Infestation of Mites in the Ear in Rabbits


Key facts:

  • Psoroptes cuniculi is a common parasite that causes infestations in the body and ears of rabbits.
  • There could be as many as 10,000 mites in a single ear.
  • They create a grey-brown mass of crusts and scabs that consists of live and dead mites, their wastes, and inflammatory discharge.
  • Removing the crusts and treating topically may be painful and unnecessary as the crusts usually resolve spontaneously within weeks of the mites being killed.
  • In aggressive or advanced infection, rabbits may develop secondary bacterial infections and will have to be treated with a short course of antibiotics in addition to ear mite treatment.
  • It is important as with the fur mites, to clean the rabbit’s environment after each treatment as a few mites may be present in the bedding from time to time.

Signs to look for at home:

  • Head shaking
  • Scratching ears
  • One or both ears droop
  • Crusts and flakes in the ears

How we diagnose at Village Vet:

  • Clinical signs
  • Common appearance
  • Confirmation with a sample cytology and microscopic examination

At presentation:



Six days after treatment:


If you note any of these signs at home, please bring your rabbit in as soon as possible so they can get the treatments necessary as this can turn into a life-threatening situation.

MCTIER, T. L., HAIR, J. A., WALSTROM, D. J. AND THOMPSON, L. Efficacy and safety of topical administration of selamectin for treatment of ear mite infestation in rabbits (McTier et al., 2003). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 223(3), pp.322-324.