Source:  Scabies    Tag:  what are scabies

Hello everybody, in this entrance I´ll comment about scabies and my experience controlling it in two oportunities. This disease is common in every place, farm and pets, so there should be more than one interested in this topic.

What is scabies?

Scabies is a skin infection caused by parasites (mites) like Sarcoptes scabei (var cuniculi) and Psoroptes communis (vas cuniculi)


What types of scabies exist?

There are two types of scabies: Sarcoptic and psoroptic, both of them caused by its specific mite. However, the first one is the most dangerous due to the magnitude and incidence.

How are scabies injuries?

Sarcoptic scabies: The injuries can be seen in the nose, footpad and ears. In the footpad, there is hair absence and crusts all over it. In some cases it can bleed, and looks as if the skin is breaking up. The skin turns rough. Crusts can be seen in the nose and the ears contour seem also to be breaking up. It is not possible to visualize the mite, because the male mite is 150 - 250 microns.

Psoroptic scabies: Crusts inside the ear up to 2 inches thick. Sharpening the view the mite can be seen walking between the crusts.

Sarcoptic Scabies: Injuries in the ear

How do I make sure my rabbits have scabies?

Injuries inside the ear (Psoroptic scabies) is not actually a sign of scabies, it can also be a dermatitis or an injurie caused by fungus. The best thing to do is asking the vet for help, who will make a skin scrape.

How come these mites to my rabbits?

In many ways. Mostly by contact with diseased animales or by contact with a person who has been on a farm that had scabies. Wild birds can drop mites over rabbits, even the wind can transport mites. So mites might be in the environment, but if  you add one of the these forms of transmission, the quantity of mites increase and the problem is triggered.


The cure?

Applying 3 to 4 doses at intervals of one week of 0.4mg of Ivermectin by Kilogram (Depending of th product, this might equal 0.04 mL by kilogram) subcutaneously. To do this you take the skin of the back, and this drug is injected in the sking with a syringe. In the past, breeders used to apply ointment (Diazinon 1% or Neguvon 2%) but these left toxic substances in the animal´s meat. Other treatments consist on using kerosene or car´s oil, but this is not recommended  since it can cause intoxication.

Application in pets is the same, in some petshops you can acquire the syringe with the drug instead of the vial.

After one week of treatment, you start seeing improvements. So dont expect it to dissapear the next day.

How to prevent scabies?

If mites are in the environment, with good ventilation, good food and constant cleaning, mites shouldnt appear. People often fails with ventilation and contact with infected animals, so if you pick up a stray dog, your rabbit won´t  like it.

Sarcoptic Scabies: Injuries on the footpad

Own experience

I had this problem twice; however, after applying the mentioned treatment, mites completely dissapeared. If you asked yourself, why applying every week?, the answer is very simple, mite´s cycle repeat every 12 days, so If you applied one week and then nothing else, in two weeks scabies will reappear and even worse than the first time. Why? because not every mite or egg died with the first application, so you must continue the treatment for four weeks. I also recommend cleaning the rabbit´s cage with an acaricide after the first and last day of treatment. 

Important note: Do not abuse of drugs, ivermectin is toxic for the liver if you use it continuously. So respect the four weeks treatment and thats all.

A terrible infestation