Coccidiosis – one of the most common diseases among rabbits. The causative agent of invasive disease is the simplest unicellular parasites. In the body of rabbits there are 10 types of coccidia that can provoke the development of coccidiosis: one in the liver, the rest in the intestinal mucosa, respectively, they cause liver and intestinal forms of the disease (a common course is usually observed).
Often, only one cell is infected first, 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 prevalent in rabbit farms. Cases of infection are marked year-round, exacerbation occurs in the spring and summer period. Coccidia residing in the body of rabbits, can not conduct their livelihoods in the body of other animals or humans. Particularly susceptible to animals whose age does not exceed 3-4 months. Adults are mainly carriers of coccidiosis, the clinical form of the disease is rarely found in them.
Infection occurs through milk, water and feed, which contain parasites. Rabbits can become infected in the first days of life through the mother’s milk. Since the pathogen of the disease is also present in animal feces, they are one of the sources of infection. We must not allow them to enter the feed and water.
It is possible to transfer coccidia to healthy rabbits from an infected animal that has not passed quarantine after purchase. Other sources of infection include carriers of coccidiosis (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 the veterinary and sanitary norms, rules for feeding and keeping animals:
- crowding and lack of separation of rabbits by age;
- irregular cell cleaning;
- sudden changes in temperature;
- the use of poor quality feeds or the sudden introduction of new feeds;
- non-compliance with sanitary and hygienic rules of feeding;
- unbalanced diet (nutrients, vitamins and minerals);
- the use of feeds with coccidiosis (wheat and alfalfa bran, fat or dry skim milk);
- unilateral feeding (especially dangerous is the overfeeding of proteins,
Symptoms of coccidiosis in rabbits
The duration of the incubation period is 2-3 days. It has been found that coccidia are present in the body of most rabbits, despite this fact, the animal can be perfectly healthy. It is also possible to detect a disease that occurs in a mild form, which does not threaten the health of the animal.
The disease can harm the rabbit only in the presence of adverse conditions that allow coccidia to be activated. When the parasites infect the liver and intestines, the disease takes a severe form: the food is poorly digested, leading 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, looks disheveled. Since the digestive process is disturbed, the body requires more fluid, the rabbit drinks a lot, it loses its appetite, and then the weight decreases. Other signs of disease include lethargy, alternate manifestation of constipation and diarrhea.
In the absence of treatment, the animal’s body loses its ability to resist parasites, whose number is constantly increasing. Destroyed cells of the intestine and liver do not have time to recover. In the case of intestinal coccidiosis, the rabbit may die within two weeks. Before death, animals have convulsions, they fall backwards, throw their heads back. If the disease occurs in the liver form, the rabbit can survive, but there is a high probability that in a month he will die anyway. When one individual manifests two forms of the disease at once, death occurs much faster.
To determine the exact cause of death, an autopsy is necessary. If the liver was affected, there are small white formations with the appearance of threads or nodules, if the intestine – inside it can be considered the same nodules, but smaller ones. In addition, a significant increase in the liver, proliferation of the connective tissue, thickening and expansion of the bile ducts are observed in the liver form of the disease, in intestinal coccidiosis – redness of the intestinal membrane, the presence of a liquid with gas bubbles. In the formations present in the liver and intestines, contains a huge number of oocysts coccidia.
Signs of intestinal coccidiosis
Rabbits, whose age is 20-60 days, suffer from acute intestinal coccidiosis. They have symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea (especially in the summer), alternating with constipation, stunted growth, lack of appetite, weight loss. Also, the rabbit sags and the belly increases in volume, the coat looks dull, disheveled. Nervous system disorders are possible, which are manifested by drooping of the head on the back, a sudden fall, swimming movements of the limbs and the appearance of seizures. The less acute the disease, the less its symptoms. Part of the rabbits can recover, becoming coccidiosis. In the absence of timely treatment, rabbits die 10-15 days from exhaustion.
Signs of hepatic coccidiosis
There are the same symptoms as in the intestinal form of the disease, but they are less pronounced. As a result of liver damage, hepatic syndrome develops, and it is externally manifested by the yellowness of the mucous membranes (eyelid, oral cavity). The disease can last 30-50 days, if not treated, the rabbits die.
