DISEASE SUMMARY PAGE

Spontaneous Arteriosclerosis in Lagomorphs

Summary Information
Diseases / List of Miscellaneous / Metabolic / Multifactorial Diseases / Disease summary
Alternative Names Chronic endoarteritis deformans. (J26.12.w2)

See also: 

Disease Agents
  • Genetic and additional unknown factors. (B601.10.w10, J26.12.w2)
  • May be associated with renal disease in some cases. (J42.101.w1)
  • Possibly associated with disturbed calcium/phosphorus metabolism due to an (unidentified) toxin. (J42.101.w1)
Infectious Agent(s) --
Non-infectious Agent(s) --
Physical Agent(s) --
General Description
  • This has been seen in most rabbit breeds, particularly in New Zealand White rabbits. It has also been observed in wild rabbits and in a wild adult female Lepus europaeus - Brown hare. (B601.10.w10, B602.21.w21, J1.10.w5, J42.101.w1)
  • Lesions have been observed in the aorta of rabbits as young as six weeks old. (B601.10.w10)
Clinical signs
  • Inactivity and weight loss may occur. (B600.13.w13, J42.101.w1)
  • Seizures may occur. (B600.13.w13, J4.194.w2)
Further Information
  • Usually diagnosed at necropsy. (B601.10.w10, J42.101.w1)
  • Mineralised vessels may be seen radiographically. (B601.10.w10, J4.194.w2)
  • Differentiate from arterial and other tissue calcification due to vitamin D toxicity. (B601.10.w10)
  • In the three-year-old French lop rabbit, it was considered possible that persistent hypercalcaemia, possibly associated with renal failure, might have been an alternative diagnosis, but despite the interstitial nephritis the rabbit did not have any clinical laboratory findings indicative of renal failure, nor was there mineralisation elsewhere in the body. (J4.194.w2)
  • In wild Lepus europaeus - Brown hares, 10 months to four years of age, lesions were found in the aorta of 16/20 males and 10/14 females. (J26.12.w2)
  • In 11 female (mainly New Zealand White) rabbits, generally associated with weight loss and sometimes with infertility. Other lesions of soft tissue mineralisation were present also (Soft Tissue Mineralization - Kidney Calcification in Rabbits). (J42.101.w1)
Pathology

Gross

  • In a wild adult (two-year-old) female Lepus europaeus - Brown hare. (J1.10.w5)
    • Aorta: In the wall of the aorta, "multiple, white, fibrous, folate-shaped thickenings of the wall." from 2 x 2 mm to 2 x 5 mm. Intimal surface whitish, fibrous slightly raised areas. The lesions were found in most of the thoracic aorta, sating 2 cm from the hearth and continuing to 1 cm posterior to the hiatus aortius. (J1.10.w5)
  • In a three-year-old French Lop rabbit (which died due to purulent pneumonia):
    • Vascular: Aorta, brachiocephalic trunk, left subclavian, iliac arteries, common carotid, and renal arteries: all rigidly distended, inelastic and mineralized. (J4.194.w2)
    • Renal: Kidneys small ( length 4 cm) and pale. Cortices granular. In one kidney pelvis, a calculus, 1 cm diameter. (J4.194.w2)
    • Adrenals: large, with a cortical cyst, 3 mm diameter in the left adrenal. (J4.194.w2)
  • In wild Lepus europaeus - Brown hares, about one year to four years of age, 16 males and 10 females. (J26.12.w2)
    • Aorta, on the intimal surface, raised plaques, round or irregular and 0.5- 6.0 mm diameter, grey-white to pale yellow in colour, usually firm and homogenous. In two males, also lesions in the abdominal aorta. In one male, lesions in the pulmonary artery. In two hares (both about one year old), bone was found in the lesions. (J26.12.w2)
  • In 11 domestic rabbits:
    • Hardening of the dorsal aorta only (two rabbits) or of the whole arterial system (nine rabbits). (J42.101.w1)

Histopathology

  • In a wild adult (two-year-old) female Lepus europaeus - Brown hare. (J1.10.w5)
    • Aorta: medial sclerosis. Tunica media hyalinised, only a few elastic lamella remained. Sometimes bulging of the intima into the lumen due to thickening of the media. Lesions often covered only by endothelium. Early lesions: smooth muscle cells had pale eosinophilic cytoplasm and pyknotic nuclei; frayed interrupted elastic membranes and widening of the interlamellar spaces. In areas of active repair, fibroblast infiltration and occasional foreign-body giant cells. Remaining lamella thickened, with granular calcium deposits along them. (J1.10.w5)
  • In a three-year-old French Lop rabbit (which died due to purulent pneumonia): (J4.194.w2)
    • Vascular: Aorta, brachiocephalic trunk, left subclavian, iliac arteries, common carotid, and renal arteries: all had extensive multifocal to diffuse mineralization. (J4.194.w2)
    • Renal: "extensive diffuse interstitial fibrosis with atrophy and loss of tubules in both cortex and medulla, mineralization of cortex tubules, and a lymphocytic cortical infiltrate. Many glomeruli were small and had condensed vascular tufts and capsular fibrosis." (J4.194.w2)
    • Adrenals: cortical hyperplasia (probably stress related). (J4.194.w2)
  • In wild Lepus europaeus - Brown hares, about one year to four years of age, 16 males and 10 females. (J26.12.w2)
    • Aorta: in the tunica media. Early lesions included pyknotic nuclei of smooth muscle cells, later lesions included necrosis of the cells. Elastic laminae within affected areas had increased waviness and were sometimes fragmented. Associated with elastic fibres in some cases, increased acid mucopolysaccharide. Perimembranous calcification was noted associated with fragmented elastic lamini. In advanced lesions, areas of cellular proliferation with spindle-shaped cells, and in six hares, multinucleate cells. Occasionally, newly-formed capillaries amd sinusoids filled with erythrocytes in the centre of a lesion or towards its base. Varying quantities of calcium salts were demonstrated in the lesions. In two hares (both about one year old), bone, with active haematopoietic cells and fat, was found in the lesions. (J26.12.w2)
  • In 11 domestic rabbits:
    • Arterial: medial degeneration and necrosis, calcium deposition, also intimal hyperplasia and hypertrophy. (J42.101.w1)
    • Renal: calcium deposition in the walls of Bowman's capsule, walls of some tubules, and as casts in occasional tubules, as well as some individuals. (J42.101.w1)
    • Lungs: calcium deposition in alveolar walls in some individuals. (J42.101.w1)
    • Ovaries: in four rabbits examined: peripheral fibrosis, mononuclear cell infiltration, atretic follicles and occasional calcification of follicles. (J42.101.w1)
    • Hepatic: hepatocyte degeneration and necrosis. (J42.101.w1)
Associated Techniques
Host taxa groups /species
Disease Author Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)
Referees Brigitte Reusch BVet Med (Hons) CertZooMed MRCVS (V.w127)

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