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Rabbits have incisors that grow continuously; they rely on normal occlusion and use to wear them down. They use their premolars and molars to chew food with a sideways motion. They need to be watched for malocclusion mandibular prognathism ; when this occurs, the teeth need to be trimmed every weeks, otherwise they are unable to obtain and chew their food and can die of starvation. This genetic problem is usually solved by getting rabbits from vendors who have selected out this recessive trait.

Rabbits have only striated muscle in their esophagus and down including the stomach cardia; they are unable to vomit. Their stomachs are never entirely empty: they can at times have difficulty with ingested hair from grooming. The reasons for hairball obstruction are complex: signs can be anorexia or hunched posture but often the amount of hair in the stomach is only revealed at the time of autopsy. There is some anecdotal evidence that mineral oil is helpful but sometimes surgical intervention is necessary.

The cecum is very large with a capacity 10X that of stomach. It is important to be sure to provide for the normal ingestion of cecotrophs.

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Nasal breathing is rapid, times per minute. Since the diaphragm initiates breathing, artificial respiration is performed with an up and down motion of head times per minute. Lung volume increases with age. The pharynx is long and narrow, and the rabbit has a large tongue. Intubation is difficult with laryngeal spasms occurring easily.

Biology 221 - Internal Organs of the Rabbit

The cardiovascular system has some anatomical structural aspects that have given rise to the use of the rabbit in cardiovascular research. For example, the tricuspid valve of heart has only 2 cusps vs 3 in most mammals as well as a small group of pacemaker cells.


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Blood supply to brain is mainly via the internal carotid artery. Their body temperature ranges from Their ears have large surface area and are highly vascular; due to this the ears are a common site for blood collection. The ears also have thermoregulatory function. Rabbits are strict herbivores, needing diets high in fiber, high in protein and low in carbohydrates. They prefer pellets to meal type feed; if they are fed supplements such as greens, with high water content, they will drink less water. They are very sensitive to imbalances of vitamin A reproductive dysfunction, e.

Most commonly, rabbits are fed high quality pelleted food obtained from vendors; the storage area should be out of direct sunlight and monitored frequently for signs of insect or fungal infestation. Rabbits are usually fed from hoppers mounted on the cage; they can have a tendency to play with the food and empty the hopper; something else to keep an eye on. If water deprived, rabbits will decrease eating; after three days without water they will basically stop eating. If food deprived they will increase water intake. This is why frequent monitoring is so important for rabbits--a daily schedule including weekends and holidays is standard.

As an example, a group of rabbits can be fine on Friday morning, happily playing with their water bottles. If they are not monitored again till midday on a Monday it is entirely possible they will have emptied the bottles midday Friday and thus been without water until checked midday on Monday. The water system can be either an automatic watering system piping into room with individual valves leading from pipe to each cage.

The benefit is that water is always available with the caveat that the valves need to be checked daily to be sure they are working. Leaking can cause flooding. With automatic watering it is not possible to monitor how much the rabbit is drinking.

Rabbit and Rodent Diagnostic Associates - Animal Testing Services

Individual water bottles with sipper tubes have the advantage of allowing for evaluation of drinking. The valves can be open or have inner ball valves. Here you need to check that the rabbit has not emptied the bottle by playing with the valves..

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Or, if an illness has remained sub-clinical, stressors might trigger a full blown sickness. The University of Missouri Veterinary Schoo l has posted information on Rabbit Diseases Click on teaching and training, and then on teaching resources and then Diseases of Research Animals to get to the rabbit webpage. Three of the more commonly seen diseases are Pasteurellosis, Tyzzer's Disease and Enterotoxemia.

There can also be sneezing, coughing and eye involvement conjunctivitis, hair loss around the eyes, swollen eyelids, etc. This is a bacterial disease caused by Pasteurella multocida , that can present with different types of systemic involvement, e.

