Rabbit Diseases - Parasites: Pinworms, Roundworms,
Whipworms, Stomach Worms, Lungworms and Tapeworms.
What the rabbit owner should know about them.
Pinworms are fairly common in rabbits. If your rabbit has
pinworms, be sure to wash up after treating the rabbits or
cleaning cages to make sure you don't transmit the eggs to
other cages or even, in rare cases, to yourself or your
Symptoms: The first symptoms are loss of weight or at least
failure to gain properly. Pinworms are particularly
dangerous for baby rabbits and can lead to "Waster
Syndrome." Watch for what looks like small grains of rice in
the feces. They are actually the pinworm's eggs.
Treatment: Ask your veterinarian for a wormer that is safe
for rabbits. It is very hard to kill worm eggs, so you will
need to treat the rabbits at ten to fourteen day intervals
to get the worms as they hatch. Follow-up fecal exams will
be necessary to make sure that the worms have been
Roundworms, Whipworms and Stomach Worms
Roundworms, whipworms and stomach worms are less common than
pinworms, but are sometimes found even in pet house rabbits.
They are rarely passed on to humans but it is possible, and
the larval form can be dangerous to children.
Symptoms: These worms cause health issues including weight
loss or failure to gain weight. You may see small white worm
segments in the rabbit's feces if the infestation is heavy.
Treatment: Your veterinarian will prescribe the proper
worming medication according to your rabbit's age and
health. The same warnings apply as those listed above for
Lungworms are very rare in pet rabbits, but they can occur.
Symptoms: Symptoms include coughing and rubbing the neck on
objects. You may find small white worms in the feces but no
Treatment: Again, treatment requires a vet, but lungworms
are easily treated with Panacur.
Rabbits rarely get tapeworms unless they are kept with dogs
and the dogs pass them on to the rabbits. The rabbit may be
an intermediate host for the dog tapeworm, but is unlikely
to pass them on to humans. (Humans can get tapeworms from
dogs, however.) Don't let your rabbit eat grass in spots
where dogs commonly go.
Symptoms: Primarily weight loss, as the worms take up space
Treatment: Your veterinarian, who will probably administer
something like Praziquantel by subcutaneous injection,
should treat tapeworms.
Note: Worm medications can kill your rabbits if you overdose
them, be sure to carefully follow the vet's directions.
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