Coccidiosis in Rabbits

Coccidiosis in Rabbits - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Most common symptoms

Anemia / Lethargy / Pale Mucous Membranes / Poor Appetite / Separation Anxiety / Weight Loss

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Rated as serious conditon

14 Veterinary Answers

Most common symptoms

Anemia / Lethargy / Pale Mucous Membranes / Poor Appetite / Separation Anxiety / Weight Loss

Coccidiosis in Rabbits - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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What are Coccidiosis?

This disease is caused by the transmission of the sporulated oocysts, this is usually due to ingestion of contaminated feed or water. Although many rabbits may be carriers of this parasite, in severe cases symptoms such as weight loss and depression may be seen leading to the deterioration of the pet. As the chance of successful management increases greatly for pets who are treated promptly, it is vital that if you suspect your pet may be suffering from this condition you contact your veterinarian.

Coccidiosis is a common and worldwide sporozoan disease of rabbits caused by the protozoan parasite Eimeria ep. Up to 25 species of coccidian have been observed in rabbits, with two main forms seen, hepatic and intestinal.

Symptoms of Coccidiosis in Rabbits

Often pets show no symptoms of this disease until severe infection has occurred. Symptoms may include: 

  • Depression
  • Anorexia
  • Anemia
  • Signs of pain such as hunching
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Blood or mucous in the feces 
  • Poor coat condition
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss or poor weight gainor growth
  • In severe cases of intestinal coccidiosis intussusception, convulsions or paralysis or fatality may occur
  • In severe cases of hepatic coccidiosis weakness, liver damage, and bile duct damage may occur, followed by coma

Types

Intestinal Coccidiosis

This condition can occur even in rabbits who receive excellent care and good sanitation. This affects younger rabbits from  a few weeks old to 5 months, particularly newly weaned kits. Risk factors include stress and immunosuppression. 

Hepatic Coccidiosis

This condition is known to have poor sanitation as a risk factor for transmission. This liver form of the disease is known to affect rabbits of all ages. It can lead to distention of the liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts. In some cases, secondary bacterial infections may occur.

Causes of Coccidiosis in Rabbits

There are up to 25 different species that can cause this condition in the rabbit. Although many rabbits can carry the protozoa without symptoms, in some cases, the parasite may cause trauma and illness for the pet. The spore enters the intestinal wall of the rabbit following ingestion, this is often through food or water sources infected with fecal matter containing oocytes.

Diagnosis of Coccidiosis in Rabbits

Your veterinarian will carefully examine your pet, and discuss his history with you. Although this disease often causes changes in the liver and gastrointestinal systems seen on gross examination, diagnosis is often difficult. Your veterinarian may choose to take a fecal sample from your pet and examine this under light microscopy. This examination may reveal oocysts. These can be difficult to differentiate from normal, nonpathogenic yeast (Cyniclomyces guttulatus or Saccharomycopsis guttulatus ), which are commonly seen in fecal examinations. If a severe infection is suspected, radiographs may be taken which may show liver or intestinal blockages or fluid build up.

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Treatment of Coccidiosis in Rabbits

If your veterinarian diagnoses your pet with this condition the aim of treatment will be management of the condition, rather than cure. If your rabbit is suffering from severe dehydration intravenous fluid therapy may be considered. 

For hepatic coccidiosis, oral doses of antiprotozoal agents such as sulfaquinoxaline administered into either the drinking water for 30 days or in the feed for 20 days, may reduce clinical signs. This may decrease symptoms but may not prevent the lesions from forming. 

For intestinal coccidiosis, treatment is similar to that for hepatic coccidiosis. Sulfaquinoxaline is given in the drinking water for 7 days and then repeated after a 7-day interval. Other medications that may be considered are amprolium, salinomycin, diclazuril, and toltrazuril. 

Antibiotic therapy may also be offered to your pet, This does not rid your pet of the parasite but allows your rabbit to develop his immunity system while the protozoa is controlled. Your pet may develop a life long immunity against the species of coccidiosis. Your rabbit may require repeated treatments with regular intervals.

Recovery of Coccidiosis in Rabbits

The prognosis for rabbits with coccidiosis is good when caught early. For pets with severe infections or who present with signs of liver failure, the prognosis may be guarded. 

