Wolfe, A. M., Rahman, M., McFadden, D. G. et al. 2018. Refinement and successful implementation of a scoring system for myxomatosis in a susceptible rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) model. Comparative Medicine 68(4), 280–285.
Myxoma virus is a member of Leporipoxviridae whose tropism is tightly restricted to lagomorphs. In susceptible Oryctolagus rabbits, the virus causes a highly lethal disease known as myxomatosis, which begins as a localized infection but rapidly disseminates throughout the animal, leading to immune compromise, mucosal infections, multiorgan failure, and death. In a research setting, myxoma infection of susceptible Oryctolagus cuniculus rabbits is used as a model of poxviral disease progression and represents one of only a few means to study the pathogenesis of this viral family in a native host species. However, the rapid progression of myxomatosis makes accurate prediction of humane endpoints critical to limiting animal pain and distress and preventing death as an endpoint. Here we present case studies of myxomatosis at 2 institutions and offer a refined scoring system to reliably track the course of disease in susceptible rabbits infected with myxoma virus.