Why My Pet Rabbit Has Fleas How To Get Rid Of Them

Why My Pet Rabbit Has Fleas How To Get Rid Of Them
Why My Pet Rabbit Has Fleas How To Get Rid Of Them

As many rabbit owners know, pet rabbits need preventative health care just like other pets. Pet rabbits don’t need vaccinations like cats or dogs, but I do suggest that you take your pet rabbit for a check up by your veterinarian yearly.  But,I get many rabbit owners regularly asking me about flea prevention. They wonder how their pet rabbit got fleas and what to do. 

So why do pet rabbits get fleas and how do you get rid of them? Rabbits can get fleas from other household pets like dogs or cats, at the vet or from wild rabbits in your yard. You can get rid of fleas best by using a rabbit safe treatment. A rabbit safe topical treatment should get rid of the fleas within a twenty-four hour period.

How Do I Know If My Rabbit Has Fleas?

Many rabbits have little to no symptoms when they have fleas. But here is a list of some of the symptoms you might notice if your rabbit does have fleas.

  • Loss of fur
  • Scratching
  • Red bite marks from the fleas
  • Crusty patches on skin
  • Infected areas on skin
  • Biting or chewing on back or tale area
  • Tiny brown droppings on fur
  • Insects around your rabbits ears and nose

How Did My Pet Rabbit Get Fleas?

Pet rabbits can pick up fleas in a variety of ways. If your dog or cat has fleas there’s a good chance your pet rabbit will get them. Because fleas jump from one animal to another, your pet rabbit might also get fleas from a stray cat that wanders into your yard where your rabbit plays. Pet rabbits can also get fleas from wild rabbits that roam around your yard. Wild rabbits can carry rabbit fleas called Spilopsylla cuniculi which is less common than cat or dog fleas. Infested carpets or furniture at the vet or at a pet store is also a potential place where your rabbit can pick up fleas.

Can Rabbits Get Fleas From The Grass?

Yes, rabbits can get fleas from the grass in your yard. Fleas are especially bad in the spring when they feed and lay their eggs in wet, shady areas of the yard.  If flea eggs have been laid the grass, the egg will hatch into a larvae. The egg and larvae can hide out in tall grass in your yard for months. But they develop into adults they need eat right away. They will look for a host for food, ie.blood. These adult fleas can jump onto your pet rabbit if it’s playing in your yard.

Can Indoor Rabbits Get Fleas?

Indoor rabbits can get fleas from cats and dogs with fleas in your home Your indoor rabbit can also get fleas at your vet’s office if there happens to be another animal with fleas there. Your pet rabbit can get fleas from visiting with or playing with another rabbit that has fleas.

What Health Problems Can Fleas Cause Pet Rabbits?

Fleas can cause bacteria or viruses to get into your pet rabbit’s blood stream. This can cause anemia and even blood loss in your pet rabbit. Some rabbits with fleas will scratch until they cause lesions on their skin. These lesions can get infected causing your rabbit pain and stress.

Can Pet Rabbits Die From Fleas?

Rabbit fleas carry a disease called myxomatosis that can kill domestic rabbits and wild rabbits. Myxo, as it’s called, is also carried by mosquitoes, mites and ticks. Your pet rabbit’s first symptom of the disease will typically be skin lesions that looks infected. The lesions can make your rabbit’s eyes runny and red. It also causes high fevers, appetite loss, and lethargy. If you think your rabbit has contracted rabbit fleas from a wild rabbit, take your it to your vet right away for treatment.

What If My Rabbit Gets Myxomatosis From A Flea?

Myxo is a kind of pox type virus that only rabbits get. If your rabbit has Myxo, your vet will give your rabbit fluids, antibiotics to ward off secondary infections and pain meds, but there’s no known cure. In the most worst cases, a rabbit can die within 48 hours. If your rabbit is especially healthy, it might pull through the virus, but often the only treatment is euthanasia due to the suffering the disease can cause your rabbit. In the UK you can get your rabbit a vaccination against myxomatosis. It doesn’t one hundred percent guarantee your rabbit won’t get the disease but it won’t be as severe. Vaccinated rabbits tend to survive the myxo. Sadly, currently there is no myxo vaccination available in the United States.

How Do I Prevent My Pet Rabbit Getting Fleas?

Fleas are hard to get rid of so it’s best to try to prevent your pet rabbit from getting them in the first place. Keep your rabbit away from any pets that have fleas. Be sure to watch out for wild rabbits in your yard. If you see a wild rabbit, it’s best to not let your rabbit use the same yard because the wild rabbit might have rabbit fleas. Be on the lookout for fleas in your home. Vacuum often to get rid of flea eggs. Never let your rabbit play with other rabbits that have fleas. At the vet’s office, keep your rabbit in its traveling kennel or hold it in your lap to prevent it getting fleas from animals that are there.

