Rabbits in medical research

The rabbit enclosures in these videos are similar to those found in most animal houses. Rabbits are very social animals that show signs of depression when housed singly, and are therefore better suited to living in groups. However, smaller groups are preferable over larger groups, as larger groups lead to social problems between the animals. Sawdust or a similar floor covering provides something for the rabbits to dig in, with the tubes providing a similar environment to a burrow and can be used for hiding. This video has no sound.

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Rabbits have a similar physiology to that of humans, making them a good candidate for use in animal research. They also suffer from many diseases with human equivalents, such as mucoid enteritis, which affects young rabbits and resembles cystic fibrosis and cholera in humans. At present, researchers are assessing whether gene replacement therapy could prevent cystic fibrosis in newborn rabbits, which could have a huge impact on therapies for patients with the condition. Around 0.7% of animal research uses small mammals such as rabbits and ferrets.

Last edited: 14 January 2022 09:42

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