Rabbit coccidiosis and its control : a review


  • T.K. Bhat Indian Veterinary Research Institute
  • K.P. Jithendran Indian Veterinary Research Institute
  • N.P. Kurade Indian Veterinary Research Institute




Coccidiosis caused by Eimeria species, is a major parasitic disease of rabbits and is responsible for a high incidence of morbidity and mortalitv. The incidence of this disease in European countries in 21-60% and in India 13-64%. In commercially reared rabbits; coccidiosis occurs .in a subclinical form with growth retardation and altered feed conversion. The disease occurs in two forms, hepatic and intestinal, the latter being more common than the former. Presently, the control of rabbit coccidiosis relies almost entirely on chemical coccidiostats. However, extensive use of such drugs in commercial rabbitries has already started creating problems of drug resistance. In view of the limitations of chemotherapy, it is imperative to develop immunoprophylactic measures against rabbit coccidiosis. These include development of live-attenuated and recombinant vaccines against the parasite.


Download data is not yet available.


ANONYMOUS, 1977. Protozoology. Mammalian coccidiosis. II D Rabbits. In : Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ed.). Manual of veterinary parasitological laboratory techniques (Technical Bulletin nº 18) HMSO, London, 69- 70.

BHAT T.K., JITHENDRAN K.P., 1995. Eimeria magna : The effect of varying inoculum size on the course of infection in Angora rabbits. World Rabbit Sci., 3, 163-165. https://doi.org/10.4995/wrs.1995.257

BHAT T.K., JITHENDRAN K.P., 1996. Preliminary studies on the prevalence and control of coccidiosis in Angora rabbits. In : Cell Biology of Parasitic Protozoa (in press).

BHOGAL B.S., 1992. Recombinant antigen as vaccine in broiler chickens. Vet. lmmunol. lmmunopathol., 31, 323-336. https://doi.org/10.1016/0165-2427(92)90019-M

BRAUN R., ECKERT J., RODITI l., SMITH N., WALLACH M., 1992. Coccidiosis of poultry and farm animals. Parasitol. Today, 8, 220-221. https://doi.org/10.1016/0169-4758(92)90112-F

BROPHY P.M., BARRETT J., 1990. Glutathione transferase in helminths. Parasitology, 100, 345- 349. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0031182000061369

BUSHARA H.O., BASHIR M.E.N., MALIK K.H.E., MUKHTAR M.M., TROTTEIN F., CAPRON A., TAYLOR M.G., 1993. Suppression of Schistosoma bovis egg production in cattle by vaccination with either glutathione S-transferase or keyhole limpet haemocyanin. Parasite lmmunol., 15, 383-390. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3024.1993.tb00623.x

CATCHPOLE J., NORTON C.C., 1979. Toe species of Eimeria in rabbits for meat production in Britain. Parasitology, 79, 249-247. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0031182000053324

CHANDRA D., GHOSH S.S., 1990. lncidence of diarrhoeal infections in rabbits. lndian J. Anim. Set., 60, 801-803.

COUDERT P., 1979. Comparison of pathology of several rabbit coccidia species and their control with robenidine. In : Proc. lnternational Symposium on Coccidia and Further Prospects of their Control. Prague.

COUDERT P., 1989. Coccidia and intestinal coccidiomorphs : Some pecularities of rabbit coccidiosis. In : Proc. Vth lnternational Coccidiosis Conference, Tours. Yvore P. ed. INRA, Paris, France, 481-488.

COUDERT P., LICOIS D., PROVOT F., DROUET-VIARD F., 1993. Eimerta sp. from the rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) : pathogenicity and immunogenicity of Eimeria intestinalis Parasitol. Res., 79, 186-190. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00931890

COUDERT P., LICOIS D., DROUET-VIARD F., 1995. Eimeria and lsospora. Eimeria species in rabbits. In : Biotechnology. Guidelines on Techniques in Coccidiosis Research (Eckert J., Braun R., Shirley MW., Coudert P. ed.) 53-73. Office far official publications of the European Communities. Luxembourg).

DASH P.K., MAHAJAN J.M., 1982. Comparative efficacy of certain coccidiostats in young Angora wool rabbits. Livestock Adviser, 7, 29-31.

DAVIS L.R., 1973. Techniques. In : The coccidia, Hammond DM, Long P.L. ed., University Park Press, Baltimore USA and Butterworths London UK, 411-458.

ELLIS J., TOMLEY F., 1991. Development of a genetically engineered vaccine against poultry coccidiosis. Parasitol. Today, 7, 344-346. https://doi.org/10.1016/0169-4758(91)90216-B

ETGES R., BOUVIER J., BORDIER C., 1986. The major surface of protein of Leishmania promastigotes is a protease. J. Biol. Chem., 261, 9099-9101.

JAIN P.C., 1988. Prevalence aond comparative morphology of sporulated oocysts of eight species of Eimeria of domestic rabbits in Madhya Pradesh. lnd. J. Anim. Sci., 58, 688-691.

JEFFERS T.K., 1989. Coccidial and intestinal coccidiomorphs : Anticoccidial drug resistance : a review with emphasis on the polyether ionophores. In : Proc. Vth lnternational Coccidiosis Conference, Tours. Yvore P. ed. INRA, Paris, France, 295-308.

