Coccidiosis: a disease of birds and mammals that chiefly affects the intestines caused by coccidian.  

Disease is rare in well-managed rabbitries. When animals are suspected of being sick however, they should be sent to the Department of Veterinary Services for immediate diagnosis because most rabbit diseases are difficult to diagnose.Contagious disease can spread quickly, so early treatment is essential. Sickening animals must be isolated immediately, and the decision to treat or cull them will be the responsibility of the veterinarian. Killing sick animals must be done away from the rabbitry and the carcasses must be buried immediately, deep in the ground, or burnt. Sick animals must be kept comfortable, with plenty of good, dry bedding; clean fresh water and food, and plenty of fresh air.


Coccidiosis: may arise from infective protozoa, transmitted by contaminated food or water, over-crowding, contact or insect reactors. Commercially purchased pellets may contain a coccidiostat which, in most cases, will prevent outbreaks of coccidiosis.

Snuffles: sneezing and a sticky white discharge from the nose are characteristic. The condition may be confused with a cold, but this is related to pasteurellosis. Poor nutrition and bad ventilation can spread the disease very quickly.

Pasteurellosis: a bacterial infection commonly affecting animals.  
Septicaemia: blood poisoning, especially caused by bacteria or their toxins.  

Myxomatosis: this is a virus disease. It is highly infectious and often fatal. Mosquitoes and insects are carriers. When the animal is infected, the eyelids, head and body swell, eventually completely closing the eyes and giving a lumpy appearance. In almost all cases death follows within 12 days of infection. This disease can be prevented by vaccination.

Sore hocks: this is generally caused by damp bedding or a rough floor. Nervous animal’s which continually stamp their feet or move about may develop this condition. Affected parts must be well washed in warm water and mild antiseptic. Dry well and apply an iodine ointment; repeat the treatment once daily until the condition clears up.

Pasteurellosis: this is a fatal septicaemia disease caused by a pasteurella germ. The animal may die after a short illness, showing lesions of pneumonia, pleurisy and peritonitis. Antibiotics may help to control the disease, but seldom eliminate the causal germs.

Ear canker: this is caused by a small mite and is contagious. The external ear becomes crusty, causing considerable irritation. The discharge is full of parasites. Treat daily, using a non-irritant parasiticide.

Heat stroke: in hot weather and in rabbitries where ventilation is poor, animals may suffer from heat stroke – panting, uneasiness and slobbering. Immediate steps must be taken to overcome this problem, including wetting the animals with cold water. Death may otherwise result.

Cannibalism: young does often kill and eat or nibble their young. The exact causes are not known but cannibalism has been attributed tostress such as nervousness, lack of water, and poor rations. The young should not be examined too soon after birth, since this excites the doe.