Home Remedy For Rabbits With Ear Mites

4.46 out of 5 [13 Votes]

If you are going to raise rabbits, then eventually you’ll have the problem of ‘ear mites’.  It is pretty easy to diagnose; there is an ever growing build-up of gunk in their ears.  If left untreated, they get more and more lethargic, stop eating, and I am not sure what else because I’ve never let it get that far.  But I presume it eventually leads to a miserable death.

ear mites in rabbit ear 3 web size

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill is an older friend got me started in raising rabbits.  He gave me his technique on treating ear mites.  Bill uses drops of campho-phenique in the rabbits ears (campho-phenique is an over the counter medication for cold sores).  Bill told me not to worry about getting out the crud, just get the drops in down far enough to work, and the rabbit will scratch all the junk out.

 

As the mites die from the campho-phenique, they tickle the rabbits ears and sure enough, the rabbits would shake their heads and scratch out all the gunk.   It works.

 

I’ve successfully treated many rabbits with campho-phenique.

 

But always in the back of my mind I wondered, what would I do if I couldn’t get Campho-Phenique?  Yes, yes, that old “store closing” concern.  But I am also in love with the idea of true self-reliance.  So I hit the web and checked out a bunch of options on home remedies using medicine I could grow or find myself.

 

I decided to try the “honey” method for treating the mites.  And I want to report that it is working very well.

 

Unlike Bills original method, first I used tweezers to clean out the biggest pieces of gunk from the rabbits ears.  I probably would have worked without cleaning it, but the big plug.  I just couldn’t stand seeing it there.  I made a mixture of about a teaspoon of honey and two teaspoons of warm water.  I put about 2 or 3 dropperfuls of the honey mixture into each ear and massaged so it would get way down in there.

 

I applied this twice a day for the first few days and then switched to once per day.

 

It’s been about a week now and I can see that this method is very effective.  The ears are almost completely clean and the rabbit is much, much happier.

 

Apparently, mites have a 21 day life cycle.

 

Why is that important?  Well, it means you have to make sure you treat for that long just to ensure you’ve wiped out every last possible egg or reproducing adult.  Here is a link to a handy pdf file describing ear mites, along with skin and fur mites too.  http://www.mybunny.org/info/mites.pdf   I will warn you though, the treatments they recommend are chemically oriented.  But the rest of the information is good and the photos of these microscopic creatures are fascinating.

 

I am planning to switch to applying the honey mix once every two days pretty soon.

 

FYI, yes, the rabbits fur just below the ears gets a little sticky when the honey mixture gets on it.  It dries out and stiffens there, but it is not a problem and doesn’t hurt the rabbit.  Every couple of days I use a piece of cloth and some warm water to clean the area.

 

If this treatment ultimately doesn’t work, I‘ll let you know, but from what I am seeing so far, this is an excellent home remedy for treating ear mites in rabbits.  The next time the problem comes up, I might try another home remedy just to test out different techniques.

 

Stay tuned!

 

If you’ve successfully treated rabbit ear mites, please do put a comment down below.

 

Home Remedy For Rabbits With Ear Mites

40 Comments on Home Remedy For Rabbits With Ear Mites

  1. gena

    Do these treatments work with other animals with ear mites, aka dogs and cat? It sounds like if it will work with pets that could save a lot of people a lot of money spent for vet visits.

  2. Cory

    Brought my cat to the vet with ear mites and was told mineral oil works as a home remedy for cats and dogs. Of course they wanted to give my cat a $25 treatment but having 7 cats and dogs I decided to try the mineral oil. I would imagine it would work on bunnies also.

  3. Nora Wilson

    I have always used mineral oil. We keep a good supply around in our animal first aid box along with bag balm etc… I do wipe out the gunk from the mites because I like the bunnies to look clean and happy. We also use warm mineral oil for people earaches especially on cold, windy winter days when we have to work outside. We use a little cotton to keep the oil in and the wind out.

  4. heloise

    I think if rabbit or anybody has something going on in the ears, that is a sign something not right is going on in the intestines maybe from food or stress… because the ears are connected to the internal organs, for example intestines,

    • Marjory Wildcraft

      Hi Heloise,

      Yes, that is the next area to look into. Vitamin deficiencies or digestive problems.

  5. Mary Jane Lawrence

    Mineral oil has worked well on our rabbits. The 21 day cycle is news to me. I’ve never had to treat more than one time for success. Maybe just lucky.
    -And I take the gunk out with tweezers too. If I had that crap in my ear I’d want it out ASAP.

