Ear mites please help

Rabbit Talk  Forum

Help Support Rabbit Talk Forum:

Stephalazarasus

SandyBeachRabbitry
Joined
Sep 30, 2022
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Location
FL
Hi all. I have a few standard rex that have ear mites. I've never had this issue before, and I can't find any ear mite treatments at any of the local stores. I read that you can use vegetable oil in their ears to suffocate the mites. I was wondering if anyone has tried this and if it worked for you (also how long did it take to clear up). If you have used any of the medical treatments which have you used, did it work, and how fast. I really want to stop their suffering, because they seem miserable. Also can rabbits die from ear mites?
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2022
Messages
841
Reaction score
1,646
Location
Alaska
Hi all. I have a few standard rex that have ear mites. I've never had this issue before, and I can't find any ear mite treatments at any of the local stores. I read that you can use vegetable oil in their ears to suffocate the mites. I was wondering if anyone has tried this and if it worked for you (also how long did it take to clear up). If you have used any of the medical treatments which have you used, did it work, and how fast. I really want to stop their suffering, because they seem miserable. Also can rabbits die from ear mites?
Yes, vegetable oil, mineral oil or olive oil all work. The oil suffocates the mites; put few drops in the ear, and gently massage it around before the rabbit shakes it all out. It does make the rabbit shake its head, which can help get rid of some of the crustiness it has loosened by scratching. How long it takes to clear up depends on how bad the infestation is, but the mites should be dead within a few days unless the crusts are super thick and protecting the mites from the oil. I've never heard of a rabbit dying from ear mites, but a bad infestation can really compromise their health, leading to other ailments that can end in death.

I always go with oil for ear mites, but ivermectin also works. I find fur mites harder to get rid of, so that's when I use ivermectin. We had rabbits come home from the fair one year with both ear and fur mites, and ivermectin took care of them both. I just like to use the lowest-level application I can, and save higher-level drugs like ivermectin for when the simple non-drug stuff won't work. It would be (will be?) a bummer when and if the creepy critters develop resistance to it.
 
Last edited:

hotzcatz

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 15, 2010
Messages
997
Reaction score
651
Location
Hawaii
We get a horse wormer gel which is Ivermectin. Just a dab behind their head or in their ears will fix ear mites as well as wool mites. You can also use Ivermectin drench, with that we just use a syringe without a needle and squirt it in their ear. Or, you can use an injectable version, but we've never done that one.

One application is enough to fix the issue, much easier than the oil in the ear option.
 

Rabbits by Accident

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 22, 2021
Messages
492
Reaction score
565
Location
Fort Worth, TX
We get a horse wormer gel which is Ivermectin. Just a dab behind their head or in their ears will fix ear mites as well as wool mites. You can also use Ivermectin drench, with that we just use a syringe without a needle and squirt it in their ear. Or, you can use an injectable version, but we've never done that one.

One application is enough to fix the issue, much easier than the oil in the ear option.
Just a clarification. Ivermectin is a Nobel prize winning medication for humans and all mammals that I know of. Seriously Nobel prize winning. On the list of most critical medications. Not a "horse wormer".
 

Rabbits by Accident

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 22, 2021
Messages
492
Reaction score
565
Location
Fort Worth, TX
Just a clarification. Ivermectin is a Nobel prize winning medication for humans and all mammals that I know of. Seriously Nobel prize winning. On the list of most critical medications. Not a "horse wormer".
If you buy the 1% injectable liquid ivermectin dosage is one drop per 2 lb with an eyedropper on the back of their neck. If you put it on their foot they will lick it off that works too. I find this to be the easiest way to administer it. I give it to them once in awhile just for the heck of it. I take it myself a lot more often LOL

Don't worry it's super safe, it's made from a bacteria in dirt, and it is virtually impossible to overdose with it. I mistakenly dosed a 2.5 lb kit with 25 lb dose and he's just fine big fat and happy at two and a half years old
 

jani

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 11, 2023
Messages
67
Reaction score
89
Location
quebec canada
I would try with olive oil first... and treat ALL your rabbits. Apply as stated above, swap out with a clean cotton round the next day and repeat every day until no goo on the cotton. Then continue for three days after. If its really bad, then I would go with ivermictin. As stated, it is a great essential medication. Perfectly safe and media is full of caca....nobody has died from it even WHEN they took way too much. Bad stomache ache and funny poops at worst. YES it is used as a horse wormer, cow wormer etc... but was first used in people for all kinds of things and is safe, cheap and effective. I remember mom who was very old school (this is not recommended now that we know more about parasites) but she would worm every critter on the farm on the same day, dogs, cats, horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits and PEOPLE all in a row after the hard frost ground freeze with the exact same tubes of disgusting goo. IVERMICTIN! Mom was a GP who would first do no harm. Well, now we know not to worm if there is no worms but she did what she knew. Thats why I say don't use ivermictin first, even though its a wonder drug, fast and easy. There IS such a thing as parasite resistance just like antibiotic resistance. And depending on what parasite is present, there are now some newer and better medications. Point is, best practice is always to save medications for when they are necessary. Ear mites are a pain but simple to drown in oil. Poor itchy bunnies!
 

