Vitamin D and bone health in pet rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

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f sample collection, diet was significantly associated with serum 25(OH)D concentration, but outdoor access was not. Serum 25(OH)D concentration was higher in rabbits that received diets with lots of hay and commercial rabbit food, >1dl daily, compared to rabbits with lower amounts of these vitamin D–containing diets. The suppression of parathyroid hormone concentration occurred at a serum 25(OH)D concentration of 17 ng/ml, whereas the breakpoint for cortical bone density occurred at a serum 25(OH)D concentration of 19 ng/ml. No breakpoints were found for ionised calcium, total calcium, or phosphorus. Results suggest a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration of 17 ng/ml as a threshold for vitamin D deficiency in pet rabbits. One-third of the rabbits participating in this study had serum 25(OH)D concentrations below this threshold, which raises concern regarding the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Finnish pet rabbits. The mean diaphyseal tibial cortical density in rabbits was high (about 1400 mg/cm3). There was no tendency for an age-related decrease in trabecular or cortical bone density, at least up to six years of age. No statistically significant group differences were observed in bone parameters between intact females and males or between intact and castrated males after controlling for body weight and age. Of 140 rabbits, 47 (33.6%, 95% CI: 25.5-41.7) were diagnosed with dental disease. Bone parameters were measured from 87 rabbits, of which 26 rabbits (29.9%, 95% CI 20.3-39.5) had dental disease. After controlling for body weight, age, and season of sample collection, no differences existed in serum 25(OH)D concentrations between healthy rabbits and rabbits with dental disease. Additionally, no statistically significant group differences in tibial bone parameters occurred between healthy rabbits and rabbits with dental disease after controlling for body weight and age. Our results conclude that vitamin D deficiency, diagnosed as serum 25(OH)D concentration below 17 ng/ml, is common in Finnish pet rabbits. Diet is the main source of vitamin D, as outdoor access is too limited to provide them with adequate vitamin D synthesis. Vitamin D deficiency may increase their risk for metabolic bone disease and other health disorders. This study failed to support the theory of vitamin D deficiency as a predisposing factor for dental disease. The results of this study should be used to increase pet rabbits’ health and well-being by preventing vitamin D deficiency and should advocate for further studies regarding the supply of adequate concentrations of vitamin D and consequences of chronic vitamin D deficiency in pet rabbits. Further prospective case-control studies are needed to evaluate the aetiology of dental disease.
  • Vapaavuori, Outi, Handledare
Tryckta ISBN978-951-51-6558-9
Elektroniska ISBN978-951-51-6559-6
StatusPublicerad - 16 okt 2020
MoE-publikationstypG5 Doktorsavhandling (artikel)


  • 413 Veterinärvetenskap

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