The first and most important information about flea control in rabbits is DO NOT USE FRONTLINE Flea and Tick products. Seizures and deaths have been documented from the use of Frontline products on rabbits. It is also important to note that gastro-intestinal upset (GI Stasis) has been reported in the use of Frontline and other topical flea products as well. In addition, flea baths and dips are not recommended as baths are generally very traumatic for rabbits.
The rabbit digestive system is a delicate, finely tuned system where introduction of foreign particles and toxins can seriously upset the flow of nutrients throughout the entire system causing severe and sometimes fatal results. Since rabbits love to groom themselves, they will ingest anything that is put on their bodies. Therefore, natural protection against flea infestations is recommended.
Start by preventing fleas in your rabbit’s environment. Vacuum and/or wash the floors, walls and bedding of your furry friend on a regular basis to remove fleas and flea eggs. Clean litter boxes and trays under hutches regularly. I have heard that table salt will dry and kill flea eggs though I have never used this technique.
If fleas persist in the drip pan under your bunny’s hutch or on the floors around the hutch, I have found that a product called UltraCare Flea and Tick spray for small animals has been effective with no adverse reactions. Over the last 13 years, I have also taken in bunnies “set free” by their previous owners that have been infested with fleas and have used this product for the initial battle of removing the fleas before introducing them to the rest of the bunnies.
Flea combs are also available to remove fleas from rabbits. You and your bunny will quickly come to love the one-on-one attention while combing out fleas. Make sure you dispose of the hair and fleas removed from your bunny immediately to avoid further infestation.
I have also heard that there is an oral treatment for fleas that is safe for bunnies called “Program”. This is a veterinary prescribed medication. Though I have not used this, there are some reports from various House Rabbit Society locations where this has been used safely on rabbits.
As with many rabbit health problems, prevention is the best cure. Keeping bunny’s environment clean will help prevent flea infestations.