Rabbit diseases and their treatment - e.Coli and enterocolitis

In this article we look at two diseases - e.Coli and enterocolitis.

E. coli (diarrhoea)

E. coli bacteria commonly inhabit the intestinal tract. There are many different types and some of them are highly pathogenic, e.g. type O-15 and O-103. Problems occur depending on the resistance, stress and pathogenicity of the E. coli.

Sick RabbitManifestations of the disease

In the first week after birth, strong-smelling and often yellow diarrhoea, caused by E. coli bacteria, can be observed. This is the diarrhoea of newborn pups, or diarrhoea from excessive fat. This problem is usually observed in breeding females that have been overfed (too much fat) during the rearing period. It is a correlation between E. coli and the feeding method. However, diarrhoea caused by E. coli is most common from 5 weeks of age onwards.

Treatment and prevention

These problems can usually be managed with antibiotics, or in combination with safer feeding with a higher crude fibre content. Antibiotics are used depending on the sensitivity of the bacteria. They are often used: Neomycin 4 grams per 10 litres of water or Doxycycline 50% 4 grams per 10 litres of water or Tiamulin 10 ml per 10 litres of water. Consult your veterinarian for appropriate treatment.

Clean, disinfected drinking water is generally important (acidification to ph 4.2).

Enterocolitis/enterocolitis (or "bubonic plague")

The first symptoms, such as constipation, diarrhoea and water accumulation in the intestines, can be observed from 6 weeks of age. The formation of gas in the intestines, which cannot leave due to blockage of the appendix, results in a distended tummy. Bloated gassy tummy can often be seen, which has given this disease its lay name.

What causes the disease?

Enterocolitis is a typical disease caused by several factors. Poor ventilation, infection, hygiene, and overall health and immunity contribute to the severity of the intensity of the disease. On laboratory analysis, Clostridium perfringens bacteria can often be found in combination with E. coli. Later, coccidiosis is quite often added.


Bacivet-S (zincbacitracin) water-soluble can be used for treatment. It is often used from one week before weaning to 2 weeks after weaning. Good results are also obtained when Bacivet-S is given 10 days before weaning, followed by one week with plain water and then again with Bacivet-S for one week. An alternative preparation is Tylosin at a dose of 0.5 g per 10 litres of water. This preparation is used at a low dose from before weaning until 1 week before slaughter. Another alternative may be Pulmotil.

It is known that by interacting with other factors, it can also help reduce problems by feeding feed with increased crude fibre content. As females are fed a highly concentrated feed, it is recommended that a high fibre feed is fed no later than 24 days after weaning.