Diseases / List of Parasitic Diseases / Disease description:

Intestinal Nematode Infection of Lagomorphs 

INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL INFORMATION

CLINICAL CHARACTERISTICS & PATHOLOGY

INVESTIGATION & DIAGNOSIS

TREATMENT & CONTROL

SUSCEPTIBILITY & TRANSMISSION

ENVIRONMENT & GEOGRAPHY

..

 

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General and References

Disease Summary

 
Lagomorphs Intestinal nematodes are commonly found in lagomorphs but are rarely associated with clinical disease.

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Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Whipworm infection

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Disease Type

Parasitic Infection

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Infectious/Non-Infectious Agent associated with the Disease

  • Trichostrongylidae - (Family)
    • These parasites typically have a reduced or absent buccal capsule (mouth opening) with no, three or six lips. (B24)
    • Males usually have a well-developed copulatory bursa with large lateral lobes and a small dorsal lobe. (B24)
    • Usually a direct life cycle. (B24)
    • Obeliscoides cuniculi can be found in both Oryctolagus cuniculus domesticus - Domestic European rabbit and wild Oryctolagus cuniculus - European rabbit, and also in several species of wild lagomorphs in North America and elsewhere in the world. It has two subspecies:
      • Obeliscoides cuniculi cuniculi found in Lepus spp. (B614.11.w11)
      • Obeliscoides cuniculi multistratus: found in Sylvilagus spp. (B614.11.w11)
      • Both these subspecies have been found capable of developing in Oryctolagus spp. under experimental conditions. (B614.11.w11)
    • Trichostrongylus calcaratus
    • Trichostrongylus retortaeformis
      • In the small intestine, and rarely in the stomach. (B24)
      • Found in rabbit, hare and goat. (B24)
      • Males 5 - 7 mm long with spicules 0.12 - 0.14 mm long; females 6 - 9 mm long, eggs 85 - 91 x 46 - 56 Ám. (B24)
    • Trichostrongylus affinis
      • In the small intestine of rabbits. (B24)
      • Occasionally found in sheep or other ruminants. (B24)
    • Trichostrongylus axei
      • Normally found in ruminants (and in the stomach of pigs, horses, donkeys and humans). (B24)
    • Trichostrongylus ransomi
    • Trichostrongylus vitrinus
      • Mainly a parasite of the small intestine of sheep, goats and deer, but occasionally found in rabbit (as well as pig, camel and humans) worldwide. (B24)
      • Males 4.0 - 7.0 mm with spicules, equal in length, 0.16 - 0.17 mm; females 5.0 - 8.0 mm, eggs 93 - 118 x 41 - 52 Ám. (B24)
    • Trichostrongylus colubriformis
      • Mainly in the anterior small intestines of sheep, goats, cattle, camels and antelopes, but also reported in Lepus californicus melanotis (Lepus californicus - Black-tailed jackrabbit). (B24)
      • Males 4.0 - 5.5 mm with spicules 0.135 - 0.156, equal in length; females 5.0 - 7.0 mm, eggs 79 - 101 x 39 - 47Ám. (B24)
    • Graphidium strigosum
      • Eggs are 98 - 106 x 50 - 58 Ám. (B24)
      • In rabbits and hares in Europe. (B24)
      • In the stomach and small intestine. (B24)
      • Direct life cycle. (B24)
      • Males 8 - 16 mm long, with a bursa which has large lateral lobes and a small dorsal lobe, spicules 1.1 - 2.4 mm long, slender, ending in several points. (B24)
      • Females 11 - 20 mm, vulva 1.14 - 3.28 mm from the posterior extremity. (B24)
      • There are 40 - 60 longitudinal ridges on the body cuticle. (B24)
      • Eggs are 98 - 106 x 50 - 58 Ám. (B24)
    • Vexillata noviberiae (synonyms Longistriata noviberiae Dikmans, 1935 and probably Stunkardionema halla Arnold, 1941)
    • Nematodirus triangularis (J1.22.w10)
    • Nematodirus spp.
    • Trichuris leporis
      • Trichocephalus unguiculatus is a synonym of Trichuris leporis. (B614.11.w11)
    • Dermatoxys veligera is found in 

