Parasitic Infection (E. cuniculi) Average Cost

From 362 quotes ranging from $100 - 200

Average Cost

$150

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What is Parasitic Infection (E. cuniculi)?

Parasitic infection (E.. cuniculi) in rabbits is a microscopic parasite, found in the environment which causes the protozoal infection commonly known as Encephalitozoonosis or Encephalitozoon cuniculi (E. cuniculi) in rabbits. It is an increasingly widespread condition that is primarily observed in domesticated rabbits. However, it has also been observed in cats, dogs, foxes, guinea pigs, monkeys, goats, and sheep, as well as people that have a compromised immune system. 

E. cuniculi is considered to be a potentially serious infectious condition and one of the top causes of neurological problems in rabbits. Although it affects domesticated rabbits, it is rarely observed in wild rabbits.

Parasitic infection (E. cuniculi) in rabbits is also known as Encephalitozoon cuniculi or Nosema cuniculi. It is a single cell protozoan parasite that lives in a rabbit's kidneys and moves through the bloodstream to other vital organs. Due to this disease potentially causing neurological changes, renal failure, and possibly death, evaluation by a veterinarian is critical if you suspect your pet is ill.

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Symptoms of Parasitic Infection (E. cuniculi) in Rabbits

Although more than half the laboratory and pet rabbit population carry E. cuniculi, many don't show any signs or symptoms of the disease. However, if your rabbit is infected with E. cuniculi he may show one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Cataracts
  • Head tilt
  • Hind limb weakness
  • Neck spasms
  • Paralysis
  • Renal failure
  • Scalding
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Collapse
  • Death

Neurological problems, renal failure, and death can occur without treatment.

Causes of Parasitic Infection (E. cuniculi) in Rabbits

The most common cause of parasitic infection (E. cuniculi) in rabbits is the transmission from a mother rabbit to her litter through the placenta, which may be one of the reasons there are so many rabbits with this condition. However, it can also be transmitted through contaminated food and water, infected tissues, infected urine, or by rabbits grooming each other. Once it enters your rabbit's system it travels through his bloodstream and begins targeting the vital organs such as his brain, kidneys, and spine.

Diagnosis of Parasitic Infection (E. cuniculi) in Rabbits

The diagnosis will be based on clinical signs and your pet’s recent history. Be sure to inform the veterinarian about recent exposure to other rabbits, past illnesses, dietary changes, and travel history, and provide a timeline for the symptoms you have noticed.

The veterinarian will perform a complete physical, noting neurological signs, such as head tilt or paresis, that may be present. Testing will include the ELISA blood test which may indicate serum antibody levels indicative of E. cuniculi. In addition, the PCR test looks for the parasite in a urine sample. Further blood work will rule out differential diagnoses including cancer and potential toxicities.

Treatment of Parasitic Infection (E. cuniculi) in Rabbits

Your veterinarian may recommend treating your rabbit with fenbendazole consecutively for 28 days. NSAIDs may be used for inflammation, and if symptoms such as seizures are present, your rabbit will be given medication to control them. Some veterinarians may decide to use corticosteroids as an alternative to the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Antibiotics will be prescribed for secondary infection if required.

It should be noted that there have been cases where the rabbit does not respond to treatment, or has a partial response and is left with some central nervous system changes. Those that have residual effects may show a permanent head tilt for example. In some cases, a pet owner may choose to euthanize their pet due to consistent conditions like urine scald, in cases where mobility is not recovered.

Recovery of Parasitic Infection (E. cuniculi) in Rabbits

The prognosis of E. cuniculi in rabbits will vary greatly depending upon the severity of the condition of the individual rabbit. Pets who have other health conditions or a severe case of chronic E. cuniculi may die from effects of the illness. However, prognosis can be good for your rabbit if he is treated early and responds well to the chosen therapy. 

Disinfecting your rabbit’s environment is crucial; your veterinarian can advise you on the products to use and how to go about an efficient cleaning of your rabbit’s habitat.

