Rabbits can suffer from many different types of ear infections. Otitis externa is one example, affecting the outer ear. Another is otitis media, affecting the middle ear. A third is otitis interna, affecting the inner ear. Typical symptoms of ear infections in rabbits to look out for include compromised balance and head tilting, as well as a loss of fur. Treatment for these infections will depend upon both the type and the underlying cause, such as some foreign body, microorganism, or parasite, but could include an antibiotic or antiviral drug, as appropriate.
One of the main causes of ear infections in rabbits is that of invasion by some microorganism. This could be a viral species or it could be some sort of bacterial species. Perhaps of the Staphylococcus or Pseudomonas, for instance. There are numerous problems that can occur such as balance problems and the rabbit tilting its head to one side. There will also be inflammation of the affected tissue of the ear and this could spread to other areas if left untreated. Deafness could ultimately result.
Parasitic invaders are another key example of a possible cause of ear infections in rabbits. Fleas and ticks are both possibilities. Mange mites known as ear mites, in a form of mange called otodectic mange are another problem. Symptoms such as a loss of fur where the animal has been scratching at the affected areas may be observed. Inflammation will also occur. A crusty build up may also be observable around the infested area.
Physical objects are another potential problem. This could be compacted wax or it could be something like grass awns that have lodged themselves into the ear, perhaps even as far as the tympanic membrane. The object itself may be visible to the naked eye and there could also be blood as well as various discharges. There could also be a secondary infection present too. Tumours are another potential problem that could cause similar problems.
Each of the different types of underlying cause of ear infection in rabbits will require its own form of treatment. But in all cases good homecare will aid the recovery of the animal. A parasitic invader can typically be dealt with using an anti-parasitic drug such as Amitraz or Milbemycin. Antiviral drugs and antibiotics are available for viral and bacterial infections, respectively. Tumours will require surgical removal. Whilst foreign bodies lodged in the air may also require a similar approach.