How Do I Get Rid Of Fleas On My Pet Rabbit? 

  • Apple Cider Vinegar-Some owners swear by apple cider vinegar to get rid of fleas on pet rabbits. They suggest 1 part apple cider vinegar and 1 part water mixed in a spray bottle sprayed on your pet rabbit can alleviate fleas. Some rabbits owners actually add 4 or 5 drops of apple cider vinegar into their rabbit’s 16 ounce water bottle. This makes the rabbit’s body smell like vinegar and will keep fleas away.
  • Flea powder- Flea powders made especially for rabbits are effective to rid your pet rabbit of fleas. Dusting your rabbit will kill the adult fleas, eggs and larvae. When you dust your rabbit with flea powder, be sure to comb its fur so the powder gets deep into its fur. Always check the label even on the rabbit safe brands of flea powder, never to use a rabbit flea powder with

Permethrin or organophosphates.

  • Rabbit Safe Topical Medications- There are some topical medications that are safe for your pet rabbit. These include Advantage, Revolution, Program and Stronghold. Always check with your vet before you apply a topical flea treatment on your pet rabbit. Check your rabbit’s weight to be sure to use the right amount.

How Long Will It Take To Kill The Fleas?

It can take up to one or two days to kill all the fleas on your pet rabbit depending upon the treatment you choose and how bad the flea infestation is on your rabbit. Topical treatments may work fastest usually killing fleas within a 24 hour period. Read the directions carefully on the topical treatments. They are usually effective for several weeks after application.

What Flea Treatments Should I Not Use On My Pet Rabbit?

  • Flea collars- Never use a cat or dog flea collar on your pet rabbit. Rabbits are too small for the amount of medication on a flea collar. Too much flea medication could be toxic to your pet. Also, your rabbit might chew on the collar which would also cause them to get sick.
  • Topical Medications-Over the counter flea topical medications such as Frontline and Sentinel are dangerous for pet rabbits. They can cause a strong reaction or even death.
  • Flea bath-Some vets choose flea baths for rabbits with fleas. Typically flea baths are very stressful for a rabbit due to the water and medications used. Try to avoid this treatment if possible.

If My Rabbit Has Fleas Can I Get Them?

Fleas bite humans. If your pet rabbit has a lot of fleas, you might get bit. The fleas can get into your carpet if your indoor pet rabbit has them. The fleas can jump and bite your ankles because they’re looking for food. You might get small bites that itch and get infected. If your rabbit has a lot of fleas, they can infest your pillows and bedding. Some people are allergic to fleas so if you see red bites that look like their getting infected call your doctor for the best treatment. You might need to call a pest control company to rid your home of fleas. Usually when you get rid of the fleas on your pet, the issue will be gone.

Conclusion

Today, we’ve talked about why pet rabbits get fleas and how to get rid of them. We discussed the symptoms that your pet rabbit has fleas. We also talked about ways your pet rabbit can get fleas. Even indoor rabbits are prone to getting fleas if other animals in the house have them.  There are some serious side effects and even death if  your pet rabbit if it gets fleas so it’s always best to try to prevent it coming in contact with fleas. We discussed an especially deadly disease from rabbit fleas called Myxomatosis that only affects rabbits. There is no known cure at this time.

We also talked about the best flea treatments available for your pet rabbit and those that aren’t safe for a rabbit.

Related Questions:

How Do You Get Rid Of Fleas On A Baby Bunny?

Baby bunnies can be treated for fleas using a smaller amount of flea topical medications. Typically your vet will recommend you use a kitten topical flea medication for your baby bunny. This works well, but you must make sure you check the weight of your bunny to see if the medication is right for it. Ask your vet if you have any questions about the amount of kitten flea medication to use.

How Long Do Fleas Live?

Fleas can live a long time without eating. Studies show that fleas in the pupae stage can live as long as one year. Once their adults, they need to eat immediately or they will die. It’s important to continue to vacuum your home and periodically check your pet rabbit for fleas so the flea infestation won’t last

Will Essential Oils Prevent My Rabbit From Getting Fleas?

Many rabbit owners say you can prevent your rabbit getting fleas with essential oils. To make a natural flea repellant using rosemary, peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree oil, lavender or citronella. They suggest putting six or seven drops of one of these oils into one cup of water in a spray bottle. Shake the bottle then spray your rabbit’s fur and living area every few days. This kind of treatment isn’t accepted by all, but  you can try it if you prefer something natural for their rabbit.