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Animals 2018, 8(6), 98;

Mastitis on Rabbit Farms: Prevalence and Risk Factors

Cunivet Service. P.O. Box 518, 43080 Tarragona, Spain
Department de Producción Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Avda. Profesor Pedro Cármenes s/n, Universidad de León, 24071 León, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 April 2018 / Revised: 5 June 2018 / Accepted: 16 June 2018 / Published: 20 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Farm Animals)
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Simple Summary

Mastitis has been a subject of interest on rabbit farms. To better understand various aspects of this disease, we evaluated the work done during 2001–2017, on 531 farms in Spain and Portugal. We measured the cases of mastitis on the days of visit, with the examination of lactating females. We found an average of 4% of mastitic does; they were mostly chronic forms, since females with acute mastitis often die in a few hours. Several factors affect the occurrence of mastitis. For example, rabbit lines have different susceptibilities. The number of batches per maternity barn also influences the occurrence of disease; therefore, a single batch is better, or the duo system, which consists of moving females near parity to a clean and disinfected room. In the last 200 visited farms, we found that injectable antimicrobials were often used for the mastitis control, in addition to the hygiene practices (for example, culling diseased does and avoiding their kits being fostered).


In this cross-sectional study, prevalence of clinical mastitis (PCM) and farm-specific risk factors were determined on 531 doe rabbit farms in Spain and Portugal, from January 2001 through March 2017. The information was obtained by carrying out 2367 visits and doing physical examinations of 144,455 lactating does, sorted in 2635 cohorts. Overall mean PCM was 4.05% (CI95% [3.87–4.22]), (minimum to maximum: 0–36.00% PCM). This study suggests that PCM was influenced by the variable number of batches (a batch was a group of does served the same day), per maternity barn (p < 0.0001). The duo system (does being moved to clean disinfected barns for parturition), was also an enabling risk factor for CM. The day of service or lactation stage also affected PCM. Lastly, there was an effect of the breeds or lines (p < 0.0001); mean PCM ranged between 1.29% and 7.09%. A subset of data obtained from 200 farms visited during January 2012–March 2017, was recorded to describe the use of antimicrobials against mastitis. Changes in host, husbandry, environment, and biosecurity practices, are highlighted to provide health and welfare benefits for breeding rabbits. View Full-Text
Keywords: biosecurity; disease prevention; mastitis prevalence; rabbit welfare; risk factor biosecurity; disease prevention; mastitis prevalence; rabbit welfare; risk factor

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Rosell, J.M.; de la Fuente, L.F. Mastitis on Rabbit Farms: Prevalence and Risk Factors. Animals 2018, 8, 98.

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