Friday, January 1, 2010


Rabbits which are seen to display symptoms of discomfort and irritation making them scratch, may be infested with fleas. These tend to cluster around the head, and particularly the neck, where the dark spots of their excreta may be noticed. Fleas can be destroyed by the application of an insecticide powder available from a veterinary surgery or pet shop. Make sure that none gets into the rabbit's eyes.

Fleas reproduce by laying eggs in the host animal's bedding, or on the floor. It is therefore impossible to eradicate them without burning every last straw of the bedding and the floor litter, scrubbing out the hutch and the grazing ark and thoroughly sluicing down all other areas in use. Any crack can harbour the eggs, and in a few days - two to twelve in summer, longer in winter - the larvae will emerge, and the life cycle begins again.

The rabbit flea has achieved some notoriety over the last twenty-five years as carrier of the virus that causes myxomatosis. During an outbreak the great majority of tame rabbits are safe. Veterinary advice should be taken about any felt to be at risk on account of the proximity of wild rabbits. An injection of vaccine will give immunity within three days and last approximately one year.

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