Yarmouth Veterinary Center

75 Willow Street
Yarmouth , ME 04096

(207)846-6515

www.yarmouthvetcenter.com

YVCipedia RABBITS

RABBIT HEALTH PROBLEMS

 

Health problems seen in rabbits:

 

SKIN

  • Itch - various mites, lice, fleas, maggots, ear mites, bacterial infection, dermatophytosis (ringworm)
  • Alopecia (hair loss) - self-inflicted due to itch, sebaceous adenitis, lack of dietary fiber can lead to barbering, hormonal, cystic ovaries and other ovarian disease, myxomatosis
  • Scales and crusts - mites, especially Cheyletiella and ear mites, sebaceous adenitis, ringworm, myxomatosis, Treponema (rabbit syphilis)
  • Nodules, swellings, nonhealing wounds - abscesses, salivary mucocele (pockets of saliva), herpesvirus, poxvirus, Cuterebra (fly larvae), mycobacteria, myxomatosis, Shope papilloma and fibroma viruses, lyphoma, various neoplastic diseases, abnormally large dewlap
  • Fur mats, especially angoras, especially of rear quarters, involving hair and droppings
  • Pododermatitis - inflammation and infection of feet

 

RESPIRATORY

  • Upper respiratory - dental disease, Pasteurella and other bacterial infection (includes atrophic rhinitis), poxvirus, Treponema, Toxoplasam, allergy
  • Viral - myxomatosis, viral hemorrhagic disease, herpes, paramyxovirus (Sendai)
  • Bacterial - Pasteurella, Bortdatella, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Moraxella, Pseudomonas, mycobacteria, cilia-associated respiratory bacillus, mycoplasma, chlamydia
  • Protozoa - Toxoplasma
  • Neoplasia - thymoma, lung metastasis from uterine adenocarcinoma
  • Allergy
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heatstroke

 

DENTAL

  • Dental formula of rabbits is: I 2/1, C 0/0, PM 3/2, M 3/3
  • Protozoal - E.cuniculi - abnormal chewing movements, tongue paralysis
  • Nutritional - lack of fiber (hay)
  • Neoplasia - osteosarcoma of bone of mandible
  • Congenital incisor malocclusion
  • Overgrowth of teeth orally (into the mouth) and aborally (from the roots, away from the mouth, into the bones of the skull)
  • Dacryocystitis - tear duct problem secondary to dental disease

 

GASTROINTESTINAL

  • Viral - rotavirus, papillomatosis, VHD
  • Bacterial - normal rabbits are mostly gram-positive and have no coliforms, E coli, Staph enteritis in newborns, Clostridium, Salmonella, Klebsiella, Pseudomonas, Mycobacterium
  • Protozoal - intestinal coccidia, liver coccidia, Cryptosporidia, Giardia
  • Parasitic - roundworms, tapeworms, flukes
  • Nutritional - lack of fiber (hay), excess carbohydrate (grain) predisposes to Clostridium
  • Neoplasia - adenocarcinoma, leiomyoma/sarcoma, metastasis from uterine adenocarcinoma, rectal papillomas, inflammatory polyps
  • Salivary mucocele - pocket of saliva from leaking salivary duct or gland
  • Stomach hairballs
  • Caecoliths - stones in the cecum
  • Mucoid enteropathy
  • Dysautonomia
  • Secondary to dental disease - very common
  • Failure to eat caecotrophs
  • Gastric stasis and bloat
  • Foreign body
  • Intussusception - telescoping of intestine into itself, may be secondary to polyp in cecum

 

FAILURE TO EAT CAECOTROPHS

  • Nutrition - lack of dietary fiber, excess carbohydrates (grains) , obesity
  • Dental disease
  • Spinal problems
  • Stress - caecotrophs usually eaten at a regular quiet time of day

 

LIVER

  • Viral - VHD, Viral Hemorrhagic Disease, a calicivirus
  • Bacterial
  • Protozoal - coccidia
  • Parasitic - tapeworms
  • Nutritional - mold in food, hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver)
  • Neoplastic - benign and malignant bile duct cancer, metastasis from uterine cancer
  • Liver lobe torsion - spontaneous twisting of a lobe of liver

 

CARDIOVASCULAR

  • Viral - coronavirus
  • Bacterial - pericarditis and endocarditis, numerous bacteria implicated
  • Protozoal - E. cuniculi, Trypanosoma
  • Nutritional - Low vitamin E, myocardial musculodystrophy
  • Neoplasia - thymoma
  • Congenital heart valve and muscle problems
  • Hypertrophic and dilated cardiomyopathy - spontaneous heart muscle disease
  • Arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis

 

SYSTEMIC

  • Problems involving multiple body systems
  • Viral - VHD
  • Bacterial - Salmonella
  • Neoplasia - lymphoma
  • Hypoglycemia, especially due to dental disease
  • Heatstroke
  • Pregnancy toxemia

 

NEUROMUSCULAR

  • Viral - Rabies, Herpes
  • Bacterial - bacteria include Pasteurella, Bordatella, Staphylococcus, Listeria; sites of problems include middle and inner ear, spine, all bones
  • Protozoal - E. cuniculi, Toxoplasma, Sarcocystis
  • Parasites - aberrant migration into the nervous system of Baylisascaris or other worms, ear mites causing middle ear disease
  • Nutritional - improper diet causing low vitamin A or low vitamin E
  • Neoplasia - bone tumors, nervous system metastasis
  • Trauma
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Splay leg - genetic deformity of bones and joints
  • Epilepsy
  • Poisons

 

OPHTHALMIC

  • Viral - Myxomatosis
  • Bacterial - conjunctivitis, retrobulbar abscess (abscess behind the eye
  • Protozoal - E. cuniculi
  • Neoplasia - thymoma, causing bulging of the eye
  • Entropion (curling of lids)
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Foreign bodies, especially straw or hay under the lids
  • Corneal occlusion syndrome - conjunctiva covering the cornea
  • Dental disease complications - very common

 

ENDOCRINE

  • Diabetes
  • Adrenal gland problems
  • Excess testosterone from adrenal glands in neutered males

 

URINARY

  • Bacterial - kidney infections, bladder infections
  • Protozoal - E. cuniculi
  • Nutritional - urinary stones, kidney calcification, fatty degeneration of the kidneys
  • Neoplasia - kidney and bladder tumors
  • Congenital defects
  • Inguinal hernias of the bladder

 

REPRODUCTIVE

  • Viral - myxomatosis
  • Bacterial - numerous, including Treponema (rabbit syphilis)
  • Nutritional - poor diet resulting in low vitamin A and/or E
  • Neoplasia - uterine adenocarcinoma, ovarian tumors, testicular tumors, mammary adenocarcinoma
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Endometrial hyperplasia
  • Uterine polyps
  • Uterine torsion (twisting)
  • Vaginal prolapse
  • Hydrometra (fluid filled uterus)
  • Pseudopregnancy
  • Dystocia
  • Cystic mastitis - may progress to mammary cancer
  • Testicular stone - not reported in the veterinary literature, but seen in one patient at Yarmouth Vet Center