Whipworms (Trichuridae - (Family))

  • Morphology: 
    • Adults are medium to large worms that have a more slender and longer anterior oesophageal portion than the posterior end. (B614.11.w11)
      • Males: 19 - 21 by 7.4 - 8.7 mm; spicule length is 1.6 - 3.2 mm in Trichuris leporis and 6.0 - 8.0 mm in Trichuris sylvilagi. (B614.11.w11)
      • Females: 17.4 - 20.9 by 4.2 - 5.5 mm. (B614.11.w11)
    • Eggs are 60 - 65 by 29 Ám, barrel-shaped and thick shelled with bipolar plugs. (B614.11.w11)
  • Life cycle: 
    • Adults inhabit the large intestine and the caecum and are found with their anterior end embedded in the mucosa. The eggs of these worms are passed in the faeces and then they undergo embryogenesis out in the environment. Infection of lagomorphs is thought to be via ingestion of embryonated eggs. (B614.11.w11)
  • Species affecting lagomorphs:

Infective "Taxa"

Nematoda - Roundworms (Phylum-Division):
  • Trichostrongylidae - (Family)
    • Graphidium strigosum
    • Vexillata noviberiae (Longistriata noviberiae)
    • Nematodirus spp.
    • Obeliscoides cuniculi
    • Trichostrongylus affinis
    • Trichostrongylus calcaratus
    • Trichostrongylus colubriformis
    • Trichostrongylus ransomi
    • Trichostrongylus retortaeformis

Non-infective agents

--

Physical agents

-- Indirect / Secondary

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References

Disease Author

Nikki Fox BVSc MRCVS (V.w103); Dr Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)
Click image for main Reference Section

Referees

William Lewis BVSc CertZooMed MRCVS (V.w129); Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior MA,PhD,DSc (H c: Mult) , AM(H c),DVM&S (H.c),DVMS(H.c) ,DVM(H,c) F.Med Sci.,Hon FRCVS F.Inst Biol. F.R.C.Path (H.c), DVSM, MRCVS (V.w135)

Major References / Reviews

Code and Title List

B24, B600.10.w10, B609.2.w2, B614.11.w11

Other References

Code and Title List

J1.16.w18, J1.16.w19, J1.19.w14, J1.19.w15, J1.22.w10, J1.24.w13, J1.24.w15, J1.26.w14, J1.27.12, J1.28.w17, J1.32.w11, J1.36.w10, J1.43.w3, J11.19.w3, J11.55.w2, J11.93.w1, J23.10.w4, J40.4.w3, J40.7.w1, J40.8.w1, J40.11.w1, J40.28.w1, J42.124.w2, J46.212.w1, J51.19.w1, J62.64.w3, J175.59.w1 J175.60.w1, J175.73.w2, J194.24.w1, J331.84.w1, J331.103.w1, J332.28.w3, J381.37.w1, J427.63.w1, J469.125.w1, J469.136.w1, J469.151.w1, J469.281.w1, J469.360.w1, J469.424.w1, J469.457.w1, J469.458.w1, J469.495.w1, J469.782.w1, J514.1.w1 J505.31.w1, J505.35.w1, J522.28.w1, J524.60.w1

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Clinical Characteristics and Pathology

Detailed Clinical and Pathological Characteristics

General  

Clinical Characteristics

Variable from inapparent to severe clinical signs.
Lagomorphs

Incubation and Pathogenesis

--
Lagomorphs --

Mortality / Morbidity

--
Lagomorphs
  • Intestinal nematodes are common in wild lagomorphs. High intensity infections can cause clinical disease and can be fatal. (B614.11.w11)
  • Gastrointestinal nematode burdens may reduce fecundity:
  • Note: it is possible that parasitism by several different gastro-intestinal helminths at the same time may have more effect in terms of weight loss, compared with infection with a single species. (J40.4.w2)

