Mucoid enteropathy/epizootic rabbit enteropathy in two species of cottontail rabbits: four recent cases


  • Gabriele Paul Colorado Wild Rabbit Foundation
  • Daniel G. Friend Colorado Wild Rabbit Foundation



captive rearing, emerging disease surveillance, rabbit diseases, wildlife rehabilitation


Mucoid enteropathy/epizootic rabbit enteropathy is a disease of domestic European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) that has been recognized for nearly 50 years but is still not well understood. Morbidity and mortality are high and can lead to large losses in domestic rabbit production facilities. Recently, the Colorado Wild Rabbit Foundation identified four cases with similar presentations in two species of cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus spp.) undergoing rehabilitation (2020–2022). Clinical signs, gross pathology, and histopathology findings were consistent with what has been described in domestic rabbits.


Download data is not yet available.


Armstrong D.M., Fitzgerald J.P. & Meaney C.A. 2011. Genus Sylvilagus – American rabbits. In D.M. Armstrong et al. (eds.): Mammals of Colorado. 2nd ed. Pp. 264–270. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.

Barthold S.W., Griffey S.M. & Percy D.H. 2016. Rabbit. In S.W. Barthold et al. (eds.): Pathology of laboratory rodents and rabbits. 4th ed. Pp. 273–275. Ames, Iowa: Wiley-Blackwell. doi: 10.1002/9781118924051.ch06.

Dip R., Nemet Z., Schiessl B., Klein U. & Strehlau G. 2015. Efficacy and tolerability of early administration of valnemulin hydrochloride premix on epizootic rabbit enteropathy. The Veterinary Journal 204(3), 309–314. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2014.12.036.

Flatt R.E., Weisbroth S.H. & Kraus A.L. 1974. Mucoid enteropathy. In Chapter 17: metabolic, traumatic, mycotic, and miscellaneous diseases of rabbits. In The biology of the laboratory rabbit. 1st ed. Pp. 437–440. New York, NY: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/C2013-0-11681-9.

Hu B., Fan Z., Wei H., Song Y., Qiu R., Chen M., Xu W., Xue J. & Wang F. 2018. Detection of mucoid enteropathy syndrome disease in rabbit farms in East China. Research in Veterinary Science 119, 259–261. doi: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2018.07.011.

Licois D., Wyers M. & Coudert P. 2005. Epizootic rabbit enteropathy: experimental transmission and clinical characterization. Veterinary Research 36, 601–613. doi: 10.1051/vetres:2005021.

Maertens L., Cornez B., Vereecken M. & Oye S. 2010. Efficacy study of soluble bacitracin (Bacivet S(R)) in a chronically infected epizootic rabbit enteropathy environment. World Rabbit Science 13(3), 165–178. doi: 10.4995/wrs.2005.520.

Paul G.C. & Friend D.G. 2019. Clostridial Enterotoxemia and coccidiosis in weanling cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus audubonii, Sylvilagus floridanus, Sylvilagus nuttallii) from Colorado, USA. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 55, 189–195. doi: 10.7589/2018-02-026.

Paul G.C. & Friend D.G. 2021. Aggressive treatment of young cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus spp.) for coccidiosis resulted in large reduction in gastrointestinal disease mortality from all causes (Colorado, USA). Journal of Wildlife Rehabilitation 41, 7–12.

Puón-Peláez X.-H.D., McEwan N.R., Gómez-Soto J.G., Álvarez-Martínez R.C. & Olvera-Ramírez A.M. 2020. Metataxonomic and histopathological study of rabbit epizootic enteropathy in Mexico. Animals (Basel) 10, 936–950. doi: 10.3390/ani10060936.

Puón-Peláez X.-H.D., McEwan N.R. & Olvera-Ramírez A.M. 2018. Epizootic Rabbit Enteropathy (ERE): a review of current knowledge. European Scientific Journal 14, 137–149. doi: 10.19044/esj.2018.v14n36p137.

Richter C.B. & Hendren R.L. 1969. The pathology and epidemiology of acute enteritis in captive cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus). Veterinary Pathology 6, 159–175. doi: 10.1177/030098586900600206.

Tseng F.S. 2020. Natural history and medical management of lagomorphs. In S.M. Hernandez et al. (eds.): Medical management of wildlife species. Pp. 185–195. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. doi: 10.1002/9781119036708.ch15.

Varga Smith M. 2023. Epizootic rabbit enteropathy. In Chapter 5: Digestive disorders. Textbook of rabbit medicine. 3rd ed. Pp. 177–179. Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Elsevier.



How to Cite

Paul, G., & Friend, D. (2023). Mucoid enteropathy/epizootic rabbit enteropathy in two species of cottontail rabbits: four recent cases. Wildlife Rehabilitation Bulletin, 41(1), 9–12.



Original Articles