A fungus called trichophyton causes ringworm, according to Pet Care GT. The microorganism causes rabbits to develop patchy round bald spots with distinct edges, according to the University of Miami. The exposed skin sometimes features raised red spots and lesions. The University of Miami recommends veterinarians treat this fungal parasite with topical antifungal creams or Lufenuron, which inhibits the creation of chitin, a structural mainstay of the fungus’ cell walls.
Most rabbits will recover from the disease without treatment if any underlying environmental or nutritional factors are remedied. To treat rabbits and guinea pigs with isolated lesions:
- The area around the lesion should be thoroughly clipped down close to the skin.
- Care should be taken when clipping not to irritate the skin, as this may make the infection spread.
- Remember that the clipped hair, clippers, and any grooming instruments that come into contact with an infected animal will harbor the spores and must be heat or chemically sterilized before being used on any other animal. Depending upon the extent of the lesions, they may be treated with keratolytic, miconazole shampoos, lime sulfur dips, and/or topical anti-fungal medications (e.g.; miconazole or clotrimazole cream).
- It is recommended that all animals in the household/colony be treated. Oral medications are also recommended. Griseofulvin should not be used in breeding or pregnant animals. Butenafine may be used in guinea pigs. Itraconazole has also been used in rabbits and guinea pigs.
- Treatments are usually continued for at least 2 weeks after the lesions have resolved and/or until there are two negative fungal cultures.
Because the ringworm fungus can survive for such long periods in the environment, it is critical that an effective cleaning plan be implemented. The spores are very resistant to most cleaners, however, bleach diluted to 1:10 with water or enilconazole (0.2%) will kill most of the organisms. All grooming tools, bedding, and kennels should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Carpet should be disinfected. Heating and cooling ducts and furnaces should be professionally vacuumed and filters replaced. Furniture and drapes should be vacuumed and the vacuum cleaner bags should be disposed of promptly. These cleaning measures will need to be continued during the duration of the treatment and for several weeks afterward. Clothes of the owners may also harbor spores, and should be washed thoroughly.
Ringworm is transmissible to people:
Ringworm can be transmitted between rabbits, guinea pigs, and people. Persons with suppressed immune systems, such as those with HIV infections or AIDS, and those undergoing chemotherapy may be especially vulnerable. Persons should wear gloves when handling affected animals and wash hands well afterwards.
According to Pet Care GT Favus is a parasite similar to ringworm. It is caused by a fungus of the genus achorion. The crusty patches are cup-shaped and emit a distinctive odor.
Favus, which can lead to permanent baldness, can be treated with any reliable fungicide.
Mange caused by mites in rabbits, forms whitish crusts on the skin, often at the edges of the ears, the eyelids, the nose, mouth and toes. If left untreated, itchy lesions cover larger parts of the body and eventually lead to fungal or bacterial infections. The University of Miami advises treatment with injectable Ivermectin will cure most cases of mange within a week.
Especially in summer and other humid months, rabbits get a kind of chronic moist dermatitis that morphs into a fungal or bacterial infection, according to Go Pets America. The infection leads to loss of fur on the dewlap, face, chin, legs and/or feet. Continuous wetting of fur causes the fungal infections, which rabbits often scratch until the skin is raw. When treating the animal, cut away slimy fur and apply an iodine-based ointment or antifungal cream to kill the fungus.
Other Fungal Disorders: Thrush, Aspergillosis and Sporotrichosis
Other rare rabbit disorders caused by fungi include thrush, aspergillosis and sporotrichosis, reports Pet Care GT.
Thrush is an infection of the yeast fungus, usually manifested by an infection in the mucus membranes of the throat. Aspergilliois, caused by a fungus found in dead leaves and compost, can trigger a brocho-pulmonary allergic reaction or lung disease in the worse cases. Sporotrichosis is an infection caused by a fungus found in vegetation.
Elaine Riot, The Daily Puppy 28/7/2011
Source: Go Pets America, The University of Miami and Pet Care Gt