Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Eye: nystagmus

Synonym(s): Involuntary rhythmic eye movement

Contributor(s): Vladimir Jekl, Nathalie Wissink-Argilaga

Introduction

  • Cause: nystagmus is a neurological symptom associated with peripheral (commonly otitis media/interna) or central vestibular disease (commonly E. cuniculi infection).
  • Signs: spontaneous involuntary rhythmic eye movement in a rabbit.
  • Diagnosis: clinical examination, otoscopy, radiography, computed tomography, E. cuniculi serology.
  • Treatment: based on the cause – medical and/or surgical.
  • Prognosis: good to guarded.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

The most common cause of the central vestibular disease Head tilt in rabbits is Encephalitozoon cuniculi infection Encephalitozoonosis.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Contact with ill animals (E. cuniculi serologically positive rabbits; rabbits with respiratory problems / sneezing rabbits).

Specific

Pathophysiology

  • Peripheral:
    • Due to lesions of the labyrinth, the vestibular ganglion and the vestibular branch of the vestibulocochlear nerve.
    • Bacterial infection of the middle and inner ear is usually ascendant via Eustachian tube.
  • Central: central vestibular disease results from lesions in the vestibular nuclei in the medulla or the cerebullum.

Timecourse

  • Days to months.

Epidemiology

  • E. cunculi infect most of the population of pet rabbits in Europe.
  • Only in some rabbits, the clinical signs of the vestibular disease will appear and result in nystagmus.

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.
  • Cray C, Arcia G, Schneider R, Kelleher S A & Arheart K L (2009) Evaluation of the usefulness of an ELISA and protein electrophoresis in the diagnosis of Encephalitozoon cuniculi infection in rabbits. Am J Vet Res 70 (4), 478–482 PubMed.
  • Csokai J, Joachim A, Gruber A et al (2009) Diagnostic markers for encephalitozoonosis in pet rabbits. Vet Parasitol 163 (1–2), 18–26 PubMed.
  • Csomos R, Bosscher G, Mans C & Hardie R (2016) Surgical Management of Ear Diseases in Rabbits. Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract 19 (1), 189-204 PubMed.
  • de Matos R, Russell D, Van Alstine W & Miller A (2014) Spontaneous fatal Human herpesvirus 1 encephalitis in two domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). J Vet Diagn Invest 26 (5), 689-9 PubMed.
  • Jekl V, Hauptman K & Knotek Z (2015) Video otoscopy in exotic companion mammals. Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Prac 18 (3), 431-445 PubMed.
  • Jeklova E, Jekl V, Kovarcik K et al (2010) Usefulness of detection of specific IgM and IgG antibodies for diagnosis of clinical encephalitozoonosis in pet rabbits. Vet Parasitol 170 (1-2), 143-188 PubMed.
  • King A M, Cranfield F, Hall J & Sullivan M (2007) Anatomy and ultrasonographic appearance of the tympanic bulla and associated structures in the rabbit. Vet J 173 (3) 512-521 PubMed.
  • King A M, Cranfield F, Hall J & Sullivan M (2010) Radiographic anatomy of the rabbit skull with particular reference to the tympanic bulla and temporomandibular joint: Part 1: Lateral and long axis rotational angles. Vet J 186 (2), 232–243 PubMed.
  • King A M, Cranfield F, Hall J & Sullivan M (2010) Radiographic anatomy of the rabbit skull, with particular reference to the tympanic bulla and temporomandibular joint. Part 2: Ventral and dorsal rotational angles. Vet J 186 (2), 244-251 PubMed.
  • Künzel F & Fisher P G (2018) Clinical signs, diagnosis, and treatment of Encephalitozoon cuniculi infection in rabbits. Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract 21 (1), 69-82 PubMed.
  • Leland M M, Hubbard G B & Dubey J P (1992) Clinical toxoplasmosis in domestic rabbits. Lab Anim Sci 42 (3), 318-9 PubMed.
  • Morinaka S (1994) Effect of experimental acidosis on nystagmus in rabbits. Acta Otolaryngol 114 (2), 130-4 PubMed.
  • Sieg J, Hein J, Jass A, Sauter-Louis C et al (2012) Clinical evaluation of therapeutic success in rabbits with suspected encephalitozoonosis. Vet Parasitol 187 (1–2), 328–332 PubMed
  • Suter C, Müller-Doblies U U, Hatt J M & Deplazes P (2001) Prevention and treatment of Encephalitozoon cuniculi infection in rabbits with fenbendazole. Vet Rec 148 (15), 478-80 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Williams D (2012) Ed. The Rabbit Eye. In: Ophthalmology of Exotic Pets. William D. Blackwell Publishing, pp 15-55.
  • Varga M (2014) Ophthalmic Diseases. In: Textbook of Rabbit Medicine. 2nd edn. Butterworth Heinemann Elsevier, pp 350-366.
  • Varga M (2014) Neurological and Locomotor Disorders. In: Textbook of Rabbit Medicine. 2nd edn. Butterworth Heinemann Elsevier. pp 367-389.


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