Oocyst excretion pattern of three intestinal Eimeria species in female rabbits

Cristiano Papeschi, Gianluca Fichi, Stefania Perrucci


The dynamic change in faecal Eimeria oocyst excretion was evaluated in 10 naturally infected female rabbits, starting from their weaning at 33 d of age until about 1 mo after their second parturition. Faecal samples collected from examined animals were quali-quantitatively analysed to evaluate presence and number of Eimeria oocysts. In addition, isolated Eimeria oocysts were identified at the species level following sporulation. Animals were found to be infected by Eimeria perforans, Eimeria exigua and Eimeria magna and shed Eimeria oocysts after weaning and after parturition. In particular, at 33 d of age all female rabbits examined were negative, while the discharge of Eimeria oocysts started at 39th day of age and peaked between 46th and 53rd day of age. From 81-109 d of age until the first parturition and from 25 d of age of the litters born at the first parturition to the second parturition, all animals resulted negative. After parturition, Eimeria oocyst output occurred from 6th to 12th day after the first parturition and from 7th to 13th day after the second parturition, while a second period of oocyst excretion was observed from 18th to 24th day after both parturitions. These findings may indicate the existence of a relationship between the periparturient phase and Eimeria oocyst output and suggest an important role of the mothers in transmission of the infection to their litters.


Eimeria; oocyst excretion pattern; weaning; periparturient phase; female rabbits

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 Universitat Politècnica de València


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