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What is Ringworm?

Ringworm is a skin disease that results from a fungus. There are multiple types of fungus that can lead to ringworm; the type seen most often that causes the condition in rabbits is Trichophyton mentagrophytes. Another fungus that leads to the disease in rabbits is Microsporum canis.

Also known as dermatophytosis and dermatomycosis, ringworm is a skin disease that results from fungus and leads to areas of hair loss in a rabbit.

Ringworm Average Cost

From 365 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$300

Symptoms of Ringworm in Rabbits

Should your rabbit have ringworm, you will typically see dry, scaly, patchy areas of hair loss. In many cases the lesions your rabbit is experiencing will first be present on his head, legs, and feet. The lesions then may spread to other parts of their body and can turn reddish in color. Often these areas will be itchy. Scratching these areas can cause more skin trauma and lead to secondary bacterial infection.

  • Reddish lesions
  • Hair loss
  • Dry, scaly patches on skin
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Causes of Ringworm in Rabbits

Ringworm is caused by a fungus; spores from animals infected with ringworm can be cast into their environment where they can live for more than 18 months. In some cases, rabbits may not show symptoms of ringworm but be carrying the spores. These rabbits than shed the spores and the environment will be contaminated, leading to possible infection in other rabbits. Transmission can take place as a result of interacting with a rabbit that has been infected with the spores or through contact with something in the environment that has been tainted with spores (for example, bedding, brush). 

Animals will be more likely to develop ringworm if they are living in overcrowded conditions, in areas with high humidity, where there is poor sanitation, or where they are not receiving good nutrition.

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Diagnosis of Ringworm in Rabbits

Your veterinarian can diagnose ringworm in your rabbit in several ways:

Wood’s lamp -

Your veterinarian will use a special black light where a few species of ringworm fungus will glow when under it. This is not a completely accurate method as a number of the species of M. canis that are most often seen don’t glow. T. mentagrophytes also do not glow when under the lamp. 

Microscopic study

- Your veterinarian can remove a few hairs from near a lesion on your rabbit and look at them under a microscope. To do this your veterinarian will use a mixture of KOH (potassium hydroxide), which will make the hairs and any fungus on them more easy to see. Around 40-70% of cases of ringworm will be diagnosed through this method.

Culture

- Your veterinarian can collect samples from your rabbit’s lesion and conduct a culture. Certain mediums are available that are meant for identifying ringworm infections. This is considered the most accurate way to diagnose and identify an infection.

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Treatment of Ringworm in Rabbits

The majority of rabbits that are infected with ringworm will recover without any treatment as long as any factors with their nutrition and environment are resolved. Should your rabbit have isolated lesions, your veterinarian may clip his fur down close to the skin in the area next to the lesion. It is important to not irritate your rabbit’s skin because this could cause the spread of the infection. Any instruments used for grooming will need to be sterilized so has to not pass on spores to another rabbit. 

Your veterinarian will consider treatment based on the severity of the lesions on your rabbit. Options include:

  • Keratolytic 
  • Miconazole shampoos
  • Lime sulfur dips
  • Topical anti-fungal medications (miconazole or clotrimazole cream)
  • Oral medications to include: Griseofulvin (not to be used on pregnant or animals that are breeding) and Itraconazole

Treatments will continue for a minimum of two weeks after the lesions on your rabbit have healed or once there have been two cultures that are negative for fungus. Ringworm fungus is able to survive for a very long time, therefore it is important that the environment of your rabbit be thoroughly cleaned.

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Recovery of Ringworm in Rabbits

In addition to treating your rabbit, it will be important to treat his environment. Since the fungal spores are resistant to many cleaners, it is recommended that when cleaning your rabbit’s environment that you use bleach diluted to 1:10 with water or enilconazole (0.2%). All tools used for grooming, bedding, kennels, etc. should also be cleaned and disinfected. In addition, carpets and ducts should be vacuumed and their filters replaced. It will be important to vacuum any curtains and home furnishings and dispose of the contents in the vacuum immediately. This level of cleaning should be done throughout your rabbit’s recovery, and for a few weeks upon the treatment’s completion. You will also want to wash your own clothes in order to ensure that spores are not surviving on your personal items and able to be passed back to your rabbit. 

As ringworm can be transferred to humans, particularly those with a suppressed immune system, it is important that you wear gloves during interactions with your rabbit while he is undergoing treatment.

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Ringworm Average Cost

From 365 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$300

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Ringworm Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Mini lop

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5 months

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Spot On Back, Under Fur.

There is a crusty spot on his mid back. It looks like you can peel part of the skin back but I have not done this too much. It is a little red, a little white Almost like a bumpy scab. He has no other symptoms and is an indoor rabbit. He has very clean living conditions and is fed hay, pellets and greens. There is no hair loss.