Rabbits by Accident

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 22, 2021
Messages
492
Reaction score
565
Location
Fort Worth, TX
I would try with olive oil first... and treat ALL your rabbits. Apply as stated above, swap out with a clean cotton round the next day and repeat every day until no goo on the cotton. Then continue for three days after. If its really bad, then I would go with ivermictin. As stated, it is a great essential medication. Perfectly safe and media is full of caca....nobody has died from it even WHEN they took way too much. Bad stomache ache and funny poops at worst. YES it is used as a horse wormer, cow wormer etc... but was first used in people for all kinds of things and is safe, cheap and effective. I remember mom who was very old school (this is not recommended now that we know more about parasites) but she would worm every critter on the farm on the same day, dogs, cats, horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits and PEOPLE all in a row after the hard frost ground freeze with the exact same tubes of disgusting goo. IVERMICTIN! Mom was a GP who would first do no harm. Well, now we know not to worm if there is no worms but she did what she knew. Thats why I say don't use ivermictin first, even though its a wonder drug, fast and easy. There IS such a thing as parasite resistance just like antibiotic resistance. And depending on what parasite is present, there are now some newer and better medications. Point is, best practice is always to save medications for when they are necessary. Ear mites are a pain but simple to drown in oil. Poor itchy bunnies!
I also used to think you shouldn't worry if there are no worms. There are many many parasites some of which are practically microscopic, for example nematodes which can cross the blood-brain barrier. There was recently a study showing autopsies of people dying of MS every one of them - 100% - had parasites. So I believe animals and ourselves should be on an anti parasite regimen. They try to keep us a bit unhealthy so we make a lot of Pharma money. I go barefoot all the time so I definitely need it LOL

That said, I only give the rabbits Ivermectin about every 6 months or so. Again, it's derived from a bacteria and is very safe. (Taking the injectable formulation orally is a lot less disgusting LOL don't inject it though)
 

jani

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 11, 2023
Messages
67
Reaction score
89
Location
quebec canada
Very interesting that my late mother might have been right after all... and her mother before her! I did dread worm paste day but yes, running around barefoot all the time amongst all kinds of critters and doo doo... and kids are not so very great with handwashing.. chances are I had something more often then not! But what about parasite resistence? Is if maybe wise to switch meds? Test and use whatever specifically works for that bug? Ivermictin is great but not effective on EVERYTHING! Nothing is!
 

Julie Stade

Active member
Joined
May 11, 2023
Messages
25
Reaction score
47
I also used to think you shouldn't worry if there are no worms. There are many many parasites some of which are practically microscopic, for example nematodes which can cross the blood-brain barrier. There was recently a study showing autopsies of people dying of MS every one of them - 100% - had parasites. So I believe animals and ourselves should be on an anti parasite regimen. They try to keep us a bit unhealthy so we make a lot of Pharma money. I go barefoot all the time so I definitely need it LOL

That said, I only give the rabbits Ivermectin about every 6 months or so. Again, it's derived from a bacteria and is very safe. (Taking the injectable formulation orally is a lot less disgusting LOL don't inject it though)
While ivermectin is very useful in rabbits, and I too use it a couple of times a year on the herd to keep all forms of mites (ear/fur/mange) at bay since we actively show, I'm not sure I would describe it as "very safe." People need to keep in mind the dangers of overdose toxicities when treating any species.

 

eco2pia

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Messages
2,084
Reaction score
1,285
Location
western washington
Just a clarification. Ivermectin is a Nobel prize winning medication for humans and all mammals that I know of. Seriously Nobel prize winning. On the list of most critical medications. Not a "horse wormer".
Uh. But the most accessible and economical version available in the united states is marketed as horse wormer? I don't think that anyone is arguing how important it is as an antiparasitic. It is ALSO a "horse wormer", or de-wormer if you prefer.

