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

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  • 1 From the William T. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 2 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 3 Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

Abstract

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.

Abstract

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.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Sanchez-Migallon Guzman (guzman@ucdavis.edu).

Dr. Ozawa’s present address is North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh NC 27606. Dr. Gunther-Harrington’s present address is Sierra Veterinary Specialists, 555 Morrill Ave, Reno, NV 89512.