ArticleLiterature Review

Prescription Diets for Rabbits

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Dietary management can be used with drug therapy for the successful treatment of many diseases. Therapeutic nutrition is well-recognized in dogs and cats and is beginning to increase among other pet species, including rabbits. The nutritional component of some rabbit diseases (eg, urolithiasis) is not completely understood, and the clinician should evaluate the use of prescription diets based on the scientific literature and individual needs. Long-term feeding trials are needed to further evaluate the efficacy of prescription diets in rabbits. Prescription diets are available for selected diseases in rabbits, including diets for immediate-term, short-term, and long-term management.

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... There was performed an analysis of some commercial mineral supplements produced in Ukraine and recommendations of some foreign authors, identifying some differences (Gidenne, 2017;Yan et al., 2017;. Therefore, the diets of rabbits should be corrected taking into account physiological needs of the organism for mineral substances, the corresponding biogeochemical zone and province where the farm is located, and also conditions that accompany the emergence of deficiency (Kiwull-Schöne, 2005;Proença & Mayer, 2014;Gidenne, 2015). ...
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Impaired metabolism of mineral substances in the conditions of industrial rabbit breeding may cause decrease in increment of live mass, reduction of immunity, mass morbidity and death of animals. In our experiment, we studied the efficiency of using a mineral mixture to prevent the disorders in the metabolism of rabbits according to changes in morphologic, biochemical parameters and antioxidant status of blood, chemical composition of blood plasma and increments in body weight compared to the control group of animals. For the studies, we formed four groups of white New Zealand rabbits, each comprising six individuals aged 70 days with mean body weight equaling 1.99 kg. In group I, the rabbits received an aqueous form of a mixture of glauconite, succinic acid, humic and fulvic acids and lactates of zinc, manganese, cuprum, cobalt and iron with water, rabbits of group II were given a dry form of a mixture of glauconite, succinic acid, humic and fulvic acids and lactates of zinc, manganese, cuprum, cobalt and iron with fodder, and the rabbits of group III were intramuscularly injected with butanol fraction of humic acids. The experiment lasted for 21 days. The results of the experiment indicate that the most effective prophylaxis of malfunctions of mineral metabolism in white New Zealand rabbits aged 70–95 was dry mixture of glauconite, succinic acid, humic and fulvic acids and lactates of zinc, manganese, cuprum, cobalt and iron with fodder (group II), which was given once a day for 21-day period. We determined a positive effect of biologically active supplement on the parameters of hematopoiesis(1.25 times significantly higher level of hemoglobin and 1.14 times higher number of erythrocytes), metabolism of proteins (1.54 times significantly higher content of albumins), mineral substances (significantly higher content of inorganic phosphorus – by 1.17 times, calcium by 2.18 times, manganese by 1.39 times, zinc by 1.50 times, iron by 1.39 times and cuprum by 1.49 times), functional condition of the liver (2.04 times lower activity of gamma-glutamyltransferase), the state of the antioxidant system (lowest catalase activity) and energy of rabbits’ growth (1.20-fold increment in body weight). The results of our study indicate that using a dry form of the mixture of glauconite, succinic acid, humic and fulvic acids and lactates of zinc, manganese, cuprum, cobalt and iron with fodder is an efficient method of preventing malfunctioning of mineral metabolism in rabbits.
... A falta de literatura especializada sobre seus hábitos de vida faz com que sejam extrapolados manejos de outros animais. Com isso, ocorrem equívocos sobre a alimentação, que é um dos principais problemas apresentados por esta espécie (Proença & Mayer, 2014). Os coelhos têm o hábito de se lamber e ingerir os pelos. ...
