White spots on domestic rabbit's liver - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 07/25/09, 12:49 PM
 
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White spots on domestic rabbit's liver

A few days ago, we butchered 2 rabbits. They both had white spots on their livers. This was the first time I had seen anything like this, so I was wondering what would cause that? I know there is a disease in wild rabbits that causes white spots (tularemia or something like that?), but what could it be in a domestic rabbit? We didn't eat them. We have several more that are ready to go, but I want to find out about this first, in case these other rabbits have the same thing. These are all mainly pellet fed, along with hay about every other day and a few green treats (fresh grass, clover, dandelions, etc.).

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  #2  
Old 07/25/09, 01:00 PM
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It's coccidiosis. there is hepatic (liver), or intestinal types.
It will slow the growth of the rabbit and if bad enough will kill it. It is a parasite that is propigated when the rabbit eats its own waste.
it is treated by disenfecting and a course of Sulmet which is a sulfa drug used for chickens.
You can eat the meat, but i would not eat the liver itself.
It is said the parasite cann't live with out water and out side the rabbit body for more than a few days.
when I had it, i butchered the infected fryers, treated my entire herd with sulmet and disenfected every thing.
i kept 1 empty cage for the fryers, that was left empty for 4-5 days and kept rotating the fryers to a newly bleached cage. When the out break was over I went back to cleaning crocks and feeders once a week and fryer cages twice during the growth period.
In this case bleach and a scrub brush is your freind. Any wire cages can be left in the sun to heat up or tourched as well.

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  #3  
Old 07/25/09, 01:41 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
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I agree, it would be coccidiosis. I had one litter of rabbits two or three years ago where about half of them had the white nodules in their livers. They showed no signs of a problem prior to butchering. We used the meat but not the livers. This was a large litter from a doe that did not train them well. They were constantly pooping in their food and water crocks. I culled the whole line eventually (not just for that, but for a variety of reasons) and have had no problems since. But it can happen in just about any rabbitry.

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  #4  
Old 07/25/09, 02:25 PM
 
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Hmmm I never thought of that. But the rabbits from that cage do have a water dish that they enjoy pooping in after they drink all the water. Guess I'll be bleaching cages today, oh what fun! LOL Thanks for the advice, it is a relief to know what the problem is and that it can be treated fairly easily. Neither rabbit showed any symptoms at all before butchering, they seemed very healthy actually. Another thing... I don't know if this makes a difference, but I wouldn't describe the spots as nodules. They weren't bumpy or raised at all, just white spots on the liver, even with the surface of the liver.

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  #5  
Old 07/25/09, 02:58 PM
 
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Location: Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
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I don't know if it always appears as nodules, but that is what I saw on mine. I tried to find a clear picture online, but no luck so far. Perhaps in the beginning stages it is more like flat white spots or perhaps I was wrong about suggesting coccidiosis as the cause of the problem.

I know very little about tularemia but maybe you should do enough research to rule it out.

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  #6  
Old 07/25/09, 03:46 PM
 
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It could be coccidiosis but it can also be parasites. I'm not sure but I believe it is Tapeworms. I ran into the white spots on the liver last year in all my rabbits. After speaking/showing to the inspector at the processing plant I still used the meat but not the livers. He confirmed that it was indeed parasites and not Coccidiosis.

It could also be Fatty Liver disease.

Try searching for "whte spots on rabbit liver" There are several different causes

Here a link I found that talks breifly about tape worms

http://books.google.ca/books?id=5fVy...sult&resnum=10

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  #7  
Old 07/25/09, 04:39 PM
Lyndseyrk
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Next time, someone take pictures! Need to know what this stuff looks like for future reference!

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  #8  
Old 07/25/09, 05:16 PM
 
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This site has information about Tularemia, including a decent photo of the infected liver of a beaver.
http://www.unbc.ca/nlui/wildlife_dis.../tularemia.htm


Another site. Scroll way down for good photo of rabbit Tularemia. You may have to enlarge it to see the spots. Tularemia is a bacterial disease.
http://www.radil.missouri.edu/info/d...BBPAGE/bac.htm

Same site, but for Coccidiosis, which is parasitic rather than bacterial:
http://www.radil.missouri.edu/info/d...BBPAGE/par.htm

This one is close to what I saw, but the lesions or nodules were not over the whole liver and were perhaps not as large. Hard to remember exactly... It's been a couple of years.

