Coccidiosis is a highly contagious sporozoal infection in rabbits, with low prognosis of healing. It is caused by a protozoal parasite, Eimeria sp.. As many as 25 species of coccidia have been observed in the gastrointestinal tract of the rabbit; it should, however, be noted that in some cases, one and the same coccidia has been given several names. Eimeria sp. parasites are highly host, organ and tissue specific and do rarely represent a zoonotic danger for human beings.
Recently, I had purchased a bunch of young does. All 8 weeks old and very healthy. I brought them home and house them all in a big cage together but away from the rest of the herd. I place new stock in isolation for 30 days, so I can screen any illnesses.
Within the first 2 weeks, I lost two of the does. The first showed no signs of diarrhea and just dropped in weight overnight it seems. She wasn’t bloated or anything. The second death right after the first showed diarrhea, rapid weight loss, and bloat. I knew it was coccidosis at this point, and the necropsy showed a heavily infested liver.
I looked at the local stores for Sulmet and or Corid to treat them, but each place was sold out. I looked online and most places only had the gallon size treatments available. I found one supplier online and ordered 2 – 16 oz. bottles of Sulmet 12.5% solution.
I was informed by the company that the shipment would be delayed because of availability. I didn’t have time to wait. I ended up having to request bottles from local stores when they got them in. By the time I found the product available, I had lost 3 does. Until then, I was feeding oatmeal, hay, and pedialyte to support them. I was also giving them gas drops twice a day. I only saved one!
Coccidiosis is always in the rabbits environment. The disease is brought on for several different reasons, and stress is a huge factor. Cleanliness or the lack of cleanliness in their environment also plays a big role. Wet or moist soil for animals on or close to the ground also increases the risk of coccidiosis outbreak as well as other health issues.
My isolation cage was on the ground, more colony styled. This experience changed my mind almost completely about building a colony because of the increased risks.
Long story short, I treated my entire herd of rabbits. After much research and reading several different treatment options, doses, and time variations for this Sulmet 12.5% solution treatment, here’s how I treated my herd.