Last Updated on September 10, 2023 by keno
Rabbits just like dogs and cats, are susceptible to flea infestations which may cause discomfort or irritation from these pesky parasites. Worst-case scenario, when the rabbit is heavily infested, it often leads to anemia from too much blood loss. This article not only looks at effective rabbit flea treatment but also talks about prevention, causes, and signs of infestation.
First and foremost, prior to talking about rabbit flea treatment, there is often confusion when it comes to drawing a distinction between fleas and mites. In order to treat the right infestation and for clarity purposes, it’s pivotal to distinguish both parasites.
Fleas are insects that jump on and off their hosts and normally feast on their blood. Mites, on the other hand, are arachnids that are smaller than fleas and don’t feed on their host blood. They normally live full-time on an animal’s skin and basically feed on dead skin cells.
Rabbit flea treatment
Choosing the right treatment for rabbits with fleas is essential when it comes to permanently dealing with an infestation. Considering that rabbits have no flea product licensed for them specifically, some of the effective treatments are cat flea treatments. The product names include Imidacloprid or Advantage in the United States. The other one is Selamectin or Revolution in the US and stronghold in the UK. Nonetheless, it’s always advisable to confirm with your vet prior to starting the flea treatment. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to cure and prevent this particular infestation.
If you suspect your rabbit has fleas do a thorough inspection by combing their fur using a fine flea comb. If you notice any fleas or their feces (flea dirt) after brushing through their coat, rest assured that your bunny is infected. other tell-tale signs of a rabbit having a flea infection are itchiness and sore or red bite marks on the skin. If it’s evident without a shadow of a doubt that your bunny has fleas, then you may proceed to the next step.
Applying flea treatment
We’re going to look into two applying two effective treatments namely, Advantage and Revolution. Prior to applying either one of the two products, make sure that your rabbit is at least 10 weeks old.
i. Advantage/ Imidacloprid
For this treatment, you’ll need Advantage 40 mg Spot-On Solution, 1 x 0.4 ml pipette for rabbits weighing less than 4 kg or 8.8 pounds. On the other hand, you’ll need Advantage 80 mg Spot-on solution, 1 x 0.8ml pipette for rabbits that weigh above 4 kg.
Application and treatment
Remove the seal from the tube as per the instructions in the manual, then part your rabbit’s hair and place the tip on its skin. Squeeze the tube firmly around your rabbit’s body, making sure that you empty all the contents. When applying the content make sure that it doesn’t come into contact with your bunny’s eyes or mouth.
It’s worth pointing out that always avoid applying Advantage on damaged skin or try to administer it orally to your rabbit. In other words, this particular flea treatment is for topical use only. 24 hours after application, rest assured that all the fleas will be killed and the treatment prevents further infestation for up to 7 days. This is considering that you try as much as possible to prevent your treated rabbits from grooming each other.
A rabbit’s living environment and other pets around the house are also potential flea carriers. As a result, clean and disinfect your rabbit’s enclosure, clean their bedding, vacuum their living space, and make sure that all household pets are treated.
In order to prevent re-infestation, we recommend another treatment follow-up a week after the initial one. Lastly, avoid applying this treatment on rabbits that are going to be processed for human consumption.
The other product that’s effective at treating a rabbit flea infestation is Revolution. It contains selamectin a strong neurotoxin that not only kills fleas but all parasites in general. In order for this treatment to be effective, you’ll need to purchase a 60 mg/ml revolution concentration. Rabbits that weigh between 2.5 kg and below need between 1 to 15, 15 mg/tube with a 0.25 volume. On the other hand, bunnies that weigh between 2.5 and 7.5 kg need between 1 to 6, 45ml tubes with a 0.75 volume.
Application and treatment
For this particular treatment, we recommend applying it to your flea-infested rabbit once after every four weeks. This treatment is usually recommended for rabbits that are 8 weeks or older. Apply the Revolution content directly on the rabbit’s skin, after parting their fur. Make sure that the treatment covers the bunny’s entire body to kill and also prevent other fleas from jumping onto your pet’s fur.
Other than applying the revolution on your rabbits, it’s also advisable to do so in your rabbits’ living area to kill the flea larvae and prevent re-infestation. After applying the Revolution on your bunny, let it sit on their skin for at least 2 hours before grooming or wetting their fur.
Rabbit flea post-treatment
After applying the flea treatment on your rabbits, it’s always advisable to isolate your bunny from other rabbits or pets for at least 24 hours. This essentially prevents the likelihood of other animals both indoors and outdoors from re-transmitting the fleas, especially if they haven’t undergone flea treatment.
The other thing you need to do is ensure that your rabbit’s living area, bedding, and accessories are properly sanitized. This basically includes vacuuming and steam cleaning the carpets, upholstery, and floors using water mixed with vinegar. This not only kills all the fleas, but it also eliminates the flea larvae and eggs. Alternatively, you can also hire pest control if your effort to keep your rabbit’s environment free from fleas is futile.
Flea treatment for other pets
Considering that fleas can affect your cats, dogs, and other pets as well, it’s a no-brainer that you also need to treat all pets in your household.
Rabbit flea treatment and prevention is possible with early detection and the right medication. It’s worth pointing out however that, the time it takes to eliminate fleas may be quicker in summer than in colder months. The main reason behind this is that the flea eggs and pupae hatch quicker in warmer weather than during the colder season. Finally, prior to rabbit flea treatment, it’s always advisable to consult with your veterinarian on the best option available.