I actually did not realize that formulation could be used successfully as a topical treatment, thank you @hotzcatz!
 

Rabbits by Accident

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 22, 2021
Messages
492
Reaction score
565
Location
Fort Worth, TX
I am not going to go down the huge rabbit hole of the last 3 years, but in order to introduce an experimental drug to treat a pandemic, there had to be no existing treatment. Ivermectin had to be demonized and was. Anyone wishing more info may contact me privately.

Fenbendazole (another anti-parasite) treats head tilt (my rabbits have never had it, but I knew someone who did have it in his rabbits) (Interesting side note, a guy with terminal cancer cured it with fenbendazole.).

I don't know about building up tolerance, or resistance. It is not an anti-bacterial treatment, it is anti-parasite. I would like to find more info on that. According to the link in previous post it is derived from fermented bacteria just like yogurt, kefir, nattokinase and sourdough. I'm not going to argue or debate. Anyone can contact me privately, I am not going to hijack this thread.

Good luck with your mite situation - I'm sure it will be resolved. My daughter used olive oil in her rabbit's ears and it was fine. She also gave him baths LOL which I didn't think you should do and hei's just fine - a happy house rabbit!
 

Rabbit Warren Man

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 17, 2022
Messages
180
Reaction score
228
Location
Manitoba
I would try with olive oil first... and treat ALL your rabbits. Apply as stated above, swap out with a clean cotton round the next day and repeat every day until no goo on the cotton. Then continue for three days after. If its really bad, then I would go with ivermictin. As stated, it is a great essential medication. Perfectly safe and media is full of caca....nobody has died from it even WHEN they took way too much. Bad stomache ache and funny poops at worst. YES it is used as a horse wormer, cow wormer etc... but was first used in people for all kinds of things and is safe, cheap and effective. I remember mom who was very old school (this is not recommended now that we know more about parasites) but she would worm every critter on the farm on the same day, dogs, cats, horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits and PEOPLE all in a row after the hard frost ground freeze with the exact same tubes of disgusting goo. IVERMICTIN! Mom was a GP who would first do no harm. Well, now we know not to worm if there is no worms but she did what she knew. Thats why I say don't use ivermictin first, even though its a wonder drug, fast and easy. There IS such a thing as parasite resistance just like antibiotic resistance. And depending on what parasite is present, there are now some newer and better medications. Point is, best practice is always to save medications for when they are necessary. Ear mites are a pain but simple to drown in oil. Poor itchy bunnies!
Try diatomaceous earth
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2022
Messages
191
Reaction score
217
Location
Western South Dakota, USA
Yes, vegetable oil, mineral oil or olive oil all work. The oil suffocates the mites; put few drops in the ear, and gently massage it around before the rabbit shakes it all out. It does make the rabbit shake its head, which can help get rid of some of the crustiness it has loosened by scratching. How long it takes to clear up depends on how bad the infestation is, but the mites should be dead within a few days unless the crusts are super thick and protecting the mites from the oil. I've never heard of a rabbit dying from ear mites, but a bad infestation can really compromise their health, leading to other ailments that can end in death.

I always go with oil for ear mites, but ivermectin also works. I find fur mites harder to get rid of, so that's when I use ivermectin. We had rabbits come home from the fair one year with both ear and fur mites, and ivermectin took care of them both. I just like to use the lowest-level application I can, and save higher-level drugs like ivermectin for when the simple non-drug stuff won't work. It would be (will be?) a bummer when and if the creepy critters develop resistance to it.
I'm not sure they do develop a resistance to it. It's my understanding that ppl in parts of Africa take Ivermectin prophylactically as a matter of schedule. And it still works. It seems to me that thay'd have had to come up with something new by now if li'l meanies developed a resistance to it.
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2022
Messages
191
Reaction score
217
Location
Western South Dakota, USA
Very interesting that my late mother might have been right after all... and her mother before her! I did dread worm paste day but yes, running around barefoot all the time amongst all kinds of critters and doo doo... and kids are not so very great with handwashing.. chances are I had something more often then not! But what about parasite resistence? Is if maybe wise to switch meds? Test and use whatever specifically works for that bug? Ivermictin is great but not effective on EVERYTHING! Nothing is!
From what I've read, people who do parasite cleanses alternate Ivermectin with Fenbendazole on a schedule. Apparently one kills the eggs and the other gets the worms. Unfortunately I don't remember which. 🙄 I'm not having much luck finding anything specific just now...
 

