Rabbit Flea is the common name for Spilopsyllus cuniculi. These parasites are found most commonly on rabbits and hares in the wild although what with more people having pet rabbits nowadays, they can also infest house pets. The Rabbit Flea is slightly different in shape to the more common fleas (human, cat, dog) that infest us and as they are found in the wild, they are known to bite walkers, ramblers and hunters. They are around a millimetre in length and dark brown in color and feed of the blood of a host (bunny/hare).
These parasites are carriers of Myxomatosis, which is a viral infection fatal to rabbits. If your bunny has fleas, it is important to have them removed as soon as possible - as early detection could save their life. The parasites are known to assemble around the ears and neck and cause discomfort. Signs of fleas could be itching and damaging the skin around the ears. It is always worth regularly checking their fur for flea dirt, left behind by the pests. If you have a house rabbit, it may be that the pet has contracted fleas from your cat, so ensure a thorough search of all pets in the home and yard.
Rabbit flea control - Spilopsyllus cuniculi reproduce in a different way to the human (Pulex Irritans), cat (Ctenocephalides felis) or dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis). Their life cycle is similar to the Ctenocephalides but the female rabbit flea must feed off a pregnant bunny before being able to lay eggs! The rabbit flea is more likely to mate when around pregnant female hares or new born bunnies. You may therefore be better off in this sense if you only have one pet rabbit, and itís a non-pregnant male?
Rabbits with Fleas
Always consult your veterinarian for which Rabbit flea treatment is best to use on your pet. There are several treatments you could buy for kittens, puppies, cats and dogs but these are very unlikely to be suitable for bunnies. You will always have to control any parasites in the area where your pet lives and sleeps, as fleas will lay eggs and reproduce at rapid rates. Always look for products that will kill both the adult flees as well as the eggs and larvae. However, be sure that they donít include pennyroyal (which can kill bunnies). The most common treatments for rabbit fleas are powders, combing and sprays. Itís recommended that you try at least two of these methods (if not all) as combing alone will not completely rid the bunny of parasites. Use the spray for the area where the pet lives (but be sure to remove your bunny while you spray - always read the instructions). As for powders, there are many insecticides on line, but you will want one thatís rabbit-friendly.
With any parasitic problem, prevention and control are key factors when it comes to your pets. None of us want our pets to get fleas, as they are uncomfortable, damaging to their health and possibly fatal in some cases. Ensure you visit our pages on prevention and control, along with flea season so you can be prepared before you (and your pet) have a problem on your hands. Use powders, vacuum and clean regularly. Don't let wild rabbits like those in the video below bring parasites into your yard!
Rabbits and Fleas
Details and Info to help if your rabbit has fleas
Learn about the subject of the flees and wild hares
Frontline and Advantage for control of pests
Naturally protect your pets with treatment, medication and remedies
Visit your Veterinary Clinic for a vaccination
Signs and symptoms of a rabbit with fleas
Treat your bunny flees fast and help them recover quickly