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Com o crescente número de coelhos como animais de estimação, os chamados pets não convencionais são de extrema importância que o médico veterinário esteja a par das principais afecções desses animais, bem como o seu manejo alimentar e ambiental. Estase e obstrução gastrointestinal são algumas das principais doenças que afetam esse animal, caracterizadas pela diminuição ou ausência dos pellets fecais, anorexia, dor abdominal, desconforto à palpação, sendo consideradas emergenciais, requerendo rapidez no atendimento, no diagnostico diferencial, pois demonstram sinais iguais e tratamentos diferentes, e na terapia a ser instituída, podendo ser um desafio para o médico veterinário, pois tem o tratamento complexo e resposta terapêutica lenta. Esta revisão teve como objetivo abordar sobre a estase e a obstrução gastrointestinal em coelhos domésticos.
... Several human and animal studies demonstrated that diets with high-fiber content present hypolipidemic effects, and consequently are potentially useful to decrease risk of cardiovascular diseases [19][20][21]. The carob pod (Ceratonia siliqua L.) has a high content of insoluble dietary fiber (between 40 and 45%), which has been shown to reduce serum cholesterol concentrations in animals and humans [22][23][24][25]. Moreover, this fiber has a high amount of insoluble polyphenols (> 75% of the fiber), specifically condensed tannins [26]. ...
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Purpose: To investigate the mechanism implicated in the effect of an insoluble fiber (obtained from carob pod) rich in polyphenols (IFCP) in lipid metabolism in the liver. Methods: Male New Zealand rabbits were fed with the following diets for 8 weeks: control diet (CT group), dyslipidemic diet supplemented with 0.5% cholesterol + 14% coconut oil (DL group) and dyslipidemic diet containing 0.5% cholesterol + 14% coconut oil plus 3% IFCP (DL + IFCP group). Results: Dyslipidemic diet with IFCP was able to reduce development of mixed dyslipidemia, liver relative weight and collagen I protein expression compared to DL rabbits. Analyses of the main enzymes implicated in cholesterol and triglycerides metabolism revealed that IFCP increased hepatic concentration of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMG-CoA reductase) and cytochrome P450, family 7, subfamily a, polypeptide 1C (CYP7A1) (82.34, 114.42%, respectively) as well as protein expression of LDL receptor (42.48%) in DL rabbits. Importantly, IFCP also increased hepatic lipase (HL) levels (91.43%) and decreased glycerol phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT) and sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1C (SREBP1c) liver expression levels (20.38 and 41.20%, respectively). Finally, sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1alpha (PGC-1α) hepatic expression increased in DL + IFCP group compared with DL (159.81 and 48.00%, respectively). Conclusions: These findings show that IFCP is able to abrogate the deleterious effects of hepatic dyslipidemia by modulating SIRT1 and PGC-1α pathways.
... Overall, urolith formation in rabbits is poorly understood and most likely multifactorial ( Proença and Mayer 2014). High urinary pH, hypercalciuria, excessive dietary calcium levels, low water intake, obesity, infection, genetics, any reason for urinary stasis and supersaturation of urine, as well as the rabbit's partic- ular calcium metabolism, have been proposed to be associated with urolithiasis in rabbits (Harcourt-Brown 2007, Kamphues 1991, Harcourt-Brown 2013. ...
A two-and-half-year-old male neutered rabbit was referred for investigation of intermittent urinary disease of 13 months in duration. Case work-up led to the diagnosis of unilateral hydroureteronephrosis following obstructive ureterolithiasis. The establishment of contralateral kidney function before ureteronephrectomy constituted a particular diagnostic challenge. This was assessed by a combination of imaging, serum biochemistry, urine protein to creatinine ratio and γ-glutamyltransferase index. Ureteronephrectomy was subsequently performed, with initial remission of all clinical signs. However, an adhesion of mesenteric adipose tissue to the caecum was identified and resected following frequent re-presentation. At the time of submission (800 days following initial surgery), the rabbit was still alive and healthy. The successful outcome may indicate a more favourable prognosis for rabbits with unilateral ureteronephrolithiasis and/or hydroureteronephrosis than is historically proposed.
... For further information about nutritional content, refer to the article by Proenca and colleagues. 114 Nutritional support is given gradually. In the absence of spontaneous ingestion, rabbits can receive 75% to 100% of their daily needs by assisted feedings. ...
