Encephalitozoon Cuniculi

Encephalitozoon Cuniculi Called E Cuniculi or EC for short

Always consult a Veterinarian for medical questions about your bunny!

It is a protozoan parasite that can infect rabbits. As a vet once told me, it is an epidemic like pasteurella is in rabbits. Meaning, they pretty much are all exposed to the problem but not all will show symptoms of this problem. We, unfortunately, were exposed to symptoms when we first started our rabbitry. It appeared to have been brought on from the stress of moving the rabbits. We would not have known what it was without veterinarian intervention. Since then, we have spent a lot of time doing research so we can avoid an active infection.

E cuniculi can remain dormant in rabbits their entire life. However, the signs are typically neurological impairment. These are usually paralysis (partial or complete), loss of coordination, seizures, and/or head tilt. Not all cases of head tilt are related to this parasite infection.

We have also seen eyes affected by this parasite. A friend from another rabbitry has supplied us with the following photos. One bunny has a filmy or cloudy appearance in the eye which was diagnosed by her veterinarian as E Cuniculi. She provided her vet receipt to show what was prescribed.

In order to know if your rabbit has been exposed to this parasite, there must be a blood test. If it has been exposed to E Cuniculi, the rabbit will produce antibodies that show it has been exposed. A positive titre will state this. However, it does not state if it has simply been exposed or it has an active infection. One blood test is not going to tell you all you need to know. Most people do not test because most rabbits are exposed. Unfortunately, rabbits are cheaper than a vet visit so a lot of rabbits exhibiting signs of E funiculi, will be terminally culled.


Please understand that if you are susceptible to illness, this parasite can occasionally infect humans (Zoonotic).

E Cuniculi is transmitted by passing the spores through urine, ingesting, breathing, spores getting in eyes, and may be passed on to unborn kits during pregnancy from an infected doe. Although a large percent of rabbits are exposed and carry this parasite internally, a very small percentage of rabbits will ever show the signs or die from it.

Treatment for infected rabbits showing symptoms may work but from our experience, it unfortunately was fatal in most cases. It is recommended that an anti-inflammatory drug be used (ie: steroids or non steroidal anti-inflammatory) to reduce inflammation or kill off the parasite. The medication is a prescription drug (meloxicam). It is best to use in coordination with Panacur or Safeguard (fenbendazole), which can kill the parasite. A daily dose for 28 or more days is what we have found recommended.

Cleaning is a must for the housing area. The parasite can live for one month but can be killed by cleaning (bleach or disinfectant). Be sure to clean and disinfect every day when you treat.

The good news! This parasite can be prevented!

We have protocol when a rabbit enters into our herd. They are subjected to a 60 day quarantine. They can be given a prevention treatment of 28 days of Panacur. However, please note that we do not do the full 28 day treatment unless we believe it is an active infestation. All bedding and cages will be sanitized and continuously to make sure there is no re-contamination.

We have had EC in our rabbitry a few times before we took on this protocol. Only once was it diagnosed by a veterinarian. After a year of doing prevention treatments semi-annually we no longer see any signs of this infection. The EC prevention treatment is 9 days consecutive for every rabbit in our herd (including juniors).

Treatment and Prevention for EC

Treating rabbits with any form of medicine is no fun. They typically do not like it but they don’t seem to mind the panacur as much. Options on how to administer this mediation:

-Put a pea size drop of either Panacur or Safeguard on a small leaf of lettuce, spinach or other type of greens and sandwich it between two pieces. Lay this in the hutch for the bunny to eat but watch and be sure it eats the entire piece of veggie with the medicine. I have had a few rabbits refuse to eat this and had to squeeze the med directly into their mouth. They are not happy with me for this treatment. This is a time consuming task. This leads me to the next option for treatment.

-Purchase a bag of dewormer Safeguard pellets. This is the simplest way to get the bunnies to eat the medication on their own. I top off their feed with just a few of these pellets and they all seem to take it just fine. I do this for 9 consecutive days for a prevention treatment once or twice a year for the entire herd.

dewormer for english angora rabbit

The information we have here available to read on our website is gained through research, study, experimental uses, study, and help from other veterinarians as well as lots of other breeders with experiences. We are not doctors and do not offer solutions like a licensed veterinarian does. We are only posting our protocol and what has worked for us in the past.

Rabbits are extremely popular as pets in Europe. This is what they offer to treat and prevent EC per in Europe. We have all of these items listed in our Bun Shop if anyone is trying to find where to purchase it.

We share our experience but always recommend that you consult with your veterinarian for all medical advice and care for your English Angora rabbits and bunnies. We only document how we treat our problems in our own Rabbitry and are NOT veterinarians.