INFECTIOUS DISEASES (PART 6) – E CUNICULI
Encephalitozoon Cuniculi (E. Cuniculi) has been haunting our rabbits for years. Poorly regulated breeding has made our pet rabbits even more susceptible. In healthy rabbits, E. Cuniculi is suppressed by the immune system. However, a stressed, senior or unwell rabbit may experience a flare which can spread rapidly to the liver, kidney or central nervous system.
E. Cuniculi can be carried by healthy rabbits and shed by urine to spread to other rabbits. Rabbits affected by E. Cuniculi will shows clinical signs such as eye abnormalities (uveitis, juvenile cataract), kidney disorders as well as neurological diseases (head tilt, weakness in legs, incontinence). Some of these conditions are dangerous and delayed treatment can be fatal.
Rabbits suspected to have E. Cuniculi should seek immediate treatment with a rabbit savvy vet. A blood and/or urine test is a common way to quantify active infection. The rabbit will need time to regain immunity to suppress the infection but dewormers such as Fenbandazole (Brandname: Panacur) has been proven to control the symptoms. As E. Cuniculi is highly contagious, bonded mates to the infected rabbit should be treated to prevent a flare.
It’s impossible to prevent an E. cuniculi flare as it is likely present in our rabbits already. However, by keeping them healthy, happy and clean, we can maintain their immunity which will suppress it.