Trichostrongylus calcaratus

Pathology

--
Lagomorphs Graphidium strigosum. (B24)
  • GIT: deep penetration of the wall of the stomach and small intestine by the worms. (B24)
Trichostrongylus calcaratus

Trichuris leporis

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Human Health Considerations

--

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Susceptibility / Transmission

General information on Susceptibility / Transmission

--
Lagomorphs
  • Infection of lagomorphs is thought to be via ingestion of embryonated eggs. (B614.11.w11)
  • Experimental infections of Oryctolagus cuniculus domesticus - Domestic rabbits with Trichostrongylus calcaratus indicated that rabbits developed resistance to reinfection. Natural exposure followin experimental infection resulted in only low level infections without clinical signs, compared to heavy, fatal infection in a previously-uninfected rabbit exposed to natural infection. (J11.19.w3)

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Disease has been reported in either the wild or in captivity in:

Further information on Host species has only been incorporated for species groups for which a full Wildpro "Health and Management" module has been completed (i.e. for which a comprehensive literature review has been undertaken). Host species with further information available are listed below:

Host Species List

(List does not contain all other species groups affected by this disease)

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Disease has been specifically reported in Free-ranging populations of:

Further information on Host species has only been incorporated for species groups for which a full Wildpro "Health and Management" module has been completed (i.e. for which a comprehensive literature review has been undertaken). Host species with further information available are listed below:

Host Species List

(List does not contain all other species groups affected by this disease)

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Environment/Geography

General Information on Environmental Factors/Events and Seasonality

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Regions / Countries where the Infectious Agent or Disease has been recorded

  • Whipworms are found in wild lagomorphs throughout most of the USA and Europe. (B614.11.w11)

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Regions / Countries where the Infectious Agent or Disease has been recorded in Free-ranging populations

  • Whipworms are found in wild lagomorphs throughout most of the USA and Europe. (B614.11.w11)

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General Investigation / Diagnosis

General Information on Investigation / Diagnosis

Intestinal nematode infections are diagnosed by detection and identification of eggs (and occasionally worms) in faeces, or detection of worms at post mortem examination. (B46)
Lagomorphs Diagnosis is by identification of eggs or adult worms. (B614.11.w11) See: 
Related Techniques
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Similar Diseases (Differential Diagnosis)

--
Lagomorphs --

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Treatment and Control

Specific Medical Treatment

--
Lagomorphs
  • Benzimidazoles would probably be effective for treatment of Graphidium strigosum infection. (B24)
  • In a study of Lepus americanus - Snowshoe hare in southwestern Yukon, Canada, a single dose of ivermectin reduced infection intensity with Nematodirus triangularis; numbers of worms were reduced by about 80% two weeks post treatment and were still reduced at four weeks post treatment; rate of acquisition of new infection was reduced for only the first two weeks. Numbers of Trichuris leporis were not reduced by the treatment. (J1.32.w11)
  • In a study of Lepus timidus - Mountain hare in the Scottish Highlands (UK), abundance of Trichostrongylus raetortiformis on a subsequent capture in May were siginifcantly reduced by treatment with ivermectin in October of the previous year. Fecundity of treated females was increased by this treatment, but body condition and over-winter survival were not affected by the single treatment(J179.271.w2)
Related Techniques
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General Nursing and Surgical Techniques

 
Lagomorphs  
Related Techniques
  • --
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Preventative Measures

Vaccination --
Lagomorphs  
Prophylactic Treatment

--

Lagomorphs  
Related Techniques
  • --
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Environmental and Population Control Measures

General Environment Changes, Cleaning and Disinfection --

Lagomorphs

  • Remove faeces frequently. (B24)
  • Keep the pen/enclosure dry. (B24)
Population Control Measures --
Lagomorphs --
Isolation, Quarantine and Screening --
Lagomorphs  
Related Techniques
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