Improving agricultural production of domestic rabbits in Serbia by follow-up study of their parasitic infections

Document Type : Full paper (Original article)


1 Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade, 11000 Beograd, Serbia

2 Department of Equine, Small Animal, Poultry and Wild Animal Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade, 11000 Beograd, Serbia

3 Department of Animal Hygiene, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade, 11000 Beograd, Serbia


A study was made on the prevalence of some parasitic infections appearing in domestic rabbits obtained from individual breeders in Serbia in order to improve the agricultural production of these animals. Aside from economic reasons (meat production and reproduction) rabbits are bred for the research purposes, and races are kept as household pets. For these reasons, among others, it is important to gain knowledge of medical culprits including causes of parasitic diseases that compromise their health, well-being and cause economic losses. This parasitological research was conducted in the period from 2010 to 2015 in 8 epidemiological regions of Serbia, on 433 rabbits as representative samples of different races (154 individuals up to 1 years of age and 279 individuals older than 5). Out of the total number of examined rabbits parasitic infections were established in 82.68% of animals. We detected 3 species of endoparasites (Eimeria spp., Trichostrongylus spp., and Passalurus ambiguus) and 3 species of ectoparasites (Scabies from genera Sarcoptes, Psoroptes and Notoedres). In “kits” (small rabbits) coccidiosis was the most prevalent disease (50.65%), while in older animals trichostrongilidosis was common (39.07%). The most represented scabies infection was with the species Psoroptes cuniculi (12.01%). Aiming at better control on the health of rabbits, there is a growing need for continual monitoring of parasitic infections including appropriate diagnosis, application efficient therapeutic protocols and control measures.


