ISSN 2398-2969      

Toxoplasmosis

Clapis

Introduction

  • Toxoplasmosis is a rare cause of clinical disease in pet rabbits.
  • CauseToxoplasma gondii.
  • Signs: acute systemic disease: anorexia, pyrexia, lethargy and death. Chronic with development of neurological signs (CNS): paresis/paralysis, muscle tremors, seizures.
  • Domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) appear resistant to toxoplasmosis compared to the mountain hare (Lepus timidus).
  • Diagnosis: clinical signs coupled with positive serology are suggestive; CSF analysis or histopathology are conclusive.
  • Treatment: trimethoprim-sulfate, sulfadiazine with pyrimethamine, doxycycline.
  • Prognosis: clinical disease is rare in domestic rabbits. Fatal outbreaks may occur in young rabbits (50% mortality reported). Residual neurological deficits usually remain after treatment.

Toxoplasmosis is rare in domestic rabbits.

Presenting signs

  • Usually subclinical.
  • Infection usually subclinical and latent. In cases of toxoplasmosis, there are two clinical syndromes:
    • Acute systemic disease (more common in young rabbits) with anorexia Anorexia, pyrexia, lethargy and death.
    • Chronic with development of neurological signs (CNS) including ataxia, paresis/paralysis Paresis / paralysis: limb, muscle tremors, paralysis, tetraplegia and seizures Seizures.

Acute presentation

  • Anorexia.
  • Lethargy.

Geographic incidence

  • Worldwide, wherever the definitive hosts (cats) are found.
  • Reports from around the world, including wild lagomorphs in New Zealand, USA, Europe, South America and China.

Age predisposition

  • Fatal outbreaks in young rabbits.

Breed predisposition

  • Brown hares (Lepus europaeus) in Scandanavia and mountain hares (Lepus timidus) appear to be more susceptible to fatal infections than domestic rabbits.

Public health considerations

  • Rabbits may be a source of infection to humans if undercooked rabbit meat is eaten or handled, eg by those involved in slaughter on farms.

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.
  • do Nascimento LC, Pena H F J, Leite Filho, R V et al (2017) Rare case of acute toxoplasmosis in a domestic rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) in Brazil associated with the type BrIII Brazilian clonal lineage of Toxoplasma gondiiParasitol Res 116, 2873–2876 PubMed.
  • Alvardo-Esquivel C, Alvarado-Esquivel D, Villena I et al (2013) Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in domestic rabbits in Durango State, Mexico. Prev Vet Med 111 (3-4), 325-328 PubMed.
  • Shin H G, Lee S E, Hong S H et al (2013) Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in rabbits of Korea by serological tests and nested polymerase chain reaction. J Vet Med Sci/Jap Soc Vet Sci 75 (12), 1609-13 PubMed.
  • Dubey J P, Lago E G, Gennari S M et al (2012) Toxoplasmosis in humans and animals in Brazil: high prevalence, high burden of disease and epidemiology. Parasitol 139 (11), 1375-424 PubMed.
  • Zhou Y, Zhang H, Cao J et al (2012) Isolation and genotyping of Toxoplasma gondiifrom domestic rabbits in China to reveal the prevalence of type III strains. Vet Parasitol 193 (1-3), 270-276 PubMed.
  • Mecca J N, Meireles L R, de Andrade HF Jr. (2011) Quality control of Toxoplasma gondii in meat packages: Standardization of an ELISA test and its use for detection in rabbit meat cuts. Meat Sci 88 (3), 584-589 PubMed.
  • Kaneko Y, Takashima Y, Xuaun X et al (2004) Natural IgM antibodies in sera from various animals but not the cat kill Toxoplasma gondii by activating the classical complement pathway. Parasitol 128 (Pt 2), 123-129 PubMed.
  • Hill D & Dubey J P (2002) Toxoplasma gondii transmission, diagnosis and prevention. Clin Microbiol Infect (10), 634-640 PubMed.
  • Sedlák K, Literák I, Faldyna M et al (2000) Fatal toxoplasmosis in brown hares (Lepus europaeus): possible reasons of their high susceptibility to the infection. Vet Parasitol 93 (1), 13-28 PubMed.
  • Leland M M, Hubbard G B & Dubey J P (1992) Clinical Toxoplasmosis in domestic rabbits. Lab Anim Sci 42 (3), 318-319 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Varga M (2014) Infectious Diseases of Domestic Rabbits. In: Textbook of Rabbit Medicine. 2nd edn. Butterworth-Heinemann, UK. pp 435-471. ISBN: 0 7020 5419 8.
  • Fisher P G & Carpenter J W (2012) Neurologic and Musculoskeletal Diseases. In: Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 3rd edn. Elsevier Saunders, USA. pp 245-256. ISBN:1 4160 6621 7.
  • Saunders R A & Davies R R (2005) Notes on Rabbit Internal Medicine. Blackwell Publishing, UK. ISBN: 1 4051 1514 9.
  • Bowman D D, Lynn R C & Eberhard M L (2003) Protozoans. In: Georgi's Parasitology for Veterinarians. Elsevier, USA. ISBN: 0 7216 9283 4.
  • Deeb B J & Carpenter J W (2003) Neurologic and Musculoskeletal diseases. In: Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 2nd edn. W B Saunders, USA. ISBN: 0 7216 9377 6.
  • Harcourt-Brown F (2002) Infectious Diseases of Domestic Rabbits. In: Textbook of Rabbit Medicine. Butterworth Heinemann, UK. ISBN: 0 7506 4002 2.

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