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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > HOUSE RABBIT Q & A > Rabbit Dandruff or Rabbit MITES ?!
Last Post by hopsalot at 9/27/2012 8:01 AM (14 Replies)
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User is Offline hopsalot
38 posts Send Private Message
9/26/2012 11:35 AM

So my Pie has, overnight, developed flaky dandruff on the back of her ears. They sure weren't there when I brushed her last night?!

There are no signs of flakyness on the insides of her ears, nor the rest of her coat. There's also no waxy buildup inside her ears (as far as the naked inexperienced eye could see) and also no foul smell coming from her ears. No head shaking, scratching or itchyness. The flaking areas seem to have less hair, but then again, I've never really noticed what bun ears look like from behind so close up. Are their ears less densely packed with hair? I can't tell if she has lost hair.

Infact, she's quite surprised to find out about my newfound obsession with closely inspecting her ears...

I cannot get hold of my vet friend. I also do NOT want to contact either of the two hospitals that treated her previously (dexamethasone long acting corticosteroid administration incident, followed by treatment of gastric statsis with subcut fluids, baytril and TEMGESIC!!!!!). Very real and unfortunate lack of rabbit savvy vets in these parts, making life very stressful for bunkin owners.

I took good pictures just now to upload to the forum, please see them below. If anyone has had a similar looking incident, or someone that knows their mite look-alikes, please advise. We had a lot of rain during the past two weeks, and at the rate clovers are taking over Pie's little garden, I wont be surprised if the critters moved in too. I've never seen this happening with her before....

Any advice would be much appreaciated.

 


User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
Forum Leader
15618 posts Send Private Message
9/26/2012 11:52 AM
We're not vets, and while you can post the pics if you want to, we can't make a diagnosis based on the pictures. You'll need to go to an experienced rabbit vet. Even if you don't LOVE the vet, it's important that she gets seen soon.
Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Offline hopsalot
38 posts Send Private Message
9/26/2012 12:06 PM

Ok, I changed the summary line, and uploaded the pictures.

As per correction: I don't expect a diagnosis or a description of treatment from anyone.

Rather, I would like to know if anyone has had any  experiences with mites, and I guess would have liked to know if the incident might have started with the same signs.

I am not going to rely on the opnions of the forum as a replacement for a vet. I will, however, like to know a bit more - so that I can stop the administration of more harmful drugs before it happens again. There are no rabbit vets here in SA. Rabbits are treated as a purely exotic animal. Needless to say, if someone tells you they have 20+ years experience and breaks the first rule in the book, nobody can be trusted anymore.

I apologize if I gave the wrong impression.


User is Offline sleepy538
new jersey
244 posts Send Private Message
9/26/2012 12:34 PM
callie's ear looked kind of like that. dry flaky skin that she would itch until it bled. the vet gave her one dose of revolution and took cultures but all came back negative. he said it was contact dermatitis and gave me an ointment to put on her ear.

again, though, it's a different situation and you need to see your vet to determine the problem. good luck!

User is Offline hopsalot
38 posts Send Private Message
9/26/2012 12:38 PM

Hmm. Contact dermatitis. Now that is something completely different. That could be a third outcome.

I will report when I get back from a vet - I will have to try a third practice this time.

Is your bun clear now of flaky ears? Thank you for comparing.


User is Offline sleepy538
new jersey
244 posts Send Private Message
9/26/2012 1:11 PM
yup, she's good now. her fur grew back too!

User is Offline LittlePuffyTail
New Brunswick, Canada
Forum Leader
11451 posts Send Private Message
9/27/2012 1:58 AM
I would definitely get her checked out. That's a lot of dandruff. My bun, Olivia, gets dry ears that a vet confirmed is just dry skin, but it's not as bad as Pie's. I read you can take a flashlight and hold it on the dandruffy area to see if you can see the dandruff "walking". This would be the mites underneath. Pretty gross, I know, but it's something you can try.

Proud to be a Bunny Hugger and a voice for the voiceless
PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

User is Offline jerseygirl
Australia
14628 posts Send Private Message
9/27/2012 2:56 AM
A little odd that the flakes have appeared so quickly.
Would it be possible she's transferred something or some irritant from her paws while grooming her ears?

