Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Ear mites

Synonym(s): Canker, Ear mange

Contributor(s): Ron Rees Davies, Richard Saunders, David Scarff

Introduction

  • Cause: infestation with the psoroptid mite Psoroptes cuniculi Psoroptes cuniculi is common in domestic rabbits.
  • Signs: mites may be carried with little or no symptoms, or may cause severe disease. Affected ears have moderate to severe crusting on the medial aspect of the pinna and ear canal. Disease may be unilateral and affected ear may be held horizontal. Infestation of the area around the ear may be noted and may spread to affect the neck, flanks and perineum.
  • Diagnosis: clinical signs, observation of mites on otoscopic exam or via microscopy.
  • Treatment: ivermectin Ivermectin, selamectin Selamectin.
  • Prognosis: good.
Print off the Owner Factsheets on Ear canker and Mites and skin parasites to give to your clients.

Acute presentation

  • Affected ears are heavy with crusting of the medial aspect of the pinna and ear canal.
  • Crusts are tightly adherent and bleeding occurs when they are removed.
  • Pruritus Dermatology: pruritus is common - rabbits rub affected ears. Excoriation of the skin around the pinnae and neck may occur due to self trauma.
  • Disease may be unilateral or bilateral.
  • Otitis media Otitis media / interna is rare in affected animals.
  • Pruritus can progress to apparent seizures, especially if ears touched or topical treatment applied.
  • In debilitated animals skin lesions may occur elsewhere, especially on the face and neck.

Geographic incidence

  • Worldwide.
  • Morbidity:
    • Many animals in a group may be affected, although symptomless carriage does occur.
    • All animals in a group should be assumed to be affected.
  • Mortality: severe infestation may contribute to demise of debilitated rabbits.

Pathogenesis

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Sequelae

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Bulliot C, Mentr√© V, Marignac G et al (2013) A case of atypical psoroptic mange in a domestic rabbit. JEPM 22 (4), 400-404 VetMedResource.
  • Scarff D (2008) Skin diseases of pet rabbits. UK Vet: Companion Animal 13 (2), 66-75 VetMedResource.
  • McTier T L, Hair J A, Walstrom D J et al (2003) Efficacy and safety of topical administration of selamectin for treatment of ear mite infestation in rabbits. JAVMA 223 (3), 322-324 PubMed.
  • White S D, Bourdeau P J & Meredith A (2003) Dermatologic problems of rabbits. Comp Cont Educ 25 (2), 90-101 VetMedResource.
  • Cutler S L (1998) Ectopic Psoroptes cuniculi infestation in a pet rabbit. JSAP 39 (2), 86-87 PubMed.
  • Clyde V L (1996) Practical treatment and control of common ectoparasites in exotic pets. Vet Med 91 (7), 632-637 VetMedResource.
  • Morrisey J K (1996) Parasites of ferrets, rabbits and rodents. Semin Avian Exotic Pet Med 5 (2), 106-114 ScienceDirect.
  • Harvey C (1995) Rabbit and rodent skin diseases. Semin Avian Exotic Pet Med 4 (4), 195-204 ScienceDirect.
  • Hillyer E V (1994) Pet rabbits. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 24 (1), 25-65 PubMed.
  • Curtis S K & Brooks D L (1990) Eradication of ear mites from naturally infested conventional research rabbits using ivermectin. Lab Anim Sci 40 (4), 406-8 PubMed.
  • Curtis S K, Houseley R, Brooks D L (1990) Use of ivermectin for treatment of ear mite infestation in rabbits. JAVMA 196 (7), 1139-1140 PubMed.
  • Arlian L G, Kaiser S, Estes S A et al (1981) Infestivity of Psoroptes cuniculi in rabbits. Am J Vet Res 42 (10), 1782-1784 PubMed.
  • Bjotvedt G & Geib L W (1981) Otitis media associated with Staphylococcus epidermis and Psoroptes cuniculi in a rabbit. Vet Med Small Anim Clin 76 (7), 1015-1016 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Varga M (2014) Skin Disease. In: Textbook of Rabbit Medicine. 2nd end. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, UK. pp 271-302.
  • Hack R J et al (2001) Efficiacy and Safety of Two Different Dose Rates of Selamectin Against Naturally Acquired Infestations of Psoroptes cuniculi in Rabbits. In: Proc BSAVA Conference. pp 552.


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