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Anna
Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11136
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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My Holland Lop Rabbits (1yrs old) keeps losing clumps of hair

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My Holland Lop Rabbits (1yrs old) keeps losing clumps of hair on their backs down to their tail, so they have big noticeable bald spots! One also has sores on her back: pairs of 2 round holes that have occurred 2 different times. We've taken them to the vet and they've had injections for mites and also the one with sores got an antibiotic, but it keeps happening? Any idea what it may be and how I can prevent it? Any info. would be appreciated! Thanks! ~Annette
Hello,

Has the vet ever done a skin scraping on the rabbits?

What do the sores look like - do they bleed or ooze, eventually scab over, have jagged edges, look like puncture wounds, - any additional information will help?

Are the rabbits spayed?

Thank you.

Anna
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes the vet did a skin scraping, as both had some dandruff. But they didn't find any evidence of parasites looking in the scope, but gave them the mite injection just in case. The sores, not bleeding. but kind of round with white centers. They do scab over don't have jagged edges, so I can't tell if the one rabbit may be biting the other or not. (BTW the rabbit withOUT the sores just had overgrown teeth that I trimmed with a nail clipper, so I don't know if she could have bitten her sister?)Yes, both of the rabbits were spayed in October. We keep them in separate cages. The only time they are together is when we let them hop outside in our fenced backyard.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Haven't noticed oozing with the sores....
Thank you for getting back to me. It is normal for rabbits to shed enough to develop some small bald spots, but this type of shedding doesn't go on all year. It usually occurs in the fall. You would also see shedding elsewhere on the body.

I suspect that your rabbits are fighting. females, even spayed ones, can get into pretty vicious fights. It would be typical for them to jump on each other's backs and pull out clumps of fur. Since you've already treated for mites, and the skin scarping should have ruled out fungus, you'll need to do a little detective work. The easiest way would be to keep the rabbits separate at all times. Only let one out in the yard at a time. If they've been fighting, it should only take about a week for the sores to heal. New fur will take longer, but within a few weeks, you should see new downy hairs coming in on the bald areas.The other option is to let continue to be in the yard together, but watch them every second to see how they behave.

If no fighting is occurring, or if there's no improvement after a few weeks of separation, the next step will be more testing. There are endocrine disorders that can cause fur loss like this. However, it would be very unlikely that both rabbits would have such a problem. I do believe that fighting is most likely. If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY.

Anna

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for the information... I think the sores could be from fighting, but the hair that is coming our isn't just here or there, but pretty large areas (like the size of one's palm) where I can just pull more out very easily on the border of the bald spot. Would that be from fighting? Could it be their diet? Is it bad to feed bunnies alfalfa pellets? Could that cause shedding?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I've also heard that if rabbits are exposed to too much artificial light, like during the night, that that might cause problems? Sometimes (maybe 3 or 4 times in the past month) we've accidentally left a light on downstairs near the room where we keep the rabbits, could that create shedding problems, as well? Sorry to be bombarding you with so many questions! I just have no idea what's going on and what to help the poor little girls...
Thanks!
No need to apologize - I'm here to help. Timothy pellets are better than alfalfa, but that wouldn't cause excessive shedding. The following link will take you to a site with detailed information on rabbit feeding, including lists of the best produce, and what foods to avoid:

http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/diet.html

The artificial light being on too much would result in all over shedding, not just on the back. Those few nights probably wouldn't be enough to cause a problem anyway. When rabbits pull each other's fur out in clumps, the surrounding hair is loosened.

Since your rabbits seem healthy in every other way, I would start by keeping them separated. again, if there's no improvement in a few weeks, more testing will need to be done. Blood work would be first. If that didn't give any useful results, the next thing would be to see a specialist - a veterinary dermatologist. But, I would start with the simplest thing first - keeping the rabbits separated.

Anna
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you so much for all your help so late at night! :)
You're welcome. I hope that separating the rabbits will solve the problem. If it's something else, it could get complicated to reach a diagnosis.

Have a good night.

Anna

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