Clinical and pathological findings in rabbits with cardiovascular disease: 59 cases (2001–2018)

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OBJECTIVE To determine epidemiological features of cardiovascular disease in rabbits examined at a veterinary teaching hospital and characterize clinical and pathological findings. ANIMALS 59 rabbits. PROCEDURES Medical records from 2001 to 2018 were reviewed, and data were collected. Echocardiographic images and histologic diagnoses were reviewed. RESULTS The prevalence of cardiovascular disease was 2.6% (59/2,249). Clinical signs related to cardiac disease included heart murmur (n = 25 rabbits), arrhythmia (22), tachypnea or dyspnea (13), hyporexia or anorexia (13), and muscle wasting (9). Radiographic (n = 39) abnormalities included cardiomegaly (19) and peritoneal (12) and pleural (11) effusion. Common echocardiographic (n = 37) diagnoses included degenerative valve disease (15), dilated cardiomyopathy (7), unclassified cardiomyopathy (4), restrictive cardiomyopathy (3), and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (2). On ECG (n = 19), supraventricular arrhythmias (16) were more common than ventricular arrhythmias (12). Thirty-five necropsy reports were available, and diagnoses included cardiomyopathy (n = 14), myocarditis (10), and arteriosclerosis (9). Medical management (n = 20) included a wide range of drugs and dosages with few adverse effects. Survival times (n = 36 rabbits) ranged from 1 to 2,353 days with a median cardiac disease–specific survival time of 306 days. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE The findings provided information on the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in rabbits and survival times for affected rabbits. Right-sided, left-sided, and biventricular congestive heart failure occurred equally. Median survival time was lower than that reported for other species. Further research on the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease in rabbits is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)764-776
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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