Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rabbits kept indoors could be vitamin D deficient

Date:
April 9, 2014
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Rabbits that remain indoors may suffer from a lack of vitamin D, researchers report in a new study. In rabbits kept as pets or used in laboratory studies, the deficiency could lead to dental problems, undermine their cardiovascular health, weaken their immune systems and skew scientific findings.

Regular exposure to artificial ultraviolet B light for two weeks doubled rabbits' serum vitamin D levels, the researchers found.
Credit: Megan Watson

Rabbits that remain indoors may suffer from a lack of vitamin D, researchers report in a new study. In rabbits kept as pets or used in laboratory studies, the deficiency could lead to dental problems, undermine their cardiovascular health, weaken their immune systems and skew scientific findings.

Related Articles


The study found that regular exposure to artificial ultraviolet B light for two weeks doubled rabbits' serum vitamin D levels -- an increase not seen in animals raised in artificial light lacking UVB radiation. Future studies will seek to determine optimal levels of UVB exposure and vitamin D levels in rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas and other animals.

A report of the study appears in the American Journal of Veterinary Research.

"We know that vitamin D is important to vertebrates in that it helps with calcium absorption, but it also has been shown to benefit cardiovascular health and immune function," said Mark Mitchell, a University of Illinois veterinary clinical medicine professor, who led the research. "We know of several types of diseases that can develop with vitamin D deficiency. Some of the chronic problems we see are tooth-related."

Other researchers have proposed that low vitamin D plays a role in dental disease in pet rabbits, Mitchell said.

"We are doing tooth trims and managing dental disease in rabbits, chinchillas and guinea pigs on a regular basis," Mitchell said. "Weekly, we see those types of cases in our zoo medicine clinical service. It's something that also is seen across the country and internationally. It's a common problem."

Most laboratory animals and many pet rabbits are not allowed outdoors because of the risks of exposure to predators, parasites and disease, Mitchell said. Windows block most UVB radiation. If the animals don't get sufficient vitamin D from their diet and are never exposed to ultraviolet light, they may become deficient, he said.

"As a clinician, I want to better manage these animals, give them a longer, higher quality of life," Mitchell said.

Vitamin D deficiency also could undermine the validity of studies using rabbits in research to improve animal and human health, he said.

"In human medicine, they're starting to measure vitamin D levels as part of our routine medical exams," he said. "But if we're not doing this with animals that we're using in research, we might be missing a step."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jessica A. Emerson, Julia K. Whittington, Matthew C. Allender, Mark A. Mitchell. Effects of ultraviolet radiation produced from artificial lights on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration in captive domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculi). American Journal of Veterinary Research, 2014; 75 (4): 380 DOI: 10.2460/ajvr.75.4.380

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Rabbits kept indoors could be vitamin D deficient." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140409103407.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2014, April 9). Rabbits kept indoors could be vitamin D deficient. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140409103407.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Rabbits kept indoors could be vitamin D deficient." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140409103407.htm (accessed April 21, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Going Ape: Sierra Leone Chimpanzees Hail Ebola Retreat

Going Ape: Sierra Leone Chimpanzees Hail Ebola Retreat

AFP (Apr. 21, 2015) As money runs out at Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone, around 85 chimps are facing homelessness. The centre closed when the Ebola epidemic was ravaging the country but now that closure is beginning to look permanent. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blue Bell Recalls All Products

Blue Bell Recalls All Products

AP (Apr. 21, 2015) Blue Bell Creameries voluntary recalled for all of its products after two samples of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for listeria, a potentially deadly bacteria. Blue Bell&apos;s President and CEO issued a video statement. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deepwater And Dolphins: The Oil Spill's Impact 5 Years On

Deepwater And Dolphins: The Oil Spill's Impact 5 Years On

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2015) Five years on, the possible environmental impact of the Deepwater Horizon spill includes a sustained die-off of bottlenose dolphins, among others. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Five Years Later, the BP Oil Spill Is Still Taking Its Toll

Five Years Later, the BP Oil Spill Is Still Taking Its Toll

AFP (Apr. 20, 2015) On April 20, 2010, an explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico started the biggest oil spill in US history. BP recently reported the Gulf is recovering well, but scientists paint a different picture. Duration: 02:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins