Malassezia pachydermatitis - yeast skin infection
Yeast infection is a rare complication of skin disease in rabbits. It can lead to redness, hair loss and crusting skin.
What is Malassezia skin infection?
Malassezia spp are yeasts that infect the skin of humans and animals. Malassezia pachydermatitis is a yeast that frequently affects the skin of dogs and cats, but yeast infection in rabbits is very rare and it is suspected that it is usually associated with other concurrent skin disorders like sarcoptic mange. The species of yeast that infects rabbits may vary, but recently a new species, specific to rabbits has been found (Malassezia cuniculi).
How will I know if my rabbit is infected?
If your rabbit has a yeast infection of the skin, it may show reddened skin with hair loss and crusting around the eyes and on the ears, nose lips, neck, abdomen, feet and external genitalia.
How will my vet confirm my rabbit is infected?
Diagnostic samples may be taken with skin scrapings, skin biopsy, acetate tape and swabs to perform cytology and culture to confirm the cause of the infection. These tests will also determine if any concurrent skin disease is present which may require additional treatment.
This disease is rare in rabbits and is usually associated to other skin problems, so your vet will need to know the complete medical history of the problem and will carry out a physical examination of your rabbit to determine if any other disease is present.
Can my rabbit be treated?
Treatment is usually straightforward with the application of topical medications to the skin. Rarely oral or injectable medications may also be required. If other disease is present, eg sarcoptic mange, this will also need to be treated in order to help the infection go away.
Can I prevent my rabbit from infection?
Good management and regular veterinary checks are useful to promptly treat skin infections which may lead to yeast infections. If any skin abnormalities are noted, prompt veterinary attention can help ensure that yeast infections do not get the chance to develop.