Pathological changes and local defense reaction occurring in spontaneous hepatic coccidiosis in rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus).

 M.M. Darzi, M.S. Mir, S.A. Kamil, N. Nashiruddullah, Z.H. Munshi


Hepatic coccidiosis occurred in 56 rabbits belonging to different ages, sexes and breeds during the years from 2002 to 2005. Clinically, the severely affected rabbits showed decreased growth rate, anorexia, debilitation, listlessness, diarrhea, icterus and rough hair coat. Postmortem examinations revealed increased dirty dull straw colored peritoneal fluid. Hepatomegaly, with presence of discrete yellowish-white nodules of 1mm to 1 cm size on the surface and throughout the parenchyma, was seen. Smears from peritoneal fluid showed rafts of mesothelial cells. Impression smears from the liver nodules revealed presence of numerous developmental stages of Eimeria stiedae corresponding with the stage of the liver lesion. These were intermixed with sheats of hepatobiliary cells and inflammatory cells and the changes were reflective of the histological changes like biliary hyperplasia, cholangitis and vacuolar changes occurring in the liver. There was increase in the thickness of basement membrane with the advanced stage of the lesion. The basement membrane was up to 1-2 µm in thickness forming loop like structures over which resided hyperplastic biliary cells containing different stages of the parasite. Some thickened basement membranes were devoid of overlying cells which had desquamated and were present in the ductal lumens suggesting that the basement might have the local defensive role in warding of the coccidial infection. The basement membrane was positive for neutral mucopolysaccharides while as the inflammatory zones and biliary epithelia along with the gametogonic stages of the coccidium reacted positively to the increased acid mucopolysaccharides qualitatively. The results showed that the occurrence of hepatic coccidiosis in female rabbits coincided with the breeding and kindling periods. Direct wet mount smears from bile aid in diagnosis of the disease. Impression smears from the liver nodules might represent the histological changes in the liver. The basement membrane thickening might have a defensive role in warding off the coccidial infection.


Rabbits; hepatic coccidiosis; Eimeria stiedae; pathology; local defense

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International Journal of Pharmacology  vol: 13  issue: 4  first page: 388  year: 2017  
doi: 10.3923/ijp.2017.388.395


 Universitat Politècnica de València


Official journal of the World Rabbit Science Association (WRSA)


e-ISSN: 1989-8886     ISSN: 1257-5011