In order to give your rabbit the best chance of a successful recovery, excellent sanitation and husbandry is essential. Ideally, putting a sanitation program into place prior to infection is the best method to prevent your pet suffering from rabbit coccidiosis. 

  • Regularly clean your rabbit’s environment
  • The hutch should be kept dry, with the floor, feed hoppers and water crocks kept clear of feces; the wire bottoms should be regularly brushed
  • The cage should be routinely disinfected with a solution that is lethal to oocysts such as ammonia (10%)
  • Provide your rabbit with a nutritionally complete diet that supports his  digestive system
  • Unlimited, quality timothy hay should be offered
  • Reduce stressors for your pet by ensuring overcrowding does not occur and by ensuring he is not exposed to predators or environmental changes 
  • When choosing your pet make sure he comes from a reputable breeder that has allowed the rabbit to stay with the doe for up to ten weeks of age as this provides the young with the essential nutrition to form a healthy gut and immune system

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Coccidiosis Average Cost

From 420 quotes ranging from $100 - $200

Average Cost

$150

Coccidiosis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Emma

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Minilop

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6 Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Coccidia
Dehydrated
Soft Poos
Paralysed

Am needing help and advice I started noticing about 3 weeks ago that my girl bunny was starting to loose weight more and more wasn't eating much or drinking much either and not active at all so I took her to the vet and she told me that it looks like she has coccidiosis but didn't say it was definitely so she gave me the medications for it... and since then she has eatten less and less and lost more and more Weight. Came home today and she had passed away, but now I'm worried as my boy he's livied in the same area as her since I noticed I want to make sure he's going to be okay he's showing no sights of anything at this stage and he's at the weight he should be I also have a vet appointment on Monday so I will no more then if he's going to be okay...... Baycox enrotril peptisoothe was the medication she was on

Aug. 23, 2018

Emma's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

In these cases it would be ideal to have a necropsy performed to help narrow in on a specific cause of death since evidence of Coccidiosis would be apparent post mortem; however without examining Emma myself I cannot say for certain what the cause of death was. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 23, 2018

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Holland Lop

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Holland Lop

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3 Weeks

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy

Hi there, I am a hobby breeder of Holland Lops, ( 15 years old, have been raising them for 6 years) and I went on a vacation for a couple weeks. (with trained caretakers in charge) Anyways, I'm getting freaked out, with them telling me that 4 of my baby Holland Lops have died. They are around the 3-4 week age mark. I'm pretty sure that it is hepatic coccidiosis. It is only hitting my little bunnies. The ones coming down with it are lethargic, don't care for much food, and are kind of wobbly. And eventually they die. The care takers also said that they also smell bad. All my rabbits get Timothy hay, alfalfa pellets every day, and are housed in decently clean cages out side, so I am not sure what this is. Another thing, they don't even have diarrhea. I have never had any sickness problems before! We live down in central Florida. If any help or advice is given, I would be greatly appreciative. I just put all of them on the Terramycin power in their water bottles. Living on a farm, we have used that for cocidosis in animals before. Is that a good treatment for the bunnies? Or would you recommend something else? Thanks, Anna

July 18, 2018

Holland Lop's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

If you’re thinking hepatic coccidiosis, just should ask one of the caretakers to examine the liver for any characteristic changes which may indicate hepatic coccidiosis; many pelleted feeds come medicated with a coccidiostat but treatment with sulfadimethoxine or toltrazuril would be more appropriate. In an ideal case, a few of the dead rabbits should be taken to your Veterinarian for an examination/necropsy since there is a spike in mortality. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.msdvetmanual.com/exotic-and-laboratory-animals/rabbits/parasitic-diseases-of-rabbits#v3306674

July 19, 2018

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George

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Mini lop

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9 Weeks

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Curling Ear, Excessive Drinking And
Curling Ear, Drinking A Lot,Wet Bum

Hi there, I have a young 9 week old bunny that has suspected coccidia. Can a small dose 0.2ml dose daily for a month of Fenbender 100 be given to him? Is this safe and if not what might happen? Also is this contagious as he has an adult female bunny living with him. Could the dog catch it also if eating their droppings?

