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Breeding for good dental and oral health in rabbits
  1. Ana Castejon, DVM, PhD
  1. Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service, Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104, USA, e-mail:

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DENTAL disease is a common problem in rabbits, so it would be useful to establish if there are genetic factors at play so that unhealthy rabbits can be excluded from breeding. In a paper summarised on p 341 of this issue of Veterinary Record, Korn and others (2016) explore using conscious oral examinations of rabbits at a young age as a screening method for selecting animals that do not go on to develop dental disease. The prevalence of dental disease seen in rabbits in previous studies varies between 30 to 40 per cent but can go up to 60 to 65 per cent if radiography is included as a diagnostic tool (Mullan and Main 2006, Jekl and others 2008, Schumacher 2011, Mäkitaipale and others 2015). A low percentage of owners were aware of the dental problem when the studied population was considered healthy (Mullan and Main 2006, Mäkitaipale and others 2015). In another study, Jekl and others (2008) studied rabbits with clinical signs, such as anorexia, drooling and abnormal feeding habits and found that anorexia was the most prevalent clinical sign. Dental and oral diseases are the most prevalent findings in apparently healthy rabbits (Mäkitaipale and others 2015) and the clinical signs become evident usually …

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