ISSN 2398-2969      

Papillomatosis

Clapis

Synonym(s): Shope papilloma virus, Cottontail rabbit papilloma virus


Introduction

  • There are two types of infectious papilloma in rabbits: cottontail rabbit papilloma (described here) and rabbit oral papilloma Oral papillomatosis.
  • Anorectal papillomas occur in rabbits but have not been associated with papilloma viruses and do not appear to be transmissible (these papillomas will not be discussed here).
  • Cause
    • Cottontail rabbit papilloma virus (CRPV) Papilloma virus, a papovavirus first discovered by Shope in 1933, and the first oncogenic virus to be identified in mammals. CRPV does not cause oral pathology. It is a double stranded DNA virus, a Kappapillomavirus 2.

CRPV is distinct from the Shope fibroma virus Shope fibroma virus.

    • It occurs as a benign disease in wild Cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanusCottontail. It occurs naturally in California brush rabbits (Sylvilagus bachmani). It may also spread to Snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus) and Jackrabbits (Lepus californicus).
    • CRPV does not occur in the UK or Europe but is reported in American commercial rabbit units.
    • Infection of domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is rare, but in these cases malignancy may occur.
    • Virus is oncogenic; lesions may undergo neoplastic transformation to squamous cell carcinomas Cutaneous neoplasia. This is more common in domestic rabbits.
    • The disease has been widely used as a model for the study of human papilloma virus and the development of a papilloma virus vaccine.
  • Signs: horny warts on ears, neck, shoulders or abdomen.
  • Diagnosis: often based on clinical appearance, histopathology required for confirmation.
  • Treatment: surgery to excise nodules often indicated. Nodules will often regress spontaneously but may take weeks to months to do so.
  • Prognosis: usually resolves spontaneously due to immune-mediated resolution, though some cases become neoplastic.

Presenting signs

  • Typical papillomas (horny "warts") on neck, shoulders, ears or abdomen in Cottontail rabbits Cottontail.
  • In domestic rabbits, lesions are usually found on the ears and eyelids.
  • Early lesions are rounded and rough, but frequently develop into large horn-like, keratinized growths.
  • Lesions often are friable and are easily traumatized.
  • CRPV lesions do not occur on the mucous membranes, but can occur at the mucocutaneous junction, (unlike infection with the distinct oral papilloma virus Oral papillomatosis.
  • Affected rabbits are otherwise systemically well.
  • If the papilloma has undergone malignant transformation to a carcinoma this may be locally invasive and ulcerative.

Geographic incidence

  • North America.
  • Natural disease in Cottontail rabbits Cottontail (the natural hosts) is most common in Midwest and Great Plains states.
  • Natural disease in domestic rabbits has been reported only from Southern California.

Age, sex and breed predisposition

  • No known age or sex predisposition.
  • No known breed predisposition in domestic rabbits.

Cost considerations

  • Moderate.
  • Costs include general anesthesia Anesthesia: overview and surgical removal, supportive post-operative care if necessary, plus histopathological confirmation of diagnosis.

Pathogenesis

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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.
  • Lee A (2021) Managing disease outbreaks in captive herds of exotic companion mammals. Vet Clin Exot Anim 24 (3), 567-608 PubMed.
  • Christansen N D, Cladel N M, Hu J et al (2014) Formulation of cidofovir improves the anti-papillomaviral activity of topical treatments in the CRPV/rabbit model. Antiviral Res 108, 148-155 PubMed.
  • Hu J, Budgeon L R, Balogh K K et al (2014) Long-peptide therapeutic vaccination against CRPV-induced papillomas in HLA-A2.1 transgenic rabbits. Trails Vaccinol 3, 134-142 PubMed.
  • Cladel N M, Budgeon L R, Hu J et al (2013) Synonymous codon changes in the oncogenes of the cottontail rabbit papillomavirus lead to increased oncogenicity and immunogenicity of the virus. Virology 438 (2), 70-83 PubMed.
  • Keir P J & Donnelly T M (2013) Viral infections of rabbits. Vet Clin Exot Anim 16 (2), 437-468 PubMed.
  • Meredith A L (2013) Viral skin diseases of the rabbit. Vet Clin Exot Anim 16 (3), 705-714 PubMed.
  • Sant R & Rowland M (2009) Skin disease in rabbits. In Pract 31 (5), 233-238 VetMedResource.
  • Krogstad A R, Simpson J E & Korte S W (2005) Viral diseases of rabbits. Vet Clin North Am Exotic Anim Pract 8 (1), 123-138 PubMed.
  • Giri I, Danos O & Yaniv M (1985) Genomic structure of the cottontail rabbit (Shope) papillomavirus. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 82 (6), 1580-1584 PubMed.
  • Phelps W C, Leary S L & Faras A J (1985) Shope papillomavirus transcription in benign and malignant rabbit tumors. Virology 146 (1), 120-129 PubMed.
  • Kreider J W & Bartlett G L (1981) The Shope papilloma-carcinoma complex of rabbits: A model system of neoplastic progression and spontaneous regression. Adv In Cancer Res 35, 81-110 PubMed.
  • Hagen K W (1966) Spontaneous papillomatosis in domestic rabbits. Bulletin of the Wildlife Disease Association 2, 108-110 VetMedResource.
  • Syverton J T (1952) The pathogenesis of the rabbit papilloma-to-carcinoma sequence. Ann NY Acad Sci 54 (6), 1126-1140 PubMed.
  • Kidd J G & Rous P (1940) Cancer deriving from virus papillomas of wild rabbits under natural conditions. J Exp Med 71, 469-493 VetMedResource.
  • Shope R E (1937) Immunization of rabbits to infectious papillomatosis. J Exp Med 65 (2), 219-31 PubMed.
  • Larson C L, Shillinger J E, Green R G (1936) Transmission of rabbit papillomatosis by the rabbit tick, Haemaphysalis leporis-palustris. Biol Med 33, 536-538 VetMedResource.
  • Rous P & Beard J W (1935) The progression to carcinoma of virus-induced rabbit papilloma (Shope). J Exp Med 62 (4), 523-548 PubMed.
  • Shope R E (1935) Serial transmission of the virus of infectious papillomatosis in domestic rabbits. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 32, 830-882 VetMedResource.
  • Rous P & Beard J W (1934) Carcinomatous change in virus-induced papillomas of the skin of the rabbit. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 32, 578-580 SAGE.
  • Shope R E & Hurst E W (1933) Infectious papillomatosis of rabbits. J Exp Med 58 (5), 607-624 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Varga M (2021) Dermatologic Diseases of Rabbits. In: Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents Clinical Medicine and Surgery. Eds: Quesenberry K E, Orcutt C J, Mans C & Carpenter J W. Elsevier, USA. pp 220-232.
  • Delaney M A, Treuting P M & Rothenburger J L (2018) Lagomorpha. In: Pathology of Wildlife and Zoo Animals. Eds: Terio K A, McAloose D & Leger J S. Academic Press, UK. pp 481-497.
  • Oglesbee O (2011) Shope Papilloma Virus. In: Blackwell’s Five-Minute Veterinary Consult. 2nd edn. Wiley Blackwell, UK. pp 514.
  • van Praag E (2005) Do Horned Rabbits Really Exist? Papillomatosis. Skin Diseases of Rabbits. Website: www.medirabbit.com.
  • Haffar A & Chermette R (1995) Les Affections du Pelage et de la Peau chez le Lapin Domestique. In: Path Lapin Rongeurs Dom. Ed: Brugere-Picout J. pp 185-195.

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