Encephilitozoon cuniculi or E. cuniculi is a relatively common disease in rabbits and is a microsporidial organism. E. cuniculi is spread through urine and faeces but can also be spread from mum to kit in utero.
E. cuniculi commonly targets the brain, the nervous system, the lens in the eye and the kidneys. Many rabbits with E. cuniculi will lead happy, normal lives; whereas others will show signs of kidney disease, balance problems, seizures, spinal problems and eye issues. We can diagnose E. cuniculi by a blood test. This tells us if your rabbit has produced antibodies to the parasite, and therefore been exposed to it. This won’t tell us if it is definitely the cause of the symptoms seen, or if E. cuniculi will ever cause a problem, but simply lets us know if your rabbit has been exposed to infection.
So what if my bunny is positive???
Fenbendazole (Panacur) is used to treat ill rabbits testing positive for E. Cuniculi. A 30 day course will clear the organism and a 9 day course is recommended every 6 months thereafter for prevention. We can reduce the risk to our rabbits by always testing new rabbits prior to introducing them to an E.cuniculi free population. This involves two blood tests one month apart on any animals that are negative on the first test as it takes about one month for the body to produce antibodies once exposed to the infection. Spores can remain viable in the environment for 4-6 weeks, although they can easily be inactivated by most disinfectants. Ensuring good hygiene will help prevent spread of this infection. If you are concerned about your rabbit and E.cuniculi then phone us today for an appointment.