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E.cuniculi

Encephalitozoon cuniculi also known as EC is a parasite which can affect the brain and/or kidneys. It can be difficult to diagnose in some milder cases as most rabbits can actually carry it without it affecting them, and so a blood test can come back positive with something different being the cause of the problem. It is always worth doing a test as it can show other issues in the blood and possibly cross EC off the list of possible causes. 

EC can be transmitted between mum and babies or from the environment of another infected rabbit. Boiling water must be used to clean their home and to destroy the spores. 

Symptoms:

Head tilt

Falling/rolling

Eye flickering

Weight loss

Hind leg weakness

Incontinence 

Excess thirst

If the brain is affected the main symptom is usually a noticeable head tilt (a chronic ear infection can also cause their head to tilt). Your rabbit may display behaviours of being dizzy such as losing balance and rolling to the side of the tilt. This can be quite distressing to watch as your rabbit tries to regain their balance. You can support them with pillows or rolled blankets placed at either side of them. 

When the kidneys are affected signs of kidney failure can be present, such as drinking more than usual and their bedding being saturated with pee as they lose control of their bladder. Hind leg weakness can also occur. 

Treatment

When infection is present Panacur will be prescribed. This is a wormer and your rabbit will need a 28 day course. This is not advisable as a preventative treatment. 

Veterinary treatment is needed as soon as any symptoms are present; if not your rabbit could be left with a permanent tilt or hind leg paralysis. Left untreated this will more than likely be fatal for your rabbit. 

Contagious?

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