Antiparasitics containing fipronil are toxic to rabbits

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.1

An important alert from ANSES, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety:

Between January 2021 and December 2022, ANSES received 26 reports of adverse reactions in rabbits following administration of fipronil-based antiparasitics. Of this total, 12 were considered serious and 5 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.


What is Fipronil?

Fipronil (brand names: Frontline®, Barricade®, Easyspot®, Effipro®, Sentry Fiproguard®, Parastar®, PetArmor®, Pronyl OTC®, Spectra Sure®, and many others) is a topical medication used to treat fleas, ticks, and chewing lice infestations in dogs and cats.2

  1. ANSES, “Antiparasitics containing fipronil are toxic to rabbits↩︎
  2. VCA Animal Hospitals, “What is Fipronil?” ↩︎
  • Paige K Parsons

    Paige has been a house rabbit educator for over 25 years. Her education efforts began when she designed and created in 1994. She is currently a live concert photographer and previously was a user experience designer. She lives with her husband, Carl, and her two house rabbits, Moe and Mimzy.

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