If the rabbit has hair
Often, the owners of rabbits ask – why does the hair fall to the rabbit and what to do if the rabbit drops hair? Maybe it’s just a molt in a rabbit, or maybe he got sick with something? There can be many reasons why a rabbit drops hair. This article provides examples of why a rabbit may fall out of hair.
If the rabbit has hair
Molting in rabbits
Wild rabbits molt twice a year, while domestic rabbits molt more often: some rabbits molt all year round (especially those that live in houses with central heating).
As a rule, a rabbit sheds intensively 2-3 times a year, and if everything is in order, a new one will grow in place of the fallen wool very soon. In some cases, the rabbit’s hair may fall out in shreds, and even completely bald patches may appear on the rabbit’s body. If the coat grows again in the place of bald spots within a few days, most likely you should not worry.
A shedding rabbit needs to be combed daily to reduce the amount of hair that gets into the stomach (during shedding, rabbits wash themselves especially intensively while swallowing “dead” hair). It is necessary to ensure that the rabbit has constant access to hay – this is a vital food that will help swallowed wool to pass through the intestines of the rabbit. Beware of signs of slowing down the intestines – reducing the size of fecal balls, dry balls, balls glued with wool, no balls at all. If you notice a decrease in fecal balls or the rabbit balls are glued together with wool, but the rabbit behaves absolutely normal, you can give him a small dose (5-10 ml.) Of liquid paraffin (available at the pharmacy). But if your rabbit, on an equal footing with a change in size, structure or lack of fecal balls, shows any change in behavior, depression, etc., it is likely that he will develop a gastrointestinal stopper (slowing down the intestines). This disease requires immediate treatment by an experienced veterinarian.
However, if the hair does not grow back, or hair loss is accompanied by a change in the skin (peeling, inflammation, etc.), hair loss is most likely not associated with normal regular shedding.
Abnormal hair loss can be caused by the following diseases:
Ticks in rabbits
There are several types of ticks that infect rabbits, including the scabies mite (Sarcoptes spp.) And the fur mite (Cheyletiella spp.). A scabies lesion looks like a whitish, thin crust on the skin of a rabbit, usually formed first around the eyes, nose, mouth and fingers of the rabbit. Such a lesion causes severe itching in the rabbit, so it is necessary to immediately begin treatment. A “fur” tick, the symptoms of which are not as noticeable as in the case of a scabies mite, usually does not cause as much itching as an itch or ear mite (if the hair loss is accompanied by the appearance of thin crusts in the rabbit’s ears, you are dealing with a different type of tick) , but also causes hair loss by shreds. The “fur” tick is larger than the scabies in size and can be seen with the naked eye. The body of the "fur" tick is usually painted in two contrasting colors. So it is easy to spot it on both dark and light fur. The defeat of this tick usually begins with the tail of the rabbit.
The ear mite (Psoroptes cuniculi) has already been mentioned above, these mites penetrate the rabbit’s ear canals, where they cause severe irritation and produce a crusty exudate. This disease is quite common in rabbits. First signs: the rabbit constantly scratches his ears. In two weeks, a definite gray-brown crust will appear on the rabbit’s ears. If the disease is not treated, plaque will spread on the cheeks and neck of the rabbit. The treatment takes place under the supervision of a veterinarian: injections of ivermectin (ivermectin) are usually prescribed to kill the tick itself, plus some means to soften the exudate. You can also use some kind of anti-inflammatory medicine to relieve pain. Antibiotics are usually used to control a secondary bacterial infection, and can be used either directly in the ears, orally, or by injection. Sometimes the crusts cause the rabbit such pain that general anesthesia is required to remove this exudate after several days of treatment with a softening agent.
Another type of tick (less common than the above) is a subcutaneous tick. This type of tick is especially unpleasant – the tick gets under the skin, and it can not be detected even if you scrap the skin of the rabbit. Even a skin biopsy does not always help identify this disease. Despite the fact that this type of tick is rarely found in rabbits, we observed several individuals that suddenly became very aggressive for no apparent reason, and after treatment of the tick the aggression disappeared.
Fortunately, almost all types of ticks are easily and effectively treated with injections of ivermectin (ivermectin) or selamectin (selamectin).
Rabbit fleas are very rare in decorative (domestic) rabbits. However, rabbits can become infected by cats or dogs. Some rabbits are allergic to flea bites, and the rabbit’s hair can start to fall out very much. Fleas suffer such a terrible disease as myxomatosis. It is necessary to periodically check the rabbit for fleas and vaccinate the animal at the time. This is especially important if your cat or dog walks freely on the street.
