FLUO Encephalitozoon cuniculi

IFA test for the detection of antibodies to Encephalitozoon cuniculi

SpecieS: rabbit

Technique: immunofluorescence

Detection: antibody

Samples: serum or plasma

Interpretation of results: visual with fluorescence microscope

Format: 10 slides, 50 slides, complete kit

PRODUCT INSERTBUY Fluo Encephalitozoon cuniculi


Encephalitozoo cunicoli


Encephalitoozonosis is a serious disease that affects rabbits and other species. It manifests itself in a very serious form only in rabbits.

Rabbits are usually infected by spores in food contaminated by infected urine.

The spores are excreted through the urine six weeks after infection and can survive in the environment for four weeks. Infection usually affects the kidneys, central and crystalline nervous system, and less commonly, myocardium, spleen and liver.

The transmission by transplacental route is also possible. This means that the fetus can be infected during pregnancy: in these cases the parasite can invade the crystalline, which causes inflammation of the iris and cataracts after birth (when the crystalline becomes white).

3-4 weeks after the infection, antibodies can be found in circulation, while the spores, that contribute to spread the disease, can be found in the urine starting from 4 weeks after infection and for a period of at least two months (the owners usually reports that in the weeks before the development of the symptomatology, the rabbit urinated more). In fact, rabbits eliminate spores through the urine, which represents the real source of infection. Young rabbits probably contract the disease from the mother, while those living outdoors are infected also by the urine of other rodents or wild rabbits. If the rabbit always lives indoor, it is less likely to get infected.

After two months spores are eliminated by the rabbit and the animal is no longer infecting. This means that  if the disease is not progress, an adult and healthy rabbit is unlikely to be contagious. There are greater risks with rabbits under four months of age that may have contracted the disease from their mother: this is why they should be placed in a quarantine at least until they reach 5 months of age.

Clinical signs

The symptoms of rabbit encephalzozoonosis are very variable and range from asymptomatic infections (rabbits host the parasite without clinical signs) up to death. Most of the symptoms are caused by brain and kidney lesions, secondly crystalline, heart and liver lesions are reported.

The symptoms of rabbit encephalzozoonosis follow:

  • neurological symptoms: sudden death, changes in behaviour, paresis or paralysis, nystagmus, stiff neck or rotated head, inability to stay upright, rolling on one side, ataxia, convulsions
  • renal symptoms: renal failure with weight loss, polyuria (it urinates a lot), polydipsia (it drinks a lot), dehydration, urinary incontinence
  • ocular symptoms: usually monolateral, cataract, hypopyon, facelastic uveitis

However, these symptoms are absolutely non-specific and can be reported not only in encephalylozoonosis, but also in pasteurellosis (caused by the bacterium Pasteurella multocida), toxoplasmosis (Toxoplasma gondii infection), traumas, brain tumors and otitis.