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Rabbits/Strange "bubbles" on inside of doe

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I had just bought a rex doe from a breeder and when we got her home she started sneezing. We quarantined her from the others and long story short she ended up very sick with white, snotty nose. We ended up having to put her down. We raise meat/fur rabbits so we started butchering her and checking her organs. She looked completely healthy inside other than these bubbles that were attached by silver skin to her stomach. Do you have any idea what they are? No one around here has ever seen anything like it. They were about the size of a pea and kind of felt like fish eggs. We didn't cut them open (regrettably) but they seemed to have a fluid in them.  Do you have any idea what they are?

Answer
Dear Lora,

The appearance of the lesions is consistent with cysticercosis, infestation of larval tapeworms.    These are contracted when an herbivore ingests eggs left in feces by infected carnivores such as dogs, foxes, etc.  Rabbits can serve as intermediate hosts for the larvae without major disruption of their overall health, and the parasites are transmitted to the definitive host (predator) when the cysticercus larvae are ingested by the predator along with its prey.

This means that you could contract tapeworms from eating infected rabbit flesh, as these tapeworm larvae can encyst not only in the abdominal cavity, but also in the connective tissue, depending on the species of tapeworm.  Taenia septentrionalis encyst in the abdominal cavity, as seen in your poor rabbit, but other species (e.g., Taenia solium, the pork tapeworm) will encyst in muscle and connective tissue.

You could consider it Revenge of the Rabbit.


Dana

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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.

Expertise

I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

RULE #1:
THE INTERNET IS NOT THE PLACE TO SEEK HELP IN AN EMERGENCY.

...it is an EMERGENCY.

Find a rabbit vet at www.rabbit.org/vet for immediate help, and don't risk your bunny's life by spending time asking questions online! If you can't get in touch with your vet, read these Emergency Sick Bunny Instructions.

If you have found a wild baby rabbit, please read these EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS FOR WILD BABY RABBITS and then use this link to FIND A LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR who can give you the right advice.


RULE #2:
Help me help you! Please make your subject line informative if you have an urgent question. then LET ME KNOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE so I can give your question highest priority over non-urgent questions. If you don't do this, then I can't guarantee timely assistance!

For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.

Experience

I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Organizations
Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Publications
Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Education/Credentials
Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology
(http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare)

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