If you have Angora rabbits, chances are one day you will encounter wool mites. They are super tiny so you may not be able to see them with the naked eye, but you’ll be able to see the infestation as it tends to look like really bad dandruff.
Leela had some dandruff and dry skin that I had assumed was due to the fact that she couldn’t reach her skin to groom properly when her hair was long. I trimmed back all her hair to reveal the skin and could see the extent of the “dry skin” was pretty substantial so I googled it to see what I could do to help her. Once her hair was short she was able to groom, clearing away the dry skin and revealing irritated and raw skin beneath. I then learned it was most likely a wool mite infestation. Poor Leela!
According to multiple sources on the internet, the way to cure mite infestation in rabbits is with ivermectin. Ivomec 1% injectable is intended for sheep and cow use, but can be used off-label for rabbits if you are very careful with the dosage. I got a 50ml bottle off amazon for $75CAD. Not cheap, but it will last a looooong time so I’ll be prepared for a while. Anything for the fur babies.
The injectable dose for 1% ivomec is 1/10 of a cc per 5 pounds of weight. Leela is 10.5 pounds (she’s a beast!) so I calculated 2/10 (1/5) of a cc. Luckily I have a stash of 1cc rigs from work, so I carefully drew up 2/10 to dose her with. To inject the medication subcutaneously hold the bunny still in your lap and “tent” the skin between the shoulder blades by pulling up on the skin to hold it away from the muscle/bone, and insert the needle into the tent horizontally. This way the medication goes into the layer below the skin, but not into a muscle. The liquid was a little thick and I think the gauge of my needle was on the small side, meaning I had to push the plunger pretty hard, but it did work. The injection site can burn or sting briefly after injection, so I gently massaged the area to ease the discomfort. Leela seemed fine right away, though she did give me a bit of a stink eye haha. I checked her again a few hours later and she still seemed fine so I’m chalking it up as a success!
To wipe out the infestation you will need to give the same dose every 2 weeks for 3 total treatments. You will also need to clean the rabbit housing thoroughly and keep the infected bunny away from other bunnies to prevent spreading the infestation.
Here are some after shots of the infestation site taken at the time of the second dose, 2 weeks later.
The dry skin is healed and a new layer of fur is growing in. The longer hair around the site has formed little dreadlocks from her grooming, but once I trim them away she will be good as new.
It’s always a good idea to consult a veterinarian if you are unsure about anything regarding the health of your pets. This post is a guide for dealing with mites only and shouldn’t replace proper veterinary care for your rabbits. If you are not confident in giving an injection there are also oral medicines available 🖤