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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11071
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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My rabbit is losing fur on his back. He keeps biting ...

Customer Reply

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
My rabbit is losing fur on his back. He keeps biting at his back and his skin is flaking. How do I treat this?
Expert:  Anna replied 8 years ago.
Hi Jennifer,

Is your rabbit's skin red and irritated, or just flaking and dry?

What color are the flakes of skin?

Is his back actually getting bald?

What do you feed him?

Thank you for the additional information. I'll post your answer a few minutes after I receive your reply.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Anna's Post: Hi Anna,

His fur is thinning in a small area (mid-back) He is not bald yet, and the flakes are small and white. I feed him Timothy hay and the regular rabbit pellets. I just want him to be able to grow his fur back, and not have to bite at his back so often. Is there anything that I can do?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hi Anna,

His skin isn't red, it doesn't look irritated. The white flakes are small.
Expert:  Anna replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for getting back to me. There are several potential causes of a skin condition like this. However, the most likely is fur mites. Often, the only symptom of these pests is flaky skin that resembles dandruff in humans. As the infestation progresses, the rabbit may start losing hair excessively, resulting in bald spots. Fur mites cannot be seen with the naked eye, and many times they don't even show up when a vet does a skin scraping. Many vets will treat a rabbit for fur mites even if the skin scraping shows nothing, if the rabbit has the symptoms. Fur mites are treated with selamectin (sold as Revolution or Stronghold). It is applied to the skin between the shoulder blades.

If the flakes are crusty, you may be dealing with sarcoptic mange. This is also caused by a parasite. It is treated with injections of ivermectin. With this condition, you'll often find most of the flakes around the ears, eyes, nouth, and feet, so that doesn't seem likely in your rabbit's case.

From your description, the fur mites seem most likely. However, you'll need to have a vet examine your rabbit for a certain diagnosis and to get proper treatment. The drugs you'll need are only available by prescription. Sometimes rabbit owners try to save some money by treating with remedies they can buy in pet stores. Most of them don't work, and some of them are downright dangerous for rabbits. You can read more about skin conditions and treatment at this site:

This is not an emergency, but you'll need to make an appointment with a vet soon. This link will take you to a directory of rabbit vets:

If you can't find one near you, and you have to go to a vet who isn't familiar with rabbits, it might be a good idea to print out the page at the first link I gave you to take along to your appointment. Do be sure that no one gives you Frontline to use on a rabbit - it can be fatal.

You're feeding your rabbit a good diet. You may want to gradually add a few greens, such as parsley, romaine lettuce (or other leafy lettuce, but not iceberg), cilantro. Fur mites are not caused by anything you've done wrong. There really isn't anything you can do at home that will effectively remove them. The treatments a vet can prescribe should quickly clear them up.

If you have any more questions about this, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your rabbit's skin problem will be quickly diagnosed and remedied.


(If you find my answer helpful, please click on ACCEPT. Thank you.)

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