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COCCIDIOSIS IN RABBITS

 

  1. What are coccidia and where are they found?

Coccidia are microscopic parasites. They are found in the intestines and liver of rabbits. The oocysts (eggs of coccidia) are passed in the faeces (droppings).

 

  1. How does a rabbit become infected with coccidia?

Coccidia oocysts are found in food or soil contaminated with infected droppings. The oocyst has a hard shell and can survive on the ground for a long period of time. The oocyst becomes infective 1-4 days after being passed.

 

  1. What are the clinical signs of coccidiosis?

         Watery to mucoid diarrhoea

         Weight loss, depression, weakness, dehydration and collapse

         Rabbit may stop eating

         Poor growth and/or death in young or unwell rabbits

         Some rabbits can carry coccidia and not show any signs of illness

 

  1. In which rabbits are coccidia seen?

Intestinal coccidia are usually seen in young, recently weaned rabbits between 4-16 weeks of age and occasionally in older rabbits.

Liver coccidiosis can occur at any age.

 

  1. How are coccidia identified in rabbits?

A faecal flotation test is done on the droppings to find the oocysts.

 

  1. What is the treatment for coccidiosis?

Rabbits with coccidiosis can be treated with anti-protozoal drugs including Toltrazuril or Trimethoprim sulphonamide. Treatment of secondary bacterial infections may also be necessary. In severe cases rabbits need to stay in hospital for fluid therapy and assisted feeding. The enclosure should be cleaned thoroughly and all the faeces removed.

 

  1. How is coccidiosis prevented?

         Have a vet check the droppings of all newly acquired rabbits

         Regular faecal checks at least at every annual health check

         Frequent (daily) cleaning of enclosure and removal of droppings

 

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