ISSN 2398-2969      

Epizootic enteropathy

Clapis

Synonym(s): Epizootic rabbit enteropathy (ERE)


Introduction

  • Cause: not yet determined, thought to be bacterial.
  • Signs: anorexia, reduced growth, mild watery diarrhea, abdominal distension, mucus excretion and cecal impaction.
  • Diagnosis: based on epidemiology of group outbreak and pathological findings.
  • Treatment: antibiosis may reduce group mortality.
  • Prognosis: poor.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Major changes in intestinal microbial communities - dysbiosis.
  • Disease transmission by intestinal contents, ie ingestion of contaminated feed, feces and contact with affected rabbits:
    • Etiological agent not been identified, but most likely a bacterial infection: In one study, genus Clostridium and species Cloacibacillus porcorum and Akkermansia muciniphila associated with the disease.
    • In another study on infected rabbits, high concentrations of Clostridum sordelli and Bacillus firmus were isolated from intestinal contents.
    • Disease has been associated with presence of Clostridium perfringens alpha toxin but inoculation with these bacteria has not resulted in consistent clinical signs.
    • One study identified a single novel Clostridium spp (Clostridium cuniculi) on day or ERE onset.
  • Diet may be a factor: high-insoluble fiber diets appear to increase development of ERE. In one study, ERE was reproduced by feeding a low-fiber diet.

Predisposing factors

General

Specific

  • Age: post-wearing.

Pathophysiology

  • Difference in diversity and abundance of gastrointestinal microbiota compared to healthy rabbits.
  • Frequent co-infection with other common rabbit pathogens.
  • One study showed multiple changes in the digestive tract microbiota when feeding low-fiber diets:
    • Overgrowth of Bacteroides fragilis, Clostridium perfringen, Enterobacter sakazakii and Akkermansia muciniphila
    • Inhibition of Bifidobacterium spp and Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens in stomach/small intestine/cecum.
    • This in turn led to a decrease in butyrate yield and to ERE.
  • A disease with similar clinical signs has been described in China, with epizootic outbreaks of mucoid enteropathy syndrome (MES) Enteritis/enteropathy and associated economic losses. Mortality rate in one study was 70%. Deemed a different disease as microbiota cecal changes differed from ERE.
  • Changes in gene expression patterns have been shown – with high levels for mucins and inflammatory cytokines. This suggests inadequate immune defense mechanisms may be involved in the disease pathophysiology.

Timecourse

  • Highly contagious, with 30-40% mortality in a few days.
  • Incubation as low as 1-2 days.
  • Disease peaks 4-6 days after experimental inoculation in a group.
  • Reduced growth rates seen from 2 days until end of second week after experimental inoculation.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Espinosa J, Ferreras M C, Benavides J et al (2020) Causes of Mortality and Disease in Rabbits and Hares: A Retrospective Study. Animals 10 (1), 158 PubMed.
  • Farías-Kovac C, Nicodemus N, Delgado R et al (2020) Effect of dietary insoluble and soluble fibre on growth performance, digestibility, and nitrogen, energy, and mineral retention efficiency in growing rabbits. Animals 10 (8), 1346 PubMed.
  • Puón-Peláez X H, McEwan N R, Gómez-Soto J G et al (2020) Metataxonomic and Histopathological Study of Rabbit Epizootic Enteropathy in Mexico. Animals 10 (6), 936 PubMed.
  • Djukovic A, Garcia-Garcera M, Martínez-Paredes E et al (2018) Gut colonization by a novel Clostridium species is associated with the onset of epizootic rabbit enteropathy. Vet Res 49 (1), 1-4 BMC.
  • Hu B, Fan Z, Wei H et al (2018) Detection of mucoid enteropathy syndrome disease in rabbit farms in East China. Res Vet Sci 119, 259-261 PubMed.
  • Jin D X, Zou H W, Liu S Q et al (2018) The underlying microbial mechanism of epizootic rabbit enteropathy triggered by a low fiber diet. Sci Rep 8 (1), 1-5 Nature.
  • Dip R, Nemet Z, Schiessl B et al (2015) Efficacy and tolerability of early administration of valnemulin hydrochloride premix on epizootic rabbit enteropathy. Vet J 204 (3), 309-314 PubMed.
  • Bäuerl C, Collado M C, Zuniga M et al (2014) Changes in cecal microbiota and mucosal gene expression revealed new aspects of epizootic rabbit enteropathy. PloS One 9 (8), e105707 PubMed.
  • Guerrero I, Ferrian S, Blas E et al (2011) Evolution of the peripheral blood lymphocyte populations in multiparous rabbit does with two reproductive management rhythms. Vet Immunol Immunopathol 140 (1-2), 75-81 PubMed.
  • Huybens N, Houeix J, Licois D et al (2011) Epizootic rabbit enteropathy inoculum (TEC4): antibiograms and antibiotic fractionation. Vet Res Comms 35 (1), 13-20 PubMed.
  • Dewrée R, Meulemans L, Lassence C, et al (2007) Experimentally induced epizootic rabbit enteropathy: clinical, histopathologicaI, ultrastructural, bacteriological and haematological findings. World Rabbit Sci 15 (2) ResearchGate.
  • Marlier D, Dewrée R, Lassence C et al (2006) Infectious agents associated with epizootic rabbit enteropathy: isolation and attempts to reproduce the syndrome. Vet J 172 (3), 493-500 PubMed.
  • Licois D, Wyers M & Coudert P (2005) Epizootic Rabbit Enteropathy: experimental transmission and clinical characterization. Vet Res 36 (4), 601-613 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Meredith A & Lord B (2014) Manual of Rabbit Medicine. BSAVA, UK. ISBN: 9781905319497.

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