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Chapter 6 : Pathogens of Rabbits

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Abstract:

The rabbit continues to serve a valuable role in biomedical research. While most rabbits are obtained from commercial vendors of laboratory animals, or from in-house breeding programs, small numbers of rabbits may still be obtained from small, ‘‘backyard’’ production units. These operations vary widely in the quality of rabbits produced. Therefore, the biomedical research community may continue to encounter the pathogens discussed in this chapter. An in vivo rabbit model system was developed for testing the efficacy of antiviral drugs against human adenovirus type 5 infections. These studies illustrate the utility of the rabbit as a model for adenovirus infection. Endogenous infections with adenovirus would interfere with such studies. Interestingly, in one study apoptosis occurred in uninfected cells adjacent to infected cells. Virus-virus interactions may result in compromise of viral studies, in rabbits naturally infected with myxoma virus. Rabbits with infection have defective alveolar macrophage function, supporting the hypothesis that infection with facilitates infection with other pathogens. Studies in rabbits and rodents indicate that immunity is similar to that induced by other intracellular pathogens, being primarily cellular, with participation of neutrophils, and the classical pathway of complement activation. The majority of rabbits infected with are asymptomatic carriers. Antibodies against cross-react with antigens of other microsporidia, including . is an obligate, nonburrowing parasite causing otoacariasis in domestic rabbits. Behavioral changes in pruritic rabbits could alter a variety of studies, including those depending on adequate feed intake.

Citation: Baker D. 2003. Pathogens of Rabbits, p 147-192. In Natural Pathogens of Laboratory Animals. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817824.ch6
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