What is Encephalitozoon cuniculi?
It is a parasite that mainly affects the central nervous system and kidneys of rabbits. Some rabbits can be carriers of this parasite without showing symptoms.
How is it transmitted?
The main form of transmission is vertical, meaning from the mother to the fetus, leaving the animal as a carrier of the parasite. Other forms of transmission can occur through contact with the urine of an infected rabbit or through vectors (mosquitoes that, after biting an infected rabbit, can transmit the parasite by biting another healthy rabbit).
What symptoms may be related to the presence of the parasite?
First, it should be clear that the presence of the following clinical signs is not exclusive to this disease but can be suggestive.
Head tilt with varying degrees of inclination.
Abnormal eye movement.
Flaccid limb paralysis.
Rolling (turning in circles).
Change in eye color.
Increased drinking and urination.
How should we protect our rabbit?
In Spain, 60-70% of rabbits are carriers of the parasite due to transmission from mothers to offspring (the percentage varies depending on studies in each region). The most important form of prevention is administering an antiparasitic syrup every 6 months. Additionally, we recommend avoiding contact between rabbits of unknown origin and offering vegetables or herbs collected where wild rabbits may inhabit.
Can it be transmitted to humans or other animals?
It is possible for immunocompromised individuals with serious illnesses or undergoing chemotherapy to be infected. It can also be transmitted to other species of animals, such as mammals in general and some birds, so special care should be taken if you have other pets.
If you want more information on prevention and an appropriate antiparasitic treatment regimen for your rabbit, please contact us at 963227304.