July 18, 2018

George's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

I cannot recommend medication for George without examining him, and Coccidia is contagious to rabbits and dogs. It would be best to have a fecal sample analyzed to see if there is Coccidia, keep him separate from other animals until you have this treated, and get medication for him.

July 18, 2018

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Multiple

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New Zealand

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1 Year

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Mild severity

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3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Coccidiosis

Wanting to treat my rabbits (8 weeks to adult, including pregnant does) with Corid for coccidia as a preventative measure. I have to option to buy 9.6% oral solution or the 20% soluble solution. Which would be recommended and at what dosage?

July 8, 2018

Multiple's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

For Coccidia treatment in rabbits it would be best to use a product like sulfadimethoxine (Albon - dose 0.5g/litre of drinking water) as this is better for pregnant and lactating does than Corid (amprolium). Personally I wouldn’t recommend the use of Corid for rabbits. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.fao.org/docrep/t1690E/t1690e07.htm

July 9, 2018

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Willow

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Rabbit

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4 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Runny Eyes
Chronic Diarrhea

I have a rabbit farm. I have an older rabbit in particular (4 years) that all of a sudden I cannot keep her bottom clean. She's a lionhead and I've trimmed all the fur under her tail and back legs, but she stays a huge matt of wet droppings to where I have to clear her vents regularly just so she can use the restroom. She also has crusty eyes. No other rabbits in the barn have any symptoms. Should I treat her or everyone for coccidia to be safe?

June 24, 2018

Willow's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

It would be best to take a few fresh droppings to a Veterinarian for a floatation test or smear test to determine whether there are coccidia present or not; whilst treating the whole farm is a possibility it would be ideal to make sure that you’re treating the right condition. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 25, 2018

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Dutch belted

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Dutch belted

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2 Months

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Sudden Death

My rabbits appear healthy through the day till evening then go into spasm and die. This has happened for about a week now and am losing 3 rabbit's daily. Help please. Thanks in advance.

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no name yet

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French Lop

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5 Weeks

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Mucus In Stools

I am seeking advice. I am due to pick up two buns in about a month. The person I'm getting them from just told me she lost one from the group to coccidia. Another one started getting sick and she took them to the vet. All siblings and mom are getting treated with a 10 day antibiotic. The sick one, she says is already eating and acting better. My two did not show symptoms but are being treated anyway. She understands if I want to back out from getting them. I am getting very mixed information online. Some readings say it is impossible to get rid of the parasite, others say it is curable, others say they will need treatment on and off for a long time. Would you recommend not getting these bunnies? they would be 12 weeks old when I pick them up the second week of November. I don't want to get them and then have them get sick. I am also getting a bunny from another person and that one is healthy. If the other 2 are "treated" could there still be a high risk for passing it on to the one that doesn't have it? Thank you in advance. I really need some guidance on what to do.

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Willow

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Mini lop

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6 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Soft Poo

My beautiful willow died of coccidiosis a few weeks ago. He was a very well kept house bunny, 6m old. Initially he had runny poo starting late in the afternoon, (not watery diarrhea), I made the mistake of thinking he had eaten something my kids had left out and thought he’d be better in the morning (first time bunny owner). He was not better but worse. I took him to the vet the next morning, they gave him fluids, critical care and was given panacur and an antibiotic as cocci didn’t show up on the fecal test. He got a bit better but then 2 days later mucus was in his poo again and it went soft again. I took him back and they gave him baycox along with another antibiotic. The soft poos continued and got worse. I then took him back to the vet where they gave him fluids and put him on a drip as dehydrated. He had the drip and was fed critical care (also fed critical care at home). He then died. I was so devastated, our whole family was. One day I’d love to get another bunny but I want to know more about cocci first as I wouldn’t want this happening again. The vet said he may have had it already as a baby bun? Or maybe we brought the dormant parasite home in our shoes? Or from the cat next door (they also have chickens) it does come in our yard so could he have got it that way?

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No specific rabbit right now.

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Mini Rex and Polish

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2 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

I have been fortunate to not experience this with my rabbits. I have a question, however. Toltrazuril 5% suspension was recommended as an effective preventative for cocci. I asked the poster if it messed with the healthy gut flora of a rabbit. They weren't sure, and referred me here to ask.

Coccidiosis Average Cost

From 420 quotes ranging from $100 - $200

Average Cost

$150

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