Differential diagnosis for megacolon in rabbits

also called “cow-pile syndrome”

 

 

Veterinary textbook related to internal medicine mention dysautomia with the following terms:

·      constipation,

·      colonic weakness,

·      neuromuscular weakness/disease,

·      megacolon,

In case of traumatic origin:

·      bilateral pelvic nerve damage.

 If the problem becomes chronic with time, nerve damage may be ruled out and other causes should be looked for, among others:

 

 

Viral causes

Inflammation due to the presence of Cytomegaloviruses, Coronaviruses

 

Bacterial causes

Lack of proper bacterial flora

 

Parasitic causes

Coccidiosis

Giardiasis

Presence of the flagellate Trypanosoma cruzi (this parasite was experimentally inoculated in rabbits and found to cause severe damage on heart and intestine, leading to megacolon),

Parasitic roundworms or tapeworm. Their presence has been linked to intestinal or cecal impaction, accompanied by stasis, severe pain and gas formation, this independently from the type of worm: pinworm or tapeworm.

Treatment of pinworms is done by administration of benzimidazoles, more specifically fenbendazole or thiabendazole. Piperazine is reported efficient too, while ivermectin does not affect the Passalurus roundworm. Treatment of tapeworm is done with praziquantel.

 

Genetic causes

Pathophysiological and functional aspects of the megacolon-syndrome of homozygous spotted rabbits, by Bödeker et al.

Muscular disturbance of the colonic smooth muscle,

Nerve injury or damage

Presence of tumors, polyps

 

Mechanical

Stenosis

Muscular disturbance of the colonic smooth muscle,

Nerve injury or damage

Presence of tumors, polyps

 

Neurological causes

Nerve injury or damage

 

Metabolic causes

Inflammation due to the presence of Cytomegaloviruses, Coronaviruses

 

Pharmacological causes

Overmedication

 

Hormonal causes

Hypothyroidism

 

Environmental causes

Behavior

 

Diagnosis tools include X-ray, barium test, ultrasound, eventually a neurological examination, serum profile probably will indicate colonic weakness in rabbits, as in other animals. If true megacolon is diagnosed, the rabbit shows a constant (and not chronic) leakage of mucus/watery stuff via the anus and hyponatremia (blood sodium level under average).

For reference blood biochemistry values in rabbits: click here.

 

 

 

  

e-mail: info@medirabbit.com