How to Treat Ear Mites in Rabbits: Effective Solutions for Healthy Ears

Ear mites in rabbits can cause significant discomfort and lead to health issues if left untreated. These pesky parasites, known as Psoroptes cuniculi, can infest one or both ears and sometimes spread to other areas of the rabbit’s body.

It is crucial for rabbit owners to recognize the symptoms of ear mites and seek professional help for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Before diving into the details of treating ear mites in rabbits, it’s important to understand that prevention and maintenance play a vital role in keeping your pet healthy.

Regular check-ups, proper hygiene, and cleaning your rabbit’s environment can go a long way in minimizing the risk of ear mite infestation.

Key Takeaways

  • Recognizing the symptoms of ear mites in rabbits is essential for timely treatment
  • Seeking professional diagnosis and treatment ensures your rabbit receives appropriate care
  • Prevention and maintenance can help keep ear mite infestations at bay.

Recognize the Symptoms

Recognizing the symptoms of ear mites in rabbits is essential for providing timely treatment and preventing the spread of infection.

In this section, we explore the common symptoms of ear mites in rabbits and how to recognize them.

MITES in Rabbits! How to IDENTIFY & TREAT!

Scratching and Itching

One of the most common symptoms of ear mites in rabbits is excessive scratching and itching.

If you notice your rabbit constantly scratching its ears, there may be an infestation present. A rabbit that is persistently itching may cause self-harm from excessive scratching.

Head Shaking

Rabbits with ear mites will often shake their heads to try and alleviate the irritation caused by the infestation. Frequent head shaking is a telltale sign that something is bothering your rabbit’s ears.

Ear Discharge and Debris

Ear mites can cause a buildup of a brown, earwax-like substance in the ear canal, as well as debris such as crusts or cankers.

The discharge may appear crusty on the outer parts of the ears and can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

Swelling of the ear canal

A rabbit infected with ear mites may experience redness and inflammation in the ear canal, causing the area to look swollen.

This is usually a result of irritation and scratching by the rabbit. In severe cases, the swelling can lead to infection, requiring veterinary care to be treated appropriately.

Hair loss around the ears

Another symptom to look out for is fur loss around the ears. As rabbits persistently scratch their itchy ears, they may lose fur in the process.

This can be noticed as thinning or bald areas around the ears. The hair loss may not be limited to just the ears but may extend to the face or neck.

Inner-ear skin scales

Ear mites may cause inner-ear skin scales to appear in a rabbit’s ears. These white, flaky substances can be seen in the ear canal and are indicative of an ear mite infestation.

In addition to these symptoms, it’s important to observe your rabbit’s behavior and appetite. A rabbit suffering from ear mites may have a reduced appetite and be more lethargic than usual.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your rabbit, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

When it comes to rabbit health, prevention is key.

Be familiar with common rabbit illnesses and their symptoms to ensure that you can detect any issues early on, and provide the proper care for your furry friend. You can also refer to our comprehensive guide on rabbit illnesses and their symptoms.

Understanding The Parasite

Understanding the parasite causing ear mites is essential for preventing and treating ear mite infections in rabbits. Ear mites in rabbits are caused by a specific type of mite called Psoroptes cuniculi.

Psoroptes cuniculi is a non-burrowing ear mite that lives on the surface of the skin in the ear canal of rabbits. The mites feed on skin debris and ear wax, and can cause irritation and inflammation of the ear canal.

Life Cycle of Ear Mites

Ear mites, specifically Psoroptes cuniculi, are microscopic parasites that live on the surface of a rabbit’s skin and feed on skin cells and ear wax.

These tiny white specks resemble grains of salt or sugar and can only be seen using a microscope. The life cycle of ear mites includes four stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. Female mites lay their eggs on the surface of the rabbit’s skin.

In a few days, the eggs hatch into larvae, which then molt into nymphs. The nymphs then mature into adult mites, starting the cycle once more. This entire process takes about 21 days from egg to adult mite.

Contagious Nature of Ear Mites

One key aspect of ear mites is their highly contagious nature. Rabbits can easily transfer the parasite to one another, especially in close quarters.

Once a rabbit is infected with ear mites, the infestation can quickly spread if not treated promptly. To minimize the risk of transmission, it’s crucial to understand dominance and hierarchy among your rabbits so you can appropriately manage their social interactions.

In addition to direct contact with other rabbits, ear mites can also be spread through contaminated objects, such as bedding and grooming tools. To prevent the spread of ear mites, follow these key steps:

  1. Clean everything the rabbit has touched, including bedding materials
  2. Disinfect cages, grooming tools, and other items that have been in contact with an infected rabbit
  3. Properly dispose of used bedding and provide fresh bedding daily until the mite infestation is eradicated

Remember that bored rabbits may exhibit behavioral changes, making it harder to identify signs of ear mite infestations.

Regularly observe and interact with your rabbits to ensure their well-being and identify any potential health issues quickly.

