Subacute Stage of Encephalitozoon cuniculi Infection in Eye Lesions of Rabbit in Turkey
Background: Encephalitozoon cuniculi is an opportunistic microsporidian parasite that can affect a number of different species of mammalian animals and humans. The parasite can pose also threat for rabbits even though it causes several sporadic and asymptomatic infections. Infection of eyes is common and clinical symptom of ocular infection may include uveitis and cataracts. We found out subacute findings in naturally infected animals and show here a first described eye lesions as well as central nervous system and kidneys in Turkey.
Methods: The rabbits (n:171) of breeding units were observed to daily clinical examination for infection of E. cuniculi during three years. The eyes of five rabbits (2.9%) showed white intraocular masses or cataracts in the breeding units during daily examinations. The infection was described clinicopathologically in collected organ samples in the animals. During observation, macroscopically, corneal lesions and opacity and impaired lens were taken into attention as well as hyperemia in central nervous system and kidney. Histopathologically, parasitophorous vacuoles pertaining to E. cuniculi were detected in all three tissues during different routine Haematoxylin-Eosin and Gram stainings.
Results: Degenerative and necrotic changes in epithelium of cornea and lens and also neurons and tubules were predominantly observed in addition to nonpurulent interstitiel nephritis and encephalitis.
Conclusion: The results from study lead to subacute findings especially in eye during natural E. cuniculi infections following asymptomatic and latent changes among breeding colony. The lesions indicated sub-acute stage of E. cuniculi infection in eye lesions of rabbit in Turkey.
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