During the winter time in Finland, sunlight is inadequate for vitamin D synthesis. Many pet rabbits live as house rabbits with limited outdoor access even during summer and may therefore be dependent on dietary sources of vitamin D. The aims of this study were to report the serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in Finnish pet rabbits and to identify factors that influence vitamin D status. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations from 140 pet rabbits were determined using a vitamin D enzyme immunoassay (EIA) kit. Eleven rabbits were excluded from the statistical analysis because of unclear dietary data. The remaining 129 rabbits were divided into groups depending on outdoor access during summer (no access n = 26, periodic n = 57, regular n = 46) as well as daily diet: little or no hay and commercial rabbit food = 1 dl (n = 35). The range of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration was from 4.5 to 67.5 ng/ml with a mean of 26.1 ng/ml. Statistical general linear model adjusted for weight, age and season indicated that diet was associated with vitamin D concentrations (p = 0.001), but outdoor access during summer was not (p = 0.41). Mean 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration was significantly higher in the rabbits receiving a lot of hay and commercial food >= 1 dl (33.9 +/- 13.2 ng/ml) than in rabbits in other diet groups (24.0 +/- 8.5 ng/ml, 21.7 +/- 8.1 ng/ml, and 22.2 +/- 18.0 ng/ml, respectively). This investigation showed wide variation in 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations among Finnish pet rabbits. Diet remains a main source since outdoor access seems to be too limited to provide adequate vitamin D synthesis for most of them, and the use of vitamin D supplements is rare.
- 413 Veterinärvetenskap