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Experimental infection of young rabbits with a rabbit enteric coronavirus

Experimental infection of young rabbits with a rabbit enteric coronavirus

Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research 54(4): 473-476

The clinical signs and lesions caused by the rabbit enteric coronavirus (RECV) were studied in young rabbits orally inoculated with a suspension containing RECV particles. The inoculated animals were observed daily for evidence of diarrhea. Fecal samples and specimens from the small intestine and from the gut associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) were collected from 2 h to 29 days postinoculation (PI) and processed for immune electron microscopy (IEM) and light microscopy. Coronavirus particles were detected in the cecal contents of most inoculated animals from 6 h to 29 days PI. Lesions were first observed 6 h PI and were characterized by a loss of the brush border of mature enterocytes located at the tips of intestinal villi and by necrosis of these cells. At 48 h PI, short intestinal villi and hypertrophic crypts were noted. In the GALT, complete necrosis of the M cells as well as necrosis of the enterocytes lining the villi above the lymphoid follicules with hypertrophy of the corresponding crypts were observed in all the animals. Five inoculated rabbits had diarrhea three days PI. The presence of RECV particles in the feces of the sick animals and the microscopic lesions observed in the small intestine suggested that the virus was responsible for the clinical signs. A few inoculated rabbits remained free of diarrhea. Fecal material collected at postmortem examination contained RECV particles. The results suggest that the virus could also produce a subclinical infection.

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Accession: 002104926

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PMID: 2174299

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