How to Treat Scabies in Rabbits

If the mites are not burrowing themselves into rabbit’s skin, mange in the other hand. Mange is a burrowing mites. The female mange will burrow the skin and lay their eggs there. One of the mange that is common in rabbits is scabies. We will discuss about how to treat scabies in rabbits.

Scabies can lead into self-mutilation in rabbits. Don’t think about something scary like a rabbit cut themselves with knife or something. It means that the rabbits will scratch intensely until they get wounded. Next thing you know, the bacteria will infect the wound. It will get worse and worse. The scabies even can shorten your rabbit’s life span.

The wound and the crusts in the skin caused by scabies will usually start off on the lips and nose. They then start moving to the head and neck. For some cases, scabies can also live around the rabbit’s genitalia. Make them often lick this part. If the infestation doesn’t get treated immediately, it will lead into anemia and leucopenia, the condition where the white blood cells decrease. It can make rabbits lethargic, even die in few weeks. And if you have other pets at home, you need to check them regularly. Imagine one of your puppy gets them, you will never want it. So, caring your puppy, or other pets, is necessary, too.


People often assumed that scabies is easy to diagnose since there is an obvious lesions in their skins. But, the fact is, this kind of clinical sign can also be detected in several diseases, such as atopic dermatitis, xerosis, etc. Of course, they need a different medication than scabies. If it happened, you can over-medicate your rabbits while the infection don’t get healed.

That’s why you need to bring your rabbits immediately to the veterinarian if those clinical signs appear. Your veterinarian will administer few detection methods, and found out if it really is scabies.


Once you’re sure that your rabbit gets infected by scabies, you need to know how to treat scabies in rabbits. The main point is you need to follow the direction of your veterinarian, since scabies can become severe. You will need the medical treatment besides treating the infected rabbit at home.

Of course, the prevention always the best medicine. There’s a 2009 study published in Dermatologic Therapy about predisposing factors of scabies contraction. It is found that scabies appear under overcrowding situation (that’s why you need to learn how to build a comfy cage for your rabbits), immigration of the rabbits, poor hygiene. Poor nutritional status, homelessness, and dementia can attract scabies, too. If you understand these underlying causes, you can always prevent your rabbit from scabies infestation. Although in your case, I’m sure the homelessness is not the reason.

Medical Treatment

As any other infection by mites, your veterinarian will also prescribe injected Ivermectin to your rabbits. Normally, he/she will give 3 injections, each every 14 days. The wounds can be treated with benzyl benzoate every 5th day. Your veterinarian can also give your rabbit the supportive treatment injection, which is Pheniramine maleate, injection Tribiveta (Vitamin B1. B6, B12) for 5 days and syrup Nutricoatb (Omega 3, Omega 6 fatty acids) for three weeks.

Well, the most important is to follow the veterinarian’s direction. In worst cases, when your rabbit already gets anemia, he/she might suggest the blood transfusion from the healthy rabbit, obviously.

Home Treatment

1. Cleaning Environment

As usual, I will always suggest you to clean the area that might have contact with your rabbit. Especially, in this case of scabies, this mange can infected you, too. Although they will not burrow themselves in human’s skin, usually scabies will still make you itch. You wouldn’t want to have those in your skin.

For the carpet, you might need extra cleaning because the carpet is the perfect place for scabies grow themselves. And remember, scabies is the same as other mites and manges, who can live for 3 weeks without the host. So, when you clean the carpet, you better also use this substances; Boric acid such as Fleabusters; Vet-Kem Acclaim Plus – Sanofi; Staykil – Novartis; Indorex – Virbac, and acaricide spray. Vacuuming your carpet first before you administer the powder or spray it onto the carpet.

Sanitizing the cage and the bedding of your rabbits are important, too. If it’s necessary, you might just replace all the stuff in the hutch. If you use the organic materials for the bedding, you better change it into something that is more easy to clean. I also suggest you wash your clothes in hot water once you found out about the scabies.

One more note is if you adopt a stray rabbit, you need to separate them with the others you have, then take care of that stray rabbit before you let her/him join your pets.

2. Natural Treatment

If the infection is still in early stage and you’re reluctant to go to the veterinarian, you may give precaution treatment. There are few natural ways that is proved effective to reduce itch and rash in your rabbits.  Actually, how to treat scabies in rabbits is not that different from treating ear mites in rabbits. Here are some natural substances that you can give :

  • Tea Tree Oil

The tea tree oil can make your rabbit feel more comfortable. It can relieve the itchiness and may reduce rash. This kind of essential oil can act as antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, acaricidal that can kill mites and manges, then antipruritic, means it can relieve the itchiness.

  • Neem

Neem oil, soaps, and creams can be a useful alternative treatment for scabies. It can act as anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and analgesic. Since bathing rabbits has more risk, I may suggest you to use oil or cream for your rabbits instead.

  • Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a very useful natural product. Not only for beauty, it’s also useful  for our health. Apparently, aloe vera is good for our pets, too. Small study showed that aloe vera is rather effective to treat scabies. Of course, you need to observe further the effect on your pets.

  • Clove Oil

There’s a study in 2010 that proves that clove oil is effective killing scabies since it has antimicrobial, anesthetic, and antioxidant substances in it. Since clove oil has insecticidal function, it’s effective to kill mites and mange. However, this study use only rabbits and pigs. I don’t know whether it will be useful if you want to administer it in your other pets.

You may combine the clove oil with rosemary oil, too. A study at Northeast Forestry University in China showed that this combination possesses significant antimicrobial activity.

  • Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper contains capsaicin, which can reduces pain sensation and also relieve itchiness. You can apply it to your rabbit’s skin to make them more comfortable. There’s no scientific studies which proves this method, but many people reported it to be effective.

  • Anise Seed Oil

Anise Seed Oil has the same function as clove oil as insecticidal substances, so it’s effective to kill scabies, too. However, if there’s your family member who’s pregnant, you need to be careful when using that. One study showed that anise seed oil isn’t good for pregnant women.

However, you still need to consult your veterinarian. Especially, if your rabbits don’t show improvement after you administer the home treatment for your rabbit. Remember to do it gently whenever you apply the natural oil to your rabbit. Also, never pick the crusts in their skin forcefully. Keep your rabbit happy is important, too!