Enteric Coronavirus

Etiology:  Enteric coronavirus is an enveloped RNA virus with typical peplomers on its capsid.

Incidence:  Coronavirus infection is common in conventional rabbit colonies, but rare in research rabbits.

Transmission:  Transmission is fecal-oral.

Clinical Signs:  Severity of clinical disease is associated with concurrent disease or introduction into naïve colony.  One clinical outbreak has been reported: affected rabbits 3 to 10 wks of age had diarrhea accompanied by lethargy, dehydration and death in 100% of affected animals within 24 hrs after onset of signs.

Pathology:  The cecum is fluid-filled, although the viral infection occurs in the small intestine. Enterocytes in the small intestine are vacuolated and denuded (A.), syncytia are visible (arrow, B.), and mucosal edema and neutrophilic and lymphocytic infiltrates are present.

Diagnosis:  PCR can be performed on feces.  Serology may also be used.