Quest® or Equest® - Fort Dodge). Secondary effects have not been observed when the medication was administered orally, on the contrary to subcutaneous administration.

These avermectin compounds are non-ovicidal (will not kill the eggs), but the drug remains in the tissue long enough to kill the larvae that emerge from the eggs. Ivermectin diluted in mineral oil, applied directly on the ear, is less effective than injected or oral ivermectin. 


 Very good video: WARNING TO SENSITIVE VIEWERS: Bunny shown has very bad ear mites and is in vet office, does make scream, but is treated very well. Do not be shocked. Bunny heals wonderfully at end and is beautiful. INFORMATION IS A REALLY GOOD.



This bunny came into Red Barn Rescue in Oregon in February this year. The transformation in Nutmeg so far is amazing. She is an inspiration to us all.

Complete MediRabbit info found at:



What we think of as a rabbit’s ear is only a part of their hearing apparatus, and it is the simplest part at that. Like the human ear, rabbits’ ears are also divided into three sections.

The Outer Ear
The visible ear is the rotating, signal-capture portion of the outer ear called the pinna (Figure 1). It is rarely the smallest part of the hearing apparatus, though. Rabbit ears range from the kitten-like ears of a Netherland dwarf to the ridiculously long ears of an English lop, accounting for up to 12% of the rabbit’s surface area. In up-eared (some would say “normal”) rabbits, each ear can rotate nearly 270ยบ to allow detection of the source of a sound, or even to monitor two sounds at once.

The pinna also has a relatively large blood supply, and the extensive network of blood vessels provides a lot of surface area for heat exchange. When he gets overheated, a rabbit’s ear vessels will swell with blood. This is a major part of his temperature-control system.  A damp cloth rubbed on your rabbit’s ears on a hot day, or during a high fever, can aid this process by adding evaporative cooling.

The rest of the outer ear is composed of a bent canal that goes vertically and then almost horizontally to lead to the eardrum. This portion of the ear is prone to buildup of earwax and debris, which may then become a breeding ground for infection. Many rabbits can deftly clean out any accumulation with a back toenail, but lops and infirm rabbits may need a bit of help. Since the ear canal has a bend, this can be done fairly safely. Your veterinarian can show you how.

The outer ear canal is also where you will find ear mites if they are present, although the mites, and the crusty skin that they cause, can extend up the pinna and even onto the back of the rabbit.
Fortunately, your veterinarian can prescribe an effective treatment for ear mites and the skin will heal without your having to remove the crusty stuff inside the ears.

The Middle Ear

Moving roughly toward the center of the back of the rabbit’s skull, you next come to the middle ear.
The three ossicles- hammer, anvil and stirrup (see inset)- transfer the pressure of a sound wave from the eardrum to the fluid-filled inner ear. The middle ear acting
as an impedance-matching device, a majority of the energy of a sound wave moves on to the inner ear. 

Connecting the middle ear to the throat s a short, narrow passage called the eustachian tube (Figure 1).
This passage provides a means for maintaining equal air pressure on both sides of the eardrum. Although normally closed off by a valve system, it also provides a possible route for infectious bacteria to enter the middle ear.

A pus-producing infection in the middle ear (called otitis media), and a closed or plugged eustachian tube, can generate enough pressure (by pus buildup) that the eardrum ruptures. If you see pus in your rabbit’s ear, this may be what has happened, and it’s definitely time for that vet visit.

The Inner Ear

Our sound wave has now been transmitted to the fluid of the inner ear, which is called endolymph. The inner ear has two main parts: The cochlea, a spiral-shaped tube, processes the sound waves transmitted to it by the ossicles, before passing the information on to the brain.
The vestibular apparatus senses the position of the head and any movement or motion it may be experiencing.

Inside, and running the length of the cochlea is a membrane (the basilar membrane, inset) that
decreases in thickness and stiffness from one end to the other. When a sound wave reaches the portion of the basilar membrane with the same resonant frequency, its associated hair cells send nerve impulses to the brain to give a perception of the sound’s pitch.
 A very strong movement of the endolymph due to very loud noise may cause hair cells to die. This can cause partial deafness and may be why your bun ignores you when you call her name. More likely, though, is that she just has a different agenda.

The other part of the inner ear has nothing to do with hearing. It is called the labyrinth and it keeps track of the body’s position and movement. The labyrinth itself has two types of sensory devices. The  saccule and the utricle make up the mac-ular organs which detect head position and linear motion. 
Microscopic crystals sit atop tiny hairs on the surface of these organs.  The information from all of the hair cells lets your rabbit know if she is right side up, upside down or blissfully flopped on her side. A “righting reflex” helps her to keep her head in a normal upright position most of the time by telling the neck muscles to contract or relax.

Footnotes and reference:

Also See:
Middle & Inner Ear Issues in Rabbits
Head Tilt in Bunnies
What is E. cuniculi?