The wetter weather *could* be a contributing factor. It might provide conditions for fungal growth etc.

Mites don't always present in a typical manner so that's still possibility even though it doesn't appear to look like ear or furmite. I was really surprised to see pictures on medirabbit of rabbits with ear mite that effected other parts of the body. Their ears were actually pristine!

If your rabbit spends time outdoors, a treatment of Revolution (or other selamectin product) would not be a bad idea anyway.

dexamethasone long acting corticosteroid administration incident, followed by treatment of gastric statsis with subcut fluids, baytril and TEMGESIC!!!!!).

Sorry to go off topic here. I just wanted to ask what your objection to temgesic was? Was there an interaction risk with that steroid?

User is Offline hopsalot
38 posts Send Private Message
9/27/2012 6:32 AM

A multiple reply haha!...

@Sleepy538: I'm glad Callie's ears are back to bunny normal. Do you have any idea what the allergen/irritant could have been? Your post sparked an interest in which known substances cause allergies in mostly all bunnies. Obviously some are more sensitive and allergic, just like children But I've never came across a post that says my bunnies allergic to the detergent I use to clean his litter box, etc. Interesting stuff!

@LittlePuffyTail: That sounds innovative. I'm definitely doing that I will continue with the walking mites discussion just after this.

@JerseyGirl: Your message brings about yet another point of view. You're right, it never came to me that it is quite odd to have appeared so quickly. Hmm. There have been a few drastic things (in a bun's world) going on lately. I changed her diet by introducing (rather, re-introuding) rabbit friendly herbs during the past 10 days. I didn't take it too slow since I know she which ones she likes and which ones was ok on her tum a while back. Since I moved, I couldnt find a huge selection of herbs besides parsley basil coriander in combination with either half of a an average carrot or a few stems of brocoli. I have now discovered a larger supermarket that keeps all the herbs and started buying those again. I also did a major spring clean on Monday. It might be possible that some of the many household cleaners I used wasn't washed off a surface or so.

And then, @Beka27 and all above: Since I can't get into contact with the vet friend who saved my bun's life, I resorted to turning to our vet at work. Although not in practice and primarily involved in research and diagnostics, he is probably one of the smartest people I know, and always willing to help. He advised that there is no way to know if it is mites or not without taking scrapings of the skin and mouting them on a glass slide to inspect under the microspcope. By his advice, it is most definitely not Psoroptes cuniculi, or the common ear mite. It could, however, be Sarcoptes and Notoedres, two other common mites, but these present with itchiness in scrating, which is not applicable in this case. The most likely would be Cheyletiella, or walking dandruff, as this mite doesnt always present with itchiness and scratching and can go unnoticed. I set off to do the scraping and making of slides, and we studied them under the microscope. We couldn't see any movement on the slides, which is often the give away that mites are present and needs further inspection and identification. Other causes he listed included: nutrition (thus my comment at JerseyGirl), or fungal. The conclusion was therfore NO MITES! Although, I have been advised to keep a whatchful eye. If simptoms continue or worsten we should re-analyze. In the mean time I have to establish whether it could have been the moving furniture, suddenly diversified dinner or extensive spring cleaning that is at the root of it all. I agree that a treatment of Revolution/selamectin is, in any case, a good idea, since she does graze outside under supervision!

HOLD THUMBS!!! (for no mites ofcourse)


User is Offline hopsalot
38 posts Send Private Message
9/27/2012 7:20 AM

[Off Topic] DISCLAIMER: All qualified Veterinarians (and MD's) are profesionally trained individuals. They generally have a very high regard for you and your pet's health. They adhere to strictly taught methods of diagnosis and treatment. Under no circumstances am I using my opinion to bad mouth Veterinarians, their knowledge, or course of action to treat your beloved rabbit (or other pet). This is solely a single incident, and my own personal opinions in complete hind sight of what had happened to my Pie.