Julie Stade

Active member
Joined
May 11, 2023
Messages
25
Reaction score
47
I'm not sure they do develop a resistance to it. It's my understanding that ppl in parts of Africa take Ivermectin prophylactically as a matter of schedule. And it still works. It seems to me that thay'd have had to come up with something new by now if li'l meanies developed a resistance to it.
(<<Past infectious disease PA) We've been seeing resistance to ivermectin in certain parasites since the 1990s, so it certainly can be an issue. All species adapt over time to their environments, and if that environment includes the vast majority of the population being wiped out by ivermectin regularly, it's the survivors which stick around to reproduce and pass on their resistance. Fortunately, for now, it's still pretty effective against a large number of significant parasites.
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2022
Messages
841
Reaction score
1,646
Location
Alaska
I'm not sure they do develop a resistance to it. It's my understanding that ppl in parts of Africa take Ivermectin prophylactically as a matter of schedule. And it still works. It seems to me that thay'd have had to come up with something new by now if li'l meanies developed a resistance to it.
The relationship between parasites and hosts is kind of an arms race. For every way an organism finds to rebuff a parasite, the parasite seems to be able, eventually, to find a way around it. Those types of organisms have found ways to survive just about every chemical and mechanical attack, even to physical dismemberment (chop up some worms, you get more). As a matter of fact, while ivermectin is an astonishingly effective antihelminth, insecticide and anti-viral, and even seems to be useful in fighting cancer, resistance to the drug is already being seen in a group of parasitic nematodes (Martin, Robertson and Choudhary, 2020, see link below). Thus, increasing parasitic resistance to this wonder drug is a serious concern.

The going thought is that ivermectin binds to glutamate-gated chloride channels in the cells of nematodes and insects; it basically holds these channels open, allowing a chloride ion influx which causes hyperpolarization of the cell. So, changes in the chemistry or cell wall physiology in parasitic nematodes or insects, for instance, could make the parasites resistant to ivermectin. Parasitologists studying this concluded that, "A few amino acid changes in the sequence of any of the subunits may alter the ivermectin sensitivity of the channel significantly." (see link)

Since these types of changes historically appear to be the result of "random" mutations, there is no saying when or where such a mutation might occur. It may never happen, or it might take a long time... or it might not take long at all. The problem with taking any drug prophylactically or often, especially one with such a wide range of action on so many species, is that you are exposing a wide range of species (nearly everything in your body, as ivermectin even crosses the blood-brain barrier) to repeated doses of the drug, whether they are the target of your therapy or not. When any of them live through your dosing - which was perhaps an effective dose for the parasite you were targeting, but an ineffective dose for other parasites lurking in your tissues - you run the risk of those survivors going on to produce an entire line of survivors, aka a resistant line, without ever being aware that's what's happening, until you or someone else develops a clinically relevant overpopulation of that newly-resistant organism.

Here is an excellent review paper by Martin, Robertson and Choudhary about ivermectin, its actions and areas of resistance, from which I've drawn the data, quotes and some of the conclusions noted above:

As far as saftey, I agree that it is very safe; therapeutic doses run the range of 150 to 200 μg/kg to ruminants, pigs, horses, or humans. Contrast that with the doses necessary to induce toxicity in monkeys (24 000 μg/kg) and in beagles (80 000 μg/kg).

There is interesting and reassuring information about human toxicity from INCHEM.org, (WHO’s website for “Internationally Peer Reviewed Chemical Safety Information”)- INCHEM.org Section 7.2.1 Human Data.
According to that publication, the margin of error for invermectin overdose reported in mammals is quite large, even in collies, which are known to be sensitive:
Section 7.2.2 Collie dogs have been shown to be more sensitive than other dogs to the toxic effects of ivermectin. Depression, tremors, mydriasis, ataxia, coma and death have been seen in Collie dogs at 100 ðg/kg orally and greater, but not at the recommended dose of the commercial product (6 ðg/kg) (Campbell & Benz, 1984).
(Another collie study of injectable ivermectin found that they can suffer from normal therapeutic doses of 200-250 microg/kg given via injection, see Ivermectin toxicity in 17 collies - PubMed.)
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 24, 2022
Messages
191
Reaction score
217
Location
Western South Dakota, USA
The relationship between parasites and hosts is kind of an arms race. For every way an organism finds to rebuff a parasite, the parasite seems to be able, eventually, to find a way around it. Those types of organisms have found ways to survive just about every chemical and mechanical attack, even to physical dismemberment (chop up some worms, you get more). As a matter of fact, while ivermectin is an astonishingly effective antihelminth, insecticide and anti-viral, and even seems to be useful in fighting cancer, resistance to the drug is already being seen in a group of parasitic nematodes (Martin, Robertson and Choudhary, 2020, see link below). Thus, increasing parasitic resistance to this wonder drug is a serious concern.

