Histological and Ultrastructural Findings in Commercial Bred Rabbits Exhibiting Severe Diarrhea
The objective of this study was to describe histological and ultrastructural findings in the intestine of 8 rabbits exhibiting severe diarrhea, a problem which occasionally severely effects commerceila rabbit breading operations. Microscopic lesions from the small and large intestines were very similar to those described in the mucoid enteritis complex. Histological lesions included mucoid neutrophilic or lymphocytic-plasmacytic enteritis with atropy and fusion of the villi, hyperplasia of the goblet cells and submucosal and serosal edema in the small intestine. Escherichia coli was isolated from 3 animals. The ultrastructural study revealed in addition to hyperplasia of goblet cells, loss of microvilli in the small intestine. Furthermore pseudonuclear inclusions surrounded by true nuclear membrane and free intranuclear and intracytoplasmic virus-like particles were observed in all rabbits. It was concluded that the diarrhea had a multi-factorial etiology, probably due to change in feed, bacterial proliferation and bacterial coinfection with enteric virus.