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Pregnancy toxemia

Clapis

Synonym(s): Metabolic toxemia of pregnancy


Introduction

  • Pregnancy toxemia is rare in rabbits: in a study looking at disorders found during post-mortem examination at the slaughterhouse or on the farm in breeding rabbits, 5% were described to have pregnancy toxemia; this was not described in a similar study examining pet does.
  • It is usually seen in overweight does in the last week of gestation but can occasionally occur in postpartum during early lactation (often first couple of days) and pseudopregnant females.
  • Rapid intervention is required if the condition is not to become fatal.
  • A similar condition of metabolic ketoacidosis/hepatic lipidosis Liver: disease associated with anorexia is also seen in obese rabbits of both sexes.
  • Cause: anorexia and a decrease in blood glucose, stimulating fatty acid mobilization from adipose tissue. If the liver is already compromised by fatty infiltration, with obese rabbits being more at risk, this predisposes the rabbit to develop ketosis (pregnancy toxemia).
  • Signs: weakness, anorexia, neurological signs, incoordination, dyspnea, coma, death.
  • Diagnosis: based on clinical signs and history, ketonuria, proteinuria, aciduria.
  • Treatment: follows same principles as the treatment for hepatic lipidosis; intravenous fluids (lactated Ringer’s solution and 5% glucose), supportive care and assisted feeding.
  • Prognosis: grave to poor; often unrewarding.
Print out the Owner Factsheet Uterine problems to give to your client.


Presenting signs

  • Weakness.
  • Depression.
  • Anorexia Anorexia.
  • Neurological signs: incoordination, convulsions, coma.
  • Abortion.
  • Dyspnea Dyspnea.
  • Salivation.
  • Death.

Acute presentation

  • Sudden death, or death within a few hours of the onset of clinical signs.

Geographic incidence

  • No geographic incidence is reported, but a tendency for more cases to develop in the winter has been noted. Rabbits in colder climates/conditions with greater energy needs may be more susceptible.

Age predisposition

  • Adults.
  • Young does with first litter.

Sex predisposition

  • Females only.

Breed predisposition

Cost considerations

  • Treatment is generally inexpensive.
  • Diagnostic tests may be necessary and may include radiography, ultrasonography and blood tests, with associated cost implications.

 

Pathogenesis

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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.
  • Harcourt-Brown F M (2017) Disorders of the reproductive tract of rabbits. Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract 20 (2), 555-587 PubMed.
  • Leland S E et al (1995) Pancreatitis and pregnancy toxemia in a New Zealand white rabbit. Contemp Top Lab Anim Sci 34 (6), 84-85 PubMed.
  • Greene H S N (1937) Toxemia of pregnancy in the rabbit: clinical manifestations and pathology. J Exp Med 65 (6), 809-832 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Delaney M A, Treuting P M & Rothenburger J L (2018) Lagomorpha. In: Pathology of Wildlife and Zoo Animals. Eds: Terio K A, McAloose D & St Leger J. Academic Press, UK. pp 481-497.
  • Varga M (2014) Digestive Disorders. In: Textbook of Rabbit Medicine. Elsevier, UK. pp 303-349.
  • Mancinelli E & Lord B (2014) Urogenital System and Reproductive Disease. In: BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Medicine. Eds: Meredith A & Lord B. BSAVA, UK. pp 191-204.
  • Shrubsole-Cockwill A (2013) Pregnancy Toxemia. In: Clinical Veterinary Advisor. Birds and Exotic Pets. Eds: Mayer J & Donnelly T M. Elsevier, USA. pp 409-410.
  • Suckow M, Stevens K & Wilson R (2012) Eds The Laboratory Rabbit, Guinea Pig, Hamster, And Other Rodents. Elsevier, USA.
  • Harcourt-Brown F & Harcourt-Brown N (2001) Textbook of Rabbit Medicine. Butterworth Heinemann, UK. pp 261-262.
  • Percy D H & Barthold S W (2001) Pathology of Laboratory Rodents and Rabbits. 2nd edn. Iowa State University Press, USA. pp 300-301.
  • Paul-Murphy J (1997) Reproductive and Urogenital Disorders. In: Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents. Eds: Hillyer E V & Quesenberry K. W B Saunders, USA. pp 205.
  • Harkness J E & Wagner J E (1995) Metabolic Toxaemias of Pregnancy. In: The Biology and Medicine of Rabbits and Rodents. 4th edn. Lea & Febiger. pp 302-303.

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