Aiello, SE; Mays, A and Amstutz, HE (1998). Rabbits. In: Aiello, SE (Ed.), Merck veterinary manual. (7th Edn.), New Jersey, Merck Inc., PP: 1386-1396.
Aleri, JW; Abuom, TO; Kitaa, JM; Kipyegon, AN and Mulei, CM (2012). Clinical presentation, treatment and management of some rabbit conditions in Nairobi. Bull Anim. Health Prod. Afr., 60: 149-152.
Alicata, EJ (1932). Life hystori of the rabbit stomach worm Obeliscoides cuniculi. J. Agric. Res., 44: 401-419.
Altamemy, AA (2014). Natural infection and treatment of domestic rabbit mange. Wasit J. Sci. Med., 7: 142-148.
Anderson, RC (2000). Nematode parasites of vertebrates. Their development and transmission. 2nd Edn., Oxon, UK, CABI Publishing. PP: 81-90.
Ashmawy, KI; El-Sokkary, MY; Abu-Akkada, SS and Dewair, AW (2010). Incidence of Passalurus ambiguus in domestic rabbits in Behera Province. A.J.V.S., 30: 115-120.
Audebert, F; Hoste, H and Durette-Desset, MC (2002). Life cycle of Trichostrongylus retortaeformis in its natural host, the rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). J. Helminthol., 76: 189-192.
Audebert, F; Vuong, PN and Durette-Desset, MC (2003). Intestinal migrations of Trichostrongylus retortaeformis (Trichostrongylina, Trichostrongylidae) in the rabbit. Vet. Res., 112: 131-146.
Brown, S (1993). Rabbit drug dosages. Rabbit Health News. 10: 6-7.
Burger, NC; Nesvadba, J; Nesvadba, Z; Busato, A and Gottstein, B (2006). The incidence of Dicrocoelium dendriticum in Emmental. Berl. Munch. Tierarztl. Wochenschr., 119: 324-329.
Cai, K; Bai, J and Chen, S (2012). Two new species of Schizorchis (Cestoda: Anoplocephalidae) from leporids (Lagomorpha: Leporidae) in China. J. Parasitol., 98: 977-984.
Darzi, MM; Mir, MS; Kamil, SA; Nashirudddullach, N and Munshi, ZH (2007). Pathological changes and local defense reaction occurring in spontaneous hepatic coccidiosis in rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). World Rabbit Sci., 15: 23-28.
Duszynski, D and Couch, L (2013). The biology and identification of the coccidia (Apicomplexa) of rabbits of the world. 1st Edn., San Diego, USA, Elsevier Inc., PP: 105-106.
Düwel, D (1980). The rabbit as a reservoir host of Fasciola hepatica? Z. Parasitenkd., 63: 137-143.
Fichi, G; Flamini, G; Zaralli, LJ and Perrucci, S (2007). Efficacy of an essential oil of Cinnamomum zeylanicum against Psoroptes cuniculi. Phytomedicine. 14: 227-231.
Galdhar, CN; Khangal, PS; Pawar, ML; Rasal, TD and Digraskar, SU (2015). Clinico-biochemical and therapeutic studies on notoedric mange in pet rabbits. J. Parasit. Dis., 39: 113-116.
Gomez-Bautista, M; Rojo-Vazquez, FA and Alunda, JM (1987). The effect of host’s age on the pathology of Eimeria stiedae infection in rabbit. Vet. Parasitol., 24: 47-57.
Haupt, W (1975). Course of Trichostrongylus retortaeformis (Zeder, 1800) Looss, 1905, infestation in the domestic rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Arch. Exp. Veterinarmed., 29: 135-141.
Hemmer, H (1990). Domestication: the decline of environmental appreciation. 2nd Edn., Great Britain, Cambridge University Press. PP: 158-159.
Hillyer, VE and Quesenberry, EK (1997). Ferrets, rabbits, and rodents. clinical medicine and surgery. 3rd Edn., Philadelphia, USA, W. B. Saunders Company. PP: 232-245.
Hugot, JP; Bain, O and Cassone, J (1983). The genere Passalurus (Oxyuridae: Nematoda) parasitic leporidae. Syst. Parasitol., 5: 305-316.
Ilić, T; Lepojev, O; Aleksić, N and Dimitrijević, S (2011a). Parasitic infections in large and small ruminants in Serbia in the last two decade. In Proceedings of 19th International Congress of Mediterranean Federation of Health and Production of Ruminants. 25-28 May, 2011. Belgrade, Serbia. PP: 308-315.
Ilić, T; Petrović, T and Dimitrijević, S (2014). Parasitic infection of wild rabbits and hares. Vet. Glasnik. 68: 241-250.
Ilić, T; Stojanov, I and Dimitrijević, S (2011b). Parasitic infections in wild ruminants and wild pigs. Vet. Glasnik. 65: 419-431.
Klayman, E and Schillhorn van Veen, TW (1981). Diagnosis of ectoparasitism. Mod. Vet. Pract., 62: 767-771.
Kurtdede, A; Karaer, Z; Acar, A; Guzel, M; Cingi, CC; Ural, K and Ica, A (2007). Use of selamectin for the treatment of psoroptic and sarcoptic mite infestation in rabbits. Vet. Dermatol., 18: 18-22.
Kyung-Yeon, E and Oh-Deog, K (2010). Psoroptic Otoacariasis associated with Psoroptes Cuniculi in domestic rabbits in Korea. Pak. Vet. J., 30: 251-252.
Mederle, N (2010). Parasitical identification of Cheyletiella in a rabbit breeding. Lucrări Ştiinłifice Medicină Veterinară Timişoara. 43: 57-59.
Mehlhorn, H; Düwel, D and Raether, W (1993). Untersuchungsmethoden. In: Diagnose und therapie der parasitosen von Haus-Nutz-und Heimtieren. 2nd Edn., Stuttgart/Jena, New York, Gustav Fischer Verlag. PP: 1-21.
