Hair Loss in Rabbits
Oct 24, 2012
If you note any change in your rabbit's usual behaviour, schedule an appointment with a veterinarian in your area that treats rabbits. Veterinarians who have focused their practice on this and other related species are best placed to field any case-specific questions.
Many causes of rabbit skin problems produce similar clinical signs, so professional evaluation is important.
Some causes of hair pulling and skin irritation/itchiness (pruritis) in rabbits include:
- Pregnancy "NORMAL" behaviour
- Cheyletiella fur mites - usually associated with a scaly dermatitis with moderate hair loss
- Ringworm or dermatomycosis (a fungal agent) - usually associated with localized dry, scaling lesions
- Poor husbandry including:
- Rough floor surface
- Contact irritation (use of harsh cleaners for the rabbit hutch or cage)
- Moisture induced dermatitis associated with colonization by Staphyloccocus aureus bacteria; leading to conditions such as "sore hock" (necrotizing plantar pododermatitis) and suppurative and necrotizing dermatitis
- Infection with Pasteurella multocida bacteria; leading to mucopurulent dermatitis
- Nutritional problems such as poor quality or low fibre diets (cause diarrhea and thus increased moisture in fur and around hutch)
- Stress barbering - local or diffuse (widespread) distribution of lesions
- Psoroptes ear mites (rarely, these parasites spread to other areas of the fur apart from the ears, such as thighs or legs)
- Idiopathic (cause not identified)
Some possible treatment options that might be prescribed include:
- Trim back nails very short
- Treat specific cause
- Keep hutch or cage clean and dry and minimize stress
A rabbit will not normally pull large patches of hair out except during nest building, in pregnancy. This situation would be considered a normal nesting behaviour and would require no treatment.