Coccidiosis is a disease that causes unicellular parasites of coccidia. About ten of their species are known, nine become the cause of the intestinal form, one – the liver. Coccidiosis in rabbits occurs at any time of the year, but more often its signs can be seen in spring and late fall, when changing the type of feed. Rabbits are more susceptible to the disease, especially immediately after cradling from the mother.
Coccidiosis in rabbits
The cause of coccidiosis and pathogenesis
The causative agents of coccidiosis belong to the unicellular protozoa of the genus Eimeria. In nature, there are about 400 different strains of coccidia, but each of them is strictly specific and provokes the disease exclusively in representatives of a certain type of animal and bird. Rabbit coccidiosis can cause ten of them.
In the external environment, the parasite remains in the form of oocysts, getting into the intestines of rabbits, it turns into a spindle-shaped sporosis, which penetrates into the intestinal epithelial cells. There sporozit turns into a schizont.
The shape of the schizont is round, it feeds on the osmotic route and rapidly increases in size. Several nuclei appear in the cytoplasm, the schizont destroys the epithelial cell and enters the submucosal layer. There, it breaks up into several mononuclear meroosites of a spindle-shaped form, which again can penetrate into the cells of the intestinal mucosa and repeat the reproduction cycle.
Part of merocytes becomes gametes, male and female reproductive cells. Gametes multiply by fusion, after which a bilayer cell called an oocyst is formed. It is excreted in feces and is able to infect other animals.
Coccidia feel great in the environment, and are resistant to many of its aggressive factors. They have a poor effect on drugs for chemical disinfection. At 80-100 degrees, they survive for 5-10 seconds, and at 55 degrees – 15 minutes. After infection with coccidiosis, rabbits can become carriers, and secrete oocysts with feces, infecting their brethren. For humans, parasites are not dangerous, they can only cause coccidiosis in rabbits.
Rabbits are infected with coccidiosis through water and feed contaminated with feces of sick animals or carriers. Young animals can swallow oocysts that fall on the nipples of the mother. Most often, outbreaks of disease among rodents occur due to violation of the rules of care. Rabbits become most sensitive to coccidiosis in the following situations:
- Crowding of animals in cages, keeping young animals with adults
- Irregular and poor quality cell cleaning
- Drafts and damp
- Unbalanced diet, deficiency of minerals, vitamins (especially A, groups B, C, D)
- An overabundance of protein components in the feed, under-oxidized products of their decay become an excellent medium for the growth of coccidia
- Feeding products with coccidibiosis, these include bran from alfalfa and wheat, fresh and dried milk
- Poor feed and a sharp change.
Symptoms of coccidiosis in rabbits
The period of incubation of coccidiosis in rabbits lasts 2-3 days. The disease can occur in intestinal or hepatic form. Intestinal arises sharply, rabbits are often sick small, about 40-60 days old, but the disease can affect adults. The rabbit loses its appetite or completely refuses to eat, weakens, he has diarrhea, which is replaced by constipation. The abdomen is swollen, often sagging, intestinal motility is disturbed. Rabbits quickly lose weight, begin to lag behind in growth. The coat becomes dull, disheveled. Better the appearance of a sick rabbit can be seen in the video. In severe cases of intestinal coccidiosis in rabbits, there are signs of impaired functioning of the nervous system.
Rabbits begin to throw back their heads, suddenly fall on their backs, they have cramps. If treatment is not started on time, animals may die in 10-15 days. Some individuals survive, but become carriers of coccidia. Therefore, it is better to keep them in a separate cage, if possible send to the slaughter. The meat of rabbits after coccidiosis is quite suitable for consumption.
The hepatic form of coccidiosis in rabbits has fewer symptoms, a subacute occurs. The disease in such cases can last from a month to fifty days. Rabbits can eat poorly and lose weight, but not as dramatically as with the intestinal form. Quite quickly hepatic syndrome joins – yellowing of the visible mucous membranes, protein coat and conjunctiva of the eyes, and oral cavity. Gradually, the disease develops leading to exhaustion, from which the rabbits die. Sometimes the signs of the disease are erased. Such animals survive, but most of them remain carriers, while coccidia parasitize in the biliary tract.
When pathological examination of animals with intestinal coccidiosis on the mucous membrane reveals small, the size of millet seed or poppy seed, whitish nodules with dense contents. Some of them may be surrounded by a ring of point hemorrhages, which is clearly visible in the photo of histological preparations.
The mucous membrane of the intestine is swollen, red in color, its surface is covered with a white coating. Often, inflammation becomes hemorrhagic, then small hemorrhages can be seen on the surface of the intestine, and the contents turn pink. With the hepatic form, expansion of the bile ducts is observed. On the surface of the liver, nodes are formed with creamy or curdled contents, white or yellowish in color. Microscopy of the contents of the nodules reveals many oocysts. The final diagnosis of coccidiosis in rabbits is based on a typical clinic, fecal examination and autopsy data.