Mitra, J; Shikari, NR; Das, KA; Roy, BB and Mitra, M (2014). Therapeutic management of sarcoptic mange in rabbit with Ivermectin. Explor. Anim. Med. Res., 4: 116-120.
Morton, D; Verga, M; Blasco, A; Cavani, C; Gavazza, A; Maertens, L; Mirabito, L; Rosell, J; Stauffacher, M and Szendro, Z (2005). The impact of the current housing and husbandry systems on the health and welfare of farmed domestic rabbits. EFSA J., 267: 1-31.
Musongong, GA; Chiejina, SN; Fakae, BB and Ikeme, MM (2004). The responses of a tropical breed of domestic rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus, to experimental infection with Trichostrongylus colubriformis. J. Helminthol., 78: PP: 249-257.
Nosal, P; Petryszak, A; Nowosad, B and Sobolewska, M (2006). Gastrointestinal parasites of rabbits in coproscopic investigations. Wiad. Parazytol., 52: 327-330.
Okumu, OP (2014). Clinicopathologic survey and predisposing factors of diseases of domestic rabbits in selected areas in Kenya. MSc Thesis, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Nairobi. PP: 1-190.
Pakandl, M (2009). Coccidia of rabbit: a review. Folia Parasitol., 56: 153-166.
Pakandl, M and Hlásková, L (2007). The reproduction of Eimeria flavescens and Eimeria intestinalis in suckling rabbits. Parasitol. Res., 101: 1435-1437.
Pakandl, M; Hlásková, L; Poplštein, M; Chromá; V; Vodička, T; Salát, J and Mucksová, J (2008). Dependence of the immune response to coccidiosis on the age of rabbit suckling. Parasitol. Res., 103: 1265-1271.
Papeschi, C; Fichi, G and Perrucci, S (2013). Oocyst excretion pattern of three intestinal Eimeria species in female rabbits. World Rabbit Sci., 21: 77-83.
Pritt, S; Cohen, K and Sedlacek, H (2012). The laboratory rabbit, guinea pig, hamster and other rodents. Chapter 15, Parasitic diseases, 1st Edn., Oxford, England, Academic Press. PP: 415-446.
Radi, ZA (2004). Outbreak of sarcoptic mange and malasseziasis in rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Comp. Med., 54: 434-437.
Rinaldi, L; Russo, T; Schioppi, M; Pennacchio, S and Cringoli, G (2007). Passalurus ambiguus: new insights into copromicroscopic diagnosis and circadian rhythm of egg excretion. Parasitol. Res., 101: 557-561.
Sadzikowski, AB; Szkucik, K; Szczepaniak, KO and Paszkiewicz, W (2008). Prevalence of protozoon genus Eimeria in slaughter rabbits. Med. Weter., 64, 12: PP: 1426-1429.
Saulai, M and Cabaret, J (1998). Limited role of lagomorphs (Oryctolagus cuniculus and Lepus capensis) in the dispersion of parasite nematodes of ruminants. Vet. Parasitol., 77: 301-304.
Scott, DW; Miller, WH and Griffin, CE (2001). Dermatoses of pet rodents, rabbits and ferrets. In: Scott, DW; Miller, WH and Griffin, CE (Edn.), Muller and Kirk’s small animal dermatology. (6th Edn.), Philadelphia, PA, W. B. Saunders. PP: 1415-1458.
Sivajothi, S; Sudhakara-Reddy, B and Rayulu, CV (2014). Effect of Ivermectin against Psoroptic mange in rabbits. Int. J. Sci. World. 2: 10-12.
Soulsby, EJL (1982). Helminths, arthropods and protozoa of domesticated animals. 7th Edn., London, England, Bailliere Tindall. PP: 482-486.
Sultan, K; Elhawary, NM; Sorour, ShGh and Sharaf, HM (2015). Observations of the rabbit pinworm Passalurus ambiguus (Rudolphi, 1819) in domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) in Egypt using a scanning electron microscope. Trop. Biomed., 32: 1-8.
Swarnakar, G; Sharma, D; Sanger, B and Roat, K (2014). Infestation of ear mites Psoroptes cuniculi on farm rabbits and its anthropozoonozis in Gudli village of Udaipur District, India. Int. J. Curr. Microbiol. App. Sci., 3: 651-656.
Szkucik, K; Pyz-Łukasik, R; Szczepaniak, OK and Paszkiewicz, W (2014). Occurrence of gastrointestinal parasites in slaughter rabbits. Parasitol. Res., 113: 59-64.
Tenora, F; Koubková, B and Feliu, C (2002). Redescription of Andrya cuniculi (Blanchard, 1891) (Cestoda: Anoplocephalidae), a parasite of Oryctolagus cuniculus (Lagomorpha) in Spain. Folia Parasitol., 49: 50-54.
Tsui, TLH and Patton, MN (1991). Comparative efficiency of subcutaneous injection doses of invermectin against Passalurus ambiguus in rabbits. J. Appl. Rabbit Res., 14: 266-269.
Ulutas, B; Voyvoda, H; Bayramli, G and Karagenc, T
(2005). Efficacy of topical administration of eprinomectin for treatment of ear mite infestation in six rabbits. Vet. Dermatol., 16: 334-337.
Urošević, M; Skandro, M and Pucar, H (2000). The importance of rabbits in the production of meat, Zbornik naučnih radova., Beograd, Institut PKB Agroekonomik. 6: 505-510.
Yeatts, JWG (1994). Rabbit mite infestation. Vet. Rec., 134: 359-360.