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I think my rabbit has Dandruff

 dreamstime 9884589Q.    I think my rabbit has dandruff!  Is this possible and how can it be treated?

A.    The most common cause of white flakes in a rabbit’s fur is a mite called Cheyletiella.

The reaction to it varies between rabbits – some show more irritation and itchiness than others.  You will see lots of small white flakes, which are the mites themselves (“walking dandruff”) along with skin flakes.

It is possible for people to develop a skin reaction to the mite, though this is relatively rare.

The condition is more common when groups of rabbits are housed together.  It can enter the group through contaminated bedding and, as a disease, is quite common.  Most vets diagnose it by looking at skin scrapes under a microscope and treat it with a medication called ivermectin which is an injection given every 2 weeks for 3 injections.  Along with each injection the housing area is cleaned and disinfected.  Some vets will also recommend usage of sprays, which would normally be used to treat flea infestation of a house to clear mites in the environment.

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