Epidemiologic survey in Swiss group-housed breeding rabbits: extent of lesions and potential risk factors

Andrist, Claude A.; van den Borne, Bart H. P.; Bigler, Lotti M.; Buchwalder, Theres; Roth, Beatrice A. (2013). Epidemiologic survey in Swiss group-housed breeding rabbits: extent of lesions and potential risk factors. Preventive veterinary medicine, 108(2-3), pp. 218-224. Elsevier 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2012.07.015

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In Switzerland, group-housing for breeding rabbit does is not explicitly required by law, but label programmes, as well as the general public and animal welfare groups, are advocating it. Although group-housing is of great benefit to the gregariously living rabbits, the establishment of a social hierarchy within the group might lead to stress and lesions. In the present epidemiological study, lesions were scored twice on 30% of the breeding does on all 28 commercial Swiss farms with group-housed breeding does. Additionally, a detailed questionnaire was filled out with all producers to determine risk factors potentially associated with lesions. Data were analysed using hierarchical proportional odds models. About 33% of the does examined had lesions, including wounds that were almost healed and small scratches. Severe lesions were counted on 9% of the animals. Differences between seasons in lesions score were identified, with the extent of lesions being higher in summer than in spring. Fewer lesions occurred on farms on which mastitis was more common. More lesions were found on farms where the does were isolated between littering and artificial insemination than on farms without isolation. According to the producers, most of the aggression occurred directly after the isolation phase when the does were regrouped again. We conclude that lesions in group-housed breeding does might be reduced by appropriate reproductive management.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Research Foci > Veterinary Public Health / Herd Health Management
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute > Animal Welfare Division
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH)

UniBE Contributor:

van den Borne, Bart and Roth, Beatrice

ISSN:

0167-5877

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Susanne Portner

Date Deposited:

30 Apr 2014 13:36

Last Modified:

12 Feb 2015 12:07

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.prevetmed.2012.07.015

PubMed ID:

22901704

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/44849

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