Rabbit Diseases - Parasites - Coccidiosis
Coccidiosis is the most common disease in rabbits. Even with
the best of care can still get Coccidiosis. It is caused by
microscopic protozoa and is very hard to cure. There are two
types of Coccidia that infect rabbits, one attacks the
intestines and the other infects the rabbit's liver.
Symptoms can range from no visible symptoms to loss of
appetite, failure to gain weight, depression, swollen belly,
abdominal pain, pale mucus membranes and diarrhea. Symptoms
of Intestinal Coccidiosis can also include a rough coat,
profuse diarrhea and weight loss. Young rabbits may fail to
grow due to liver and kidney damage. Feces may contain mucus
Healthy rabbits can carry the disease without showing any
symptoms themselves, and shed the eggs in their feces, which
then spreads the disease to other animals.
Treatment of Coccidiosis in Pet Rabbits
The best treatment is prevention. Keep your rabbits and
their environment as clean as possible. Clean the cage daily
and make sure no feces can get into the food or water. Ask
your veterinarian about preventative medications.
Feeding your rabbits all the fresh orchard grass hay they
want, and small daily quantities of dry rabbit pellets and
fresh vegetables, along with all the clean water they will
drink is a helpful preventative also.
The life cycle of Coccidia is from four to fourteen days
from the time that the rabbit swallows the spores. The
rabbit's stomach acids break down the oocyst walls and the
spores are released to invade the cells of the intestinal
wall, feed and multiply. The growing parasites damage the
cells they inhabit, thus causing disease.
If your rabbit is diagnosed with Coccidiosis your
veterinarian will prescribe drugs that will help keep the
Coccidia levels down until the animal can develop its
Meanwhile, isolate infected rabbits from other animals,
dispose of their feces carefully, treat the cages the sick
rabbits came from with a 10% strength ammonia solution,
which will kill the oocysts, and make sure no rats or mice
have access to the rabbit cages. Also make sure that you
care for and clean the cages of the infected animals after
you have cared for any healthy ones, then change and wash
your clothes and wash your hands thoroughly.