Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Heart: cardiomyopathy

Contributor(s): Molly Varga, Anna Meredith

Introduction

  • Cardiomyopathy is reported as being a relatively common post-mortem finding in older rabbits.
  • There are very few clinical reports in pet rabbits and most literature refers to production or laboratory rabbits.
  • Cause: bacterial, viral and microsporidial agents; vitamin E deficiency; drug toxicity; stress and overcrowding; unknown.
  • Signs: anorexia, weight loss, tachypnea, dyspnea, lethargy, collapse, sudden death.
  • Diagnosis: radiography, echocardiography, electrocardiography.
  • Treatment: oxygen, diuretics, digoxin, ACE-inhibitors.
  • Prognosis: poor.

Presenting signs

  • Anorexia   Anorexia  .
  • Weight loss   Weight loss  .
  • Tachypnea.
  • Dyspnea   Dyspnea  .
  • Lethargy.
  • Collapse.
  • Ascites.
  • Peripheral edema.
  • Sudden death.
  • Fever (>40°C).
  • Ocular congestion and iridocyclitis (RbCV).
  • Nasal discharge - clear to serosanguinous (RbCV).
  • Anterior uveitis   Eye: uveitis  , non-granulomatous (RbCV).
  • May be no clinical signs.

Acute presentation

  • Collapse.
  • Cyanosis.
  • Sudden death.

Age predisposition

  • Cardiomyopathy has been identified as a common post-mortem finding in older rabbits.

Breed predisposition

  • Giant breeds may be predisposed.

Cost considerations

  • Losses in colonies have financial implications.
  • Diagnosis and on-going treatment can prove expensive in pet rabbits.

Special risks, eg anesthetic

  • Increased anesthetic risk.

Pathogenesis

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Sequelae

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Lord B, Devine C & Smith S (2011) Congestive heart failure in two pet rabbits. JSAP 52 (1), 46-50 PubMed.
  • Alexander L K, Keene B W, Small J D et al (1993) Electrocardiographic changes following rabbit coronavirus-induced myocarditis and dilated cardiomyopathy. Adv Exp Med Biol 342, 365-370 PubMed.
  • Alexander L K, Small J D, Edwards S et al (1992) An experimental model for dilated cardiomyopathy after rabbit coronavirus infection. J Infect Dis 166 (5), 978-985 PubMed
  • Edwards S, Small J D, Geratz J D et al (1992) An experimental model for myocarditis and congestive heart failure after rabbit coronavirus infection. J Infect Dis 165 (1), 134-140 PubMed
  • Small J D & Woods R D (1987) Relatedness of rabbit coronavirus to other coronaviruses. Adv Exp Med Biol 218, 521-527 PubMed
  • Simons M & Downing S E (1985) Coronary vasoconstriction and catecholamine cardiomyopathy. Am Heart J 109 (2), 297-304 PubMed.
  • Small J D, Aurelian L, Squire R A et al (1979) Rabbit cardiomyopathy associated with a virus antigenically related to human coronavirus strain 229E. Am J Pathol 95 (3), 709-729 PubMed
  • Weber H W & Van Der Walt J J (1973) Cardiomyopathy in crowded rabbits. Recent Adv Stud Cardiac Struct Metab 6, 471-477 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Orcutt C (2006) Cardiovascular Disorders. In: BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Medicine & Surgery. Eds: Meredith A & Flecknell P. BSAVA Publications. pp 96-102.


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