  6. For cleaning mites out of rabbit ears, try hydrogen peroxide, which can be found in any drug store. I use it to clean ear wax out of my ears. I just pour a very little into a small empty jar lid. I lie down and pour the peroxide into my ear, leaving it up to five minutes. Then I rinse it out with a bulb syringe and warm water. A rabbit’s ears may not need to be rinsed out.

    OATS-FED CHICKENS LAY MORE EGGS. I read that chickens don’t lay any/many eggs in winter because of the cold. But a couple found out that when they were fed OATS to the chickens, they laid more eggs. It’s worth trying. I’d like to hear how it works for others.

    • Michelle

      Chickens lays eggs according to the amount of daylight aka sunlight during the day, hence when our days get shorter as in daylight hours the hens slow down in production. When daylight hours are getting longer they tend to lay more eggs. I hope this was helpful.

  7. Karen

    We never had even one instance of ear mites when we raised rabbits. We always kept our rabbits very clean, and with a good diet, consisting of alfalfa hay, pellets, and sometime, for a treat, all-grain. We also gave them lamb’s quarters and other wild greens, which they consumed with gusto. I raised the young ones with all-grain as a food choice for them, and they loved it, growing fast and big and healthy.

  8. Karen

    We only use mineral oil, or if we don’t have that, olive oil. We apply every day for 5 days and then once more a week later. We don’t take the gunk out unless we can’t get the oil in. They shake it loose within a few days and it beats scratching the ear with tweezers. This has worked every time for us.

  9. nettie horner

    To comment on the rabbit ear mites. What I learned about 30 years ago was that you have to cut off the oxygen supply to the bugs. Vasaline would work, I even heard of using thick motor oil when nothing else was around. So in conclusion thick greasy goo would work. Maybe even rendered lard. Peppermint essical oils help keep bugs away. In my travel trailer It had rat and mice nests in it. So
    I spend 40 hours vinegar and water washing the entire unit. Now every month In each corner of the trailer I put cotton balls dipped in peppermint or eucliptus oil. No more pests and it smells very nice. Enjoy.

  10. John R

    I’ve never noticed a problem with mites. Is this a problem for warm weather only or do they come to visit in the winter also?

  11. Virginia

    What kind of honey? Pure, unpasteurized? Thankx.

    Also, re: intestinal health, Cheerios is trying to go non-GMO, they say it is almost impossible as 85% of corn grown in US is GMO. My local farm store said some alfalfa growers, here, have switched to ROUND-UP ready, GMO alfalfa. There is organic, corn, chicken scratch available, at double the price, but no available for sure organic rabbit pellets from alfalfa.

  12. Alan

    In all the years that we had rabbits when I was a kid we never had a problem with ear mites.
    I had rabbits here for only two years and no problems.
    What I was taught way back then and what I read recently said to keep them from getting ear mites keep them away from your chickens.
    Chickens carry and spread those mites and that is why we have always keep them far apart.

    • Oh, that might be. These rabbits are in an experimental area that is semi-free range (they get the run of a big fenced in area). And they share that with a small flock of chickens.

      You know what is funny? The chickens yield to the rabbits at the food pan which they sometime share.

      • Alan

        Have you seen a rabbit fight?
        A cat we used to have tackled a wild cottontail years ago.
        The cat pounced and the rabbit rolled over and thrashed the tar out of it with it’s hind feet.
        Cat left the bunnies alone after that.
        I believe it was Jasmine not Toni.

  13. Ron Holmes

    I would be a little worried that ants would be attracted to the honey. If that would happen, I don’t think the rabbit would be a happy camper.

  14. Graeme Richter

    Hi Marjory, I would also like to find out how coconut oil goes due to its germ killing properties, very natural also.

  15. Karen Franck

    Thank you for your website! Honey and mineral oil are new to me. For my dogs I use green tea, apple cider vinegar, hydrogen peroxide – equal parts. Works well. After the 21 days, I just do it periodically to keep the ears clean.

