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Uterine Infections in Rabbits

Pyometra

The medical term for an infection in the rabbit's uterus is pyometra. This and other reproductive (or non-neoplastic endometrial) disorders, including the growth and bloating of the uterus, are common among small animals like rabbits and ferrets.

Symptoms

Typically, a rabbit with pyometra will have blood in its urine originating from the uterus. It may come intermittently or follow the animal’s reproductive cycles. Some other symptoms include:

  • Paleness
  • Increasingly aggressive behavior
  • Signs of a systemic illness (e.g., shock or blood infection)
  • Fluid buildup in the uterus
  • Signs of a pseudo-pregnancy
  • Stillborn pregnancies or infertility

Cause

The endometrium functions as the lining of the uterus. Fluid can build up along its walls, often for various reasons including age, uterine cancer, tissue overgrowth (associated with the buildup of cysts), or bacterial overgrowth, as in the cases of Chlamydia and Listeria monocytogenes.

Diagnosis

To diagnose the rabbit, your veterinarian will first rule out obvious causes for abdominal distension including pregnancy or carcinoma of the uterus. The veterinarian will also note such clinical abnormalities as elevated levels of certain blood markers or decreased blood counts. For example, some rabbits may have anemia or low iron.

 
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