"Ringworm" (microsporia, lichen)
Intense wool loss by shreds is often associated with this microorganism. In the case of this disease, bald spots are very clearly limited. Mild irritation may be noticeable on the skin, sometimes small red spots are also noticeable. Such a disease is easily treated with miconazole (miconazole) or ketoconazole (ketoconazole). Consult a qualified veterinarian. Remember, you can not use ointments intended for people, because they are created without the expectation that animals wash themselves, and ointment can get into the mouth. Ointments – fungin, “Yam”, “zomekol” aerosol, chlorhexidine solution.
Cuts and scratches in rabbits
Any cut or scratch in your rabbit may leak into an abscess, so it is very important to carefully treat the wound. Usually this can be done by washing a small wound with salt water (1 teaspoon of salt per 500-600 ml of chilled boiled water), but if the cut is serious enough, you will need to contact your veterinarian for help. Large cuts and wounds must be sutured (sometimes under general anesthesia), and the use of an antibiotic is also recommended to reduce the risk of infection. It is easier to suture when the wound is fresh. But if your rabbit is injured in the evening, you can go to the veterinarian only in the morning. The exception is in situations where the rabbit was injured by another animal or the bleeding does not stop after 20 minutes of wound clamping.
Rabbit syphilis is rare in decorative (domestic) rabbits – it is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection. Rabbit syphilis is more commonly observed in nurseries where rabbits are kept for breeding. This disease is not transmitted to humans! In rabbit syphilis, ulcers form around the genital area of the rabbit and sometimes on the face. In the case of this disease, penicillin injections are usually prescribed. You can’t happen to a sick animal, when the rabbit finally recovers, the mating can be carried out again (already without the risk of infection of the second animal).
This disease is symptomatic of rabbit syphilis. Smallpox manifests itself as a crust-like lesion around the genital area, on the lips and eyelids of a rabbit, which goes away after a few weeks or months. Typically, the diagnosis of rabbit smallpox is made when antibiotic treatment yields no results. A skin biopsy and a rabbit blood test can also confirm the diagnosis.
Myxomatosis is a virus that, along with other symptoms, also affects the skin of a rabbit. If the vaccinated rabbit nevertheless becomes infected with myxomatosis, the disease often does not proceed acutely, manifesting itself as a skin lesion (for example, as a tumor on the face). However, even a vaccinated animal may exhibit obvious symptoms of the disease. But vaccination gives the rabbit a chance to survive (if the right treatment is done), while unvaccinated rabbits die if they become infected with myxomatosis.
Swelling and other "sores"
There is a large list of causes that cause the appearance of various swelling, among them: abscesses, cysts, old scars, tumors, etc. Vaccination sometimes leaves small sores. If you find a new swelling (especially bony) on the body of your rabbit, check if there is a symmetrically located similar swelling on the body of the rabbit, or examine another individual before running to the veterinarian.
Sometimes the nature of the swelling can be determined by feeling the tumor itself. For example, a tumor filled with fluid – most often a cyst. However, for a more accurate diagnosis, it is necessary to perform aspiration cytology (a special needle is inserted into the tumor and captures part of the contents of the tumor for analysis).
Very often, the treatment of tumors requires surgical intervention, but this depends on the age of the rabbit, its general state of health, and on whether the tumor causes anxiety to the rabbit. Abscesses, most often, should also be opened by a veterinarian.
Eating wool with another rabbit
You will have to “catch the rabbits red-handed” to understand that this is precisely the reason for the hair loss. Gnawing is not typical of rabbits, and may be a sign that rabbits are bored. Try to give the rabbits more time for walks, find new toys for them, etc., to distract them from eating each other’s wool.
Rabbits under stress, bored, or in pain can eat themselves. It is necessary to find out the reason for this behavior and eliminate it. Together with the treatment of wounds, sometimes it is necessary to carry out treatment of the psyche of a rabbit (sometimes this disease is hereditary). We have received reports on the beneficial effects of small doses of the haloperidol tranquilizer (haloperidol), which is used to treat schizophrenia in humans.
Fighting between rabbits
If you keep several rabbits, there is a possibility that the rabbits will fight from time to time while you are not around. Check rabbits for scratches or bite scars. This will prove to you that rabbits really fight until you see. If your rabbits are fighting among themselves, it is very important to castrate / sterilize them (for their own health and longevity).