Treating Coccidiosis in Rabbits

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.

 Source: MediRabbit

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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.

sulmet1Long 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.

.5cc per pound for the first day, and .2cc per pound for days 2-5
Wait 5 days, and repeat this treatment for another 5 days.
NOTE: cc is the same measurement as ml
 
This five/Five/Five day treatment would be used only when you have an active case of coccidiosis.  If you want to prevent coccidiosis by dosing rabbits with Sulmet 12.5% solution in water, the general consensus seems to be follow the instructions for dosing chickens, which is found on a bottle of Sulmet 12.5% solution.
 
You cannot expect to get rid of coccidiosis if you aren’t ready to do some major cleaning.
 
All cages should be cleaned with bleach or ammonia. Some people use vinegar. What I do is…
 
Scrub the cages with hot soapy water that contains bleach. I rinse it well. I then spray the entire surface of the cage inside with a 1 part bleach 10 parts water. I let it dry completely then hose it off. Each day for the first 5 days of treatment, I spray the cage wire with 50/50 vinegar and water. I can do the vinegar spray, being careful, while the rabbits are in the cages, and it does not harm them.
 
For detailed information about coccidiosis and other treatments and advice, I recommend you visit the source below as well as search for the information to read whats working for others with your specific conditions.
 
When you treat livestock with any type of medications, you must consider the time you will have to with hold processing meat, eggs, or milk. I waited 30 days after the last treatment, but some say 10, 15, or other day/time variations. Play it safe when you choose whats best for you in your comfort zone. Id with hold rabbit meat 30 days just to be sure because it is not tested on rabbits so there’s no truly tested answer.
 
My future prevention program will be feeding treated feed to the herd twice a year when the temperatures change in the Spring and Fall. I will also use Sulmet 12.5% solution for 5 days when I have new stock come in with my 30 day isolation. Ive also made it a point to be sure all cages are lifted high away from the ground.
 
Please, comment and let me know how you treat your rabbits for coccidiosis, or how you prevent it.
 
 
 

  Source: MediRabbit

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