Pregnancy Complications and Feto-Maternal Monitoring in Rabbits

Vet Sci. 2023 Oct 17;10(10):622. doi: 10.3390/vetsci10100622.


Rabbit production holds significant relevance in modern agriculture due to its potential as a sustainable source of high-quality protein and efficient feed conversion, contributing to food security and economic diversification. Nevertheless, studies incorporating feto-maternal monitoring in this species are uncommon. This review gathers research on the monitoring and evaluation of factors affecting rabbit gestation, providing a better understanding of the causes of prenatal development abnormalities. These include studies regarding how chronic maternal hypertension, gestational diabetes, maternal stress, ectopic gestation, maternal uterine ischemia and fetal hypoxia, intrauterine growth restriction, superfetation, maternal age, maternal nutritional status, maternal physical condition, maternal and embryonic genotype, and the intrauterine location of rabbit fetuses can potentially impact rabbits' reproduction and maternal and fetal health. Among other monitoring techniques, ultrasonography, considered one of the best tools for diagnosing pregnancy and conducting follow-up, is also reviewed. Details on measurable fetal-development parameters in rabbits and precautions to be considered before and during the examination are also provided. Additional studies are required to understand why some events occur and their consequences throughout gestation, allowing the determination of new biomarkers or cut-offs that can be helpful for early diagnosis and improve reproductive efficiency.

Keywords: Development abnormalities; Fetal monitoring; Gestation; Maternal diseases; Oryctolagus cuniculus; Ultrasonography.

Publication types

  • Review