Rabbits can get fleas, the same type of fleas that can infest a cat or dog. Most indoor rabbits that get fleas have acquired them from other indoor pets or when allowed to roam outside in the grass. When a rabbit exhibits excessive scratching, owners should check their rabbit for this parasite. It is also important to check for fleas during grooming sessions.
Fleas can breed and multiply quickly, not only infesting your rabbit but also your home. Rabbits kept outdoors in hutches are also susceptible to fleas. The fleas can take up home on your rabbit, their bedding and hay. Before fleas become a problem, your rabbit and their environment will need to be treated.
There is much debate among owners and even veterinarians on how to treat fleas on a rabbit. The most important factor in using flea treatments is speaking with a veterinarian who is an expert in rabbit care. There are no specific flea treatments made just for rabbits however, most veterinarians will only recommend the topical medication called Advantage from the makers of Bayer. Even for small, dwarf-sized rabbits, Advantage shouldn't be used in full doses.
Advantage is applied at the back of the neck, once a month. Experts warn against using any other type of topical treatments including generic brands. Frontline, another topical flea ointment, is not safe for rabbits as well as those that can be purchased in your local stores. Some rabbit owners have had success with the brand Revolution which also treats ticks and mites but it is important to talk to your veterinarian before using any of these products on your rabbit.
Products to avoid using on your rabbit include flea collars, flea dips and many natural products that are found at pet stores. Even if a product is all natural, does not make it safe for your rabbit. Be aware of any natural flea remedies that contain pennyroyal, peppermint and eucalyptus, these are unsafe for your rabbit.
If your home has other pets such as cats and dogs, have your veterinarian prescribe a topical ointment for those pets. Treat your home with a flea spray that is recommended to be safe for animals. Remove all animals from the home before using these products and keep them away for at least 24 hours after spraying. Carpets can be treated with boric acid like Mule Team, found on the laundry isle of most stores. The best treatment for fleas on any pet is prevention.
RABBITS FOR DUMMIES by Audrey Pavia, copyright 2003