Sparsky and Brownie:

nodular type of myxomatosis in two vaccinated rabbits



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Warning: this file contains pictures that may be distressing to some persons

Sparsky and Brownie are my daughter’s rabbits. Sparsky is a male and Brownie is a female; both are living outside, in our garden, in the UK. Since, they have been brought inside. The rabbits were both vaccinated against Myxy when we got them - which was about 13 months ago - they are overdue their vaccination now - but the vet wouldn't do it whilst we had this problem.

Sparsky developed the small lumps around his eyes during the week of 29th October 2012 - we were away on holiday and both rabbits were staying with a friend - when we picked them up to go home on Nov 2, 2012 we noticed the lumps - and went to the vet the following Monday.

Here is a photo from before the jabs started here. It seems to have got much worse - with sores on his nose and an inflamed lump by his other eye now - despite the penicillin injections.

Brownie, our vaccinated female rabbit presenting periocular myxomas on her eyelids. Myxomas are a typical development of myxomatosis in vaccinated rabbits (see page 247: Rabbit and rodent ophtalmology, by Dr. D. L. Williams).   

Sparsky and Brownie are being treated for it by the vet - but the vet is not sure this is the diagnosis. We have a week or so of just eye antibiotic drops, then the vet called as she had discussed our case with a colleague and they thought it was treponematosis (rabbit syphilis).

First penicillin injection:        Nov 8th, 2012

Second penicillin injection:  Nov 15th, 2012

Third injection booked in for injection 3 tomorrow (November 27th, 2012).

The rabbits - one of whom is much worse than the others - had their second penicillin jab last week. But the badly affected rabbit still seems bad - and not getting significantly better as yet. Here are photos taken this morning. So essentially Sparsky has had the issue 3-4 weeks!

Sparky - the boy is the worst affected - both eyes - small growths round one, large inflamed lump on the other. Plus sore nose and sore genitals.

The face of Sparsky presents characteristic clinical signs of myxomatosis: a swollen face, edema (accumulation of fluids) above the eye and a runny eye. The tumor on his eyelid and a flat myxoma-like structure on the top of his nostrils are indicative for the nodular or myxoma type of myxomatosis. (November 12th, 2012).

Several periocular myxomas also appeared on his eyelids.

Another view of the myxoma tumors on top of his nose and on his lips.

His genital area was covered with crusts. This is unusual with myxomatosis and can lead to confusion with pasteurellosis or early stages of treponematosis (rabbit syphilis).

Brownie - female - had one lump on eye which seems to have gone. She presents scabbed lumps on head above eye - you can see where the fur is affected. After removing two, perfectly round, scabs from Brownie, pus was found underneath them, but they came away quite cleanly. We also snipped off a bit of one of the lumps on Sparkys eye, and a bit of one of the scabs on his nose. She plans to send these to the lab tomorrow.

November 23rd, 2012: The good news is that both rabbits have not lost weight this week (whereas Sparky lost 20g the previous week). They are both eating, drinking and defecating fine.

I spoke with the vet about myxymatosis - she really doesn't feel it is this - though I am still not so sure. She seemed not to know that rabbits who have been vaccinated can get a milder or different form of the disease. She has seen other cases of myxymatosis - and feels this has been going on so long that this is unlikely.

November 24th, 2012: We have brought the whole hutch inside - just as well in this horrid weather! Sparky is quite snuffly this morning and he does have a lot more lumps and bumps / scabs under his fur - not just on his face. Brownie seems fine.

November 28th, 2012: Brownie very sadly died. She had rampant diarrhea during the day - and either had a fit, a stroke or a heart attack just when I was about to clean her bum (she was sat in the travelling cage). Very sad, especially as she was so well until the diarrhoea. My daughter was very upset.

Our vet agreed to start Sparsky, our surviving rabbit as though it is atypical myxy - which it does look like although he is vaccinated - so we are now on Baytril antibiotics and sachets of biolapis to keep his gut healthy. He is inside in the warmth, and does continue to drink, eat (not as much as usual I think), and to be interested and hopping round the room when let out. He still has lumps and sores on his face and nose - though I think these are improving - and he is snuffly in his breathing.

December 7th, 2012: Sparky appears on the mend. Dr. Richard Saunders did confirm our suspicions of nodular myxomatosis - so treatment was prophylactic antibiotics (enrofloxacin, Baytril) and Biolapis and good food, warmth etc. The antibiotics finished a couple of days ago - he is much less snuffly, and the scabs are starting to come off (massive one from above his eye yesterday).

Details of the myxoma scabs on the top of Sparsky’s nose and lips, and periocular myxomas on the eyelids and Brownie.

Sparsky appears to be recovery after receiving antibiotics and living inside. His scabs started to fall off.