Ringworm is not a type of worm, instead, it is one type of skin diseases. The disease is named ringworm due to the appearance of infected skin. This disease is caused by fungus. There are various types of fungus causing this to happen. One of which is Trichophyton metagrophytes.
Another type of fungus causing ringworm in rabbits is Microsporum canis. These fungus typically live in the soil, but they are also able to cause skin disease under certain condition. Spend time reading these causes of sudden death in healthy rabbits.
Getting to know about ringworm is very important as it also affects human health as ringworm is one of the dangerous diseases of rabbit that will affect humans. Both types of fungi are able to cause crusty skin patches in humans as well.
It will also be itchy. Ringworm is easily transmitted from an infected animal to another animal. Cats, rabbits and guinea pigs are the most common sources of infection.
Ringworm is transmitted through direct contact between the animals or through the items that are used together. Also spend time reading ringworms in guinea pigs.
Let’s get to know more about ringworm in rabbit, including the ways to treat it.
Causes of Ringworm in Rabbits
As stated before, ringworm in rabbits is caused by a fungus. The spores from the infected animal can be cast into the environment where they live for more than 18 months.
Some rabbits might not show symptoms of ringworm, but they are actually carrying the spores. These rabbits then shed the spores and they might contaminate the environment.
Transmission can also be done when the infected rabbit is in contact with the others. Overcrowded conditions will also be the other causes of ringworm.
Rabbits will get the higher possibility to get infected by ringworm if they live in an overcrowded environment with high humidity and poor sanitation. Poor nutrition also makes it worse. Make sure you know the specific nutrition that should be included in rabbit food.
Symptoms of Ringworm in Rabbits
Rabbits who are in contact with the infected animal will get 1 to 2 weeks to develop the skin disease. The fungus will infect the growing hairs and the surface layer of the skin. Once it completes, then spores will be produced. These spores are able to infect other animals and the environment.
Then, the infected rabbit will have patches of hair loss, crusty, scaly skin, specifically on the area of the face, eyes, nose and limbs. Ulcers may also develop on the damaged skin. They may or may not be itchy. Your rabbit might start to scratch. See whether scratching on rabbits is normal.
How Should Ringworm in Rabbits be Treated?
Most rabbits with ringworm will be able to recover themselves without any treatment as long as the factors related with their nutrition and environment are resolved.
One thing you need to remember while handling ringworm is never ever irritate your rabbit as it will cause the spread of the infection. Any tools used for grooming should be sterilized so that they won’t pass any spores to another rabbit.
Here are the things you can do to treat ringworm in rabbits:
- Oral antifungal may be needed when the whole body is affected. This treatment should be continued for some weeks after you see that the rabbit is getting better.
- Some vets might also need to clip the whole hair coat of the rabbit. However, sometimes the act of clipping the rabbit is able to cause stress. So, your vet will decide it based on a case by case basis.
- Every single or small infected area may be treated topically. You may need to clip the hair around the lesion, then you can apply topical washes.
- All the beddings, cages and other possible sources of infection should be washed thoroughly or completely destroyed. This is because the spores are able to stay for a very long time in the environment.
- Use a veterinary-recommended disinfectant to vacuum and clean all the surfaces.
- You may also use dips and sprays to treat the rabbits, but you have to consider if your rabbit is getting stressed because of that.
Beside the ways above, there are some medications you can use to treat ringworm in rabbits. However, make sure to consult with the vet first before giving any of these medications. Here are several treatment your vet might give as options:
- Miconazole shampoos
- Lime sulfur dips
- Topical anti-fungal medications (miconazole or clotrimazole cream)
- Oral medications to include: Griseofulvin (not to be used on pregnant or animals that are breeding) and Itraconazole