Rabbits have the ability to hide their signs and often present in a state of decompensatory shock. Handling can increase susceptibility to stress-induced cardiomyopathy and specific hemodynamic changes. Careful monitoring with a specific reference range is important to detect early decompensation, change the therapeutic plan in a timely manner, and assess prognostic indicators. Fluid requirements are higher in rabbits than in other small domestic mammals and can be corrected both enterally and parenterally. Critical care in rabbits can be extrapolated to many hindgut fermenters, but a specific reference range and dosage regimen need to be determined.
... Overall, urolith formation in rabbits is poorly understood and most likely multifactorial ( Proença and Mayer 2014). High urinary pH, hypercalciuria, excessive dietary calcium levels, low water intake, obesity, infection, genetics, any reason for urinary stasis and supersaturation of urine, as well as the rabbit's partic- ular calcium metabolism, have been proposed to be associated with urolithiasis in rabbits (Harcourt-Brown 2007, Kamphues 1991, Harcourt-Brown 2013. ...
... The key nutritional factors of diets suitable for syringe feeding as identified by Paul-Murphy (2007) include high non-digestible fibre, moderate protein, low fat and relatively low carbohydrate. A commercial powder formulated diet, Critical Care Fine Grind® (Oxbow Animal Health, USA), was selected to stimulate gastrointestinal motility (Hedley, 2011;Maftoum Proença and Mayer, 2014) and prepared according to the manufacturer's instructions of one part food to three parts warm water, equating to approximately 1.9 kcal/ml. A large bore feeding syringe was used to administer 25 ml of food, five times per day. ...
Upper respiratory tract problems are commonly seen in pet rabbits often in conjunction with dental disease. While medical treatment can be useful in many situations, surgical options may need to be considered for those rabbits with chronic rhinitis and empyema of the nasal cavities. This case report details the management of a rabbit undergoing a rhinostomy to alleviate chronic upper respiratory tract signs. It highlights the importance of nursing care, both before and following the surgical procedure for a successful outcome.
Malnutrition and need for nutritive support are both very common in exotic animals requiring critical care. Assessment and monitoring of body condition, weight, protein absorption, and catabolic loss is recommended to help guide restorative therapy. Several critical care diets are available based on digestive strategy. Fluid requirements and evaporative water loss can vary based on taxa; ectoderms suffer evaporative losses at a greater magnitude than endotherms. Enteral and parenteral nutrition strategies can be appropriate for patients, with natural history and anatomic and physiologic differences considered as much as possible.
A 3-year-old spayed female rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) was referred with mineralizations in the left kidney. Despite medical management, 8 months after the initial examination, a 5.3-mm obstructive nephrolith with dilatation of the renal diverticuli was observed with abdominal ultrasonography. Surgical removal by endoscopy-assisted nephrolithotomy was completed. A flexible endoscope was introduced into the renal pelvis through a puncture incision in the lateral aspect of the kidney. The nephrolith was removed with endoscopic grasping forceps through the same orifice and the renal pelvis and diverticula were flushed to extract the smaller mineralized particles. The nephrotomy site was closed and the kidney was sutured to the abdominal wall. The rabbit recovered uneventfully. Six months after surgery, a non-obstructive stone was identified; however, 2 years later the rabbit remains asymptomatic. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report on the use of endoscopy-assisted nephrolithotomy to extract a complicated nephrolith in a rabbit.
Malnutrition and dehydration are common presenting signs in small mammal patients. Their high metabolic rate combined with metabolic changes that occur during critical illness predispose small mammals to rapidly develop cachexia, dehydration, and/or shock when food and water intake are decreased. In addition, nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein, essential fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins comprise important energy sources and building blocks for optimizing wound healing, immune function, and tissue repair. In the small herbivorous patients, provision of fiber and fluid is essential to ensure adequate gastrointestinal motility and function. Thus, nutritional support and fluid therapy are pivotal in the patient's recovery. This chapter provides an overview of the key aspects of nutritional support and fluid therapy in the small mammal patient.
