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SARCOPTIC MANGE IN RABBITS IN SINGAPORE
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS
(Glasgow), MRCVS. Some cases are recorded below.
Case 1 recorded: 11 May 2005, Case 2 in 2007
Case 3 in 2008, Case 4 in 2010.
19 January, 2010
Sarcoptic Mange in Rabbits in Singapore
follow-up after an anti-mite ivermectin
nose, ears and paws
11 days after the injection, I could see the red
noses of the rabbits. The skin was still
inflamed but growing new normal skin. The
rabbits were sent home and should be recovering
well if the mites had been eliminated in their
insects called sarcoptic mange mites burrow into the
skin of the nose, feet, ear edges and eyelids of
rabbits, causing itchiness and big crusty skin.
It is not known why the crusts of the nose keep
growing bigger and bigger instead of sloughing off.
Do not abandon the rabbits. Your veterinarian
will be able to get one or two injections to eliminate
the mites. The mites don't infest human skin.
after an anti-mite injection, the skin of the
crusty noses is almost back to normal as the
crusts drop off and the skin is cleaned.
sarcoptic mange is a curable disease. Owners need not use any cream
or wash. One or two injections by your vet should eliminate all the
mites. Consult your vet promptly.
As the rabbit bears weight mainly on the hind legs, the
lower part gets injured. This rabbit (picture below) lives in an apartment
and likes to stand on its hind feet to beg for food. It is free to
roam the apartment and has not been kept in a cage for a long time.
It does not stomp its hind feet angrily, according to the owner. So
how did it get sore hocks?
Could it be the standing on hind feet? It
is hard to say. It does walk on tiled
Sore hocks need veterinary attention. After that
no more contact with the wood shavings in its
cage for the next 30 days. Daily washing
of the sores will be necessary. Newspapers
are the cheapest bedding for such cases and the
sores will heal quickly after the veterinary
SORE HOCKS. The black and white and the
brown and white rabbits had circular skin
sores on the underside of its legs. These are
recorded in 2007. Death attributed to the
pet owners ignore or buy some medication from pet
shops to treat the sarcoptic mange in their rabbits.
When they find that the medication was ineffective,
they might consult the veterinarian. By that time, the
rabbit is thin and in poor health.
Now, many Singapore owners wanted one visit and
not need to consult the veterinarian anymore. If
the rabbit is already in poor health, one anti-mite
injection may kill him. When the rabbit dies, family
members may get angry with the vet and wants to know
In this case, the brown rabbit died over a week
after the injection. The owner who was not present at
the consultation asked me why.
did not bring the rabbits for treatment but her
representatives were informed that the injection was
risky as the rabbits were thin and in poor health. It
would be better if they had been treated much earlier.
The representatives (friends of the owner) decided to
proceed with the injection and had accepted the risks.
Only that one of the two cards dealt was the ace of
death. Unhappiness resulted and explanations were
demanded. When a pet dies, seldom do the owners trust the
veterinarian. No second chance. They do not consult
him anymore nor ever forgive him.
recorded in 2008. Delay treatment in
ear edges and paws in this rabbit suggested
sarcoptic mange infestation," I said to the
mother. "Usually the eyelids are infested too."
"There is one
crust on the eye, " the elder sister's sharp
eyes pointed to a small barely visible 3-mm
rough skin crust on the upper eyelid of one
eye. This 7-year-old girl, as willowy
as her mother, has the eagle eyes of an
excellent scientist or doctor.
ate some 3 hours after an antibiotic injection.
More faecal lumps are seen when the rabbit
started to eat.
In Dec 7, 2008,
the owners of the rabbit with Sarcoptic Mange
complained that the rabbit was not eating and had
crusty ears as well as paws.
"Get a skin scraping to show the mites," I told my
assistant Mr Saw. "It is best for owners to see the
mites under the microscope."
"I can take your word for it," the mother said. "I was
told by my family members that the rabbit has mange."
Mr Saw left the consultation room promptly to get a
scalpel blade to scrape the skin to get the mites
buried in the skin.
"No need to do that," I stopped Mr Saw. There are some
raw skin areas with blood in the right ear. Mites
would be found in the bleeding spot (see picture). He
got the skin scraping onto the slide and put on some
oil. Actually there was no need to use oil. Water
would do but since he had done it, I did not comment.
Now, what will be the
management of this case at least cost for the
1. Treat the fever by antibiotic injection for 3 days
either by daily visit to the Surgery or by warding the
rabbit. The rabbit was warded at Toa Payoh Vets
2. Give the anti-mite injection when the rabbit has
recovered from fever fully in 3 days' time.
1. On Day 2, the rabbit had a normal temperature of 39
deg C. The owners were happy. He was eating as evident
by lots of round stools blanketing the wood shavings.
"2 days before we consulted you, the rabbit just
would not come out of his crate as he normally would
hop out quickly," the mother recalled on the 3rd day
of visit at Toa Payoh Vets. "We thought he was afraid
of the cat."
2. On Day 4, the rabbit's temperature went up to 40.1
deg C. As he was eating and passing more solid stools
all over the wood shavings, I decided that he had to
be treated with the ivermectin injection SC. The rabbit
went home. The mites had to be eliminated fast,
otherwise this rabbit would get high fevers again and
would not eat. The total veterinary cost was around
$120.00 in this case.
3. Infection was due to another rabbit during a visit
of a friend who brought in 2 rabbits some 4 months
Conclusion. The rabbit sarcoptic mange is 100% curable.
Rabbits do not die if they are in good health (no
fever, eating) when given the anti-mite injection.
If the owner insists on treatment despite poor
health, the owner has to be given a written advice
that he has been informed. This is to avoid
misunderstandings and anger in the event of death
from other members of the family.
recorded in 2010.
In some rabbits, 2
injections of ivermectin are necessary as
shown in pictures below.