My bun was treated with a long acting corticosteroid upon returning to the vet after being spayed. A week later she went into gastric stasis during the night, a bun and it's owners worst fear by far. I took her to a 24 hour hospital who explained the dangers of corticosteroids to rabbits including gatric ulceration, reduced immunity and hepatic lipidosis/liver failure, and concluded that it is suspected my bun is suffering from continued liver failure. They administered subcut fluids and a bunch of first line medications most pets get upon first arrival with an emergency. This, and Temgesic. Temgesic is a schedule 7 opioid analgesic, stronger than morphine. Firstly, it agravates constipation (not just temgesic, many opioid analgesics do). Note, This is one of the symptoms she was admitted for in the first place. Secondly, it is tough to metabolize for any liver. In hindsight, it just about seems illogical to suspect liver failure, administer a strong analgesic that would certainly influence liver function, and then take bloods to prove abnormal liver function....just to continue administering strong analgesics challenging the liver even more....Thirdly, it's high on the list (excuse the pun) of euphoria causing drugs. Now, from a behaviour perspective: Rabbits rely on their senses and awareness to initiate flight rather than fight. They also stress very easily, especially in an unknown environment away from their comfort zone. Three of their most normal behaviours (and benchmark behaviours for owners) are eating, pooping and grooming. Now, given a rabbit who now has less co ordination, struggles to get up without falling over like a drunk, has completely delayed reactions and cannot perfom the three benchmark behaviours normally - how will you ever know if your bunny is worstening or recovering? Again, in hindsight, I would prefer a course of treatment that is not only aimed at healing the ailment, but also encourages normal behaviour up to a point where you can match the behaviour at home.

In the end, I did take my rabbit home, and my trusted vet friend did change her treatment in exactly that way. For this specific situation, it was the right thing to do. For other situations though, Temgesic might be the best or only route to go. I don't think it walks hand in hand with the dangers of corticosteroids to rabbits, one would have to check the formulary to conclude.

No matter the treatment, the end result is what counts. I was fortunate to pull Pie through, very fortunate indeed. I would never know the full standing of the situation. She might still be healing, she might have permanent damage, or she might even be 100% fine. I can only ensure trusted treatment in future, correct nutrition and care - and a lot of love. For some of us it is really important to silence those hunches! haha!

If this post needs to move or be removed, no hard feelings.


User is Offline jerseygirl
Australia
14628 posts Send Private Message
9/27/2012 7:33 AM
So you could tell under the microscope it's definitely skin flakes?
It crossed my mind that even her saliva could be an irritant but they don't that much in the ears via the paws.

More likely it's a simple thing. Dry skin, dermatitis, part of shedding in general...

User is Offline hopsalot
38 posts Send Private Message
9/27/2012 7:51 AM

Yes - you can see them! The mites the vet suspected are not invisibly tiny. Apparently the Sarcoptes and Notoedres mites are smaller and harder to fish out, and something about having to get a proper skin scraping to see them. The ones that cause walking dandruff are some of the sorts you can see under a standard light microscope. We dragged liquid parafine across a slide and scraped over the flaky areas. If well suspended, you can apparently see tiny critters moving about under the light microscope. You would then investigate further to see which ones they are! Pretty neat, no bloods and no culturing!

Either way, I will keep my eyes peeled for flakyness of any kind!


User is Offline jerseygirl
Australia
14628 posts Send Private Message
9/27/2012 7:52 AM
Sorry, I hadn't seen your post explaining the temgesic before. thanks for explaining the situation with her. i was just curious.
Sounded like an ordeal! You were fortunate to have a friend who could get her through.

User is Offline jerseygirl
Australia
14628 posts Send Private Message
9/27/2012 7:56 AM
Oops, I didn't take in that you did a skin scraping. So obviously it was skin you were looking at. ignore my question from before.

User is Offline hopsalot
38 posts Send Private Message
9/27/2012 8:01 AM

No problem 

And so I learnt...most importantly, learnt to appreciate certain somebunny's in my life!  -who is now nibbling my shoe because the blog might just get more attention than she does

great to be able to share it all with people who feel the same about their bunnies!

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