ISSN 2398-2969      

Eimeria spp


Synonym(s): Intestinal coccidiosis




  • Phylum:Apicomplexa.
  • Class:Sporozoasida.
  • Order:Eucoccidiorida.
  • Family:Eimeriidae.
  • Species: thirteen species known to parasitize rabbits, includingintestinalis,irresidua,magna,media, perforansandstiedae.

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Clinical Effects



  • Sexual phase of lifecycle takes place in the definitive host the rabbit.
  • Asexual phase can take place within the same host at the same time as the sexual phase.


  • Rabbits become infected by the ingestion of sporulated oocysts from the environment.
  • Oocysts have been shed by infected rabbits.
  • In colonies this may be from carrier female adults with young rabbits becoming infected.
  • Suckling rabbits, younger than 19 days old, cannot be infected with coccidia of the genusEimeria. It is suggested that inefficiency of excystation and other factors, namely the deficiency of para-aminobenzoic acid in mother milk, contribute to the innate resistance to coccidia in very young mammals.
  • Young rabbits can be infected with coccidia from about 19-22 days onwards, when the suckling animals usually begin to consume solid feed in addition to milk. High oocyst production is usually not reached before weaning however.

Pathological effects

  • Meronts present in crypts and villi of small and large intestine.


Control via animal

  • Eradication of protozoan from the colony by detection of infected rabbits and their removal.
  • Prophylactic use of antibacterials.

Control via chemotherapies

  • Sulfa-drugs and potentiated sulf-drugs.
  • Toltrazuril (Baycox, Bayer), administered via the drinking water, has proved effective in reducing oocyst output of both intestinal and hepatic coccidial infections.

Control via environment

  • Envirnomental control measures should not be neglected and every effort should be made to avoid the promotion of an unhealthy reliance on chemotherapeutic solutions.
  • Solar radiation plays a significant role in the elimination of coccidial oocysts from pasture through a process of dessication and the action of UV light. Under summer conditions, it is suggested that pasture be rested for 1-2 months.
  • Daily movement of rabbit grazing arks on pasture is likely to reduce the disease threat.


  • No vaccines are currently commercially available although some vaccines have been developed and used in a research setting.
  • Immunological parameters have been reported to show that an immune response to coccidiosis can be elicited even in young rabbits before weaning, from about 25 days onwards. This result indicates that age seems to be an appropriate consideration in vaccination.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Pakandl M, Hlásková L, Poplatein M et al (2008) Dependence of the immune response to coccidiosis on the age of rabbit suckling. Parasitol Res 103 (6), 1265-1271 PubMed.
  • Pan B L, Zhang Y F, Suo X et al (2008) Effect of subcutaneously administered diclazuril on the output of Eimeria species oocysts by experimentally infected rabbits. Vet Rec 162 (5), 153-155 PubMed.
  • Pakandl M & Hlásková L (2007) The reproduction of Eimeria flavescens and Eimeria intestinalis in suckling rabbits. Parasitol Res 101 (5), 1435-1437 PubMed.
  • Grès V, Voza T, Chabaud A et al (2003) Coccidiosis of the wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) in France. Parasite 10 (1), 51-57 PubMed.
  • Renaux S, Quéré P, Buzoni-Gatel D et al (2003) Dynamics and responsiveness of T-lymphocytes in secondary lymphoid organs of rabbits developing immunity to Eimeria intestinalisVet Parasitol 110 (3-4), 181-195 PubMed.
  • Arafa M A & Wanas M Q (1996) The efficacy of ivermectin in treating rabbits experimentally infected with Eimeria as indicated parasitologically and histologically. J Egypt Soc Parasitol 26 (3), 773-780 PubMed.
  • Vanparijs O, Desplenter L & Marsboom R (1989) Efficacy of diclazuril in the control of intestinal coccidiosis in rabbits. Vet Parasitol 34 (3), 185-190 PubMed.
  • Varga I (1982) Large-scale management systems and parasite populations: coccidia in rabbits. Vet Parasitol 11 (1), 69-84 PubMed.
  • Landers E J (1953) The effect of low temperatures upon the viability of unsporulated oöcysts​ of ovine Coccidia. J Parasitol 39 (5), 547-552 PubMed.
  • Rutherford R L (1943) The lifecycle of four intestinal Coccidia of the domestic rabbit. J Parasitol 29 (1), 10-32 VetMedResource.
  • Litwer G M (1935) Der Einifluss von geringen Dosen der Ultraviolettstrahlen auf die Stabilität des Sporulationszyklus bei Kaninchen coccidien. Arch Protistenk 85, 395-341.
  • Pérard C (1925) Recherches sur les coccidies et coccidioses du lapin. II. Contribution à létude de la biologie des oocystes de coccidies. Ann Inst Pasteur Paris 39, 505-542.

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