The diagnosis is made on the basis of data from a comprehensive study. The epizootic state of the farm, the clinical signs of coccidiosis, the results of microscopic analyzes and autopsy are taken into account.
Rabbit coccidiosis – treatment
Coccidiosis is a dangerous disease, but its treatment can give a good result. First of all, all deficiencies in keeping and feeding animals are eliminated, then sulfa drugs are applied.
Preparations for coccidiosis in rabbits:
- popularly recognized drug Baykoks. The feeding of rabbits by Baycox is considered the best prevention and treatment of coccidiosis;
- Sulfadimethoxin – it is added to feed at the rate of 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 is a drug given to rabbits during the 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 the parasites, but helps the body fight the disease;
- Ftalazol together with norsulfazole (0.1 g per 1 kg and 0.3-0.4 g per 1 kg) – the remedy is used for five days, after a five-day break, the treatment course is repeated again.
When using these drugs for coccidiosis, animals should be provided with a large amount of vitamins A and B1, in addition, their whey, sour milk and ABA (acidophilus broth culture) should be added to their diet. Of sulfanilamide funds are also used metronidazole, ditrim, sulfapyridazin.
What else to treat coccidiosis in rabbits?
Nitrofuran preparations are also used to combat coccidiosis. Both treatment and prophylaxis can be performed using Brovitacoccide, solicox. For a long time, one drug cannot be used in a rabbit farm, since parasites develop resistance to it. The medicine loses its effectiveness after 1-2 years of use.
With coccidiosis, iodine preparations that act 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 a course of treatment, then in relation to healthy rabbits at risk, you need to take preventive measures.
In order to prevent the need to:
- feed animals with high quality feed;
- observe sanitary rules (clean and disinfect cells in time);
- include in the diet all the substances necessary for the life of the animal – nutrients, vitamins (A, B, C, D) and minerals;
- replace feed gradually, not dramatically;
- eliminate dampness in the premises;
- prevent drafts and sharp temperature fluctuations;
- exclude from the diet of young stock with substances that may lead to the development of the disease (fatty or dry skim milk, wheat and alfalfa bran);
- send new rabbits to quarantine with a minimum duration of 30 days, and carry out 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 diseased liver and intestines. To prevent the spread of the disease, these organs can be burned. There are no restrictions for using skins.
In order for healthy rabbits not to become infected, sick animals must be isolated from immediately after 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 beginning 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;
- otsad rabbits from the mother, they need to give a solution of iodine (0.01%) – for 10 days at 50 ml, then, interrupting for 5 days, you should go to a solution of 0.02%. – 70 ml for each rabbit for 5-7 days, the next 8-10 days – 100 ml.
- The most effective way to feed the rabbits from coccidiosis is Baycox.
The solution of iodine is poured into the drinkers in the morning before the start of feeding, in the process of its preparation it is impossible to use metal utensils. It is allowed to use any drinkers, except those made of metal. To prepare a 0.01% solution, add iodine tincture to 1 liter of water, if 10%, then 1 ml, and if 5%, then 2 ml.
- Place the nursery, troughs and feeders so that they do not get feces.
- Use cages with mesh floors.
- Keep young animals in small groups (no more than 25 rabbits);
- Clean the cells daily, disinfect – with a solder pump every 5-10 days (burning of equipment and cells).
- Change drinking water more often, wash your drinkers.
- Do not place root vegetables, hay, and grass on the surface contaminated with rabbit feces.
- Avoid excess protein in the diet of rabbits (the norm is considered the amount of protein not exceeding 10% of one feed unit), alfalfa, sour marsh grass, bran (as a result of their consumption, coccidia develop quickly).
- When buying rabbits, pay attention to such issues as the availability of research results for coccidiosis that were made before the sale during quarantine, and vaccination against infectious diseases.
At observance of all recommendations the risk of development of coccidiosis is reduced to a minimum. And if the animals are still sick, it is important to start treatment for coccidiosis as soon as possible.
Carefully monitor the health of your rabbits and the conditions in which they are contained, in case of changes in their behavior, be sure to contact your veterinarian!