Encephalitozoon cuniculi

A rabbit affected by E.cuniculi

Encephalitozoon cuniculi (Often abbreviated to E. cuniculi) is a very common parasite and is reported to infect between 70-90% of rabbits in the UK, with Scotland being particularly badly affected.  The dangerous fact about the parasite is that rabbits can live with it for a long time without showing any symptoms at all.

 

E. cuniculi likes to live in brain, eye and kidney tissue and can do so without causing any harm to it's host.  In a small percentage of rabbits (and it's still not quite understood why) the parasite will begin to damage the tissues in which it lives.  If the brain is badly affected, it can lead to head tilts, balance problems, incontinence and weak back legs.   In the eye, it can cause a painful inflammation of the inside of the eye called uveitis. If the kidneys are affected, it can lead to kidney failure very quickly.

 

Treatment for E. cuniculi is a contentious issue but after consulting with several experts on the matter, we have chosen a suggested treatment which we think gives the best protection.  Sadly, in cases where the rabbit is affected, the treatment cannot always reverse the damage done, this is why it is important to treat your rabbit before problems occur.

 

The medication we prescribe is called Panacur®.  The treatment must be administered once per day for 28 days to ensure that it is as effective as possible. Once your rabbit has been treated, there is no need to treat it again unless it is grazing on grass where wild rabbits have access or a new rabbit is introduced to the household.