Parasite preventatives are a big region of discussion in our cats and dogs, however many rabbit and guinea pig owners are unsure if their animals require regular worming and flea preventatives.
As a general rule, regular parasite products should not be required in these little critters. It is important to recognise that rabbits and guinea pigs are very different and cannot be treated the same!
We do occasionally see parasites in our bunnies, which are usually external parasites. Fur mites, ear mites and fleas are the most common bugs we see in our rabbits and are all very easily treated with Revolution (selamectin). Revolution is available from most vet clinics and pet stores, however the dose used in cats and dogs is not always applicable to our bunnies. It is always best to double check with your vet if you are not getting improvement, as there may be something other than parasites causing issues.
Fur mites are also sometimes called ‘walking dandruff’ and can cause flaky white itchy skin in bunnies. They can be an indicator of underlying disease. Ear mites cause crusty woody material to proliferate down the ear canal, and this can cause secondary bacterial infections to occur. They are usually very irritating and itchy, and cause a lot of discomfort in our rabbits. Fleas are the same as what we see in dogs and cats. Rabbits whom live in households with dogs and cats are more likely to experience problems with fleas. They are dark, black bugs that leave black flea faeces throughout the coat.
In guinea pigs we can see ear mites, fur mites and less commonly fleas. Fur mites are by far the most problematic and can result in significant hair loss, itchy skin, secondary infections and even seizures occurring due to the marked irritation!
Treatment for guinea pigs is often best with injectable medications administered by your veterinarian.
As parasites are so uncommon in these little guys, we certainly recommend a check up if you are having issues!