Common Reason for Deaths of New Zealand White Rabbits Maintained Under Individual Housing System at the Medical Research Institute of Sri Lanka
World Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress Proceedings, 2018
M. Thammitiyagodage
Department of Laboratory Animal Science, Medical Research Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka


NZW rabbits were brought to Sri Lanka from Japan in 1990. They were given a feed prepared at MRI according to WHO formula using locally available ingredients and this formula was given to them for more than 25 years. They were maintained under proper biosecurity measures. Regular postmortem procedures are performed to identify any potential pathogenic organisms.


To find out common reason for death of NZW rabbits for the period of 04/01/2017–26/02/2018.


Animals above 3 months to two years were recruited to the study (07). Sudden deaths or death after diarrhea were observed in most of the rabbits. Clinical signs were recorded and carcass was subjected to detailed postmortem (PM) investigations. Abnormalities in the external and internal organs were recorded. Samples were sent for histopathological and bacteriological investigations where necessary.


Two animals (28.5%) died due to torsion in the intestinal tract whilst two animals (28.5%) died due to stomach rupture. Sudden death, fasting and diarrhea were the commonest clinical signs. Congested blood vessels were observed in the area of torsion. Congested lungs also were observed. Tracheal swabs were negative for pathogenic Streptococcus and Staphylococcus. In two animals (28.5%), diarrhea and dehydration were observed, but gut samples were negative for Salmonella, Shigella and Campylobacter species. In one animal (14.28%), no clinical sign was observed. Stomach filled with food and congested lungs and blood-filled trachea were observed. After PM and laboratory investigations no abnormality was detected.


NZW rabbits at MRI are susceptible to diseases related to intestinal tract.


Speaker Information
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M. Thammitiyagodage
Department of Laboratory Animal Science
Medical Research Institute
Colombo, Sri Lanka

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