The Biology of the Laboratory Rabbit

The disease can progress rapidly and rabbits that become septic can die quickly. Sometimes anorexia and depression are the only clinical signs before the disease progresses. A colony can become infected via direct contact, oral, respiratory or aerosol: the infection can remain sub-clinical, only to surface during situations of stress. Pneumonia can be sub-clinical. One of the difficulties of detecting it is due to the low activity level of caged rabbits; there may not be enough respiratory challenge to indicate any distress. When the rabbits become stressed for some reason, a low level pasteurella infection, one sub-clinical, may increase to noticeable levels.

There are a number of different gastrointestinal diseases—actually GI disease in the rabbit is a complex family of diseases and obtaining rabbits from reputable vendors who screen for these is the usual practice. We present two specific illnesses here as examples. This bacterial disease, caused by Clostridium piliforme , also affects other lab animals, particularly rodents. It occurs most often in weanling animals, presenting with watery diarrhea, anorexia, dehydration, and lethargy. It can have a short course, with death after a day or two, or go on to become a chronic state, with weight loss.

The route is oral, via spores. A high level of sanitation is critical to help prevent this illness; preventing stress is important as well. Again, be sure your source for the rabbits is able to assure disease-free animals.


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Since the spores can infect different species, sanitation measures are critical throughout the entire animal facility. Quite often, with this illness, there are no obvious clinical signs. Symptoms may include anorexia, dehydration, polydipsia, depression, fever, bloat or grinding of the teeth. You might see the rabbit hunched near the water bottle or food hopper. The cecum can be bloated with gas, with mucosal hemorrhaging and ulceration. It is important to avoid situations that may change the normal gut flora such as antibiotic administration, abrupt diet changes, or husbandry stress, e.

Weaning is a particularly vulnerable time: the young should not be overfed, given sufficient fiber and antibiotics should be used carefully. There are two online postings about laboratory rabbits that are useful for overview. A paper by by Dr. Husbandry and welfare considerations. The amount of time laboratory animals spend undergoing a procedure of some sort is usually minor compared to their time in their quarters.

Husbandry is thus of central importance to them. Russell talks of the necessity for healthy, unstressed animals in research. It is important to monitor the environment the rabbits are in as well as the rabbits themselves. Animals have keen senses of hearing and smell and what we would not notice might be quite noxious to them. The noise of cage banging, loud music, noisy animals primates, dogs —all this is especially stressful to rabbits since they are able to hear sounds at high frequency.

There are some computers that emit a hum below our hearing range but quite audible to a rabbit; their housing location thus should not be near machinery e. It is important to check the room for appropriate temperature, humidity and ventilation. Data from Barnett, op. Catch pans below the cage bottom collect urine and fecal pellets; some sort of absorbent material is usually placed in them to reduce the ammonia in the room and protect the catch pan from the scale buildup than can occur with rabbit urine.

One of the welfare issues for rabbits is their single housing; this is a sociable species and there is a growing body of information about group housing of rabbits. The chapter on Rabbits is available electronically. General Sporting Terms informal Brit a novice or poor performer at a game or sport. Dutch robbe ]. Any of various long-eared, short-tailed mammals that have long hind legs adapted for quick movement by hopping. Rabbits eat mainly plants and dig many-chambered burrows known as warrens.

They have been domesticated since ancient times. Switch to new thesaurus. European rabbit , Old World rabbit , Oryctolagus cuniculus - common greyish-brown burrowing animal native to southern Europe and northern Africa but introduced elsewhere; widely domesticated and developed in various colors and for various needs; young are born naked and helpless.

Belgian hare , leporide - red breed of domestic rabbits; hybrid between Old World rabbit and hare.

pierreducalvet.ca/126332.php Angora rabbit , Angora - domestic breed of rabbit with long white silky hair. Related words male buck female doe collective noun nest habitation warren. Kaninchen Hase. Mentioned in? Angora Angora rabbit anthrax bacillus Bacillus anthracis Belgian hare bilby buck rabbit buck teeth bunny bunny rabbit burrow canecutter Chrysothamnus Chrysothamnus nauseosus coney cony cottontail cottontail rabbit Dasyprocta aguti. References in periodicals archive?