Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Abstract: Detection of mycoplasmas in the lungs of rabbits with respiratory disease


Suspecting the involvement of mycoplasmas in rabbit respiratory disorders, analysis was carried out to identify the prevalence of various pathogens in rabbit lung tissue. Mycoplasmas were found to be 43% of the pathogens detected in rabbits suffering respiratory disease.

Rabbits are susceptible to digestive and respiratory disorders when they are stressed or exposed to certain environmental factors. Post mortem results of rabbits suffering respiratory disorders suggest the implication of mycoplasmas in the disease process. The following study determines the prevalence of infection with different agents involved in respiratory pathology.

Microbiological cultivation and Immunocytochemical analysis were carried out on lung samples from 51 rabbits which had been euthanased due to respiratory disorders. The same was done for 33 rabbits which were suffering non-clinical respiratory disorders. Using immunoperoxidase as a microanalytical tool, the main procedures were to cover the test samples with specific antibodies and the control samples with diluent without antibodies and then detect the resulting immune complexes.

The most frequently detected pathogens were Mycoplasma pulmonis, Bordetella bronchiseptica, Pasteurella multocidiaand Staphylococcus aureuswhich were either alone or together with other infections. These were followed in frequency by myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease with a greater rate of infection by all pathogens among the pneumonic rabbits. Detection of Chlamydiaand Toxoplasma gondiiwas high in all animals tested.

No pathogens were found in 20 of the 33 rabbits not showing respiratory disorders while the remaining 13 were found to be asymptomatic carriers. Of the rabbits showing respiratory disorders, 28 showed bacterial infection with more than one other pathogen, 19 showed no bacterial infection and 2 showed no pathogen infection at all. The study found the prevalence of mycoplasmas to be 43% of all the pathogens detected.

Further Reading


Refereed papers
  • A Villa, E Gracia, A Fernandez, I Albizu, R Baselga (2001)Detection of mycoplasmas in the lungs of rabbits with respiratory disease. Vet Rec148, 788-789.