Pasteurellosis in rabbits and methods of its treatment

In breeding rabbits, livestock farmers often encounter problems such as rabbit pasteurellosis. This viral disease is causing enormous damage to livestock farms and private households due to the high mortality rate of infected animals.

Pasteurellosis in rabbits

Under normal conditions, this percentage does not exceed 15-20%, but if rabbits live in inappropriate conditions, receive insufficient amounts of nutrients from food and do not have constant access to clean water, then mortality rises to 80-90%. There is a vaccine for pasteurellosis and it has been used successfully for many decades.

What is pasteurellosis

Pasteurellosis in rabbits is a viral disease caused by Pasteurella bacillus (Pasteurella).

It is characterized by damage to the upper respiratory tract. The disease is widespread throughout the world and does not have clear geographical boundaries. It absolutely does not depend on seasonality, as it is not related to the transition of rabbits from hay to fresh grass.

The death of rabbits from pasteurellosis was recorded in the XIX century. The description of the disease and methods of combating it were studied by the famous French scientist Louis Pasteur. Most often, the disease is single in nature, but in the absence of normal conditions for keeping farm animals, it can develop to the size of an epidemic.

In addition to rabbits, cattle, pigs and poultry are also susceptible to pasteurellosis. Timely treatment of the disease significantly reduces the risk of developing an epidemic of pasteurellosis.

Symptoms of pasteurellosis in rabbits

The first symptoms of pasteurellosis in rabbits become noticeable 3-10 hours after the sticks enter the animal, but they are not very pronounced. For this reason, diagnosing the disease in the early stages is quite difficult. The percentage of infection of young rabbits is higher.

After 10 hours, the symptoms become more pronounced. The following symptoms become noticeable:

  • copious secretion of mucus from the nose and eyes;
  • diarrhea;
  • bloating;
  • complicated breathing, which may be accompanied by wheezing and whistling;
  • loss of interest in food or a complete rejection of it;
  • lethargy;
  • increase in body temperature to 42 ° C;
  • vomiting

The animal becomes lethargic and sleeps a lot. Around the mouth and eyes there is an accumulation of mucus from transparent to dark brown in color. Due to mucus in the nose, the animal sneezes and often washes its nose. The disease can also affect the ears, then the rabbit shakes its head and completely loses its orientation in space.

In the absence of timely medical care, the disease develops rapidly. The animal spins in one place or completely loses its ability to stand on its paws. As the infection spreads through the respiratory tract, pneumonia develops, as well as abscesses in the nasal mucosa, pharynx, and oral cavity.

The course of the disease and the causes of infection

Pasteurellosis of rabbits, like any other disease of the upper respiratory tract, is transmitted by airborne droplets. It is also possible infection:

  • in contact with a sick animal;
  • through contaminated water or feed;
  • through the dirty hands of a man caring for rabbits.

The impetus for the progression of the disease becomes stress due to transportation, changing the place of detention or rearrangement of animals.

After the pathogen stick enters the body, its protective functions are activated, namely, the production of white blood cells. The infection penetrates the circulatory and lymphatic systems of the animal, causing septicemia - blood poisoning. Also observed is the development of hemorrhagic diathesis due to damage to the walls of blood vessels by toxic waste products of the pathogen.

Pasteurellosis in domestic rabbits has 2 types of the course of the disease:

  1. The acute form of pasteurellosis is characterized by the rapid development of symptoms. Such a course of the disease is observed at its very beginning. The first sign is an increase in body temperature to 41-42 ° C. After the animal begins to sneeze and often wash its face, abundant mucous discharge from the eyes is also observed. The eyelid may swell and turn red. Then comes the period during which the rabbit has difficulty breathing, sometimes with wheezing and whistling. The animal opens up vomiting and diarrhea. After refusing water and food, the rabbit dies for 2-3 days.
  2. The chronic form of pasteurellosis is characterized by a slight manifestation of symptoms that are easily confused with the manifestations of conjunctivitis, rhinovirus infection, rhinitis or keratoconjunctivitis. Over time, purulent pneumonia develops, as well as the development of subcutaneous abscesses, which are easily detected by palpation. Their autopsy can occur only after 1-2 months.

The chronic course of the disease does not save from death, but only delays it if you do not find the true cause of the disease. Pneumonia quickly spreads throughout the herd and leads to mass death of animals.

Rabbits remain invulnerable to pasteurellosis for up to 40 days, as they are protected by maternal immunity. After this period, the animal may become ill at any time. The impetus for the development of infection can serve as stress in rabbits, caused by absence from the mother.

Treatment of pasteurellosis in rabbits

It is not easy to diagnose an infection in the early stages of its development.

The diagnosis is made based on the results of clinical studies or after opening the dead animals by bacteriological means.

Infected individuals should be isolated from the rest of the herd, and already dead rabbits should be burned: this will help prevent the spread of infection among the livestock. Burial of bodies is strictly prohibited, as this will not destroy the pathogen, and the epidemic will flare up again.

Acute pasteurellosis of rabbits can be treated according to several schemes:

  • Sulfanilamide tablets in a course of 3-4 days.
  • Tetracycline or Biomycin for 3-5 days (vaccination). The drug is administered intramuscularly.

In the chronic course of the disease, these 2 treatment regimens are combined. The first 3 days - sulfanilamide, then 3 days - an antibiotic in injections and again 3 days - sulfanilamide. The course of treatment is 9 days. In parallel, it is recommended to use drugs against diarrhea and vomiting.

In no case should you treat rabbits yourself. Only an experienced veterinarian can make the correct diagnosis and prescribe treatment. Starting treatment of rabbit pasteurellosis in the early stages increases the chances of survival of the pussies. It is extremely important to find out the dosage of drugs from the veterinarian or carefully read the instructions for use.

Disease prevention

Despite the timely treatment and its positive result, 1 out of 2 animals remains the carrier of the infection for life. When favorable conditions appear, the stick is activated again and begins to multiply, which leads to a new outbreak of pasteurellosis in rabbits.

Buying rabbits from untested livestock breeders can put your entire flock at risk. For this reason, you need to be careful when choosing a breeder.

You need to buy rabbits at the age of one month. During this period, they are not yet susceptible to pasteurellosis and the vaccine will be selected and introduced already by the breeder himself.

The main method of prevention and the most successful is the vaccination of pussies. The first time the vaccine is administered to rabbits who have reached the age of one month. Further vaccination is required 2 times a year. To select a particular drug for vaccination, you need to seek the help of a veterinarian. Most commonly used:

  • Pestorin Mormix;
  • Formol Vaccine;
  • Pasorin - Ol.

It is also necessary to adhere to other methods for the prevention of pasteurellosis:

  • sick individuals are isolated from the rest of the herd;
  • dead rabbits are burned, not buried in the ground;
  • conduct timely cleaning in cages, wash feeders and drinking bowls;
  • upon detection of infection with pasteurellosis, cells are treated with antiseptics or 1% sodium hydroxide solution, drinkers, feeders and aviaries are also disinfected in the same way;
  • the manure is deeply buried or taken out to a safe distance from the cages with pets, it may also contain a stick-pathogen;
  • the infection is sensitive to ultraviolet radiation, so cells must be placed in such a way that the sun's rays hit them in the morning, when it is not so hot.

Vaccination against pasteurellosis in rabbits should be carried out in a timely manner. It is a mistake to believe that one vaccine is able to protect pussies for his whole life. The exact scheme according to which the vaccine will be administered is decided by the veterinarian. You need to buy drugs only in trusted places, as there is a great risk of stumbling into a fake.


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