Among the different factors thought to affect dental wear, dietary consistency is possibly the least investigated. To understand tooth wear of herbivorous animals consuming different dietary consistencies with different abrasive potential, we fed 14 rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) exclusively with a timothy grassmeal‐based diet in either pelleted or extruded form, or the same diets with an addition of 5% fine sand abrasives (mean size 130 µm). First, we offered the rabbits the pelleted and extruded diets as well as the pelleted control and pelleted abrasive diet in a two‐stage preference experiment. Then, the rabbits received each diet for 2 weeks in a randomised serial feeding experiment, where each animal served as its own control. Tooth measurements for wear, growth and height were achieved using a manual calliper, endoscopic examination and CT scans. The analysis of the diets as fed showed almost identical mean particle size, but the extruded diet had a lower density (volume/mass) and softer consistency compared to the pelleted one and was favoured by most rabbits. The rabbits selected against the diet with sand during the preference experiment, possibly because it caused more tooth wear, especially on the teeth most exposed to wear along the upper tooth row (upper P4 and M1). The maxillary teeth also showed evidence of an increased chewing laterality by the end of the experiment. The extruded diet led to a significantly lower cheek teeth height than the pelleted diet, potentially due to the higher chewing effort needed for a similar dry matter intake. The results suggest that dietary hardness alone is a poor predictor of dental wear. The regrowth of the teeth matched wear consistently.
Although the companion animal population is predominantly canine and feline, the popularity of domesticated small mammals (or pocket pets) has been steadily increasing. As a result, ferrets, rabbits, and rodents can be expected to present for veterinary evaluation. Many common medical problems in pocket pets are often associated with poor husbandry and/or inappropriate nutrition and are thus responsive to nutritional therapies. Although this article touches on minor background information and husbandry, the primary foci are the basic nutritional needs of, and common nutrition-responsive diseases in, pocket pets. Detailed husbandry needs are beyond the scope of this article.
The same standard of veterinary care should be given to all pets. As pet rabbits become more popular, it is important that veterinary clinics are familiar with performing general wellness check-ups. It is more difficult to detect signs of illness in pet rabbits than in cats and dogs because they are a prey species. Knowing the first indications of illness in pet rabbits is critical to performing a thorough examination. It is also important to educate pet rabbit owners to look for these signs at home. All of this begins with a routine, annual wellness examination. A wellness examination encompasses a lot, from a thorough history, complete physical assessment of the pet, to recommending proper husbandry. Veterinary nurses should be comfortable with all of these aspects of a complete rabbit wellness examination.
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CASE DESCRIPTION AS-year-old male Dwarf rabbit and 4-year-old female Mini-Rex rabbit were evaluated because of anorexia and urine scalding of the perineum. CLINICAL FINDINGS Abdominal radiography revealed a diffuse increase in the opacity of the urinary bladder attributable to urinary sludge. In 1 rabbit, abdominal ultrasonography revealed several mass-like lesions protruding from the mucosal surface into the lumen of the urinary bladder. Rabbits were anesthetized, and cystoscopy was performed with a rigid 2.7-mm, 30° endoscope. Histologic analysis of tissue samples obtained through the cystoscope operating channel revealed findings consistent with polypoid cystitis. TREATMENT AND OUTCOME To remove the urinary sludge from each rabbit, the urinary bladder was filled with sterile saline (0.9% NaCl) solution and emptied with a gentle massage several times until the ejected fluid was transparent. Rabbits were treated with NSAIDs, antimicrobials (chosen following microbial culture of urine and antimicrobial susceptibility testing), bathing of the perineum, and a low-calcium diet. The male rabbit died of unrelated causes 18 months later; postmortem examination findings confirmed the polypoid cystitis. The female rabbit remained disease free through to last follow-up (12 months after initial evaluation). CLINICAL RELEVANCE This was the first report of polypoid cystitis in pet rabbits. Although ultrasonographic findings supported this diagnosis, a definitive diagnosis was achieved through cystoscopy and lesion biopsy. Treatments administered were intended to reduce the potential sources of irritation. Research is needed to investigate the effectiveness of the applied interventions and the association between excessive urinary calcium excretion and polyploid cystitis in rabbits.
