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Diagnosis and Management of Scabies in Rabbits.


Mite infestation is one of the most common and major constraint in commercial rabbit population in India (Darzi et al., 2007). Sarcoptic mange is the most obstinate, resistant and contagious disease with zoonotic importance (Kumar et al., 2002). It is characterized by pruritis, alopecia and in prolonged illness, the animal become emaciated and may show mortality due to cachexia (Roy et al., 2001). Sarcoptic mange, if left untreated may cause significant morbidity and economic losses. Moreover, high costs are associated with acaricides used in infested livestock (Walton et al., 2004). Ivermectin given orally or parentrally has been reported to be effective in treatment of acariosis (Erasian et al., 2010). The present communication reports successful therapeutic management of sarcoptic mange in rabbits with subcutaneous administration of Ivermectin.

History and Clinical Signs

Twenty seven rabbits aged 3-10 months were affected with clinical signs of anorexia, anaemia, intense itching, erythema, dandruff, white indurated dry crust like lesions on ears, nose, face, around ears, paws, around genitalia and over dorsal surface with brownish discharge (Fig. 1-3). The rabbits were inhabited in moist, dirty and ill ventilated sheds.

Skin scraping from affected rabbits were taken from different sites viz. ear, nose, feet, eyes, tail and inguinal region and examined as described by Soulsby (1985). Blood sample was collected on 0 day (before treatment) and 28th day (after treatment), from marginal ear vein with disodium EDTA as anticoagulant for evaluating haematological parameters. Haematology was done by haematological auto analyser using commercial reagent kits as per manufacturer's instruction.


The affected rabbits were treated after separating from healthy ones with subcutaneous injection of Ivermectin (Inj. Neomec (a)) @ 400 [micro]g/ kg b. wt. once weekly for four weeks and Vimeral (b) liquid (Vitamin A, D3 and E)@ 10 ml/ litre of drinking water. Disinfection of rabbit cages were done with blow lamp once weekly for four weeks to control mites. There was complete removal of crusts and disappearance of lesions occurred after 14th day of post-treatment in eight (8) rabbits, while it took 21 days for complete recovery in remaining rabbits. On 21st and 28th days post-treatment, all rabbits were negative to mites. Anorexia, alopecia and anaemia was completely cured after 21 days. After four weeks of therapy all rabbits recovered from falling down of remaining scales as well as complete disappearance of itching and secondary sores. At the same time, the general condition improved and skin lesions disappeared.

Result and Discussion

In the present study, confirmatory diagnosis was done by microscopic examination of deep skin scrapping that was found positive for adult Sarcoptes scabiei parasites (Fig. 4). Based on history, clinical manifestation and detection of parasites in skin scrapings confirmed that rabbits were infested with Sarcoptes scabei. The clinical manifestations observed were in accordance with Hrapkiewicz and Medina (2007). Mange caused by S. scabiei is more common in rabbits and distinguished by presence or absence of pruritus, mite morphology and distribution of lesions (Deshmukh et al., 201 0, Bhardwaj et al., 201 2). Diagnosis is usually confirmed by skin scraping examination and results are sometimes falsely negative for which repeated deep scrapings are recommended (Birchard and Sherding, 2000).

The average haematological parameters (Table. 1) did not reveal any significant change before and after treatment and were within normal range except the average eosinophil percentage was little higher than untreated rabbits.

Overcrowded living conditions and poor hygiene are significant factors for infection with S. scabiei mites. It causes infestation which affects ears, nose, feet and areas around genitalia (Kachhawa et al., 2013) which corroborate with our findings.

Among various species of mites, S. scabiei is a deep burrowing mite in epidermis causing intense itching, pruritus, pyoderma, crust formation, scare production, thickening and wrinkling on skin of affected areas. The burrowing fur mite, produce their pathological effects by burrowing activity and mechanical damage caused by the parasites during excavation, irritation action of their secretion, allergic reactions to some of their extracellular products and especially release of interleukin-I (Wall and Shearer 1997). Being a contagious parasitic skin disease, mites are generally spread by direct skin contact between infected and non-infected rabbits or through contact environmental (Panigrahi and Gupta 2013).

The study suggest that subcutaneous administration of Ivermectin with good managemental practise, disinfection of rabbit cages and segregation of infected animal is effective in control of mange infestation in rabbits.


Bhardwaj, R.K., Mir, I.A., Ahmad, O., Kumar, A., Wahid, A. and Bhardwaj, D. (2012). An outbreak of mange in rabbits. Indian Vet J 89: 78.

Birchard, S.J. and Sherding, R.G. (2000). Saunders Manual of Small Animal Practice. 2nd Edn. W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia.

Darzi, M.M., Mir, M.S., Shahardar, R.A. and Pandit, B.A. (2007). Clinicopathological, histochemical and therapeutic studies on concurrent sarcoptic and natoedric acariosis in rabbits (Orytolagus cuniculus). Vet Arhiv 77: 167-75.

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Walton, S.F., Holt, D.C., Currie, B.J. and Kamp, D.J. (2004). Scabies - New future for a neglected disease. Adv Parasitol 5: 309-76.

Dr. M. Selvaraju recognised by TANUVAS and ISSAR

Dr. M. Selvaraju, Professor and Head, Department of Veterinary Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Veterinary College and Research Institute (VCRI), Namakkal was honoured and awarded the "Maruthamuthu Mariyayee Memorial Award' for the best teacher for the year 2016. The award was honoured to him by Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) during its XXth Convocation on 6th December, 2018.

He was also recognised for his contribution to Animal Reproduction and Obstetrics by Indian Society for the Study of Animal Reproduction (ISSAR) and was bestowed with the honour of ISSAR Fellow on 28th December, 2018 during 34th Annual Convention of ISSAR at Anand.

M.S. Murugan (1), V. Palanichamy and R. Uma Rani

Veterinary University Training and Diagnostic Centre Tamil Nadu Veterinary Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) Thirupparankundram Madurai - 625005 (Tamil Nadu)

(1.) Assistant Professor and Corresponding author.


(a) - Brand Intas Animal Health, Ahmedabad

(b) - Brand Virbac Animal Health Pvt Ltd, Mumbai
Table1: Average hematological parameters in rabbits before and after

Parameters                    Before     After
                             treatment  treatment
                             (day 0)    (day 28)

Hemoglobin (%)                 9.8       11.1
TLC ([10.sup.3]X[mm.sup.3])    7.1        6.9
TEC ([10.sup.6]X[mm.sup.3])    5.2        5.3
PCV (%)                       32.2       34.4
MCV (fl)                      45         50.4
MCH (pg)                      15         17.4
MCHC (g/dl)                   33.1       33.6
Neutrophils (%)               64         62
Eosinophils (%)               06         03
Leucocyts (%)                 28         34
Basophils (%)                  -          -
Monocytes (%)                  3          2
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Title Annotation:Clinical Article
Author:Murugan, M.S.; Palanichamy, V.; Rani, R. Uma
Publication:Intas Polivet
Article Type:Disease/Disorder overview
Date:Jul 1, 2018
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