How Does My Rabbit Get Fleas?

2 rabbits in hutch

\\\ Pet Rabbit Fleas

Why Do Pet Rabbits Catch Fleas?

Rabbit munching on greens

Pet rabbits can catch fleas just as cats and dogs

Can my pet rabbit catch fleas? The simple answer is yes. They are more prone to catching them if they live alongside your dog or cat indoors than they are living outside in hutches.

More than a third of the million UK population of pet rabbits are estimated as living indoors so this is an important health risk to keep a close an eye on.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a flea? A tiny insect that lives off of the blood of a host, such as a pet rabbit. They jump on pet rabbits and other pets such as dogs and cats and continue to live on them, in their fur, whilst feeding off their blood.

Flea
Picture of a flea magnified

How do I know my pet rabbit has fleas? 

There are signs which are –

  • Persistent and excessive itching and biting themselves
  • Excessive licking Visible bite marks
  • Bald scaly patches of skin 
  • Visible signs of tiny fleas in coats or on skin 
  • Sometimes other symptoms appearing 

Some pet rabbits may not show symptoms, so regular checks, combing out their coats are important. 

When do they occur? Fleas are more common in some climates and seasons, but fleas occur all year round, particularly jumping between pets, such as dogs and cats. Outdoor pet rabbits are less prone due to less contact with other pets, however indoor pet rabbits can suffer just as much as other indoor pets.

What should I do? If you’re a new pet owner then it is best to get this checked immediately by a veterinarian.

They will establish if they are just fleas, or other insects, by doing a physical examination by flea combing and analyse what other parasites are present such as skin mites. They will want to determine whether your pet rabbit is suffering from other allergic reactions and whether ear mites are present. 

Young pet rabbits, in particular, can suffer from anaemia, partly caused by the fleas sucking of blood, and vets will organise routine blood tests for analysis. 

Can I buy flea treatments? If a new pet rabbit owner and the first occasion then it’s advisable to visit your veterinarian who will give you guidelines and possible products that they use as there is no product particularly manufactured currently for the pet rabbit market.

As usual, always read the information on the packet carefully before using.

Should I use a pet rabbit flea collar? Avoid buying rabbit flea collars as these are unsafe, can cause the rabbit accidents and the collar can cause reactions with the skin, going as far as causing burns. 

Do not give your pet rabbit a flea dip bath – this is deadly – and can cause them distress

If I have a pet rabbit with fleas should I treat my other pets? Yes, it’s important to flea your pets regularly and at the same time, but using treatments specially prepared for a cat or dog. 

How often do I need to flea my pet rabbit? If you have a pet household, then it is likely that you are fleeing those pets possibly monthly already, so it’s advisable to make sure your rabbit is treated at the same time. The treatments you use can vary the time that those companies suggest between treatments from a month to sometimes up to three month’s, so it’s always important to read carefully the instructions before commencing treatments.

Does my pet rabbit insurance pay for treatments? The answer most certainly is ‘no.’ Insurance companies expect their customers to keep up routine treatments with all their pets. Check your policy if in doubt.

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