Professional Diagnosis and Treatment

Professional diagnosis and treatment of ear mites in rabbits is essential for ensuring proper care and treatment of the condition.

In this section, we explore the best practices for professional diagnosis and treatment of ear mites in rabbits, including considerations such as veterinary care and medication.

The Best Way to Treat Ear mites in Rabbits - Without Chemicals or Insecticides

Role of the Veterinarian

When your rabbit is showing symptoms of ear mites, it’s vital to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.

The vet will typically perform an otoscopic examination and may even take a sample of the debris or discharge for a microscopic evaluation.

By doing so, they ensure a correct diagnosis and can provide an effective treatment plan, which might include medications like Selamectin or Ivermectin.

A visit to the vet is necessary because over-the-counter treatments can be harmful to rabbits. Some treatments contain toxins that may lead to paralysis or seizures in rabbits, so it’s crucial to avoid using them.

Use of Medication

Upon diagnosing ear mites, your veterinarian will likely prescribe either Selamectin or Ivermectin as the primary treatment.

These injections are critical for the safe and effective eradication of ear mites in rabbits. In addition to these medications, your vet might prescribe:

  1. Pain medication
  2. Antibiotics to combat secondary infections

It’s essential to follow the vet’s prescribed treatment plan. At the same time, you should also keep the rabbit’s environment clean by:

  • Disposing of all used bedding
  • Providing fresh bedding daily until the mites are gone
  • Cleaning and disinfecting any surfaces that the rabbit has been in contact with

By following your veterinarian’s guidance and maintaining proper hygiene in your rabbit’s environment, your furry friend will be on the path to recovery from ear mites.

Make sure to monitor their progress and return to the vet if needed, ensuring optimal health for your rabbit in the long run. And remember, prevention is better than cure.

Ensure your rabbit receives their necessary shots and vaccinations to keep them in good health.

Home Care and Remedies

Home care and remedies can be helpful in managing the symptoms of ear mites in rabbits, but it is important to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment before attempting any home remedies.

In this section, we explore some of the home care and remedies that may be helpful in managing the symptoms of ear mites in rabbits.

Cleaning Rabbit’s Ears

It’s essential to establish a routine for cleaning your rabbit’s ears to prevent ear mite infestations. To start, gently hold your rabbit and use a soft cloth or cotton ball to wipe the outer part of their ears.

Avoid using cotton swabs, as they can damage their delicate inner ear. Remember that cleanliness is crucial in preventing ear mites, so make sure to also clean and disinfect your rabbit’s living space and replace their bedding daily to get rid of any lingering mites or eggs.

One method to clean your rabbit’s ears is by using mineral or olive oil. Apply a few drops of the oil to a cotton ball and gently massage it into the infected ear, loosening the debris caused by mites.

Mineral and olive oil also help to suffocate the mites, making it an effective home remedy.

Using Home Remedies

Treat ear mites in rabbits using THIS common kitchen ingredient

Applying home remedies might assist in alleviating symptoms and treating ear mites in your rabbits. However, it’s essential to complement these remedies with a vet consultation to ensure safe and effective treatment.

  1. Honey and water mixture: Mix three teaspoons of honey with three ounces of warm water. Ensure the honey dissolves completely in the water. Use a syringe to drop the mixture into your rabbit’s ears and gently massage them.
  2. Olive oil or mineral oil: As previously mentioned, these oils not only help to clean your rabbit’s ears but also kill the mites. Apply a few drops into the affected ear and massage it gently.
  3. Campho-Phenique: Some rabbit owners have found success using Campho-Phenique, an over-the-counter medication for cold sores. Place a few drops into the infected ear and massage them gently, ensuring not to push debris further inside.

While home remedies can provide some relief, always consult your vet for proper diagnosis and most effective treatment options.

Remember to also check other aspects of your rabbit’s care, such as their teeth, overall health and wellness, and post-surgery care.

Prevention and Maintenance

Prevention and maintenance are key in avoiding ear mites in rabbits and ensuring the overall health and wellbeing of your bunny.

In this section, we explore some of the best practices for prevention and maintenance of ear mites in rabbits, including considerations such as regular cleaning and monitoring for signs of infection.

Ensuring Clean Bedding

One of the key factors in preventing ear mites in rabbits is maintaining a clean environment, especially their bedding.

Regularly replace and clean your rabbit’s bedding, using materials such as hay or straw. Thoroughly clean and disinfect their hutch or cage regularly to eliminate mites or mite eggs and reduce the risk of infestation.

This keeps your rabbits comfortable and healthy. For more details on cleaning rabbit cages, check out this comprehensive guide.

Choosing Proper Diet

A well-balanced and nutritious diet is essential for your rabbit’s overall health, which in turn helps them build a strong immune system to combat ear mite infestations.

Providing adequate amounts of hay, pellets, vegetables, and water can go a long way in keeping your rabbits healthy. For young rabbits, follow this recommended diet plan to support their growth and development.

