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The Rabbit Info Center



Diarrhea In Rabbits

There are three diseases that can cause diarrhea in rabbits.
These diseases are Coccidiosis, Tyzzer's Disease, and Mucoid Enteritis.
In all three conditions, the disease may be encouraged by:

Over crowding
Poor sanitation.


Probably the most common of the three Diseases is Coccidiosis.
If though we think of coccidiosis as one condition, there are actually a number
of different organisms which causes this disease.
The most common is Eimeria Steidae which primarily effects the liver.
However there are other oraganisms that only affect the intestinal tract..
These organisms are spread by way of feces, contaminated feed and water
and can be more severe in young rabbits.
Rabbits with coccidiosis become messy.
The anal area become pasted with feces, the belly becomes enlarged,
and the effected animal will seem to crave water.
From this Disease Stunting and occasional death will occur
particularly in the young if the disease isn't taking care of.
A number of different medications have been used to treat coccidiosis.
Sulfa based drugs are most often used. However Medications don't kill
the organism, they only reduce the severity of infection
allowing the animals own defense system to overcome the infection
and develop an immunity to the disease.
Once an animal has survived this disease, it becomes immune to it for life.

Tyzzer's Disease:

Tyzzer's disease is another disease that can develop when animals are under stress.
It is most prominent at weaning and under crowded conditions.
Tyzzer's is caused by the bacteria Bacillus piliformis. This organism
lives in the lining cells of the lower intestines, cecum, and upper colon.

Signs Tyzzer's Disease include:

Black watery feces.
A great amount of feces matted around the anus and sometimes down the hind legs.

At this time There is no way to determine if  a rabbit or herd has Tyzzer's Disease ,
and the death rate from this disease is as high 90%.
On necropsy, tiny white spots will appear on the liver and often the heart.
The cecal walls and intestines will have severe thickening,
and the outside will be bright red. The organism can only be seen by
microscopic examination of the effected tissue.
By reducing cage populations and keeping only 1 rabbit per cage
and keeping up good sanitation practices
you can lessen the chances of this outbreak.
Treatment with tetracycline has had some success, however in most instances
it has only blocked the signs of the disease temporarily
and the disease returned.

Mucoid Enteritis:

Of all types of diarrhea, mucoid enteritis is the most influenced by nutrition.

With this disease the signs are:

Bloating of the abdomen
A Jelly like secretion in the feces

When gently shaken Rabbits with severe enteritis have a sloshing type,
sound in their stomach.
Rabbits 4-10 weeks of age are most susceptible, however the condition has
been seen in adult animals as well. Again stress, and over-crowding play a large part
in triggering outbreaks of this disease.

Use of the proper feed, high in fiber and low in protein, along with regular feedings of
long stem hay will often correct the condition.
Antibiotics can be used however have shown very little success.

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