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Questions around Encephalitozoon cuniculi in rabbits
  1. Molly Varga, BVetMed, DZooMed, MRCVS
  1. Cheshire Pet Medical Centre, Holmes Chapel, Cheshire CW4 8AB, UK
  1. E-mail: molly{at}

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IT is estimated that one million rabbits are kept as pets in the UK (PDSA 2013). This makes them the third most popular pet after cats and dogs; however, until recently there has been minimal rabbit training available to veterinary undergraduates in the UK (the University of Edinburgh Royal [Dick] School of Veterinary Studies is a notable exception). Many more rabbits are being presented to veterinary surgeons for treatment, and rabbit owners (with access to online resources such as the Rabbit Welfare Association and RSPCA websites) are becoming more knowledgeable. There is an obvious mismatch in this situation, emphasising the need for the publication of clinically applicable, peer-reviewed rabbit research.

Although the balance is now rapidly changing, many years with less informed veterinary input has led to misapprehensions being perpetuated about conditions and treatment of pet rabbits. There are notable exceptions to this, and the publication of the Textbook of Rabbit Medicine in 2002 (Harcourt-Brown 2002) made an enormous difference to many clinicians who were trying to treat rabbits to the same standard as cats and dogs. However, encephalitozoonosis remained one area where much confusion remained, and an area in which there were as many questions as answers.

So what is encephalitozoonosis? Defined as clinical disease related to infection with …

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