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Well-known member
Jan 4, 2022
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Southwestern Ontario
Are some rabbits more prone to ear mites than others? Logically, I wouldn’t think so, because it doesnt have anything to do with the immune system, but an outside mite that just finds their ears. But my experience so far is interesting. I have two does in the same hutch (separated in their own areas, but can touch each other through the wall if they wanted, so their environments combine) and same with my bucks. One doe and one buck have ear mites but the other housed with them, does not. Where it gets even more interesting is they have litters. They are housed on the opposite side of the yard. It just so happens we bred the two that have mites together and the two that don’t have mites together, this was back in May, the litters are being processed this week.. but... today I realized the litter of the ones with mites, now have ear mites, as well. Also note, their parents did not have mites when the litter was still with mom. It didn’t appear until 6 weeks after the litter was already weaned. They did not pick it up from the parents and the litters only appeared just now. And the litter from the parents that don’t have mites, do not have mites even though they are housed near the litter with mites. They dont have immediate contact like my buck and does, but I’d think close enough to transfer things. Hutches are only a couple feet apart.
So... clearly to me it seems the genetics of those parents are somehow making them more susceptible? Is this possible with mites? I clearly don’t want problem rabbits. We treated the adults, even ones without mites, with ivermectin. The scabs cleared up in their ears and we did their second dose 3 days ago, but I noticed one has scabs back. We plan to repeat one more dose in ten days, but I don’t want to keep the ones with it, if they keep getting it for no apparent reason, especially when the others arent.

Thoughts from experienced members, please?
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Interesting question.

@ladysown has worked hard with her rabbits to eliminate health problems through culling, but I don't know if that includes a susceptibility to ear mites.

I wonder if it could be like people being bothered by mosquitoes. Some people just seem to attract them while another person standing right next to them is not bothered at all. There are various theories about that, but I don't know if any of them are applicable to rabbits and ear mites.
i did it successfully with guinea pigs. They can be HUGELY prone to mites, so I culled anything that got infested. Took about four years and I rarely got infestations in my herd. Don't breed anything that gets any health issue EVER. Ear mites are not... just don't breed it.
Very interesting! I wonder what the difference is between the rabbits causing the susceptibility. For example, we’d give our dog tablets, which upped levels of nutrients in its blood to naturally prevent fleas, they’d bite and then not like it. Maybe it’s similar to that.
But exactly, we want healthy animals, not only for their benefit and easier care, but for healthy meat.
An experienced breeder here in Ohio, shared with me that birds can spread mites to the rabbits. My cages are under a tree that has a LOT of bird nests, bird droppings, and the occational bird playing on or beneath the cages. So I'm keeping an eye out.
Everything is genetic & linked together. Even personality, food/color/music preferences, predisposition to illnesses and cancers & so on.

How severely you cull is up to you. If you use oil and it keeps coming back, try ivermectin. But if it returns again, cull. Unless this isn't something that bothers you or slows productivity.

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