Rabbit Crusty Ear Problem

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Kissysquirrel, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. Kissysquirrel

    Kissysquirrel Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 15, 2011
    I wish I'd known about mites a long time ago. Baby oil sounds like something I would have liked to use....cheap and it smells good. [​IMG] Not sure it would work now with the huge build up in her ear(s).

    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011
  2. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    Sullivan, IL
    I'm not 100% convinced that it's ear mites. Ear mites are pretty much the same across all species, and the debris that comes from ear mites is usually dark brown. Ear mites are definitely a possibility, animals get them by coming in contact with other animals that have them...could have gotten them from another rabbit, a stray cat, stray dog, etc. It could also be one of a number of other types of mites. Fortunately, ivermectin will kill most of the mites it could possibly be. It could also just be ear wax. Rabbit ear wax is dry and flaky like that and while they usually do a fair job of cleaning their ears out enough that you don't see it like that it sometimes happens that it builds up excessively. Cleaning it should be pretty easy, just use a dropper and apply some mineral oil to the ear canal. Massage it down into the ear for a minute or two, then wipe clean with a cotton ball. You can use q-tips in the folds on the part of the ear you can see, but don't stick them down in the canal itself because you could potentially damage the canal or ear drum that way. Cleaning rabbit ears can be extremely satisfying with all the huge chunks of wax that come out! I will also say that I have seen malassezia yeast infection in a rabbit ear once, although again you're looking at a dark brown, waxy discharge which it doesn't appear to be from that picture.
  3. Barrdwing

    Barrdwing Chillin' With My Peeps

    Actually, all of that build-up in the ear is just layers of dead skin with mites living between the layers--think a really icky baklava. The thing is, the ear is really sensitive, and peeling that gunk out of there can be extremely painful. Rabbits do not do pain well. So if you elect to clean the ear, be super gentle and stop when she starts getting upset. She won't want to tell you how much stress she's under, so you'll have to really, really watch her. Too much stress and pain, and there's a small chance that she might go into cardiac arrest.

    If you have a vet that sees rabbits, I'd really recommend you take her in. There are some very good medications available for ear mites in bunnies, even better than Ivermectin; there's even a topical medication (it's prescription) that you apply once and it works for a whole month. Also, when treating these mites, if you kill all the mites (which means you have to keep up the treatment long enough to get rid of all the eggs) then the build-up in the ear will fall out on its own.

    The buck, unfortunately, must be considered a silent carrier. He isn't as yummy to the mites as your doe, but the little critters are definitely on him. [​IMG]
  4. Barrdwing

    Barrdwing Chillin' With My Peeps

    AinaWGSD has a good point: we're all sort of assuming that they're ear mites, but none of us has actually touched your rabbit! But here's a party trick you can play with rabbit ear mites: they're visible underneath an ordinary magnifying glass. (Cat ear mites are smaller, so this doesn't work on cats.) They will be living between the layers of ear gunk and look like little round whitish dots that scurry around. Sometimes there are bajillions of them, which can be a little creepy. Shine a good light on the ear, have your magnifying glass ready, and gently pry apart some of the top layers with a toothpick. (Don't go down next to the skin.) But be careful--again, this can be painful for bunnies, and also frightening, so go slowly and carefully.

    Does the ear smell bad? If it does, then there's something more than just mites involved. Infections are smelly, ear mites generally are not, and sometimes a rabbit can have both.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011
  5. Kissysquirrel

    Kissysquirrel Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 15, 2011
    It appears my reply didn't post....I would love using baby oil...it's inexpensive and smells good. However I'm not sure if it would help now until I clear up what she already has. It is a HUGE build up. Thanks for the idea though!


    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011
  6. Kissysquirrel

    Kissysquirrel Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 15, 2011
    Good info Aina and Barr! I definitely don't want to scare my bunny so I think I'll take her in and let the vet clean her and give me meds for her. I haven't noticed a smelly ear but then again I never noticed the mess in her ear until a little boy pointed it out today.

    Any recommendations on how to keep her/him mite free afterwards? I sure don't see any on him so I guess he is a carrier. Wow....didn't know that either. I'm slowly learning all kinds of good info from everyone.

    THANKS!! [​IMG][​IMG]
  7. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    If the animal isn't nearly 100% cooperative then you are not going to get the correct dose into your bunny.

    That's why I said mix it in their water.

    The "crust" in the ears will come out on it's own once they start to heal underneath​
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011
  8. Jamie_Dog_Trainer

    Jamie_Dog_Trainer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 8, 2008
    Washington State

    OP I am pming you. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011
  9. Barrdwing

    Barrdwing Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oosh, prevention. It's kind of a nuisance, because mites can live for a little while off the host. (I don't know if anybody has figured out exactly how long.) I knew a rabbit who lived alone, was treated for ear mites, and two years later had another flare-up. She had either had failure of the treatment, or she re-infected after treatment with mites that were surviving in her cage; either way it took two years for the mites to get bad enough to cause visible ear discharge. That was very disappointing for her owner! But the second time around she knew exactly what was going on, and got her rabbit treated early, which cleared up the mites faster.

    Generally treatment needs to go for at least 3 weeks, and 3 weeks likely isn't long enough because the mites are tough little devils. The once-a-month treatment is nice because it comes in a box of three doses, so you have three months' worth of treatment. It does cost more, but it is supposed to work extremely well and with minimal trouble to both you and the bunny, since it only has to be applied once a month. There are also injections of Ivermectin, which work but have to be repeated more often, and even some ear drops (those take the longest).

    Some vets will clean the ears, and some won't; it depends on personal preference. I have known rabbits who did not get ear cleaning and still did great so long as they were on the right medication. The nasty stuff in your doe's ears will dry up and go away once the mites are killed and no longer aggravating her poor ears.

    Good luck! [​IMG]
  10. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    Quote:My rabbit had mites also.. the vet perscribed ivermectin also...
    Cleared them right up...
    Baby oil will NOT kill those mites, you need REAL meds... it looks like a pretty bad infestation...
    Good luck!
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2011

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