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Vascular calcification is implicated in myocardial infarction, instability and rigidity of the aortic wall, and bioprosthetic failures. Although an increase in the calcium (Ca) content in atherogenic diets has been shown to decrease atherosclerosis in rabbits, whether Ca supplementation and deficiency can affect atherosclerosis-related aortic calcification remains unknown. New Zealand White male rabbit littermates were fed an atherogenic diet containing 0.5% cholesterol and 2% peanut oil. The Ca content of the diet, which normally contains 1%, was adjusted to 0.5 or 3%. Segments of thoracic aortas were dissected from rabbits for histological evaluations and Ca and Pi determinations. Rabbits with calcium supplementation were maintained for 4 months, whereas those with calcium deficiency were maintained for 2 1/2 months due to severe icterus beyond this stage. The ratios of intimal to medial areas and calcified to intimal areas were used to semi-quantify lesion accumulation and calcification, respectively. Icterus was estimated from the extent of yellowing of the skin, sclera, and mucous membranes along with gross evidence of hepatic lipidosis and/or biliary obstructions. Statistical analysis of 16 matched littermates shows that Ca supplementation significantly decreased the lesions by 41% (p < 0.05) and markedly inhibited calcification by 62% (p < 0.05). Statistical analysis of 11 matched littermates shows that Ca deficiency significantly increased the lesions by 2.7-fold (p < 0.05) and that the diet caused a small but significant calcification not seen in the sibling groups with normal dietary Ca. Ca supplementation caused a significant 30% decrease in serum cholesterol (p < 0.05). Calcium deficiency increased serum cholesterol by 57% (p < 0.001). Serum cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels in Ca deficient rabbits were 2-fold higher than those with high Ca diets. Ca supplementation decreased soluble Ca and Pi content in aortas, suggesting that this effect may underlie the effects of Ca supplementation on calcification. Calcium deficiency increased icterus by 33% (p < 0.05), which may affect hepatic clearance of cholesterol, while calcium supplementation decreased it by 43% (p < 0.001). Ca supplementation to an atherogenic diet inhibits atherosclerosis, aortic calcification, and icterus, whereas a Ca deficient-diet promotes them.
This book is comprised of 17 chapters focusing on rabbit nutrition and feeding. The first 12 chapters discuss the digestive system of the rabbit, digestion of sugars and starch, protein, fat and fibre digestion, energy and protein metabolism and requirements, minerals, vitamins and additives, feed evaluation, influence of diet on rabbit meat quality, nutrition and feeding strategy and its interactions with pathology and feed manufacturing and formulation. The last 5 chapters cover the feeding behaviour of rabbits, feeding systems for intensive production, nutrition and climatic environment, nutritional recommendations and feeding management of Angora rabbits and pet rabbit feeding and nutrition.
There are differences in renal anatomy and physiology between rabbits and other domestic species. Neurogenic renal ischemia occurs readily. Reversible prerenal azotemia may be seen in conjunction with gut stasis. Potentially fatal acute renal failure may be due to structural kidney damage or post-renal disease. Chronic renal failure is often associated with encephalitozoonosis. Affected rabbits cannot vomit and often eat well. Weight loss, lethargy, and cachexia are common clinical signs. Polydypsia/polyuria may be present. Derangements in calcium and phosphorus metabolism are features of renal disease. Radiography is always indicated. Urolithiasis, osteosclerosis, aortic and renal calcification are easily seen on radiographs.
