Coccidiosis – One of the most common diseases among rabbits. The causative agent of invasive disease is the simplest unicellular parasites. In rabbits, 10 types of coccidia parasitize, which can provoke the development of coccidiosis: one in the liver, the rest in the intestinal mucosa, respectively, they cause the hepatic and intestinal forms of the disease (usually there is a joint course).
Often, at first only one cell becomes infected, then other cells are damaged and the disease takes on a focal character. The parasites that cause the development of coccidiosis in rabbits are well adapted to various environmental factors, it is difficult to destroy them by means of disinfection, but by exposure to high temperatures it is easy.
Causes of infection
Coccidiosis is most common in rabbit farms. Cases of infection are noted year-round, exacerbation occurs in the spring-summer period. Coccidia residing in the body of rabbits cannot conduct their activities in the body of other animals or humans. Particularly susceptible to infection are animals whose age does not exceed 3-4 months. Adults are mainly carriers of coccidiosis, the clinical form of the disease is rare in them.
Infection occurs through milk, water and food, which contain parasites. Rabbits can become infected in the first days of life through their mother’s milk. Since the causative agent of the disease is also present in the feces of animals, they are one of the sources of infection. Must
Prevent them from getting into feed and water.
It is possible to transfer coccidia to healthy rabbits from an infected animal that has not been quarantined after purchase. Other sources of infection include coccidiosis vectors (flies, birds, rodents), dirty hands of a rabbit breeder, or contaminated cleaning equipment.
In a rabbit farm, an outbreak of invasion can occur as a result of a violation of veterinary sanitary standards, feeding rules and keeping animals:
- crowding and lack of separation of rabbits by age;
- irregular cleaning in the cells;
- sudden changes in temperature;
- the use of poor quality feed or the abrupt introduction of new feed;
- non-compliance with sanitary and hygienic rules of feeding;
- unbalanced diet (for nutrients, vitamins and minerals);
- the use of feed with coccidibiosis (wheat and alfalfa bran, skimmed or skimmed milk);
- unilateral feeding (overfeeding with proteins is especially dangerous, because as a result of protein breakdown in the body under-oxidized products are formed and accumulate – an ideal environment for the life of coccidia).
Symptoms of coccidiosis in rabbits
The duration of the incubation period is 2-3 days. It was found that coccidia are present in the body of most rabbits, despite this fact, the animal can be completely healthy. It is also possible to identify a disease that occurs in a mild form, which does not threaten the health of the animal.
A disease can harm a rabbit only if there are adverse conditions that allow coccidia to become more active. When parasites infect the liver and intestines, the disease takes a severe form: food is poorly digested, which leads to the formation of poisons and subsequent poisoning of the body. The rabbit’s belly becomes flabby and saggy, the hair no longer shines, as before, it looks tousled. Since the digestion process is disturbed, the body requires more fluid, the rabbit drinks a lot, his appetite disappears, and then his weight decreases. Other signs of the disease include lethargy, alternating manifestations of constipation and diarrhea.
If untreated, the animal’s body loses its ability to resist parasites, the number of which is constantly increasing. Destroyed cells of the intestines and liver do not have time to recover. With the intestinal form of coccidiosis, the rabbit can die within two weeks. Before death, animals have cramps, they fall on their backs, throw their heads back. If the disease occurs in liver form, the rabbit can survive, but there is a high probability that in a month it will die anyway. When one individual immediately manifests two forms of the disease, death occurs much faster.
To accurately determine the cause of death, an autopsy is necessary. If the liver was affected, there are small white formations on it, which look like filaments or nodules, if the intestines – inside it you can see the same nodules, but smaller ones. In addition, with the hepatic form of the disease, there is a significant increase in the liver, proliferation of connective tissue, thickening and expansion of the bile ducts, with intestinal coccidiosis – reddening of the intestinal membrane, the presence of fluid with gas bubbles. The formations found in the liver and intestines contain a huge number of coccidia oocysts.
Signs of intestinal coccidiosis
Rabbits, whose age is 20-60 days, suffer from an acute form of intestinal coccidiosis. They appear signs such as bloating, diarrhea (especially in summer), alternating with constipation, stunted growth, lack of appetite, weight loss. Also, in rabbits, the abdomen sags and grows in volume, the coat looks dull, disheveled. Violations of the nervous system are possible, which are manifested by tilting the head to the back, a sudden fall, swimming movements of the limbs and the appearance of seizures. The less acute the disease, the less its symptoms appear. Some rabbits can recover by becoming coccidiocarriers. In the absence of timely treatment, rabbits die in 10-15 days from exhaustion.
Signs of hepatic coccidiosis
The same symptoms are present as with the intestinal form of the disease, but they are less pronounced. Due to liver damage, hepatic syndrome develops, externally it is manifested by yellowness of the mucous membranes (eyelids, oral cavity). The disease can last 30-50 days, if not treated, rabbits die.
Diagnosis is based on comprehensive research. The epizootic state of the economy, the clinical signs of coccidiosis, the results of microscopic analyzes and pathological autopsy are taken into account.