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  #9  
Old 07/25/09, 06:55 PM
 
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My spots didn't look anything like that. They looked more like a pimple or small cyst. Next time they show up I will take pics for future reference.

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  #10  
Old 07/25/09, 10:30 PM
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I have dealt with coccidia before.

Here is some good info with pics.

http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/GI_dise...is_general.PDF

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  #11  
Old 07/25/09, 11:55 PM
 
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Sadly, there are other diseases which cause white spots on rabbit livers. Sorry, I can't name them as I sold all my rabbit books, but I do know there was one which rendered the meat as unfit for human consumption. Even as an Independent Processor, ANY spotted livers of any kind was cause for disposing of the carcass. Unless you are able and capable of positively identifying the spotted liver at the time of evisceration, I would definitely encourage not eating the carcass. Always best to be safe than sorry.

Pat Lamar

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  #12  
Old 07/26/09, 06:54 AM
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I saw the same thing with the last group I butchered. It was only on a few of the rabbits, not all of them. The livers where a lighter color also, and had small white nodules

I am butchering more very soon (should do it today) so I'll take pictures if I see the same thing.

Cathy

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  #13  
Old 07/26/09, 10:49 AM
 
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To test for the tape worm

I found tape worms on livers of wild animals after butchering by simply slitting the white spot and seeing what popped out. Pretty much straight forward........ if they pop out a worm, thats what it is, is what I found in areas where wild animals have close contact with roaming domestic animals.

DG


Quote:
Originally Posted by jil101ca View Post
It could be coccidiosis but it can also be parasites. I'm not sure but I believe it is Tapeworms. I ran into the white spots on the liver last year in all my rabbits. After speaking/showing to the inspector at the processing plant I still used the meat but not the livers. He confirmed that it was indeed parasites and not Coccidiosis.

It could also be Fatty Liver disease.

Try searching for "whte spots on rabbit liver" There are several different causes

Here a link I found that talks breifly about tape worms

http://books.google.ca/books?id=5fVy...sult&resnum=10
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  #14  
Old 07/28/09, 08:53 AM
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I butchered 6 last night, and found no white spots on the livers with this group. They got put in the same grow out pen as the last group that had a few with spots on the livers.

The only thing a bit "off" with this group is the last one had one lung that was somewhat mottled in appearance. Usually they are pink and uniform, this one was pink and red - but maybe that was a result of being butchered.

I was "almost" hoping I would have one or two with the spots so I could get a good picture, but I'm also relieved that they didn't.

Cathy

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  #15  
Old 07/28/09, 09:00 AM
 
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Glad to hear these last ones had clear livers. Perhaps the others were exposed to whatever caused it before they went into the grow-out cage with these. As I recall from the ones I had, only about half of the litter was affected.

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  #16  
Old 07/28/09, 09:30 AM
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I only have two pens, so all the youngsters come from the same large pen intially.

I really have to start getting better at taking notes. I hope I can be more organized when I get the new building set up. I am really looking forward to that time - almost makes me wish my husband's job would end sooner.

Cathy

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  #17  
Old 07/28/09, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat Lamar View Post
Sadly, there are other diseases which cause white spots on rabbit livers. Sorry, I can't name them as I sold all my rabbit books, but I do know there was one which rendered the meat as unfit for human consumption. Even as an Independent Processor, ANY spotted livers of any kind was cause for disposing of the carcass. Unless you are able and capable of positively identifying the spotted liver at the time of evisceration, I would definitely encourage not eating the carcass. Always best to be safe than sorry.

Pat Lamar
I have a question. I guess it is because I am from the old school and taught never to let anything go to waste. I can understand the meat being condemned for sale.

However, as I understand it there are two ways for organizisms to cause a problem. A) They are directly detrimental to the host or B) they are not directly detremntal to the host, but their wastes are poisoness. To my knowledge any microoganism or parasite or the eggs thereof are rendered lifeless by cooking. In the case of something like boutulism... the animal would be dead much before one would process it for consumption. So..... other than the liver, why would there be any harm in the producer, himself, eating the (muscle) meat of such a rabbit?
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  #18  
Old 07/28/09, 05:29 PM
 
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Good question, and one that I can't answer. Am just repeating what I have read as stated by rabbit research scientists, but as for myself, I am not a scientist nor did I even take biology in school. Can't help you out there, although I would imagine that the meat which is rendered as unfit for human consumption would be noticeably unfit, for sure.

Pat Lamar

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