  16. stella jane

    This is my 25th yr raising SATIN rabbits — the fancy shiny fur large meat rabbits. Darren of Green Change is correct to use OIL. But if the oil isn’t what you’d use on your own body, then no. Most mothers do not use baby oil because of the petroleums….doubt that would be good for rabbits either in the long term! HOWEVER in 25 yrs I did not invite in new rabbits nor cats and never got ear mites. NECK MITES come from birds visiting your feeders and they are easily smothered by a teaspoon or two of BAG BALM, a coarse antibiotic salve used on cows.
    NOTE: as with most mites, you cannot see them. In the thick fur of a rabbit in winter, you can feel the scratches from the rabbits claws.
    I do it ONCE, then check in two weeks. If there is any evidence of scratching, repeat. It can be contagious if left go a long time. Those ear mite pictures….well WHY are the rabbits being kept? Once a rabbit, a delicate creature, is damaged it rarely regains its health.
    Best of luck raising healthy stock! Here’s my article below and good links to USDA info.
    *J

    How-to raise rabbits and gardens!
    Rabbits love Roses …and other rabbit research
    And why you might raise rabbits even if you are vegan
    PermacultureActivist.net/articles/rabbits.htm
    29 True Facts about Rabbits
    ardengrabbit dot com/facts.html

    TEACH CHILDREN to raise rabbits…. give them
    good survival skills 4 the 7 generations !

    • I grow about half of the food for the caged rabbits. I also have rabbits in tractors (small movable pens) that get maybe 60% – 90% of their food from the lawn they are moved over. I have some colony rabbit experiments (rabbits in a larger pen) which are eating about 60%-90% of their food from the small green paddocks there – it’s still very experimental. I am also working with an area where I am creating habitat for wild rabbits and are 100% feeding themselves for what I’ve encouraged to grow.

      of what is growing there Its a convenience thing.

  17. Bibs

    I hope ALL preppers realize they can’t be getting all set up for post-collapse in a place which not be suitable after banking and commerce go 15th century. Product distribution systems, until the products are gone, will no longer be more than a couple of miles.I.E.: walking distance. Rabbits, or whatever livestock had better have owners who won’t need to go to the store for anything. Do you have a cool cellar or equivalent with room for your food and your animals feed, and adequate , well fenced garden area? Independant means to deliver water? Your cellar will need to have medical supplies keeping cool and safe for perhaps a very long time. I’d say, list the stuff in your animal AND people medicines which you had better have plenty on hand. Today if possible.
    I read statements from Preppers describing escape routes they are contemplating which don’t seem very well thought through. Folks, water is the key. Your faucets will produce nothing. The mojave dessert is NOT the place to go, with very rare exception.

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  19. first time having rabbits

    This is the first time we have ever had rabbits. well during these cold months we don’t go out and pet or play with the rabbits, so they have turned a it wild. They do no let us carry them. :( well a couple of days ago I noticed the rabbits ears full of gunk. anywho how do I hold them or get them to put and remedies if they don’t let me. any advice would help…

    • I don’t handle my rabbits that much either. I encourage my kids to play with them, but that usually only happens when they are cute babies. You are correct that rabbits will get very skittish quickly even if they had been very tame if you don’t keep it up.

      Well, make sure your arms and especially our precious wrists are well covered. Rabbit have powerful hind quarters and can cut you deeply. If you haven’t watched the video… well here is another shameless plug. In the rabbits section of “Grow Your Own Groceries” I do show you how I hold my rabbits. And I’ll summarize here.

      A rabbit associates being picked up from above as a predator such as a hawk killing it. So try to avoid that method if at all possible. And sometimes it is not possible, but try not to hold them by the scruff of the neck or from the back if you can. I usually pick up the rabbit and then quickly tuck its head into the space between my arm and my side. Keeping its head in the dark, confining its body somewhat, and having its feet supported (usually against my body) the rabbit feel sale and secure.

      I hold the rabbit like this for a minute or so to let it get over the ‘freaked out’ phase.

      From the rabbits perspective it is like being picked up by God. It would freak me out too!

      If you can do what you need with the rabbits head tucked in, that’s great. If you need access to the ears, then just make sure your holding the rabbit firmly and be as calm and soothing as you can.

      You know what? I think I’ll make a video out of this…

  20. Avantika

    PLEASE HELP.
    Hello. I really liked your article and it seems to be very helpful in my case, since I am an Indian resident and Selamectin isnt commonly available here, and ordering it online would be very costly. I can administer Ivermectin on her, but she is only 3 months old and rather young for it.

    I could not get hold of Campho-Phenique Oil where I live, but baby oil (or any other oil like olive oil) and camphor cubes. Phenol is not an over the counter medicine here.
    Will it be okay if I mix half a camphor cube in 1 tsp of baby oil ?
    Also, are we supposed to use a dropper and put it inside the inner ear canal or apply it with a brush or cotton in the insides of her ear ?
    Please respond to it soon. Thanks.

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