Coccidiosis in rabbits – treatment
Coccidiosis is a dangerous disease, but its treatment can give a good result. First of all, all the shortcomings in the maintenance and feeding of animals are eliminated, then sulfonamide drugs are used.
Coccidiosis preparations in rabbits:
- the people have recognized the drug Baykoks. Drinking rabbits with Baykoks is considered the best prevention and treatment of coccidiosis;
- sulfadimethoxin – it is added to the feed based on 1 kg of animal weight, on the first day – 0.2 g per 1 kg of weight, then for four days – 0.1 g per 1 kg of weight, after five days the treatment is repeated ;
- furazolidone – this drug is given to rabbits for a week (0.05 g per 1 kg of feed or 30 mg per 1 kg of weight), its use does not cause the death of parasites, but helps the body fight the disease;
- phthalazole along with norsulfazole (0.1 g per 1 kg and 0.3-0.4 g per 1 kg) – the drug is used for five days, after a five-day break, the treatment is repeated.
When using these drugs for coccidiosis, animals need to be provided with a large amount of vitamins A and B1, in addition, milk serum, yogurt and ABA (acidophilic broth culture) should be introduced into their diet. Of the sulfa drugs, metronidazole, ditrim, sulfapyridazine are also used.
What else to treat coccidiosis in rabbits?
To combat coccidiosis, nitrofuran preparations are also used. Both treatment and prophylaxis can be carried out using brovitakoktsid, solikoksa. In a rabbit farm, one drug cannot be used for a long time, since parasites develop resistance to it. The medicine loses its effectiveness after 1-2 years of use.
With coccidiosis, iodide preparations, acting as a strong antioxidant, can be of great benefit to rabbits. They inhibit the development of parasites, support the thyroid gland, which is responsible for the normal functioning of the whole organism.
Prevention of coccidiosis in rabbits
If sick animals need to undergo treatment, then in relation to healthy rabbits in the risk zone, preventive measures should be taken.
In order to prevent, it is necessary:
- feed animals with high quality feed;
- comply with sanitary rules (clean and disinfect cells on time);
- include in the diet all the substances necessary for the life of the animal – nutrients, vitamins (A, B, C, D) and minerals;
- change feed gradually, not abruptly;
- eliminate dampness in the premises;
- avoid drafts and sharp temperature fluctuations;
- exclude from the diet of young animals feed with substances that can lead to the development of the disease (fatty or powdered skim milk, wheat and alfalfa bran);
- send new rabbits to quarantine with a minimum duration of 30 days, and conduct tests for the presence of coccidiosis.
It must be remembered that after recovery, the rabbit becomes the carrier of the disease, it is sent for slaughter. Carcasses of animals can be used for cooking, with the exception of liver and intestines affected by the disease. To prevent the spread of the disease, these organs can be burned. There are no restrictions for using skins.
To prevent healthy rabbits from becoming infected, sick animals must be isolated from immediately after the detection of coccidiosis.
Prevention of coccidiosis in rabbits with iodine:
- if the rabbit is pregnant, a 0.01% solution of 100 ml is used for prophylaxis; the start of prevention is allowed from the 25th day of pregnancy, it should be completed on the 5th day of lactation; after a break, prevention begins on the 10th day of lactation and ends on the 25th day – a 0.02% solution of 200 ml daily;
- Having left the rabbits from the mother, they need to be given a solution of iodine (0.01%) – for 10 days, 50 ml each, then, interrupted for 5 days, you should switch to a solution of 0.02%. – 70 ml for each rabbit for 5-7 days, the next 8-10 days – 100 ml.
- It is most effective to drink rabbits from coccidiosis with Baykoksom.
A solution of iodine is poured into the drinkers in the morning before feeding, in the process of its preparation you can not use metal utensils. Any drinkers are allowed, except those made of metal. To prepare a 0.01% solution, it is necessary to add tincture of iodine in 1 liter of water, if 10%, then 1 ml, and if 5%, then 2 ml.
- Place nurseries, drinking bowls and feeders so that they do not get stool.
- Use cages with mesh floors.
- Keep young animals in small groups (no more than 25 rabbits);
- Clean the cells daily, disinfect them with a soldering pump every 5-10 days (burning inventory and cells).
- Change drinking water more often, wash drinkers.
- Do not lay root vegetables, hay and grass on a surface contaminated with rabbit feces.
- Avoid excess protein in the rabbits ’diet (the norm is the amount of protein not exceeding 10% of one feed unit), alfalfa, acidic bog grass, and bran (coccidia develop rapidly as a result of their consumption).
- When buying rabbits, pay attention to such points as the availability of results of studies on coccidiosis that were done before sale during quarantine, and vaccinations against infectious diseases.
If all the recommendations are followed, the risk of developing coccidiosis is minimized. And if the animals are still sick, it is important to begin treatment of coccidiosis as soon as possible.
Carefully monitor the health of your rabbits and the conditions in which they are kept, in case of changes in their behavior, be sure to contact your veterinarian!