I. Passalurus ambiguus
The rabbit pinworm does not cause clinical disease in infected rabbits. The rabbit pinworm has a direct life cycle and adult pinworms reside in the cecum and large intestine. The males are 4.1 mm long, 300 m in diameter with a single curved spicule. The females 6.6 mm long with long tail posterior to vulva .
The eggs are flattened on one side. Treatment with piperazine adipate
(0.5 gm/kg to 0.75 gm/kg s.i.d. for 2 days in food or water) is effective. Ivermectin
at 0.2 mg/kg is most likely effective. Control of infection is aimed at preventing ingestion of contaminated feces.
A. Psoroptes cuniculi - ear mite
1. Etiology: This nonburrowing, obligate mite has a high incidence of occurrence in meat, laboratory and pet rabbits. The life cycle is completed in around 21 days.
2. Clinical Signs: Scratching at ears with hind feet and the presence of crusty exudate in the pinnas with an underlying moist dermatitis are characteristic. The parasites do not cause otitis media since they do not penetrate the tympanic membrane.
3. Diagnosis: Mites can be observed with an otoscope or on a mineral oil preparation of the crusty exudate. The mites are oval-shaped with well-developed legs, pointed pedicles, and bell-shaped suckers on the end of pedicles.
4. Treatment: Crusts are gently removed from the canal. Mineral oil with or without acaricide in the ear canal will kill the mites. Ivermectin
at doses of 0.2 to 0.4 mg/kg will eliminate most infections with a single treatment. Antibiotic cream can be used if the ear is infected.
5. Control: Infected animals should be isolated
. During treatment, the cage should be disinfected.
B. Cheyletiella parasitovorax - fur mite
1. Etiology: C. parasitovorax is a small, noninvasive mite, with a low to moderate incidence of infection.
2. Clinical Signs: Partial alopecia of dorsal trunk or scapular region with a fine, grey scale on erythematous skin results from infestation. (The mite is often called "walking dandruff.") There is some pruritis.
3. Diagnosis: Examination of the pelt will reveal small white mites with piercing chelicerae and large curved palpal hooks, and the eggs are attached to hair shafts.
4. Treatment: Rabbits can be dusted or sprayed with pyrethrin preparations or silica gel acaricides
, with repeat treatments at 10 day intervals. Ivermectin at 0.2 to 0.4 mg/kg
should also be effective.
5. Control: Infested rabbits should be isolated during treatments
. Cleaning and spraying the rabbit's environment with insecticidal preparations aids in decontamination of the fomites.
Public Health Significance: This parasite can cause a transient pruritic rash in hypersensitized people, especially children.
C. Listrophorus gibbus - fur mite
1. Etiology: L. gibbus is a small, nonburrowing mite present at low to moderate incidence in domestic rabbits. It is an obligate parasite, completing all stages of the life cycle on the host.
2. Clinical Signs: This mite is currently considered non-pathogenic and is found primarily on the back and abdomen.
3. Diagnosis: The hair shafts can be examined under a dissecting microscope or with hand lens for the characteristic brown mite or its nits.
4. Control: Isolate infected animals
. Topical acaricides and ivermectin as described for cheyletiella are thought to be effective in treatment.
III. Fleas and Lice
Rabbits are commonly infested with Ctenocephalides sp., especially C. felis. The infestation may be asymptomatic, but may induce mild pruritis and alopecia. Rabbits can be dusted and sprayed with pyrethrin products. Do not use the flea product Frontline in rabbits since rabbit deaths have been associated with its use. The environment should be treated to control this parasitism.
Haemodipsus ventricosis (Blood Sucking Louse). The anapleurid louse is rarely found on domestic rabbits. Weakness, anemia, ruffled fur and pruritis (secondary dermatitis) are common signs of infection. The pelt can be examined with a dissecting microscope or a hand lens. Nits, as well as the adult anopleurid louse (head narrower than body), may be found on the hair. Rabbits should be treated with pyrethrin products, silica gel acaricides or ivermectin (0.2 to 0.4 mg/kg) at 10 day intervals for 2 treatments
. This louse spends its entire life cycle on the rabbit with little horizontal transmission. Isolation is an effective means of control while treating the infected rabbit.
IV. Cuterebra Infestation
Cuterebrid flies are also known as rodent and rabbit warble flies. Cuterebriasis occurs most frequently in wild rabbits, but may occur in domestic rabbits housed outdoors. Incidence peaks in the summer and late fall. Single or multiple large subcutaneous swellings containing encysted larvae with a fistula in the center are the characteristic lesions . When the larval fly is ready to pupate, it leaves the swelling and drops to the ground . Secondary bacterial infections may complicate the disease
. These lesions are treated by removing the larva (without crushing it) and flushing the wound, or by surgical resection of the wound. Prevention of infestation includes moving the cage indoors, or by surrounding the hutch with screen to prevent fly exposure.
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