14 grudnia 2018


Middle ear inflammation, called otitis media in Latin, usually occurs behind the eardrum. The fungi, bacteria and yeasts, oil and fluids produced in this place are the cause of inflammation and severe pain. The consequence of this inflammation can even be hearing loss, and appropriate measures must be taken to prevent it.


If your pet becomes acutely infected, the eardrum may even rupture. The oil accumulated in the middle ear then flows into the ear canal, which can lead to the transmission of the infection to the outer or inner ear. In the latter case, a frequent symptom of the infection is a head tilt to the side and an imbalance.

Pasteurella multocida occurs naturally in the rabbit nasal cavity and is often indicated as the culprit of middle ear infection. Healthy rabbits that carry this bacterium do not show any symptoms of the disease, and whether or not the disease develops depends mainly on the virulence of the strain of bacteria and on the immunity of the animal. Pasteurella most likely moves to the middle ear along the Eustachian tube, or from the abscess around the apex of the mandible molar, which opens to the Eustachian tube.

Staphylococcus ureus, or staphylococcus ureus, is considered an opportunistic pathogen of the nasopharyngeal cavity. If it is present in your pet's ear, it can cause inflammation of the middle or inner ear. Moreover, in some cases it can be resistant to antibiotics.

Inflammation of the inner ear in rabbits can also be caused by bacteria such as Streptococcus sp., Escherichia coli, Enterococcus sp. Proteus sp., Pseudomonas spp. Sometimes the disease is caused by yeasts, and very rarely also fungi.


In most cases, the symptoms of inner ear inflammation are the same as in outer ear inflammation. These include scratching ears with paws, shaking them, rubbing them, but also pain, depression and anorexia. When the eardrum breaks, a discharge appears in the outer ear canal.

When the inner ear is inflamed, the rabbit can tip over, roll or walk around. It also often leans to one side and leans its head to the side. There is also a horizontal nystagmus or rotary nystagmus.

middle ear infection in a rabbit


First of all, culture with drug resistance determination should be performed, because on this basis the antibiotic treatment is determined. If this is not possible, antibiotics passing through the blood-brain barrier should be administered, e.g. chloramphenicol and penicillin. In some cases trimethoprim potentiated sulfonamides are also recommended, and in dwarf rabbits good effects are noticeable after administration of ciprofloxacin. Antibiotics can also be combined.

In order to cope with ear infections, the treatment should be aggressive and long-lasting. Usually it is at least 6 weeks, or 2 weeks after the symptoms have subsided. If there is no improvement after 14 days, it is necessary to change the antibiotic. The combination of an old and a new drug can prevent the occurrence of resistance of pathogenic bacteria.

It is also necessary to check with a sight glass that the eardrum is not damaged. In such a situation, administering drops to the ears could have tragic consequences, such as deafness, imbalance or even death. In order not to expose the pet to such consequences, oil and debris are usually removed by rinsing the outer and middle ears with a saline solution.

In addition to antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs, such as Meloxicam, should be administered to the rabbit.

Glucocorticosteroids, on the other hand, have immunodepressive properties, therefore their use for inflammation reduction must be limited to 5 days.

If a rabbit suffers from inflammation of the inner ear, it is often advisable to administer meclizine, i.e. a cure for locomotive disease. If the animal does not want to eat and drink, it must be fed compulsorily, and fluids must be administered subcutaneously.

Head tilt and deafness can be irreversible for those rabbits whose middle ear or nerves have been damaged by inflammation.

Surgical drainage is not very promising due to post-surgical complications, so it is used only when antibiotics cannot cope.



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