Rabbits – animals with a weak immune system. Their body is susceptible to many diseases. Pathologies of an invasive nature are especially difficult to tolerate.
Coccidiosis in rabbits is immediately impossible to determine immediately, and yet it can cause the animal to lag behind in growth and even lead to a mass mortality of the livestock.
Coccidiosis in rabbits
Unicellular parasites – coccidia – have 11 varieties, 8 of which are dangerous for rabbits. Seven species of this pathogen are localized on the intestinal mucosa, and one lives in the bile ducts, affecting the liver.
Most often, a mixed type is found in animals, in which the gastrointestinal tract and the liver are affected simultaneously.
The acute and chronic form is distinguished:
- in the first case, the disease progresses quickly, in most cases, animals cannot be saved;
- in the second, the diseased individual becomes a carrier and infects the herd.
Coccidiosis is most dangerous for young animals. Infected rabbits are late in development, lose weight.
Attention! The initial stage of the disease is almost invisible. The incubation period, depending on the form, ranges from 72 hours to a month.
Knowing the causes of infection can prevent the onset of the disease and minimize the risk of death.
Sources and factors of infection
The causative agents are protozoa that parasitize on the tissues of the intestines and liver. One of the stages of coccidia development is in feces. Rabbits are coprophagous, so oocysts in the digestive tract can get both from food and from excrement.
The initial stage of the disease is almost invisible
In the zone of highest risk is young growth during weaning from the mother:
- animals are adapting to new feeds; therefore, immunity is weak;
- destroyed cellular tissue does not have time to recover.
The main reasons affecting the appearance and development of coccidia are:
- purchase by a breeder of inseminated feed;
- non-compliance with sanitary and epidemiological standards;
- the appearance in the herd of an individual that has not passed the quarantine stage;
- getting into the territory of the content of rodents, birds and insects.
In addition, young animals can become infected by a mother who has a chronic form of the disease.
The upper shell of the pathogen is dense and well protects the oocyst from death. Asexual reproduction promotes rapid proliferation of colonies.
Types of disease
Several species of the genus Eimeria localized in the epithelium of the small intestine with the liver, as well as in the intestinal epithelium, are dangerous for rabbits from the numerous order of coccidia.
Coccidiosis – parasitic disease. A limited amount of the pathogen in the body of most animals is constant.
There are several forms of the disease: chronic, mild, subacute and acute. The first two may not affect the individual’s health at all.
Important! Active reproduction of parasites is preceded by a decrease in the immunity of the animal.
Symptoms of rabbit coccidiosis
Massive growth of colonies of parasites leads to damage to the liver and intestines. The disease becomes acute. Food ceases to be processed, which leads to poisoning of the body.
The presence of the pathogen in the body is indicated by:
- lethargy, poor appetite, increased thirst;
- bloated from increased gasification of the stomach;
- feces are mushy or liquid, with a pungent odor;
- the coat is dull and disheveled, clumping in the mouth and neck.
With the transition of the disease into an acute form, the animal begins diarrhea. The body is weakened, exhausted. The rabbit is constantly sitting near the drinking bowl.
A few hours before death, convulsions begin with the head tilted back.
An accurate diagnosis can only be done by autopsy. The presence of the disease is indicated by the gases in the intestine and its redness, as well as the characteristic white formations, both in the intestine and on the liver, which are the places of localization of oocysts.
Symptoms of the intestinal form
Young animals the first 3 weeks of life are protected by mother’s milk. With the subsequent transition to self-nutrition and up to 2 months, the risk of disease is very high. The reason is insufficient acidity.
Treatment of the initial stage gives a positive result in 50% of cases
The presence of a chronic form of the disease is indicated by the slow growth of the animal, developmental delay, passivity. In the acute form, the abdomen swells, rumbling and gurgling sounds are heard from it, diarrhea begins with mucus and blood spots, there is no appetite, and there is increased thirst.
Side signs can be fixed in the form of sudden falls with the head tilted back, convulsive swimming movements.
Treatment of the initial stage gives a positive result in 50% of cases. Surviving individuals remain carriers of the disease and subsequently go to slaughter.
Symptoms of the liver
This type is characterized by a longer development of the disease, which in most cases does not manifest itself in the initial stages.
With liver damage in animals, jaundice of the eyelids and oral cavity is clearly expressed. Animals do not develop well. Weight gain and height are virtually absent. Fecal irregular shape, viscous, with a characteristic pungent odor. The disease lasts up to one and a half months, after which the animal dies or becomes a carrier.
When opening on the liver, white inclusions are clearly expressed. The amount depends on the degree of damage. Perhaps an increase in body size, dilated bile ducts and proliferation of connective tissue.
How can sick animals be treated?
The animal organism does not cope with the disease on its own. According to statistics, the lack of timely assistance leads to the death of 85% of individuals with a gastric form and 65% with a liver form.
If the animal has a mixed type of disease, then the degree of survival is reduced to zero.
Due to the characteristics of the digestive system, rabbits painfully tolerate any disturbances in its functioning. And coccidiosis is characterized by a lack of appetite with intoxication of the body.
The disease does not respond well to treatment, and the later the administration of drugs is started, the less chance of survival.
The greatest effect is given by the simultaneous exposure to coccidiostatics, antibiotics and probiotics.