Bunny rehab from E-cuniculi

Pete & I have been working on the webpage for The Fuzzy EAR for awhile now; having full-time jobs along with other responsibilities has left us precious little time to accomplish this and we are back at it now. New Year Resolution for 2021?

I have long wanted to provide a blog for the site and always procrastinated because I just did not know what to write or how to start. Finally, on this last day of the year 2020, I have decided to get started. I will be sharing the story of our  English Angora (EA) rabbit, CeCe.

CeCe is a 5-year-old female EA, who has had one beautiful litter of kits (baby rabbits) about 3 years ago. In August of this year, our wonderful bunny savvy veterinarian, Dr. Brown, placed CeCe on treatment for E-cuniculi infection. She would receive Panacur (a medication used to treat parasites) once daily and Bactrim antibiotic twice daily; both are taken orally as a liquid.

Allow me to step back and tell you about E-cuniculi (EC) infection or Encephalitozoon (encephalo-Greek relating to the brain & protozoal parasite) cuniculi infection. Diagnosis of this in a live rabbit is difficult as it is hard to isolate and is usually noted on post-mortem or necropsy examination based on changes in the kidneys and brains of the deceased rabbit. There are laboratory tests that can be performed on live rabbits which are quite costly. It is estimated in that in the UK, there is a 52% seroprevalence of EC in clinically healthy rabbits (Varga, 2014). It is theorized that the kits are exposed to the EC from the mother’s urine while in the nest box. Many rabbits never exhibit any symptoms or signs of disease. For others, a stressful event may trigger the presentation of EC symptoms. Because of the risk of exposing seemingly healthy rabbits to EC infection, many rabbitries will cull or kill the rabbit infected with EC.

Some of the clinical signs of EC include a head tilt or torticollis (the head is continually turned to one side), hindlimb paresis (weakness of the back legs), paralysis (lacking the ability to move), urinary incontinence (inability to control urine), renal/kidney failure and others. For CeCe it is the hindlimb paresis and urinary incontinence.

Varga, M., & Harcourt-Brown, F. (2014). Pp 449-453. In Textbook of rabbit medicine. Edinburgh: Butterworth/Heinemann/Elsevier.

My goal with our story is to share our journey as we treat and attempt to return CeCe to minimal rabbit function. Going back to the August diagnosis, we treated her with a 30-day course as identified above and all was going well until one day toward the end of November, we noticed that she was not getting up and when she did try, was having difficulty. Our little CeCe was having a relapse, which does sometimes occur with EC. As we have a supply of treatments on-hand, I was able to put her back on the Panacur & Bactrim treatment immediately. I communicated with our vet and we carried on with treatment for CeCe.

So, here we are with CeCe living in the house with us. As she had also lost weight, we were attempting to get her to gain weight and maintain her fluid intake. For this first part of the story, I am stopping here to get it posted. Now I can say I started blogging in 2020 😊

Stay tuned as I continue our story and share some pictures as we move along the treatment continuum with CeCe. It has been an adventure and there is no guarantee our story will have a happy ending, but this little bunny is a fighter and her story should be shared.

Happy New Year Everyone, here’s to a wonderful 2021!

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