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Thread: Brachycephalic Rabbits- By Dr Amber Lee

  1. #1

    Default Brachycephalic Rabbits- By Dr Amber Lee



    “Brachy” means short, “cephaly” refers to the head. In veterinary medicine we refer to animals with brachycephaly as having shorter skulls. We see this widely in dogs and cats; think of your bulldogs, pugs and Persians, but we are also seeing this bred for trait in rabbits.

    Over time, breeders have selected a shorter, “cuter” face shape for our pets, but the results are disastrous and lead to a host of health problems and can affect quality of life. Examples of affected rabbit breeds include Netherland dwarf, lop-eared breeds and lionheads.

    The shorter face means that the lower jaw is longer than the top one and dental malocclusion frequently results. This leads to tooth elongation, chronic pain, tongue and cheek lacerations, abscesses and in some cases euthanasia. Like in cats, the tear duct is often abnormal and leads to chronic tear overflow. Lop-eared breeds are also faced with an additional predisposition to middle ear infections as their ears do not stand up straight like their wild counterparts.

    We love all our patients, but it can be heartbreaking when these breeds present consistently for health problems that could have been prevented if their anatomy was normal. It would be great if we can recognize this in our pet rabbits and perhaps appreciate the wild-type breeds that have been selected less and are less inbred.


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    Moderator Barn Yard Bunnies's Avatar
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    I do worry about Bella. She is fine but I know she could have dental problems develop at any time due to her breed.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barn Yard Bunnies View Post
    I do worry about Bella. She is fine but I know she could have dental problems develop at any time due to her breed.
    Same with my Dara x


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    Pretty sure this is the reason for Rodney's problems. He's a lionhead x although a rescue so no idea what he was crossed with and has a very flat face bless him.

    The vets have said he has one area that doesn't align so it will always cause a problem but thankfully so far nothing else.

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    Wise Old Thumper keletkezes's Avatar
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    Chibbs definitely has a short face, shorter than Lopsy. Aboleth had a longer, more normal face, but her teeth were all over the place as well No winning sometimes! I forever thank my lucky stars I've not yet had any dental issues, I am very lucky I have spur/hook-tolerant rabbits!
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    Mama Doe Orenoko's Avatar
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    Lilac has the flattest face I have ever seen (she's a mini lop). I'm surprised she doesn't have more issues, she had one dental not long after I adopted her 3 years ago but I changed her diet and she's been fine ever since. I think we're very fortunate considering. She's also had tear duct issues once as well which i think is linked to her flat face.

  7. #7
    Wise Old Thumper daphnephoebe's Avatar
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    Both of mine definitely are although Phoebe is the worst.. looks like she ran face first into a door. Adorable but have definitely had to deal with the heath concerns associated with the brachy breeds.

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