Hygiene is essential even for our pets. Like humans, proper hygiene plays a vital role in their everyday lives, and it is also tied to their health and nutrition. When you have already tried raising other animals, you may have encountered fleas, and you want to know if rabbits can get them. Can rabbits get fleas?
What Are Fleas?
Fleas are members of the blood-sucking parasites. They are small. They are very tiny and sometimes go unnoticed even when they occupy a very noticeable area of a creature’s exterior, usually their fur. This allows them to easily hide beneath the coat.
If you happen to be oblivious about how these pests look, here are some points to remember. When mature, fleas have flat bodies and reddish-brown color. They do not have any wings. If you see such a thing hovering around your pets, you should act on it immediately.
Fleas are threats to your pets. They are bloodsuckers and can bring about adverse effects and issues to your pets. As they feed on your pet’s blood, they can breed and bring about an even larger population.
Signs That Your Rabbit Has Flea Infestation
The answer is yes, your rabbit can get fleas. Various types of fleas can infest your rabbit. Some of them are Spilopsyllus cuniculi, Pulex irritans, Ctenocephalides canis, and felis. Perhaps you are curious about how you tell if your rabbit has an infestation. The following are signs that your rabbit might be suffering from flea infestation
Nibbling and biting the skin
While it’s normal for your rabbit to nibble and lick on their fur or skin for hygiene purposes, too much of it can be a sign of flea infestation. Because fleas are bloodsuckers, their bites can irritate your rabbits, prompting them to scratch, nibble, and bite their skin.
You may also find yourself scratching red bumps on your skin. When this happens, you might need to inspect your pet and see if they are suffering from fleas.
Yes, although fleas are tiny, they are still visible. Like ants, you may see them crawling all over your pet’s scalp and hair. Spotting them would be easier if you part your rabbit’s fur or if you comb their hair backward.
Fleas are fast, and they are accustomed to moving through fur, so it might be hard for you to spot them as they can run and hide quickly. The best spots to check would be around their neck and spine.
When there are fleas, there are clues that point to their existence. This includes flea eggs and flea poop. Because it sucks blood through biting, you can also spot dried blood along with these other materials. Flea poo is typically reddish-brown.
It consists of a mixture of dried blood and feces from the fleas. An effective way to test this is through a wiping test. Wipe away some of the spots using a moist paper towel or cotton wool. You would know if it’s flea dirt if the region around the area turns reddish-brown.
Too heavy of an infestation can cause your pet to develop blood deficiency diseases or anemia.
Hairloss, scaling, bald spots
Because of the circumstances, your rabbit may develop hair loss and scaling. If you see bald spots, this may also be because of flea infestation.
Getting Rid of Fleas
When you find out that your rabbit has fleas, the best thing to do is get rid of them quickly. Delay may only cause more suffering and more significant risks for your bunnies. Here’s what you need to do to get rid of fleas.
Treating fleas can be especially hard for rabbits as they have relatively more sensitive systems. And so, careful assessment of whatever treatment you choose is essential. Using a treatment that’s not compatible with your bunny can cause them harm and become a severe threat to their lives.
This is why it’s recommended to visit your trusted veterinarian first and ask which one is best for your bunny. Meanwhile, here are some options when treating fleas off your rabbits.
Imidacloprid is an insecticide that belongs to the neonicotinoid pesticides family of compounds. This pesticide targets the pests’ central nervous systems. A single use of this pesticide will kill adult fleas directly.
While the description can be very harsh, rabbits have responded well to products containing this medication. Another advantage of this product is its speed.
In most cases, it only requires one administration to eliminate fleas. However, if the first treatment is unsuccessful, a second dosage or remedy will be commenced in a gap of 30 days.
This one is mostly administered to cats and dogs. When cats and dogs have infestations like the following:
- Ear mites
- Sarcoptic mange
In the United States, Selamectin is available as Revolution, whereas it’s available as Stronghold in Europe. One administration should be enough to get rid of fleas when using Selamectin. However, if it’s unsuccessful during the first session, it will be administered for the second time after 30 days.
One administration or session would usually be enough, like the first two options. If failed, then another session is done after 30 days.
Preventing Flea Infestation On Your Rabbit
The saying “prevention is better than cure” still stands true for flea infestation. It would be better to avoid flea infestation than having the more challenging part of looking for a cure and worrying about your pet’s safety.
- Limit their time spent outdoors: Pets like cats and dogs are most vulnerable to fleas. They are most susceptible to fleas when they are outdoors. And so, limiting their time outdoors will help in preventing flea infestation.
- Perhaps there are wild or stray animals visiting your yard or lawn: Ensure that your indoor pets do not interact with them at an approximate distance.
- Do a hygiene check for your rabbits: Although they can clean themselves, make sure that you reinforce or check on them regularly. It would be good to comb or use a flea comb now and then to check whether they are safe from fleas. Daily, you can run your fingers through their hair in an opposite direction if you want to spot some flea, if there happens to be some.
- It’s also good to keep a check on the temperature: Fleas prefer warmer temperatures, so it may be riskier for your rabbits to stay outside longer during the summer. Note that if you have cats or dogs, limit their playtime outdoors when it’s warmer too.
- Visit the vet: The vet provides a solution or treatment for flea infestation. They will also cater to consultation as to what is the best flea control product for your rabbit. Please pay attention to what they say, as they may also lay on some tips for proper pest control and prevention.
- Keep your house clean: One of the most vital things in keeping fleas away is to keep the place clean. Fleas like it when it’s a bit messy and hot. Also, having a clean home will make it easier for you to spot them even before doing something on your rabbits. Always consider vacuuming the house when you sense that it already needs cleaning.
Flea Cure and Prevention For Rabbits FAQs
When do my pets need treatment?
It’s always good to ask the veterinarian first. Typically, you would need to treat every pet in your house all year round. Treating them this way would help significantly lower the risks of getting flea infestation.
Are there safe treatments for flea infestation?
There are helpful treatments available for your rabbits. However, it’s recommended that you visit your trusted vet first. They will know whether a treatment is safe for your rabbit.
Can I use a Flea collar?
This product is popular among dogs with fleas. While this is effective on dogs, this is not safe for your rabbit. The dose count of chemicals in a flea collar made for dogs can be too much for your rabbit and can harm them. By any means, do not use this treatment on your bunnies.
Is it okay to give my rabbit a flea bath?
Rabbits clean themselves. Thus, most of the bunny population is likely to be stressed by baths. This is especially true when you are giving them a flea bath.
The process can be more intense than a regular bath which can be new to them. Therefore, giving your rabbit a flea bath might cause more stress for your rabbit, so it would be best to skip this treatment type.
Is it okay to use a flea comb?
Yes, it’s okay to use a flea comb on your rabbit. This could be one of the ways to check their fur now and then. Combing your rabbit gently can also bring relaxation for them, so it’s a win-win situation.
The answer to the question, “Can rabbits get fleas?” is none other than yes. This being said, it means that you need to take precautionary measures to avoid fleas in your rabbits too. To avoid any situation of fleas, you can read and research more. Learning about these things can save your rabbit from health risks.