Coccidien are unicellular parasites. Rabbits almost always carry coccidian with them. They can do no harm as long as the rabbit is not stressed. About 12 species of coccidian have been discovered in sick rabbits, this does not mean that all 12 of these do damage. Coccidia can cause a bad ending, especially in young rabbits.
What is coccidiosis?
If a rabbit has coccidiosis, this means that there are single-celled parasites called coccidia in the rabbit that is harmful. These parasites are located in the intestinal tract and the liver. The rabbit often carries coccidian with them because, for example, they have removed the fecal matter from their fur or because they eat hay/grass that has feces on it, but the coccidian is not harmful if the animal is not under stress. Coccidia affects internal organs so that symptoms can be seen, but it is sometimes already too late.
How can you prevent coccidiosis?
Since coccidiosis occurs in rabbits through stress and hygiene, there are a number of things you can do to prevent coccidiosis:
- make sure there are no sudden temperature changes
- clean the bin regularly and thoroughly
- rabbit clean
- don’t take too long car rides
It is also possible that your rabbit already has a fever and is therefore more susceptible to coccidia. Rabbits naturally sometimes eat their feces (also called coprolalia), research has shown that there is no harmful coccidian in this, so this is not serious.
How to diagnose coccidiosis?
Since the parasites affect organs, there is a high chance that the rabbit will get diarrhea. With diarrhea, the coccidiosis is still in an early stage. If the rabbit has watery stools, with bits of stool and sometimes blood, then you are already in a further stage. At this stage, the rabbit dries out very quickly and loses a lot of weight.
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The vet can see if the rabbit has coccidiosis by taking a blood sample. If so, you will probably get ‘Baycox’. You do this for 2 to 3 days through the water, after 14 days you repeat this again. During treatment, the rabbit hutch must be thoroughly cleaned so that the rabbit cannot become infected again. If you have several rabbits, you should treat all rabbits as it is contagious. If necessary, the vet can give an antibiotic for the additional infections. Young rabbits are often weakened so quickly that they are beyond reason.