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Antiparasitics containing fipronil are toxic to rabbits

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News of 07/05/2021

Antiparasitics containing fipronil account for nearly one-third of adverse drug reactions reported in pet rabbits. These products, intended for use in dogs and cats, should not be administered to rabbits.

Between January 2013 and December 2020, ANSES received 137 reports of adverse reactions in rabbits following administration of fipronil-based antiparasitics. Of this total, 66 were considered serious and 33 deaths were reported. These antiparasitics are approved for use in dogs or cats but are toxic to rabbits. They can cause general reactions (loss of appetite, lethargy), as well as digestive and neurological disorders (convulsions), which can sometimes be fatal. Concentrated formulations, such as pipette products, are particularly toxic: just a few drops placed on the skin or licked up can be enough to cause serious effects.

Wash the animal in the event of accidental exposure

ANSES reminds rabbit owners not to treat their pets with veterinary drugs containing fipronil, intended for dogs or cats. Recommendations in the event of accidental exposure are similar to those for cats exposed to antiparasitics meant for dogs: even if adverse reactions have not yet occurred, owners should wash their animal with warm water and soap or washing-up liquid, and seek veterinary advice without delay.

In homes with more than one type of animal, owners should keep rabbits away from treated dogs or cats until the site where the antiparasitic treatment has been applied is dry, and make sure that rabbits cannot lick it.