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Cheyletiella dermatitis in an adult dwarf rabbit

A. Muller
Clinique Saint-Bernard, 598 avenue de Dunkerque 59160 Lomme, France


Pimpin was a castrated, 5 year old male dwarf lop rabbit, with no previous history of disease. He was brought in by his owners because lesions had appeared on the back of his neck, which had spread over approximately 2 months. Topical (chlorhexidine) and systemic treatment [enrofloxacin per os for 10 days (Baytril® )] had had no effect.


General examination

The rabbit’s general condition was satisfactory but progressive weight loss and reduced appetite had been noted over the previous month or so. Rectal temperature was within normal limits and cardiopulmonary auscultation was unremarkable. No abnormality was detected upon abdominal palpation.

Dermatological examination

Large scales were present on the dorsum (starting on the back of the neck, extending caudally and laterally). This localised keratoseborrhoeic disorder was accompanied by alopecia. Pruritus was neither observed in the clinic nor reported by the owners. Aural examination was unremarkable.

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Figures 1 and 2: Marked dorsal scaling and localised alopecia
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Figure 3: Large scales were present


Cheyletiella infestation was the most likely cause of this non-pruritic keratoseborrhoeic disorder, but dermatophytosis (Trichophyton mentagrophytes in particular) or Leporacarus gibbus infestation could not be ruled out at this stage.


Coat brushing with microscopic examination of the collected material was carried out, together with an acetate tape preparation followed by microscopic examination without staining. These two tests enabled large numbers of parasites to be visualised, at all stages of development (figures 2 and 3). Under high magnification, these parasites were identified as Cheyletiella parasitivorax, a common ectoparasite of rabbits.

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Figures 4 and 5: Microscopic examination of coat brushing material at medium
magnification: adult Cheyletiella and eggs

A diagnosis of Cheyletiella parasitovorax dermatitis was therefore established.

Fungal culture was negative.

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