The disease caused by unicellular parasites is also called “crooked head” by many rabbit keepers, as a characteristic symptom is the crooked position of the head.
Infection and Contagion with Encephalitozoonosis
The disease is triggered by the pathogen Encephalitozoon cuniculi (E.C). The parasite is transmitted through the feces and urine of infected animals. If healthy animals come into contact with it, they become infected. It is said that up to 80 percent of all rabbit populations are infected with the parasite. It is therefore not uncommon for many rabbits to become infected while still in the womb. Other illnesses, but also stress, can ultimately lead to the outbreak of encephalitozoonosis. The disease is not host-specific and affects other animals such as rats or mice. Under certain circumstances, the disease also poses a risk to humans.
Symptoms: This Is How You Recognize Encephalitozoonosis in Your Rabbit
It is particularly noticeable when the head is tilted, but symptoms such as balance and coordination disorders, paralysis, and seizures can also indicate encephalitozoonosis. In addition, kidney problems (which can be demonstrated by blood values), swinging the head back and forth, and turning around on one’s own axis are often mentioned as side effects of the disease.
Immediate treatment is imperative, otherwise, the central nervous system can be damaged. If the rabbit is not treated in a timely manner, it will not be able to fully recover. Without veterinary care, the disease will in any case lead to the death of the animal.
Treatment of Encephalitozoonosis by the Veterinarian
The treatment is extensive and is carried out by various means, depending on the symptoms. The administration of antibiotics is unavoidable. In addition to vitamins, anthelmintics, and cortisone, infusions may also be necessary. However, the treatment always depends on the case and the treating veterinarian.
Sick animals should be separated from other rabbits and pets, as the pathogen can be transmitted. As a rule, people have nothing to fear, but if you have an immune deficiency you should be careful and, if necessary, consult your family doctor and the treating veterinarian.