Fleas are small insects that use animals as their hosts. Flea is a parasite. Parasites live in or on other organisms and depend on them for their survival.
Fleas, also known as Spilopsylluscuniculi or rabbit flea, is the species of insect that belongs in the family of Pulicidae. The flea lives on rabbits as an external parasite.
Sometimes, it is also found in dogs and cats, but it is common for rabbits and hare to have them as it is the flea of rabbits or hares.
The most favorable temperature for the insects to overgrow is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit or 21 degrees Celsius to 30 degrees Celsius.
The flea can be found on the rabbit all over his body, but usually, it resides around the ears.
It is located in clusters around the ears. Fleas can be treated and prevented if you take care of your rabbit.
If your rabbit gets fleas, you can get rid of them by either using a topical medication, a flea comb, or applying a spray, powder, or dip.
These are the methods that can be used to get rid of fleas in rabbits.
Symptoms that Your Rabbit has Fleas
The common symptoms that will help you detect insects in your rabbit are:
- Nibbling or biting on the skin–if you see your rabbit nibbling or biting on parts of his body, it can indicate that he has fleas. The rabbit may also have itchiness and not just rabbit; you may also be itching because of fleas.
- Flea eggs and dirt – flea eggs are white socks, and flea dirt is reddish-brown specks on rabbit’s fur. The wet paper test can be an excellent test to see if it is the soil on the hair or flea dirt. Get a damp paper towel or wet cotton wool and wipe the specks. If the area turns reddish-brown around the flea, then you are dealing with an insect in your rabbit.
- Live fleas – it is not easier to spot an insect because they are fast, but if you part your rabbit’s fur or stroke them backward, you might see live fleas on the hair of your rabbit. Around the neck is an excellent place to check for fleas.
- Hair loss and scaling – skin scaling and hair loss on the rabbit can also be an excellent sign to detect fleas.
- Rabbits with Anaemia – if your rabbit has to deal with a large infestation, he may suffer from Anaemia. It is because of a large amount of blood loss due to heavy infestation. The rabbit will turn pale and weak.
When Flea Treatment should be Applied to Rabbits?
All animals should be treated for fleas the year around; this includes the animals that you have kept in the house, including rabbits, as well.
In this way, the rabbits will not be invaded with fleas because they will be getting treatment regularly.
The time that is taken to get rid of fleas depends on the time that your house gets invaded by insects.
During the warmer season, it is a faster process because the pupae and eggs hatch in much lesser time as insects overgrow during the warmer season.
During the colder season, it takes more time than in warmer seasons.
If the rabbit has fleas, then they can be treated by using the methods that are explained under treatment to get rid of fleas.
Treatments to Get Rid of Fleas in Rabbits
It is common to have fleas in rabbits.
If this is the case, you can use these treatments to get rid of fleas in your rabbit.
The necessary therapies are:
- Using a topical medication – topical medication can be used to treat fleas in rabbits. Typically, these medications are for dogs and cats, but after consulting a vet, it can be used on rabbits as well. The conventional topical medicines that can be used are Program, Advantage, and Revolution. These medications should be applied at the back of the rabbit’s neck so that they cannot lick it off. A vet should be consulted before using these medications.
- Using a flea comb – flea comb can also be used to get rid of fleas. A flea comb is a specially designed grooming tool for this purpose. You can comb your rabbit’s fur to take the insects off him. After searching, the comb should be kept in warm water with soap or alcohol before using it again.
- Applying spray, powder or dip – a flea spray or powder can be used to get rid of fleas, as well. The vet or the groomer can tell you the ones that are safe for your rabbit. Only the sprays or powders that are safe should be used. Some vets may ask you not to use these because rabbits do not like baths.
Treating Fleas in the Environment
The environment in which the rabbit is the rabbit lives also should be addressed to prevent the rabbit from getting fleas.
This includes an outdoor and indoor environment.
- Indoor treatment – the house should also be treated to save the rabbit from getting fleas. The carpets and the bedding should be washed and dried in the dryer heat to kill the pest if they are hidden in them. The entire house, including the carpets and floors, should e vacuumed. The bag of the vacuum cleaner should also be cleaned properly. Some products are available that can help with killing the fleas. An effective product is the one that contains an ingredient for killing adult flea and any other stage of the life cycle.
- Outdoor treatment – sprays and pelleted insecticides are used for outdoor control of fleas. A regulator for insect growth can also be the right choice. Pyriproxifen is more suitable for outdoors as it lasts in the sunlight. One of the best non-toxic options, which is safe for vegetation and children’s play area is Diatomaceous.
Can Rabbits Die from Fleas?
It is not very common for the rabbit to die from fleas. However, a condition known as Anaemia can occur, which may eventually lead to the death of the rabbit.
A rabbit may suffer from Anaemia if it has a massive flea infestation.
The fleas keep on taking the blood from the rabbit’s body, and it causes a lot of blood loss from the rabbit’s body.
This makes the rabbit weak and his gums pale. In severe cases, this leads to the death of the rabbit.
Another disease that can be transferred from fleas is known as myxomatosis. This disease is fatal.
It is also viral and highly contagious. The rabbits can be vaccinated against myxomatosis. Only vaccination against myxomatosis can save the rabbit’s life.
If a Rabbit has fleas, Should Other Animals be Treated as Well?
If your rabbit has fleas, there is an excellent chance that other animals in your house have fleas as well.
Fleas can fly and jump from one animal to the other.
They will live on any animals that they can feed on. Check your dogs and cats to see if they have fleas.
If they have fleas, get them treated for fleas as well. Not just animals, they can even bite humans but will not live on humans.
Watch around your entire house to see if there are fleas and get rid of them wherever you find them.
Dogs and cats with fleas can also give rabbit fleas.
The rabbit can even get fleas by visiting a yard or home with fleas or the vet’s office where there are other animals present that has fleas.
Wild Rabbits and Fleas
Spilopsylluscuniculi, the rabbit flea, is found on domesticated rabbits as well as wild rabbits.
Just like the pet rabbits, the wild rabbits can also have fleas. The lifecycle of wild rabbit and rabbit flea is in synchronization.
After the birth of the newborn rabbit, the eggs are laid inside the nest. The humidity for the development is already present in the nest.
They feed on adult flea’s feces for survival.
Fleas are parasites that live on animals and depend on them for their survival.
Spilopsylluscuniculi, known as the rabbit flea, is found in rabbits.
If a rabbit has an infestation of fleas on it, it can be treated by topical medication, by using a flea comb, or by using sprays or powder.
These treatment options can help you get rid of fleas on your rabbit.
Fleas can fly or jump from one animal to the other, so if their other animals living in the house; they can also have fleas on them.
The common signs to detect fleas on the rabbit include nobbling and biting on the skin by the rabbit, looking for flea eggs or dirt, looking for live flea, hair loss or scaling, and Anaemia.
To prevent your animals from getting fleas, outdoor and indoor environments should be treated.
The house should be appropriately cleaned, and sprays and medicines should be used for the outdoor environment to avoid insects.
Anemia is a disease that a rabbit can suffer from as a result of fleas on him.
Another condition that is fatal and contagious and can be transferred from insects is known as myxomatosis.
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