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Clinical value of blood glucose measurement in pet rabbits
  1. F. M. Harcourt-Brown, BVSc, DipECZM, FRCVS
  1. 30 Crab Lane, Bilton, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG1 3BE, UK
  1. S.F. Harcourt-Brown, MA (Hons)
  1. Research Department of Clinical, Education and Health Psychology, University College London, London, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence: fhbvet{at}


Blood glucose was measured with a portable glucose meter in 907 rabbits, including 238 clinically healthy ones. Blood glucose concentrations ranged from 1.2 to 30.1 mmol/l. Diabetes mellitus was not encountered. No significant effect of sex or sedation was found. Hypoglycaemia was seen in 16 rabbits including one with an insulinoma. There was a significant relationship between blood glucose, food intake, signs of stress and severity of clinical disease. Rabbits showing signs of stress had higher blood glucose than rabbits with no signs and rabbits that were totally anorexic had higher blood glucose values than those that were eating normally or those with reduced food intake. Severe hyperglycaemia (>20 mmol/l) was associated with conditions with a poor prognosis. Rabbits with confirmed intestinal obstruction had a mean blood glucose of 24.7 mmol/l (n = 18). This was significantly higher than the rabbits with confirmed gut stasis, which had a mean value of 8.5 mmol/l (n = 51). The conclusion of the study was that blood glucose is a measurable parameter that can be used to assess the severity of a rabbit's condition and help to differentiate between gut stasis and intestinal obstruction in rabbits that are anorexic.

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