Rabbits absorb more calcium (Ca) from their diet than they require, and excrete surplus via urine, which therefore contains a typical 'sludge'. This makes rabbits susceptible to Ca-containing uroliths. But given the Ca content of diets of free-ranging specimens, and the limited reports of urinary sludge and Ca contents in free-ranging lagomorphs, we can suspect that rabbits are naturally adapted to high urinary Ca loads. We fed four groups of New Zealand hybrid rabbits [n = 28, age at start 5-6 weeks) pelleted diets consisting of lucerne hay only (L, Ca 2.32% dry matter (DM)], lucerne:oats 1:1 (LG, Ca 1.36%), grass hay only (G, Ca 1.04%), or grass:oats 1:1 (GG, 0.83%) for 25 weeks, with water available ad libitum. Diets were not supplemented with Ca, phosphorus, or vitamin D. Rabbits on diets LG and GG had lower food and water intakes, lower faeces and urine output, grew faster and had higher body mass at slaughter (mainly attributable to adipose tissue). Apparent Ca digestibility decreased in the order L-LG-G/GG. Rabbits on L had larger and heavier kidneys, more urinary sediment at sonography, and a higher urinary Ca content than the other groups. No animal showed signs of urolithiasis/calcinosis at X-ray, sonography, or gross pathology. Kidney/aorta histology only sporadically indicated Ca deposits, with no systematic difference between groups. Under the conditions of the experiment, dietary Ca loads in legume hay do not appear problematic for rabbits, and other factors, such as water supply and level of activity may be important contributors to urolithiasis development in veterinary patients. However, due to the lower Ca content of grass hay, the significantly lower degree of urinary sludge formation, and the significantly higher water intake related with grass hay feeding, grass hay-dominated diets are to be recommended for rabbits in which urolithiasis prevention is an issue.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the hepatic manifestation of the metabolic syndrome characterized by asymptomatic hepatic steatosis. It is present in most cases of human obesity but also caused e.g., by rapid weight loss. The patients have decreased n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) proportions with decreased percentages of 18:3(n-3), 20:5(n-3) and 22:6(n-3) and an increased n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio in liver and/or white adipose tissue (WAT). The present study examined a new experimental model to study liver steatosis with possible future applications to NAFLD. Ten European polecats (Mustela putorius), the wild form of the domestic ferret, were food-deprived for 5 days with 10 fed animals as controls. The food-deprived animals showed micro- and macrovesicular hepatic steatosis, decreased proportions of 20:5(n-3), 22:6(n-3) and total n-3 PUFA and increased n-6/n-3 PUFA ratios in liver and WAT. At the same time, the product/precursor ratios decreased in liver. The observed effects can be due to selective fatty acid mobilization preferring n-3 PUFA over n-6 PUFA, decreased Delta5 and Delta6 desaturase activities, oxidative stress, decreased arginine availability and activation of the endocannabinoid system. Hepatic lipidosis induced by food deprivation was manifested in the fatty acid composition of the polecat with similarities to human NAFLD despite the different principal etiologies.
Albino rabbits were fed a 1.0% Ca, 0.5% P, vitamin D-deficient diet for 11.7 to 31.3 mo. Control rabbits were fed either this diet with the addition of 2.2 units/gm of vitamin D3 or a standard laboratory rabbit ration. Serum levels of 25-OH-D and 1,25-(OH)2D were both undetectable in all vitamin D-deficient rabbits but were present at levels typically found in other species in the control rabbits. Vitamin D deficiency resulted in elevated serum PTH values but did not produce significant changes in serum Ca levels, femur length, femur ash weight to body weight ratio, or tibial breaking strength. The vitamin D-deficient rabbits could be readily separated into two distinct subgroups. Four of these rabbits were normophosphatemic (P = 3.7 +/- 0.4 mg/dl) whereas the other five were severely hypophosphatemic (P = 0.8 +/- 0.2 mg/dl). During the last 10 days of the study the control and normophosphatemic vitamin D-deficient rabbits were in positive Ca and zero P balance. The hypophosphatemic vitamin D-deficient rabbits were in zero Ca and negative P balance. This negative P balance resulted from a net intestinal secretion, as urinary P excretion was negligible. Femur ash weight as a percentage of dry weight was decreased in hypophosphatemic but not the normophosphatemic vitamin D-deficient rabbits. Histomorphometric analyses indicated the bones from the normophosphatemic vitamin D-deficient rabbits were normal. In contrast, vertebral trabecular bone from the hypophosphatemic rabbits contained large amounts of osteoid that was not mineralizing, as indicated by a failure to take up the fluorescent label calcein.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
