Faecal Occult Blood Test

Case of the Month (Emma Scurrell October 2011)

Subcuticular coenurus in a rabbit

The following are H&E sections of a discrete subcuticular cyst associated with the underlying skeletal muscles in the shoulder region of a 2-year-old male rabbit. The cyst was surgically removed intact and submitted for histopathological examination.

 Fig 1. The cyst is a coenurus (bladder) which contains multiple cestode larvae (arrows). H&E section (x20). 

Fig 2.  A closer view of the anterior end of one of the larvae reveals the inverted scolices (black arrows) and rostellum with hooks (red arrows). The digestive tract (blue arrows) is also visible. H&E section (x100)


Fig 3. Higher magnification of the hooks (red arrows).  

Final Diagnosis

Subcuticular coenurus.


This is essentially a cystic structure which contains cestode (tapeworm) larvae and surgical excision from this location is the treatment of choice. Given the species and tissues involved, this is consistent with a coenurus of Taenia serialis in which the intermediate host is the rabbit or hare and the definitive host is the dog or fox. Fluid-filled cysts typically develop under the skin, between muscles and within the fascia. Retrobulbar involvement has also been reported. Infection in wild rabbits and hares is more common, however pet rabbits typically become infected when their bedding or food is contaminated with canid faeces.

Previous Monthly Cases

Hypertensive Retinopathy January 2010
FIP in a cat - uncommon presentation February 2010
Phaeohyphomycosis    March 2010 
Scleral Rupture April 2010
Canine and feline epulides May 2010
Erythema multiforme in a labrador retreiver June 2010
Keloidal fibrosarcoma in a labrador retreiver July 2010
Cutaneous epitheliotropic lymphoma  August 2010 
Benign cutaneous histiocytoma  September 2010 
Iridociliary adenoma October 2010
Proliferative thrombovascular necrosis of the pinnae November 2010
Signet-ring cell carcinoma in the stomach of a dog December 2010
Cutaneous infiltrative lipoma in a labrador January 2011

Tonsillar squamous cell carcinoma February 2011
Canine orbital meningioma March 2011
"Lung-digit" syndrome in a cat April 2011
Hepatic amyloidosis in a cat May 2011
Haemophagocytic histiocytic sarcoma June 2011
Alternaria spp. infection in an immunocompromised dog July 2011
Ocular manifestation of lymphoma in a cat  August 2011
Kerion dermatophytosis in a Cocker spaniel September 2011

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Faecal Occult Blood Test