Here are some basic diet recommendations for rabbits:

  • Hay: Unlimited high-quality hay, such as Timothy hay or Orchard grass.
  • Pellets: A small daily portion of rabbit-specific pellets, according to size and age.
  • Vegetables: Fresh, washed greens and herbs, like lettuce or parsley.
  • Water: Clean, fresh water available all the time, in a clean water bottle or bowl.

Regular Ear Checks

Inspect your rabbit’s ears regularly to help identify signs of ear mites early and prevent more serious infestations. Keep their ears clean by gently wiping out any debris with a soft cloth. Avoid using cotton swabs to clean your rabbit’s ears, as they may cause damage or push debris further into the ear canal.

During travel, ensure your rabbit is safe and secure in a carrier. Learn about choosing the safest carrier and follow these expert tips for stress-free road trips.

In summary:

  1. Maintain a clean environment for your rabbit, especially their bedding and hutch.
  2. Provide a well-balanced diet for overall health and a strong immune system.
  3. Regularly inspect and clean your rabbit’s ears to prevent ear mite infestations.
  4. Assure safe and secure travel accommodations for your rabbit during trips.

Possible Complications

Ear mites in rabbits can lead to several complications if left untreated or improperly treated. In this section, we explore some of the possible complications that can arise from ear mite infections in rabbits.

Ear Infections

Ear mites can lead to bacterial infections in your rabbit’s ears if left untreated. These infections can cause pain, inflammation, and irritation, making it difficult for your rabbit to find relief.

Additionally, they can result in problems with your rabbit’s balance and may even lead to a condition called head tilt. It’s essential to address ear mites promptly to prevent these issues.

Long-Term Effects

If ear mites go unnoticed or untreated, they can lead to long-term damage and consequences for your rabbit’s health. Some of these long-term effects may include:

  1. Hearing loss: Over time, the constant irritation and inflammation in the ear canal may damage your rabbit’s hearing.
  2. Chronic pain: In severe cases, untreated ear mites can lead to ongoing pain for your bunny, significantly impacting their quality of life.
  3. Persistent head tilt: Balance issues resulting from infections or inflammation may cause your rabbit to develop a persistent head tilt, which could impact their ability to move around comfortably.
  4. Higher risk of death: In extreme cases, untreated ear mite infestations can lead to complications that may increase your rabbit’s risk of death.

To better understand your rabbit’s unique physical features, such as the dewlap or “rabbit double chin,” check our article on the same.

Remember, it’s crucial to consult your veterinarian if you suspect ear mites and seek appropriate treatment to avoid these complications.


In summary, treating ear mites in rabbits involves a few crucial steps. First, observe your rabbit for signs of an ear mite infestation, such as excessive scratching, head shaking, and irritation in the ear canal. If you suspect ear mites, consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment options.

Here are some useful tips in dealing with ear mites in rabbits:

  1. Clean the rabbit’s environment: Disinfect the rabbit’s living space, including bedding and any surfaces it comes in contact with.
  2. Daily ear care: Gently clean your rabbit’s ears with a cotton ball soaked in warm water or a mild solution of vinegar and water to remove wax and debris.
  3. Natural oil treatment: Apply a natural oil like olive oil, coconut oil, or almond oil in the ears to help kill the ear mites and soothe irritation.

Remember, always consult a veterinarian for professional advice and guidance when treating ear mites in your rabbit, as they can prescribe the most effective and safest treatments. By following these steps and regularly monitoring your rabbit’s health, you can help ensure a happy and healthy life for your furry friend.


How do I know if my rabbit has ear mites?

You may notice excessive scratching, head-shaking, ear irritation, drooping ears, or unexplained weight loss in your rabbit. In addition, there may be brown crusts inside the ear canals of the rabbit.

How do I treat ear mites in rabbits?

  1. Consult a veterinarian: Always consult your vet if you suspect ear mites in your rabbit. They will diagnose the issue and provide safe treatment options.
  2. Clean everything the rabbit has been in contact with: Disinfect cages, toys, and bedding to eliminate mite eggs and prevent reinfection.

What can cause a rabbit ear mite infestation?

Ear mite infestations can be caused due to contact with infected rabbits, contaminated bedding, or other environmental factors.

What are some steps to prevent ear mite infestations in rabbits?

  • Regularly clean the rabbit’s living space, including cages, bedding, and toys.
  • Keep a close eye on your rabbit’s behavior and check for signs of ear mites.
  • Isolate new rabbits for a period of time before introducing them to your existing rabbit population.

Remember that early detection and treatment are crucial in preventing a severe ear mite infestation.

Reference: PetMD,

Maurice Alice

Dr. Maurice Alice is a veterinary expert with over 10 years of experience in exotic animal medicine, specializing in dental care for rabbits and rodents. He is dedicated to providing exceptional care for his patients and is passionate about promoting animal welfare.

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