Clinical course and treatment of venereal spirochaetosis in New Zealand white rabbits.


Ten sporadic cases of venereal spirochaetosis, caused by Treponema paraluis-cuniculi, were seen in New Zealand white rabbits in two years. An equal number of males and females were affected. Females tended to have milder clinical signs than males. Lesions were usually found on the prepuce in males and the vulva in females, although the anus and skin of the perineum were also affected. Facial lesions were rare. Lesions healed in seven to 28 days in rabbits treated with penicillin. Eight rabbits had antibodies reactive in the Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL), rapid plasma reagin (RPR), and fluorescent treponemal antibody absorbed (FTA-ABS) tests when the disease was first diagnosed. In several rabbits followed longitudinally, RPR test results became negative two to four months after antimicrobial treatment, VDRL antibody titres diminished but usually persisted at low levels, while FTA-ABS antibodies declined slowly and were still evident 12 months after treatment.

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