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Disease in wild rabbits


Uncle Albert
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I've been shooting rabbits for a number of years now and occassionally I come across one that shows signs of disease when gutting them. Sometimes the liver is severely swollen and covered with white patches, othertimes the liver is slightly swollen but still has the patches. The spots are both on the surface and sub surface. I have come across one in which the liver was swollen to the extent that it occupied about a quarter of the gut cavity. In all cases they show no sign externally of myxi and their behaviour is normal, yet when opening up they display the signs shown in the picture.

 

Wild rabbits can also get something called Viral Haemoragic Fever and I am wondering if this is the early stages of one of these diseases. Either way, those showing these signs go in the ditch for charlie. From my research I understand that neither Myxi or VHF are transmitted to other animals so it is safe to dispose of them this way.

 

I would be interested if someone on the forum could clear up what this is, the early stages of myxi or VHF? If the mods regard the image as inappropriate then I apologise but I would like clarification.

 

post-41134-0-34584400-1332289151.jpg

Edited by Uncle Albert
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I suspect this is liver fluke. which is , if I remember right, part of the life cycle of a snail like creature that is ingested by the rabbit and goes on to live and mature in the liver before passing out as eggs in the feaces.

Any way, I wouldn't be eating that one if I were you, nor would I feed it to my dogs or ferret if I had one.

Edited by alexr
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I would have thought Coccidiosis.

 

Coccidiosis only affects the gut of animals so I don't think that is a possibility. Liver fluke generally has more translucent spots but it is a possibility. Very bad infection though. I have seen examples which were much worse that this one though.

 

Alexr might have the answer as the bunny showed no sign of any abnormality before being shot. The liverfluke is the larval stage of a parasitic Nematode worm which matures in the liver. Some of the spots look deeply subsurface, so that may be the culprit.

 

I did go onto a web site where you can ask a vet but they wanted £15 for an answer. How do I know they are qualified vets? Rip-off site. Never mind, I'll get the answer eventually. Either way bunnies with that don't come home, they go in the ditch for Charlie. Never seen one there the following day yet.

Edited by Uncle Albert
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Coccidiosis only affects the gut of animals so I don't think that is a possibility.

 

 

Not so. It's well known in the liver of rabbits. I'm not saying this one is or isn't but would agree that whatever they have they stay out for Charlie.

Might be interesting to know what the ground is like, other livestock, wet or dry etc.

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  • 2 years later...

I got my first 2 rabbits last night and when I got home I gutted them, one if the rabbits had 3 not very visible whitish spots on it's liver and I was wondering what it was and if it is safe to eat the meat, they looked healthy on the outside nice clear eyes and no swelling to genitals or anal cavity and no bumps or lumps anywhere I don't know how to put pictures on here otherwise I would, many thanks

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Don't think it's VHD. VHD kills the rabbits really quickly, and you don't often find the bodies. If you do,you might see blood coming from the anus, nose or eyes. A place I shoot is alive with rabbits during the summer ( not farmland ) but during the autumn, most of them seem to vanish ( no myxy ) but a few years ago found a dead rabbit that looked perfectly healthy , except for a bit of blood on the anus. Then I read about VHD in the shooting press, and now presume this is what my rabbits get most years?

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  • 7 years later...

Their ok to eat if it’s not spread to the meat on the outside if it’s on the lungs or liver there good to go if you cook them real good it’ll kill the bacteria, the disease is called tularemia it’s common in rabbits, it can be spread through cuts and bug bites so make sure you wash your hands real good or wear gloves if you come across them it CANT be transmitted through human to human but through infected animals to human can, it’s also an air borne pathogen it comes from ticks and flys that land on a animal, people that have risk of getting it are trappers , hunters and vets. Survival rate likely for someone to die from the disease untreated is 5 to 15 percent, with antibiotics it drops down to 1 percent, im sure our primal ancestors have came across them and didn’t give a a$$ about it 

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