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Dental disease in companion rabbits under UK primary veterinary care: frequency and risk factors

Jackson, Maria; Burn, Charlotte; Hedley, Joanna; Brodbelt, Dave; O'Neill, Dan


Maria Jackson

Charlotte Burn

Joanna Hedley

Dave Brodbelt

Dan O'Neill


Some prior evidence has suggested rabbits with lop ear and brachycephalic skull conformations have higher dental disease risk. This retrospective cohort study reports the frequency and conformational risk factors for primary-care veterinary diagnosis with dental disease in companion rabbits in the UK.

Anonymised VetCompass clinical records were manually reviewed to confirm dental disease cases. Risk factor analysis used multivariable binary logistic regression modelling.

From 161,979 rabbits under primary veterinary care in 2019, the one-year period prevalence of dental disease overall was 15.36% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 14.78-15.96). Prevalence of dental disease affecting incisors was 3.14% (95% CI: 2.87-3.44) and cheek teeth was 13.72% (95% CI: 13.17-14.29). Neither lop ear conformation or brachycephalic skull conformation were statistically significantly associated with increased odds of dental disease. Dental disease odds increased as age increased, and decreased as bodyweight increased.

This study retrospectively accessed clinical records, so true breed names may sometimes be imprecise.

High overall prevalence highlights dental disease as a major welfare concern for all companion rabbits, regardless of conformation. This information can be used to encourage regular routine dental assessment of rabbits of all conformations to promote earlier diagnosis, paying particular attention to older rabbits, or those with low bodyweight.


Jackson, M., Burn, C., Hedley, J., Brodbelt, D., & O'Neill, D. (2024). Dental disease in companion rabbits under UK primary veterinary care: frequency and risk factors. Veterinary Record,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 25, 2024
Publication Date Mar 4, 2024
Deposit Date Apr 11, 2024
Publicly Available Date Apr 11, 2024
Journal Vet Record
Print ISSN 0042-4900
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed


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