Coccidiosis treatment in rabbits
One of the simplest, cheapest, but effective treatment methods is iodine treatment. This drug is an excellent antiseptic and antioxidant, contributes to the oxidation of toxic protein breakdown products and inhibits the growth and reproduction of coccidia. Iodine works better than various folk remedies, and at the price of the course it is absolutely inferior to them. To drink the rabbit, use a 0.01% solution, to prepare 1 ml of 10% iodine or 2 ml of 5% to one liter of water. The solution is added to the drinkers to the animals.
Coccidiosis in rabbits is also treated with sulfanilamide preparations. Medicines are added to feed or water to animals. Assign them in the following doses:
- Sulfadimethoxine on the first day is given at the rate of 0.2 grams per kilogram of weight, then another 4 days at 0.1 g per kilogram of weight. Five days later, the course of the drug should be repeated.
- The complex of phthalazole (0.1 g per 1 kg) with norsulfazole (0.3-0.4 g per 1 kg) is given for five days, then the course is repeated after 4-5 days.
- Furazolidone is dosed at 0.05 g per kilogram of feed or 30 mg per 1 kg of weight. The tool is not too effective, it is better to use it in combination with other drugs.
Coccidia quickly develop resistance to sulfonamides, because veterinarians advise changing them during the next outbreaks of coccidiosis in rabbits on the same farm. Now on the market there are new, more effective drugs for coccidiosis – Baykoks and Solikoks, the active substances of which are toltrazuril and diclazuril, respectively. They are more active in relation to coccidia than sulfonamides, parasite resistance to them is produced less frequently, which means that treatment is more effective.
Baykoks is available in the form of 2.5% and 5% solution. Baykoks 2.5% give rabbits along with drinking water, at a dose of 1-2 milliliters per liter. A solution of the drug 5% is used in its pure form, at the rate of 0.2 ml per kilogram of rabbit weight. The treatment is carried out for two days, if necessary, after five days, the course is repeated so that the disease does not start again.
Solicox is released in the form of a solution, 1 ml of which contains 2.5 mg of diclazuril. The dose is 0.4 ml per kilogram of weight, which corresponds to one milligram of the active substance. Add the drug to drinking water. The treatment of coccidiosis in rabbits with Solicox is carried out for 2 days, the course is repeated after five days. In carriers, it can be used throughout life, repeating courses once a month.
In addition to specific therapy, rabbit coccidiosis should be treated by adding additional doses of vitamins A and B1 to the diet. You can drink them with fermented milk products, yogurt, kefir, add acidophilic bacteria to food. You should also review the composition of food, reduce foods containing protein (alfalfa and other legumes, wheat bran). It is necessary to transfer from one feed to another gradually, so that animals can adapt normally to new food.
Prevention of coccidiosis in rabbits
Diseases are much easier to prevent than to treat. Therefore, the prevention of coccidiosis in rabbits is so important. Especially carefully it must be carried out when growing young animals. Young animals should be kept in small groups, not more than 25 individuals in a cage. It is desirable that all animals are approximately the same age. Cells should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Since coccidia are practically insensitive to chemical disinfection agents, it is best to disinfect cells by burning them with a blowtorch. The premises where the rabbits are kept should also be protected from dampness and drafts. Ill animals should be isolated and sent to slaughter as soon as possible, since they remain carriers of coccidia.
Containers for feeding and drinking bowls should be placed so that excrement does not fall into them. Do not throw food to the bottom of the cage so that it does not mix with secretions. Drinking water should be changed regularly. It is important to adhere to rational feeding, food for rabbits should be of high quality and fresh. Protein in the composition of food should not exceed 10% per feed unit. Such feeds as alfalfa, bran, sour grass from swamps contribute to the development of coccidia, therefore their quantity should be limited. Feed should be changed gradually so as not to cause too much stress in the rabbits, and not to weaken their body’s resistance to infections.
In addition to general hygiene measures, the prevention of coccidiosis in rabbits is carried out with the help of medications. The cheapest way is iodine prophylaxis. Be sure to carry it to the rabbits from the 25th day of gestation of the rabbits. First, 100 ml of a 0.01% solution is poured into the drinker every day, until the 5th day of lactation. Then you need to take a five-day break and continue to solder from the 10th to the 25th day of feeding at a dose of 200 ml of 0.01% solution per day. Such a course can not only prevent the rabbit’s disease, but also protect young animals.
Prevention of the disease in young rabbits is carried out after sedimentation. The first ten days they are given 50 ml of 0.01% solution per individual. After this, a break was put in for five days, and another 15 days were soldered with a 0.02% iodine solution, first 70 ml, then 100 ml each. For prophylaxis in adult rabbits, you can use Baykoks. One milliliter of the drug is dissolved in a liter of water and poured into a drinker, the next day the solution is changed to a new one. Such a course is carried out twice a year for two days. Prevention of coccidiosis with solicox can be carried out monthly, the doses are the same as for treatment. Unfortunately, the vaccine for coccidiosis in rabbits has not yet been developed. Vaccinations so far are given only to birds.