One of my rabbits got ear mites. When she first arrived and I checked her over it looked like there was dirt in one of her ears – so I looked it up and discovered she probably had ear mites so I put oil in her ears for a week and thought no more about it. Then, last week, I noticed one of her ears looked black and, sure enough, her ear was all scabby and the ear mites were back with a vengeance.
So I’m treating both ears with oil every day – any oil is fine but I find sunflower oil flows better than olive oil and I use a medicine tube to administer it. It’s quite easy and I massage the base of her ears afterwards which she seems to enjoy.
The rabbit ear mite, Psoroptes Cuniculi, is a parasite and has 4 different life stages – egg, larva, protonymph and adult mite with eggs hatching after 4 days. The oil stops the mites being able to move, mate and lay eggs and eventually they die, but you need to persevere as the cycle can take as long as a month.
There’s no need to bathe the ears as the scabs will just fall off once the mites are destroyed and the ears usually heal quickly.
It’s really easy to administer the oil with a medicine tube as you can do it one-handed and hold the rabbit still with the other hand.
I shall be treating all my rabbits weekly with oil until I’m sure we’ve got rid of the ear mites altogether and then it’s probably as well to treat them once a month – and that way I can keep a check on them. My rabbits are kept in cages so there’s less chance of ear mites spreading but it’s still a good idea to move rabbits occasionally and thoroughly clean their living quarters with disinfectant.