Ornithonyssus bacoti or so-called tropical rat mite has a wide host range which includes wild rodents and small mammals. The mite is known to bite humans and cause irritation. But the case reports are few on pet rabbits.
The tropical rat mite is found in various parts of the world. In most cases, the mite is recognized only when it attacks humans. The information is poorly available for distribution and occurrence of Ornithonyssus bacoti on pet rodents in worldwide.
Two Lionhead rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) were referred to the local animal hospital, and a large number of mites were detected on the body.
Mites were identified as Ornithonyssus bacoti by the scanning electron microscopical study. Ornithonyssus bacoti has the following characteristics; the examined female mites are 0.8–1 mm long. The prosoma bears the chelicerae, pedipalpus and four pairs of walking legs. Females have a single dorsal plate dorsally and have sternal, ventral, and anal plate (or shield) ventrally.
In the present case, the rabbits might have contact with an infested animal in the pet shop, and this is the first report on parasitic infection of Ornithonyssus bacoti in pet rabbits in Korea.