Sarcoptes scabiei and Psoroptes cuniculi are common mite infestations in rabbits. Sarcoptes scabiei infestations are of zoonotic importance and can be difficult to eradicate. Psoroptes cuniculi is associated with ear mite infestations in rabbits, along with skin lesions. Selamectin is an avermectin used to treat scabies in dogs. In this study, 42 New Zealand rabbits with confirmed naturally occurring psoroptic ear mite infestations and 37 Angora rabbits from a commercial supplier with confirmed scabies infestations were treated with selamectin or the vehicle. Thirty-one of the New Zealand rabbits were treated with 6 to 18 mg/kg of selamectin, and 11 rabbits were treated with the vehicle (controls). By day 42, treated rabbits were mite free and their ears were free of debris and cerumen. Untreated control rabbits still had clinical signs. Twenty-three Angora rabbits with scabies were treated with 10 to 12 mg/kg of selamectin, and 14 rabbits received only the vehicle. By day 28, selamectin-treated rabbits had negative skin scraping results and were clinically normal. Clinical signs remained in control rabbits. Treated rabbits in both groups were followed for 3 months after cure and did not relapse. None of the treated rabbits had any adverse reactions to the treatment.

COMMENTARY: This study was unique in that mites were confirmed in all affected cases. In the "real world," this is not always the case. The really good take-home message from this case series is that selamectin was safe and very effective in rabbits and that it offers the clinician a "response to therapy" option. In this study the authors used only 1 dose. If the drug were used in a response-to-treatment trial, two doses would be recommended.

Use of selamectin for the treatment of psoroptic and sarcoptic mite infestations in rabbits. Kurtdede A, Karaer Z, Acar A, et al. VET DERMATOL 18: 18-22, 2007.