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Worming your Rabbit

Worming your Rabbit

Many rabbit owners overlook the fact that rabbits can get worms. The risk of worm infestation is much lower in caged rabbits, but infestation is still possible especially in households with multiple pets.  There are several different types of worms your rabbit can contract, including; hookworm, roundworm, and pinworm. Encephalitozoon cuniculi is a protozoal parasite that can be found commonly in domestic rabbits, but only causes a problem in a fraction of affected rabbits.

Where do they get them from?

Rabbits usually come into contact with worms in their environment. Dog and cat faeces may contain worm eggs. If you have dogs and/or cats it is important that all pets are regularly wormed. It is also advisable to keep your garden as free of cat and dog faeces as possible to avoid transmission of worms between your pets.  If there are specific areas of your garden that are frequently soiled by other species it may be wise to prevent your rabbit from having access to those particular parts.

How can you tell if your rabbit has worms?

Small white worms are often visible in the faeces of the rabbit and occasionally blood will be seen in the faeces. Rabbits with worm infestation will usually have a significantly increased appetite and may lose weight despite this. None of these symptoms are specific for worm infestation so if you notice any of these signs in your own rabbit it is best to take it to the vet so that the cause can be identified.

Treatment/preventions available

As always prevention is far better than treatment and is particularly important if you have multiple pets in your household. There are several different products available to treat or prevent worm infestation in rabbits. These include:
Panacur Rabbit is a paste that is administered orally and should be repeated 2-4 times a year.  It aids in the control of Encephalitozoon cuniculi and protects against intestinal worms.
Xeno 450 Spot-on­ is directly put on the back of the neck and protects the rabbit from both internal and external parasites. This product should be administered monthly to the animal to ensure full protection.
Verm-X Nuggets are suitable for use in rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters. They are a great source of fibre and make a tasty treat for your bunny. They should be used daily. Verm-X is not licensed as a worm treatment but contributes to a healthy gut.