The going thought is that ivermectin binds to glutamate-gated chloride channels in the cells of nematodes and insects; it basically holds these channels open, allowing a chloride ion influx which causes hyperpolarization of the cell. So, changes in the chemistry or cell wall physiology in parasitic nematodes or insects, for instance, could make the parasites resistant to ivermectin. Parasitologists studying this concluded that, "A few amino acid changes in the sequence of any of the subunits may alter the ivermectin sensitivity of the channel significantly." (see link)

Since these types of changes historically appear to be the result of "random" mutations, there is no saying when or where such a mutation might occur. It may never happen, or it might take a long time... or it might not take long at all. The problem with taking any drug prophylactically or often, especially one with such a wide range of action on so many species, is that you are exposing a wide range of species (nearly everything in your body, as ivermectin even crosses the blood-brain barrier) to repeated doses of the drug, whether they are the target of your therapy or not. When any of them live through your dosing - which was perhaps an effective dose for the parasite you were targeting, but an ineffective dose for other parasites lurking in your tissues - you run the risk of those survivors going on to produce an entire line of survivors, aka a resistant line, without ever being aware that's what's happening, until you or someone else develops a clinically relevant population of that organism.

Here is an excellent review paper by Martin, Robertson and Choudhary about ivermectin, its actions and areas of resistance, from which I've drawn the data, conclusions and quotes noted above:

As far as saftey, I agree that it is very safe; therapeutic doses run the range of 150 to 200 μg/kg to ruminants, pigs, horses, or humans. Contrast that with the doses necessary to induce toxicity in monkeys (24 000 μg/kg) and in beagles (80 000 μg/kg).

There is interesting and reassuring information about human toxicity from INCHEM.org, (WHO’s website for “Internationally Peer Reviewed Chemical Safety Information”)- INCHEM.org Section 7.2.1 Human Data.
According to that publication, the margin of error for invermectin overdose reported in mammals is quite large, even in collies, which are known to be sensitive:
Section 7.2.2 Collie dogs have been shown to be more sensitive than other dogs to the toxic effects of ivermectin. Depression, tremors, mydriasis, ataxia, coma and death have been seen in Collie dogs at 100 ðg/kg orally and greater, but not at the recommended dose of the commercial product (6 ðg/kg) (Campbell & Benz, 1984).
(Another collie study of injectable ivermectin found that they can suffer from normal therapeutic doses of 200-250 microg/kg given via injection, see Ivermectin toxicity in 17 collies - PubMed.)
Fascinating! Thanks so much!
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2022
Messages
841
Reaction score
1,646
Location
Alaska
While ivermectin is very useful in rabbits, and I too use it a couple of times a year on the herd to keep all forms of mites (ear/fur/mange) at bay since we actively show, I'm not sure I would describe it as "very safe." People need to keep in mind the dangers of overdose toxicities when treating any species.

Interesting link; I had not seen that study, thank you!

However, the "therapeutic dosing" in Mahmoud et al - every week for a month in bucks, or daily from the 6th - 28th day of pregnancy in does - is a far cry from any actual practice I've ever seen in real life. The sample sizes were quite small (5 rabbits/group), and the paper failed to provide either cumulative data or any measure of statistical significance of the differences among the results from the control groups versus the test groups. In fact, while the summaries and images provided were intriguing, the fact that there seemed to be no reporting of results in the control groups at all was disconcerting.

So in my reading of this study, Mahmoud et al suggested that significantly overdosing with ivermectin may produce negative effects, which is not surprising. However, your point is taken: there are always dangers in administering drugs, no matter how relatively safe they are perceived to be... Which is a reason to be careful with dosing, and to avoid drug use entirely when there are other even less risky alternatives (e.g. oil for ear mites). :)
 

Rabbit Tree Farm

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 22, 2023
Messages
52
Reaction score
102
Location
Blue Ridge
If the general population could think critically, ivermectin is an excellent and safe parasitic, but that does not make it a safe and effective antiviral. My uncle believed the hype, decided since the media demonized it it was safe to treat his complicated covid case. Sadly, since he chose that treatment over targeted treatment, he did pass away from covid complications. Not from ivermectin use. But because he did not take the recomme ded antivirals believing the iver would save him.

We have to be able to make these distinctions. I only share in hopes it might help someone. ❤️
 
Top