Parasitic Infection (E. cuniculi) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Logan
Dwarf
8 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Loss of Balance

I've been treating one of my bunnies for EC for 5 days and now my other rabbit is showing the same symptoms. Have given her panacur also. Vet gave no advice about separating them so I'm angry I wasn't advised correctly. I've read online it can be transmitted to dogs so now I'm worried as I have a 6 year old dog who sleeps in the same room as the bunnies and has been scrounging in their cage. Does she need treated? Thanks

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
513 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. The risk of transmission from rabbits to dogs is not known. There are a few different types of E. cuniculi, including one type (type I) that is called the "rabbit strain" and another (type III) that is called the "dog strain." The ability of the rabbit strain to infect dogs, particularly dogs with normal immune function, is unclear. Considering the low incidence of infection in dogs (especially older dogs), the different types of E. cuniculi that predominate in dogs and rabbits, and the commonness of kidney disease in dogs, I doubt there’s a link between the rabbit’s infection and the dog’s kidney disease. Good hygiene would be a good idea regardless, and limiting access to the rabbits for Logan until they have been treated would probably be wise.

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Daddy
Rabbit (Angora)
6 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Falling Over

Medication Used

Fenbendazole

We have just finished treating our rabbits for 28 days with fenbendazole for e cuniculi. Although much improved, they are still falling over when trying to get around. Is the parasite killed after 28 days of treatment and do we just wait for CNS damage to heal over time, or do they need another course of treatment?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
513 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Without examining your rabbits, I am not sure if they will need a second course of treatment or if there is permanent damage - since they are improved but not 100%, that would be a great question to follow up with your veterinarian about - they'll be able to assess the health of your rabbits and decide if another course of medication is indicated. I hope that everything goes well for them.

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FG Buck
Flemish Giant
11 Weeks
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Trouble Walking
off food and water
small head tilt,
Pain

Medication Used

panacur,

A vet is not an option right now. I have a young flemish giant buck...about 11 weeks that i sold. 2 weeks later they brought him back and told me they couldnt keep him because he chewed everything in the house. they said he ate the foil off a yogurt cup and that could be why hes sick now. I see head tilt and him favoring his left side head and all. he wont drink either. he will barely move and somewhat labored breathing that is clear lungs sound. I am getting the med for e. cuniculi, I know how to give fluid under skin if need be slowly but my question is, if he really ate that foil...will it pass or is there something i can do at home to help him?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
513 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Unfotunately, without seeing him, and examining him, I do not know if the tinfoil is causing his problems, or if he has a more systemic disease. It may be E canaliculi, Pasteurella, or the effects of the foreign body. Depending on how big the piece of foil that he ate was, it may pass, or it may cause an obstruction.

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Wendell
Holland Lop
7 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

As above

Medication Used

Baytril, panacur, metacam, ciloxan

Our bunny Wendell started a few symptoms 6 days ago. Started with a slight head tilt and his left eye had a white eyelid sorta half fold over his eye. Then he wanted to be alone majority of the time which is not like him. Then he started pulling, scratching and flicking his left ear and head. He normally follows us around or jumps on our coach and watches hockey. He is 7.5 years has never been on meds or been sick and 6 days ago was happy, smart and seemed normal. Next symptoms were not wanting to really eat or drink much. Demenour totally changed. Our vet is not sure but thinks maybe pasteurella or EC so we are now treating for both because we cannot wait a week for blood results. He is loopy and dizzy seems confused and clumsy. Does this sound more like EC? Nose appears sorta wet. No eye gunk.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
513 Recommendations
Thanks for contacting us about Wendell today. I'm sorry that he is having these problems. Without more information about his situation, his signs certainly sound like Pasteurella and E. Canaliculi would be at the top of the list for possible causes. Your veterinarian seems to be covering the common bases with those therapies, as his signs do sound like they could be either of those. I hope that he recovers well!

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Bernard
unkown
3 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Falling Over
Head Tilt

My rabbit Bernard is currently being treated for E. cuniculi and we are waiting for the test result to confirm it. It all started about 4 weeks ago with him running along one night (he is a free roam rabbit) and my husband was watching him hopping around having fun when he suddenly stumbled over a mat and my husband thought it was odd but thought he just tripped/slipped or something, but when he ran back to the living room it was a full wipe-out and just as suddenly the head tilt appeared shortly afterwards. the next day we took him to the vet and they suspected an inner ear infection because the outer ear was clear and he was treated for an outer ear infection just a week or two before that. for the first week we did an oral antibiotic and ear drops but after 4 days he started to get loose stools so we switched to an inject-able antibiotic twice a day for 5 days. when we returned the vet said we had to wait to see if the tilt would go and we did for a week but he just deteriorated and every instinct in my body said something is very very wrong with my furry buddy.

