This week I'm going to take a look into another important part of your rabbits weekly health check and this time it's what rabbits are famous for- thier ears!
Checking them is simple however unfortunately ear problems can be common, especially in lop breeds. When checking the ears, check they are symmetrical and show no signs of mites or anything that you can see. Feel the ears from the base and make sure your rabbit isn't flinching when you do this. Use both hands at the same time to conduct these checks and then it is easier to feel any abnormalities and differences.
So what are the common ear issues rabbits can face?
Lop eared rabbits can unfortunately get build ups in the ear fold and this can lead in turn to bacterial infections- but any rabbit can suffer.
Ear mites are easier to spot than ear infections- and common things you may see are increased scratching, potential hair loss or lesions and maybe even some peely or flaky skin where the rabbit has irritated it. Seeing a thick brown fluid (called exudate) in the ear canal is also a symptom and this is the rabbits body reacting to the mites. If your bun does have ear mites these are treated with spot on treatments or anti parasite injections and your vet is likely to recommend these treatments last for more than 3 weeks as this is how long the mites can live for. Once mites are diagnosed your rabbits housing area will also need to be thoroughly decontaminated so as to prevent another occurance. The mites also spread from rabbit to rabbit so if you have a bonded pair and are having a vets visit I would bring both just to be sure as they can spread easily.
..My boy Snoop always listening out for whatever is going on in the house!
Ear infections are slightly different and maybe one of the more common symptoms you may have seen in some rabbits is a head tilt. There are many amazing rabbits out there living with head tilt you may have seen on Instagram for example and while alot of these are a result of a seperate E.cuniculi parasite, ear infections can cause head tilt also. This is because a rabbits balance stations are in the inner ear. Other things you may notice is a loss of appetitie and any out of the ordinary behaviour changes should also be an alarm bell.. but as I've mentioned previously sometimes rabbits hide these things really well so trust your gut if you feel something isn't right! Anti biotics will usually be used to treat any infections. Your rabbit savvy vet will be able to advise more.
Some bunnies can also be deaf- my first boarder Joey was a gorgeous deaf bunny. It just means you have to take extra care as as a prey animal he obviously couldn't hear me coming when it was time for dinner which could have potentially been unsettling if he was napping!
..this is the absolutely gorgeous Joey
Hope this has been useful!