Orodental diseases and dermatological disorders are highly associated in pet rabbits: a case-control study

Vet Dermatol. 2013 Oct;24(5):531-e125. doi: 10.1111/vde.12052. Epub 2013 Jul 5.


Background: Dermatological disorders (DDs) and orodental diseases (ODDs) are a major source of morbidity in pet rabbits. Orodental diseases have anecdotally been associated with cutaneous disorders in rabbits.

Hypothesis/objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the possible association between DDs and ODDs and to determine whether ODD increases the risk of DD in pet rabbits.

Methods: This study was a retrospective review of 222 medical records of pet rabbits examined over 1 year in 20 private veterinary clinics. Records of rabbits diagnosed with DD were selected. Frequencies of ODDs and other variables were evaluated between rabbits with and without DDs using logistic regression. Rabbits seen during the same time period, but without a diagnosis of DD, were included as control animals.

Results: The prevalence of DD was 28.4% (63 of 222), and the prevalence of ODD was 23% (51 of 222). A significant association was present between DD and ODD. Rabbits diagnosed with ODD were 63 times (odds ratio 63.75; 95% confidence interval 23.9-170.2; P < 0.0001) more likely to be diagnosed with DD in comparison to rabbits without ODD.

Conclusions and clinical importance: The results of this study indicate a strong association between ODD and DD. In particular, rabbits with ODD have a greater risk of developing skin disease later in life. Although coat condition and hair quality can be influenced by many biological and environmental factors, ODDs should be carefully considered as a possible underlying condition in rabbits showing DDs. More prospective studies are needed to evaluate whether this association is due to a behavioural disorder or a metabolic condition.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Male
  • Malocclusion / complications
  • Malocclusion / veterinary*
  • Periapical Abscess / complications
  • Periapical Abscess / veterinary*
  • Pets
  • Rabbits
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Diseases / complications
  • Skin Diseases / veterinary*