July 12, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, SO sorry to hear about your rabbit. This spot is very concerning. I would reccomend that you have your vet look at this and remove the tissues. Rabbits skin is very delicate and easily tear and makes a very big hole and a very big problem. Your vet can easily remove this crusty spot and start your bunny on medication to help it heal. YOu can apply triple antibiotic cream to the crusty spot to help it heal without removing the crusty spot. I hope your bunny starts to feel better soon.

July 12, 2020

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Kiki

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Lionhead Lop

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1 Year

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Moderate severity

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2 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Hair Loss
Flakes

Kiki has been treated for ringworm with oral medication - 1.2ml daily for 30 days. She is on her last dose, but her hair hasn't grown back and her ears still have scaly flaky skin. Is it possible that she is still healing but is no longer infected, or should I be concerned and visit the vet for another round of medicine?

Aug. 20, 2018

Kiki's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Without retesting Kiki we cannot be sure that the infection is cured, most rabbits will respond to treatment but it may be just that a little more time is needed for full resolution of the symptoms. Keep an eye on Kiki and look for signs of regrowth of fur or any other symptoms, but if you are looking for a reassurance you should get her restested. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 20, 2018

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Marley

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Lion lop

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4 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Flakes

My rabbit had ringworm and when I applied the medication that was prescribed by the vet it gave him permanent hair loss where it was applied. The ringworm disappeared for a few months and then returned some time later. Since the medication (I forget it’s name) proved to be useless what would you recommend?

Aug. 5, 2018

Marley's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

I'm not sure if the hair will grow back if the skin was damaged where the treatment was given. Since I can't see Marley, I have a hard time commenting on what might be going on, but sometimes we are able to use response (or lack of) to medication as a clue as to what might be happening, and a recheck with your veterinarian would be a good idea to reassess the area and see how best to proceed.

Aug. 5, 2018

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nappie

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New Zealand

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4 Months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

My bunny has a white patches on her nose and feet and its kinda thick already. we just notice it a week before and I already called a vet to schedule her check up since Im new to rabbits. but I was just so worried because her check up will be on friday and today is tueasday. Is there anything that you can recommend. what I need to do while waiting til friday to keep my bunny healthy and safe. please help me

July 31, 2018

nappie's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Without examining Nappie I cannot confirm whether this is ringworm, a different infection or due to another cause; the parasite Cheyletiella parasitovorax (see link below) may cause scaly dandruff which is easily transmitted between the nose and paws. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.vetstream.com/vetstream/media/images/lapis/16_143172.jpg www.vetstream.com/treat/lapis/bug/cheyletiella-parasitovorax

July 31, 2018

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Phoebe

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Dwarf Hotot

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1 Year

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Red Area, Hair Loss.

My bunny Phoebe was diagnosed with a fungal infection, and based off the description it was most likely ringworm though the vet didn't tell me. Could have just been that I didn't ask. Anyways I treated her with a shampoo as directed by the veterinarian. After two weeks the trouble area was healed but it had now popped in another area when I took her for her recheck. I was told to now do the treatment for 6 weeks. I'm about 2 weeks through this now 6 week treatment and that area has healed and now it is in another area though this area has horrible hair loss and is red. I'm still using the shampoo and have another vet appoint this Friday but I am worried that either I or the vet are not doing something right. I was told that after 3 days of the initial treatment to completely clean the area with diluted bleach and I did so. I even went as far as to move her to a different section of the house that she hadn't ever been too so I knew it had to be clean. I haven't deep cleaned her area since and am wondering if I should and if it would help. Just look for help because she is only a year old and I don't want to lose her to a simple fungal infection.

June 14, 2018

Phoebe's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

You should ensure all surfaces which Phoebe comes into contact with are cleaned thoroughly and regularly during treatment; this includes bedding, furniture and other items which Phoebe may come into contact with. You should visit your Veterinarian again to make sure, but it is important to ensure strict hygiene whilst treating for ringworm. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 14, 2018

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Sweet Boy

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Domestic

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4 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Ringworm

We have been battling ringworm for over three years now. It was getting better until I let the exotics vets techs give him sulfur dip for me. I was frustrated that the infection had continued for more than a year ~ and gave in to them bathing. It got WORSE. Spread to more sites than the five manageable spots. After three rounds of oral medication and using sulfur dip I’m more concerned about side effects of recommended and used Rx than the infection itself. I’ll admit I’m not too keen on giving bunny sulfur dips anymore since the sites have always been located on his face. I’ve also used chlorhexadine to clean his housing and carrier since first positive diagnosis. He’s back to only losing a few ringworm-evident fur ‘shuttle cocks’ vs the ridiculous amount of ringworm evident fur a year ago ~ but I’m tired of treating this ongoing infection and subjecting him to the dip. What else can be done/used??

Ringworm Average Cost

From 365 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$300