Rabbit Worms – Tapeworms, Flukes & Cysts Information Guide


Rabbit worms species are found, though rarely, in the rabbit. Unless a severe infestation occurs, and this is unusual, little harm results to the animal.



Tapeworms of various species occur. These consist of a head with suckers and a flat segmented body. They vary in size from under an inch to a foot or more. The eggs produced by these particular rabbit worms must pass through an intermediate host (a mite) before they can reinfect a rabbit.

rabbit worming

Treatment consists of dosing with a taenicide or ” worm powder”.Roundworms except for the stomach worm(Graphidium strigosum), the intestinal worm (Trichostrongylusretortaeformis) and the caecal worm (Passalurus bigamous) are very rare rabbit worms. The stomach worm is about z inch long and pinkish.

It sucks blood from and may perforate, the stomach wall. A reliable treatment consists of the use of tetrachlorethylene in capsule form, the dosage being c.c. per lb. live weight. The life cycle of this rabbit worms is direct, that is, no intermediate host is necessary and eggs passed out can infect a rabbit directly. The intestinal worm is found in the small intestine, being hair-like and whitish, about an inch long.

It may cause inflammation of the intestine and diarrhea if present in large numbers. Treatment consists of dosing with oil of chenopodium in capsule form, I c.c. per lb. live weight caecal worm is the most common rabbit worm found in the rabbit, but it is relatively harmless and very rarely causes any damage. The storm is white, about an inch long with the tail tapering to a fine point.


Two species of flukes may be found in the bile ducts of the liver of the rabbit. The main host of the flukes which are leaf-like and about one inch long, or one-third of an inc long depending on species, is the sheep, and consequently, prevention rests in not feeding herbage which has been over-run by sheep. There is no reliable treatment for fluke in the domestic rabbit worms.

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Tapeworm cysts

Two types of tapeworm cysts are found in the rabbit. Both are the intermediate stages of the dog tape-worms. The first species (the intermediate stage of Taeniapisiformis) occurs in the abdomen attached to various parts of the intestine. It is a pea-sized bladder within which is a small white head.

The second type is the intermediate stage of taenia series and is found in the muscles of the rabbit, immediately below the skin. This cyst which may be as large as a golf ball is filled with fluid and contains several whiteheads (each being the size of a pin bead) attached to the inside of the cyst wall.

The adult tapeworms of which these are the intermediate stage, are found in the intestines of the dog. The eggs are passed out and contaminate feed or water which is eaten by the rabbit. “[he parasite is liberated from the egg by the digestive juices and, passing through the wall of the intestine and the liver finally reaches its permanent site.
Whilst quite often large numbers of the small abdominal type are found in the domestic rabbit, it is rare to find more than one or two of the muscle type in the same animal.

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The large cyst in the muscle is not painful when touched. Neither of the cysts causes much damage, although the passage of the parasite through the liver to its final site may cause some harm, particularly in severe infestations.

Rabbit Worms Prevention

Prevention can only be accomplished by taking care that no food or water given to the stock has been contaminated in any way by dogs, and if a dog is kept by the breeder, then steps should be taken to see that it is ” wormed ” when the need arises. There is no treatment for the abdominal cyst, but the muscles can be removed surgically. It is essential that all the heads on the wall of the cyst are removed or the cyst will refocus.



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