We took him back to the vet and we imminently started treatment for E. cuniculi because it would be a month before we would get results from the test and better to be proactive with this rather than wait and see. It has been a week since we started medication and I'm seeing minor improvements, for example, he is eating very well (like a little piglet actually) and he seems interested in what is going on around him which is huge since the first two weeks he dropped down to next to nothing in weight and barely moved or showed interest even when we offered him banana (bunny crack) and I was force feeding him baby food and emergency rabbit recovery food to keep him alive. Bernard went from tiny speck like poops to almost normal size pellets in a week and is eating and drinking kinda normally. He sometimes need help locating food or his water bottle which I do regularly plus i supplement his water intake with lost of very wet fresh leafy greens.

He moves around and as long as he isn't scared or stressed if he falls over he can right himself and continues on his way but he has a sever head tilt at least 90 degrees. My question is what kind of recovery milestone should i be looking out for? and is there anything I can do like massages or physio that can help him recover? I've been looking into a bunny walkers to help stabilize him when he walks because right now he can't walk any distance without support. I can't give up on him while he shows a thirst for life and tries to be himself but i also don't want him to suffer or have a bad quality of life. My vet said his case is pretty sever but he was hopeful.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2008 Recommendations
In these cases, it is a case of taking each day as it comes and offering supportive and symptomatic care along with other treatment (normally fenbendazole for four weeks). Keep looking out for improvement, but I feel that massage wouldn’t be beneficial since the head tilt is caused by the vestibular apparatus and not a musculoskeletal issue. Continue with the current therapy and check in with your Veterinarian as required. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

A vet is not an option right now. I have a young flemish giant buck...about 11 weeks that i sold. 2 weeks later they brought him back and told me they couldnt keep him because he chewed everything in the house. they said he ate the foil off a yogurt cup and that could be why hes sick now. I see head tilt and him favoring his left side head and all. he wont drink either. he will barely move and somewhat labored breathing that is clear lungs sound. I am getting the med for e. cuniculi, I know how to give fluid under skin if need be slowly but my question is, if he really ate that foil...will it pass or is there something i can do at home to help him?

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Mini
Netherland Dwarf
8 Months
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Medication Used

Trimethoprim
Meloxicam
Chloramphenicol

Minis right eye turned white and a lot of mucous around the eye, which I clean off twice a day with salt water solution , we have visited a specialist vet and gave us the treatments mentioned, he wasn't sure if it would work and said it could be the course of a parasite and they eye might have to be surgically removed , if it is a parasite is it possible to get rid of it? And would removing the eye actually get rid of the parasite itself? I would of thought if it is a parasite it would be spread through her whole body, would spending $800 for the eye removal be just a waste of money? she's still a happy bunny jumping around and eating like she always has nothings changed but her eye, she's been on the medication for 2 days and I haven't noticed much change , her eye is glued shut from the mucous over night and they morning I put salt water solution to help her open her eye and gentle open it, my partner took her to the vet and didn't ask many questions and it costs $100 each time to visit the vet I would like to know what your professional opinion might me.

Thank you minis mum Mel

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2008 Recommendations
Curing Mini from the parasite isn’t as straightforward as we would like, the parasite may persist after treatment and treatment may only halt replication not actually cure her of the parasite. Fenbendazole is a typical treatment for this parasite, any treatment should be directed by your Veterinarian. Surgery to remove the eye would resolve the ocular problem but not the parasite problem in general. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Carlos
Rex
1 Year
Serious condition
-1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Paralysis
Loss of Balance
Muscle Tremors
Loss of Appetite

With these symptoms is E. Cuniculi a proper diagnosis? He has been lethargic for almost a day. Has a mostly grass hay diet and fresh vegetable as treats. No other health issues in the time I have had him which has been over a year.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2008 Recommendations
The symptoms which you care describing do fit with a diagnosis of Encephalitozoonosis cuniculi but by also be caused by vestibular disorders, ear infections, other diseases/parasites, nutritional deficiencies among other causes. Ideally you should have your Veterinarian take a look at Carlos so that effective treatment can be given. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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