The influence of vitamin D status on insulin secretion and glucose tolerance was studied by a longitudinal design in the rabbit. Intravenous glucose tolerance tests were performed in Dutch rabbits (n = 12) before and after nutritional vitamin D deficiency, characterized by an absence of circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, a 50% decrease in 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, and a 16% decrease in serum calcium concentrations. Glucose-induced insulin secretion was reduced by 41% as early as 2 months after the start of the vitamin D-deficient diet and was associated with an impairment of glucose tolerance. An iv calcium infusion restored the serum calcium concentration of the vitamin D-deficient rabbits (n = 5), but did not improve glucose-mediated insulin secretion. When these animals received a single ip injection of 100 ng 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 10 h before the glucose test, their insulin responses significantly increased. Supplementation with 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 for 2 weeks in another group of rabbits (n = 4) resulted in marked improvement in glucose-stimulated insulin release and glucose tolerance. These results show that vitamin D affects glucose-induced insulin secretion by a mechanism that involves more than its regulating action on serum calcium concentration.
To explore the mechanisms of obesity-induced hypertension we analyzed the sequential changes in cardiovascular and renal function in adult rabbits switched to high-fat diet (HFD) for 8 weeks. Animals were housed in metabolic cages for continuous 24-h recording of arterial pressure by telemetry and daily urine collection. High-fat diet induced a progressive increase in body weight (+47%) and a rapid rise in mean arterial pressure, heart rate, and glomerular filtration rate that stabilized, respectively, at 14%, 31% and 68% greater than control values. Time-course analysis of changes in blood pressure may reveal two components of obesity-induced hypertension, an early phase related to HFD itself and a later phase related to weight gain. Am J Hypertens 1999;12:826–829 © 1999 American Journal of Hypertension, Ltd.
A 19-month-old entire male French lop rabbit was presented with a two-week history of a depressed appetite and lethargy. Clinical and laboratory findings, together with abdominal radiographic studies, suggested a diagnosis of right-sided calcium ureterolithiasis. Management included the surgical removal and analysis of the urolith. Confirmation of a calcium-containing urolith and the presence of hypercalcaemia necessitated the introduction of a low calcium diet. Recovery was complicated by the occurrence of a second urolith within the left ureter. This was also removed successfully by surgical means. The rabbit made a full recovery and assessment of serial serum calcium concentration has since confirmed the long-term maintenance of calcium levels within their normal range.
One hundred and two pet rabbits were examined and their husbandry, health and welfare were reviewed. The most common breed was the dwarf lop (n = 38). The most common problem was dental disease, which affected 30 rabbits although only six of their owners were aware of the problem, which was significantly associated with feeding a rabbit mix. All the rabbits were housed in ;hutches' at some stage, but 89 had access to the outside and 47 came inside the home at times. Hutches bought at pet shops were significantly smaller than home-made hutches. Forty-five of the rabbits were housed alone; the relationships between rabbits with rabbit companions were described by their owners as ;very friendly' for 84 per cent of them and ;quite friendly' for the rest.
Emergency and critical care principles are similar for all mammals. However, because they are stressed easily, rabbits require specialized handling techniques. Rabbits must be evaluated efficiently and stabilized quickly before moving into the definitive diagnostic phase of their care. A thorough clinical history, systematic physical examination, and multiple diagnostic tests are ideal, but when a rabbit is in critical condition, emergency stabilization and fluid resuscitation must take priority. Common emergency presentations include gastrointestinal disorders, such as prolonged anorexia, respiratory distress, neoplasia, neurologic symptoms, exposure to toxins, trauma, and urinary tract infections or obstruction.
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