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Fake News: Rabbit Ears Are Not Natural Dewormers

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

Veterinary professionals regularly come across interesting old wives’ tales, myths or theories with regards to pet health and welfare.


  • Veterinary professionals regularly come across interesting old wives’ tales, myths or theories with regards to pet health and welfare.


  • Some of these myths are harmless and will not negatively impact our pets, livestock or human health.


  • Unfortunately many actually do carry negative implications to the health of our pets and of the wider community.


In the UK, there are a number of internal parasites commonly found in cats and dogs. A myth that some of our community have encountered is that rabbit ears act as an effective dewormer. The claim being that the indigestible hair combs the gastrointestinal tract and removes worm burdens.


This is UNSUBSTANTIATED!


Studies also have shown that wild canines and felines who ingest their own fur when grooming, and some fur from their prey still have worm burdens. This indicates that hair is, at best, a very ineffective wormer.


Alongside the potential adverse effects on the health of the pet, these endoparasites can impact the health of livestock and pose a potential zoonotic threat to human health!

Furthermore this does not account for Angiostrongylus vasorum (lungworm) which in fact does not reside in the gastrointestinal tract but in the pulmonary circulation!


There have been reports of salmonella in pigs ears so, as with all treats, knowing their source, country of origin and storage is essential.


Of course these treats can act as excellent enrichment and entertainment for dogs however, if swallowed in large chunks could potentially be a foreign body risk.


There is absolutely no evidence to suggest they have any medical benefits beyond acting as an entertaining chew, and to suggest so poses human and animal health and welfare implications.


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