Rabbit mucoid enteritis (ME), mucoid enteritis complex, or mucoid enteropathy is a subacute disease associated with weaning and newly weaned kits aged 4-12 weeks old but can also affect adult rabbits.
It is characterized by diarrhea, “inflammation, hypersecretion, and accumulation of mucus in the small and large intestines.” and it has a high mortality rate in young rabbits.
Autopsies reveal stomach distention by mucus and thin fluid, the small intestines could be filled with fluid, mucus or empty and the cecum may have gas and be impacted. 
The large intestine often contains a thick gelatinous material or mucoid which tend to form a solid plug.
Finally, in adults, it is common after a stressful event such as giving birth, moving to a new home, attach by predators or loss of a companion.
Affected rabbits suffer from foul-smelling mild diarrhea, dullness, anorexia, dehydration, a rough coat. . Sometimes, the animal will pass jelly-like mucoid material (with some mucus left on the anus), be thirsty, bloat or suffer from tympanites.
Teeth grinding, squealing, and a hunched posture due to the pain the condition causes is often noted, and your rabbit may also lose weight.
Furthermore, a nursing doe may have mucopurulent vaginal discharge, and they often have a higher mortality rate.
Finally, constipation can occur if the plug of mucus causes colon obstruction and your animal may have low body temperatures.
The exact cause of mucoid enteropathy is not precisely known. However, it has been associated with the following factors.
- Clostridium perfringens type C and D toxins
- A change in the cecal pH that affects the microflora development in weaning kits
- This condition is associated with feeding kits high energy foods such as milk pellets, corn, and oats 
- Dysautonomia seems to play a role.
Even though we have associated ME with a few factors, it is not clear on what roles does the cecal microflora, diet, stress, and pathogens play in the occurrence of this condition.
Diagnosis involved observing the various clinical symptoms we have discussed as well as radiography to see any blockages or gas such as in the intestines and cecum.
Treatments involve “ prokinetic medication, pain relief, anti-ulcer medication, antibiotics such as Neomycin Sulfate, probiotics, aggressive fluid therapy and nutritional support” .
Simethicone is often used to relieve gas and bloating symptoms, while fluid therapy and nutritional support work to help restore the lost electrolytes and nutrients through diarrhea.
However, the prognosis is often poor even after aggressive treatment. Early treatment may improve prognosis.
While recovering give the affected animal hay and water. Water bowls will be preferred when compared to water bottles as they will encourage the animal to take more water.
If you want to avoid mucoid enteritis, you should consider the following:
- Avoid high energy feeds such as grains, milk pellets until your kits are at least three months old
- Maintain proper hygiene
In this case, your animal will have watery diarrhea, and it can be due to pathogenic bacteria or parasites, low fiber but high starch or sugar diets, dehydration and sudden change of diet.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.