RHD Images

Spleen in a rabbit with RHD2

The spleen must be found during a post-mortem examination. Lifting the stomach and reflecting it dorsolaterally the spleen can be found, attached to the stomach by the lesser omentum. In this case it is at least double the size it should be. This is a sign of RHD.

Gross pathology (1)

This half grown female wild rabbit was found having died suddenly. There were no signs of external injury. Post-mortem examination revealed a full gastrointestinal tract - the rabbit had been eating up until an hour or two before death. The liver was enlarged and mottled, the lungs contained several haemorrhages.

RHD: enlarged congested liver

An enlarged liver is a sign of rabbit haemorrhagic disease. It is also a feature on other conditions, notably congestive heart failure or septicaemia.

RHD- blood from nose

Blood in the nares may be seen in rabbits that have died suddenly from RHD. A foamy blood-stained exudate in the trachea is a feature of the diseases and the exudate may extend to the nostrils

RHD: Multifocal pulmonary haemorrhages

Alveolar haemorrhages are a microscopic feature of some cases of RHD. They may be evident macroscopically although the macroscopic appearance of the lungs does not always match the microscopic appearance.

RHD: Myocardial haemorrhages

Disseminated intravascular coagulopathy is a feature of acute cases of RHD and haemorrhages may be found in any part of the body. In this case there were multifocal areas of haemorrhage in the myocardium.

RHD- Splenomegaly

An enlarged spleen may be seen in cases of RHD. There are few other causes of splenomegaly in this species. Histologically the changes can range from moderate congestion to haemorrhage, deposition of fibrin, lymphocytolysis and necrosis of lymphoid tissue.

RHD: Pale, mottled, enlarged liver

The liver is always affected in rabbits with RHD. Microscopically hepatocellular necrosis is present in all cases. Macroscopically, there may be minimal changes or hepatomegaly with a pale mottled appearance as in this rabbit.

RHD: Blood clots in abdomen

The presence of blood-stained fluid or blood clots in the abdomen is seen in some cases of RHD but is not a consistent feature.

RHD: Congestion and mottled appearance

Congestion is often present in the organs of rabbits that have died from RHD and may mask characteristic changes. Close inspection may show a mottled appearance.

RHD: Kidney

The kidney is frequently affected by RHD. Glomerular thrombosis is a feature of the disease. Congestion is often present in the kidney and may mask macroscopic changes. This kidney was dark red but manipulation of the image (shadow and highlight) has shown that changes were present.

Normal spleen

The rabbit spleen is a small organ measuring 3-4cm.

House fly feeding on blood

This wild rabbit was found dead with froth and blood coming out of the nostrils. It was a warm day and flies were attracted to the carcase. This image shows a house fly (Musca domestica) feeding on the blood. The tubular mouthpart can be seen sucking the blood.

Gross pathology (2)

Macroscopic abnormalities are not always obvious in rabbits that have died from RHD. Histopathology reveals severe underlying pathology in the liver, often accompanied by other organs. RHD was confirmed in this rabbit.