Oh, dandruff! It seems that they go everywhere, even on our rabbits! I used to think that dandruff only goes to human. Apparently, even the cutest animal in the world can get them, too. The difference is dandruff in human caused by fungus, but the dandruff in rabbit caused by mites. Yes, actually, the white flaky stuff comes out of your rabbit’s hair is actually mites. But, no worries, there are 5 treatment to get rid of dandruff in rabbit.
These mites that look like dandruff is Cheyletiella parasitovorax and Leporacarus gibbus. Unlike scabies, this kind of fur mites is non-burrowing one, so they only infest in the outer area of rabbit’s skin. The white flakes you see are including mites’ eggs and they usually take place about 3 or 4 mm above the skin. You will sometimes feel the skin becomes thicker. It’s not because your rabbit becomes chubbier, unfortunately.
Apparently, the mites is actually pretty common, but in the small amount on rabbit’s skin. And it will not harm anyone at all. But, when the immune system of the rabbit gets weaker, they can grow into enormous amount. Not only that, study also reported that these mites also grow when the rabbits get stressed out. So, it’s very vital to make your rabbits stay healthy and happy. Besides, I bet you’ll feel happy too, when they play around happily near you, right?
(Learn more about toys for hamster to make them happy here : 10 Best Toys For Hamster To Play In Cage)
The Effect of Dandruff
Just like dandruff in human, dandruff in rabbits cause itchiness, too. They might feel them around their neck and their dorsal area, although Leporacaros gibbus often found in abdomen area. The infestation of these mites cause seborrheic lesions, which is the condition where there are increased secretion of fatty matter in your rabbits. Also, fur mites can cause a hypersensitivity reaction.
These dandruff is also common in animals like cats and dogs. So, when they start to grow, there might be a big chance they can infest your other pets who take shelter in your house, cause the same symptom. Even they can get into you. If your immune system gets weaker or you’re very sensitive for insect bites, these mites can infest in you. They can cause a mild skin lesions and, in severe cases, can form open sores in your skin. It’s annoyingly itchy, too.
However, in human case, these mites can’t live long. They don’t have any ability to penetrate human’s skin, so they will just stay as long as they can live. Usually, it takes 10 days long. In the other hand, if the environment isn’t really sterilized from the mites infestation, it might take longer time. That’s why for treating these mites infestation, medicine isn’t enough. Your consistency in cleaning up your pets, yourself and your house also take a great deal.
(Learn more about what to do when adults being bitten by stray cat here : 4 Ways to Do When An Adult is Bitten by A Stray Cat)
Treatment for Dandruff
Treatment to get rid dandruff in rabbit is pretty simple. The most popular choice of medicine so far is Ivermectine and Selamectine. The veterinarian usually will prescribe the medicine that contains one of them. They have the same effect, but Selamectine is a rather new breakthrough in treatment for mites that Ivermectine. So, some of veterinarian might prefer to prescribe it.
1. Spot On and Topical Ivermectin
There are several kinds of Ivermectin you can choose. Of course, you better consult to your veterinarian before you choose. Usually, they come under the brand name Ivomec. Don’t confuse it with avimec, that’s more effective for birds. For spot on ivomec, you can use pippette drop the dosage from the veterinarian’s direction to the infested dandruff. While you can rub gently your rabbit’s skin to add topical ivermectin. The vet will calculate this dosage based on the rabbit’s weight, so be careful when you apply to your rabbit.
Both this topical and spot on ivermectin is applied for 3 times in the interval of 10-14 days. Or, if you don’t want to apply it into your rabbit’s skin by yourself, you can ask for ivermectin subcutaneous injection. The interval suggested to injections is the same with the spot on or topical.
The newer medication to kill these mites called Selamectin. Recently, the veterinarian prefer this one over ivermectin. Selamectin can work great only with the topical application and it will kill broader range of parasites, too.
3. Dips or Malathion
Sometimes seborrhea occurs in rabbit’s skin too. For this, you will need malathion or dips, such as Aludex® – Hoechst; Seleen® – Sanofi; LymDyp® – DVM. They will help to remove the keratin later, even though they can’t kill the parasite itself.
4. Treatment for Environment
Dandruff actually can be easily removed by the proper treatment, like with Ivermectin or Selamectin. But, it will be useless if the mites still infest the place where your rabbits live. It means you need to sterilize every place and every single things that has contact with your infested rabbit.
I’m pretty sure that once you love rabbit, it will be hard to avoid to touch them. So, I suggest you wash your clothes whenever you suspect the mites infestation with the hot water. Any cloth that has been touched by your rabbits, too. If there are things in the rabbit’s cage that cannot be cleaned by hot water, just toss them out. And replace with the new ones.
Of course, you gotta instantly check with your other pets, especially the rabbits that live in the same cage. It includes other species, too. Like cats or dogs, in case you have them in the same house. Even though they don’t live in the same cage, the mites might stick to your clothes and move to your other pets.
To ensure the sterilization, you might want to use the miticide powder and spray, like boric acid. Here are the few brand that might be suggested by veterinarian; Fleabusters®; Vet-Kem Acclaim Plus® – Sanofi; Staykil® – Novartis; Indorex® – Virbac; acaricide spray. Especially for the things that absorb moisture, like carpet, you might want vacuum it first before you administer these.
(Learn more about housebreaking your puppy when you work full time here : 10 Ways to Housebreaking Your Puppy When You Work Full Time)
5. Hair Treatment
Treatment to get rid of dandruff in the infested rabbit itself including combing the hair. It helps to get rid the residual eggs that stick to your rabbit’s hair. Also, it can remove crusts and scales in the skin. Just remember to do it gently so you don’t hurt your beloved pet. Actually, bathing the rabbit with the medicated shampoo prescribed by your vet is helpful, too. But, not only rabbits are sensitive, you might hurt yourself, too. So, you maybe need someone who’s experienced in bathing rabbits to help you out.
(Learn more about signs that your cat is sick here : 7 signs that your cat is sick and needs attention)
If you apply these 5 treatments above, you can get rid the dandruff right away. However, you need to be consistent to do it until you’re perfectly sure that the dandruff is gone. Also, you need to clean up thoroughly every time you’re finished treating the infested rabbit. The mites can get to your clothes and spread around your house. If it happened, then it will be so much harder to stop the infestation of the mites.