About the disease
Coccidiosis is an invasive disease caused by coccidia, the simplest unicellular organisms. Bacteria parasitize in the liver and intestines of rabbits. Coccidia there are 10 species, only one parasitizes in the liver; the rest are in the mucous membrane of the digestive tract. As a rule, rabbits are diagnosed with simultaneous damage to the liver and intestinal form of the disease. Coccidia in nature are quite common protozoa, there are also feline or dog forms that are harmless to rabbits. Bacteria are resistant to environmental influences. They perish only at a boiling point for 10 seconds. Coccidia is slightly affected by disinfectants.
Coccidiosis in rabbits was first noticed and studied only in the 17th century, but has existed since ancient times. He switched to pets, most likely, from wild rabbits, which are often diagnosed with coccidiosis.
Coccidiosis does not spread rabbit disease through epidemics, but no less than myxomatosis is dangerous to livestock. Appearing in one of the rabbit cells, coccidiosis is transferred to others. If pets are not treated, they will die, although not immediately. Most often, young animals are affected by the disease, from the time of deposit to the age of 4 months. Veterinarians believe that vulnerability is caused by the transition to a new type of food and with a low level of acidity of the stomach. Adult animals rarely get sick, having more resistance, but at the same time they can remain carriers of the disease. By the way, it is registered all year round, escalating in spring and summer.
Ways of infection
Coccidiosis infection in rabbits occurs through food, milk, water, coccidia contaminated with oocysts. Little rabbits can get sick in the first days of life from the milk of an infected mother. In the future, young animals can catch the disease from a feeder and a drinking bowl contaminated with feces that contain the pathogen. Coccidiosis also appears when rabbits eat feces.
Note that the latent period of coccidiosis does not last long, only 2-3 days.
In the household, coccidiosis outbreaks occur for several reasons:
- lack of purity in the cells or rabbitry, coccidia in the farmer’s inventory or hands;
- with drafts or dampness;
- due to cramped cells or keeping together individuals of different ages;
- unilateral type of feeding, in particular, protein overfeeding, due to which there is an accumulation of protein breakdown products in the body;
- feeding coccidibiotic feed (wheat or alfalfa bran, skimmed or fat milk);
- lack of a balance of vitamins, nutrients and minerals in the diet;
- a sharp change in feed, giving poor-quality or contaminated food;
- due to quarantined sick rabbits;
- finally, rabbit coccidia can be carried by some animals: rodents, birds, flies.
Signs of Coccidiosis
Veterinarians found that in a small amount of coccidia live in almost all rabbits. Most often, this does not cause the disease, or it proceeds easily and does not cause trouble to the pets. But under favorable conditions for the development of coccidia, parasites multiply rapidly, after which rabbits are slowly poisoned by toxins from incompletely digested food.
There are acute, subacute and chronic forms of the disease. In severe forms of coccidiosis in rabbits, a flabby and saggy stomach, loss of appetite and general lethargy are observed. Wool ceases to shine and puffs. Pets drink a lot of water, constipation alternates with diarrhea (sometimes with blood). Further, the cells of the intestine or liver are destroyed, not having time to recover. In rabbit intestinal coccidiosis, death occurs in two weeks. At first, frequent convulsions are noticeable, then death occurs. In this case, the rabbit assumes a characteristic pose with its head thrown back. The liver form is not so terrible, but surviving individuals suffer from a chronic form of the disease. However, after a month, the pets that have not been cured all the same die.
Let us consider in more detail both forms of coccidiosis in rabbits.
In this form of the disease, the symptoms are less pronounced. The disease lasts 35-50 days. The belly of the pets becomes shriveled, the coat is unkempt. Digestion is disturbed. Additionally, hepatic syndrome manifests itself in the form of yellowness of the mucous membranes of the eyelids and oral cavity. If there is no treatment, an extremely depleted rabbit soon dies most often. The chronic form is observed more often in young animals aged 1-2 months. Rabbits noticeably lag behind in development from healthy individuals.
In children aged 25-60 days, the disease proceeds in an acute form. Digestive upset begins (especially in the summer, when there is a lot of green grass in the diet). Diarrhea alternates with constipation, the stomach swells. In excrement, blood or mucus can be detected due to bowel damage. Pets lose weight, lose their appetite, grow poorly, body temperature is elevated. The abdomen also sags, and the coat deteriorates. If you do not help the eared, they die from exhaustion within two weeks. Some individuals may experience nerve symptoms, convulsions. Then they die with their heads thrown back.
If the intestinal form of coccidiosis in rabbits is weak, part of the brood recovers itself, but remains the carrier of parasites.
To finally diagnose the cause of death, you need to open the rabbit and carefully examine its intestines and liver. They will be plentifully covered with whitish blotches the size of millet grain. The intestinal mucosa is affected from the inside, but white nodules can also be seen in the lumen.
Treatment and prevention
The treatment of coccidiosis in rabbits, fortunately, is easy if you notice the disease on time. For effective disposal of parasites, livestock farmers use several drugs.
- Furazolidone. It is used once, in a ratio of 30 mg per kilogram of live weight.
- Sulfademititoxin. Veterinarians recommend feeding with food. First give 0.2 g of the drug per kilogram of live weight, then 4 days at 0.1 g per 1 kg. Next, you need to take a break of five days and repeat the course of treatment again.
- Norsulfazole and Phthalazole. For 5 days, 0.4 g (per 1 kg of weight) of the first preparation and 0.1 g of the second are given to the rabbit daily. The course must be repeated after a five-day break.
During treatment of coccidiosis in rabbits, vitamins A and B1 must be increased in the diet. In addition, for more effective treatment, pets need to be given yogurt and whey.
There are new, more effective drugs for rabbits for coccidiosis, such as bycox and solicox. They must be used in strict accordance with the instructions. In severely advanced forms of coccidiosis, the pet is immediately injected with 2 cubes of the drug, and the rest is mixed with water in a drinker. Enroflon also has high antibacterial properties.
Of course, it is easier to prevent coccidiosis in rabbits than to treat and risk the lives of pets later. Prevention is pretty simple.
Observe all sanitary standards in rabbitries and cages. They need to be cleaned on time, periodically treated with disinfectants. There should be no excrement in feed and water. Drafts and dampness are unacceptable, as well as sudden jumps in temperature.
Feed should be of high quality and nutritious. Mineral salts and vitamins of all groups are required in the diet. In addition, the transition from dry food to juicy rabbits should be gradual. They advise starting the transition with dried green grass. Young animals should not be given fat milk and alfalfa bran.
When purchasing new individuals for at least a month, keep them in quarantine. It is best to do the necessary tests in a veterinary clinic, including coccidiosis, and get vaccinated.
The iodine solution is an excellent prophylactic. It is poured into drinking bowls (not metal) according to the following schemes:
- from the first day of precipitation, rabbits are given 50 ml of a 0.01% iodine solution for 10 days. A five-day break follows and a 0.02% iodine is already given for a week at 70 ml per individual. Finally, after 10 days, another 100 ml is added to the drinker.
- pregnant females every day you need to drink 100 ml of a 0.02% iodine solution from the 30th day of pregnancy. On the 5th day of lactation, iodine is no longer given, taking a break until the 10th day. Then another two weeks of daily give 200 ml of a 0.02% solution.