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Colibacillosis refers to an infection caused by the bacteria Escherichia coli, better known as E. coli. Another popular form of the disease in the intestinal tract for rabbits is known as coliform enteritis.

Pathogenic strains of E. coli can be a major cause of enteritis and losses in colonies of commercial or laboratory rabbits.[1]:342

E. coli is usually absent in the intestinal flora of rabbits or is only present in small numbers, but some pathogenic strains can proliferate and cause diarrhea.[1]:342 These groups of pathogenic E. coli include the following:[1]:342

  • Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC)
  • Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC)
  • Enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC)
  • Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC)
  • Enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC)
  • Diarrhoea-associated E. coli (DHEC)
  • Cytolethal descending toxin (CDT-) producing E. coli.



Concurrent infection such as coccidiosis, rotavirus, and dietary factors (low fiber diet or dietary change) can predispose rabbits to the disease.[1]:342

Young suckling rabbits appear to be most susceptible to the disease.[1]:342


Mild cases can be treated symptomatically with fluid therapy, supportive feeding, and antibiotics.[1]:342

Further reading

See also