The harmful effects of the domestication of rabbits

The harmful effects of the domestication of rabbits

A study, published earlier this month, found that many domestic rabbits suffered from illnesses resulting from inadequate care and nutrition.

A team of researchers at the Royal Veterinary College has conducted a large study on rabbits raised as pets in the UK. 

This study has revealed disturbing facts about the living conditions of these domestic lagomorphs. Many of them would not receive the appropriate care or the food that corresponded to their real needs. Failures that would lead to the development of various diseases and cause many deaths.

Malnutrition, inadequate or inappropriate hygiene measures, and poor practices are denounced by the study, because of their consequences on the health and balance of rabbits.

Its authors analyzed data on 6349 rabbits that were examined in 107 UK veterinary practices and clinics. In particular, they found that the most common causes of death are myiases (10.9%). These are diseases caused by the larvae laid by flies on the host animals, rabbits in this case. Then came anorexia and collapse (4.9%), as well as digestive or gastric stasis (4.3%).

The most common diseases in rabbits are excessive claw shoots (16%) and teeth (7.6% for molars and 4.3% for incisors), which affect males more than females. Conditions associated with a lack of care and an inadequate diet.

In addition, this work calculated the average life expectancy of domestic rabbits in the UK: 4.3 years. It is significantly higher in males: 5.2 years, compared to 3.7 years in females.