Hepatic Coccidiosis in Rabbits – Graphic Photos


Notice the white spots on the liver

Coccidia is a parasite that exists pretty much everywhere in the soil. Young rabbits are generally more susceptible to infection, and will show symptoms of diarrhea, loss of appetite and listlessness.

Coccidiosis is very contagious in an environment where feces from a sick animal are present and can be consumed by other rabbits. It’s such a common killer of young rabbits that many rabbit breeders medicate their rabbits against it every few months, whether they show symptoms or not.

In a situation where rabbits are pastured, coccidiosis can be a very real concern. Since I tractor many of my kits I had a couple of cases of it turn up this year. Although nobody died, it left an impact on them physically. I thought it would be interesting to show you the damage that this parasite can cause to your rabbit’s liver.


A moderately infected liver

The most obvious thing upon opening up an infected rabbit is that the liver is spotted with white. The amount of spots will vary according to the severity of the infestation. These white spots are actually the hardened edges of small tunnels that the coccidia carve into the liver. If you slice the liver in half you can clearly see the small tubes.


The tunnels visible in cross-section

Whenever I see symptoms of coccidiosis in my pastured buns, I immediately add apple cider vinegar to their drinking water, feed blackberry bramble daily, make sure they are moved to fresh pasture frequently and ensure everything is kept as clean as possible. So far I’ve been very successful at clearing it out of my herd this way, without resorting to medications.

Usually even if a kit has been infected, once they overcome the parasite and fight it off, they can still lead a perfectly healthy life. Still though, there is obvious damage left to the liver which may or may not heal over time. I’m not a rabbit biologist after all… I’m a whale biologist.

Below is an example of a nice healthy rabbit liver with no white mottling. Infected livers should not be eaten but the rest of the rabbit is still safe to eat.


A healthy rabbit liver

4 thoughts on “Hepatic Coccidiosis in Rabbits – Graphic Photos

  1. Pingback: Naturally Treating Coccidiosis in Rabbits | Abernathy's Rabbitry

  2. thank you I never heard of this before but see it alot in our rabbits. We let some run free on our property and have a few caged. we raise them for food.

  3. Thank you so much for this! we lost to many kits this spring to coccida before we finally figured out what it was. We keep some of our does in a commenty grass fed tractor. we have learned so much through this, but we are hoping not to experience this kind of loss agia. your blog has brought much relief and blessing. almost everything we have found says to cullor that it is incurable. i have been debating if it was only wise to cull my 16 does!!
    So thank you so much for this!
    for others reading we where able to save many of our kits that where sick by using ACV,
    and we stopped the diarrhea using Hylands “tummy Ache” homeopthy and we we found vitamin B complex very beneficial in keeping them eating and back on thier feet.
    thank you again.

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