JENKINS M.C., AUGUSTINE P.C., BARTA J.R., CASTLE M.O., DANFORTH H.D., 1991. Development of resistance to coccidiosis in the absence of merogonic development using X-irradiated Eimeria acervulina oocysts. Exp. Parasitol., 72, 285-293. https://doi.org/10.1016/0014-4894(91)90148-P

JITHEDRAN K.P., BHAT T.K., 1996. Subclinical coccidiosis in Angora rabbits - A field survey ir Himachal Pradesh (India). World Rabbit Science (in press).

KRISHNA L., VAID J., 1987. Intestinal coccidiosis in Angora rabbits - an outbreak. lnd. Vet. J., 64, 986-987.

LEBAS F., COUDERT P., ROUVIER R, D ROCHAMBEAU H., 1986. The rabbit husbandr: health and production. Animal Production and Health, nº 21, FAO, Rome, Italy.

LERICHE M.A., DUBREMETZ J.F., 199 Characterization of the protein contents rhoptries and dense granules of Toxoplas, gondii tachyzoites by sub-cellular fractionati and monoclonal antibodies. Mol. Bioche Parasitol., 45, 249-260. https://doi.org/10.1016/0166-6851(91)90092-K

LEVINE N.D., 1985. Veterinary Protozoology. 1st ed., lowa State University Press, Ames, USA.

LEYSEN E., NEIRYNCK A., DELEERSNIJDER W., C0UDERT P., PEETERS J., REVETS H., HAMERS R., 1989. Coccidia and intestinal coccidiomorphs : Identification of sporozoite surface antigens of Eimeria stiedai and Eimeria magna. In : Proc. Vth lnternational Coccidiosis Conference, Tours. Yvore P. ed. INRA, Paris, France, 509- 514.

LICOIS O, C0UDERT P., 1980. Attempt to suppress immunity in rabbits immunized against Etmeria intestinalis. Ann. Rech. Vet., 11, 27 3-278.

LICOIS D., C0UDERT P., BOIVIN M., DR0UET-VIARD F., PR0V0T F., 1990. Selection and characterization of a precocious line of Eimeria intestinalis, an intestinal rabbit coccidium. Parasitol. Res., 76, 192-198. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00930814

LIC0IS D., C0UDERT P., BAHAGIA S., ROSSI G.L., 1992. Endogenous development of Eimeria intestinalis in rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). J. Parasitol., 78, 1041-1048. https://doi.org/10.2307/3283227

LILLEHOJ H.S., TROUT J.M., 1993. Coccidia : a review of recent advances on immunity and vaccine development. Avian Pathol., 22, 3-31. https://doi.org/10.1080/03079459308418897

MEITEI H.M., PRASAD K.O., SAHAI B.N., ANSARI M.Z., 1988. Coccidial fauna of rabbits in Ranchi (Bihar). J. Vet. Parasitol., 2, 145-148.

OKERMAN L., 1988. Diseases of domestic rabbits. 1st ed., Blackwell Scientific Publications, London, U.K.

PAKANDL M., 1988. Description of Eimeria vejdovskyi sp.n. and redescription of Eimeria media, Kessel 1929, from the rabbit. Folia Parasitol. (Praha), 35, 1-9.

PEETERS J.E., GEROOMS R., FROYMAN R., HALEN P., 1981. Coccidiosis in rabbits : a field study. Res. Vet. Set., 30, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0034-5288(18)32552-9

PEETERS J.E., CHARLIER G., ANT0INE O., MAMMERICK M., 1984. Clinical and pathological changes after Eimeria intestinalis infection in rabbits. Zent. Vet. medizin. Reihe B, 31, 9-24. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0450.1984.tb01275.x

PEETERS J.E., GER00MS R., N0RT0N C.C., 1987. Eimeria magna : resistance against robenidine in the rabbit. Vet. Rec., 121, 545-546.

RAI R.B., SINGH O., SINGH R.N., 1985. Studies on mortality pattern in rabbits. lnd. Vet. Med. J., 9, 26-30.

SANYAL P.K., SRIVASTAVA C.P., 1986. Subclinical coccidiosis in domestic rabbit in semi-arid part of Rajasthan. lnd. J. Anim. Sci., 56, 224-225.

SHARMA J.P., SRIVASTAVA J.B., 1989. Studies on some diseases of rabbits and their managemenmt in Jammu region. Livestock Advisor, 14, 32-36. https://doi.org/10.1016/0360-5442(89)90034-0

SHIRLEY M.W., 1992. Research on avian coccidia: an update. Br. Vet. J., 148, 479-499. https://doi.org/10.1016/0007-1935(92)90004-K

STREUN A., COUDERT P., ROSSI G.L., 1979. Characterization of Eimeria species. II. Sequential morphologic study of the endogenous cycle of Eimeria perforans (Leukart, 1879 ; Sluiter and Swellengrebel, 1912) in experimentally infected rabbits. Z. Parasitenkd., 60, 37-53. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00928970

TRIPATHI R.S., CHANDRA O.E.V., SHARMA M.L., 1995. Economics of Angora rabbit farming in hills. lnd. J. Anim. Sci., 65, 678-683.

WILLIAMS R. B., 1994. Safety of the attenuated anticoccidial vaccine "Paracox" in broiler chickens isolated from extraneous coccidial infection. Vet. Res. Commun., 18, 189-198. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01839268