Lop-eared rabbits may suffer from constant pain

A study published in the journal Vet Record found that the floppy ears of lop rabbits can lead to deafness, eating difficulties, constant pain and large medical bills.

Lop-eared rabbit
Lop-eared rabbit. Photo: Royal Veterinary College.

It is suggested that when rabbits are grumpy or unfriendly it might be because they are in pain. For example, if you stroke the floppy ears of a lop-eared rabbit you might find that they bite you. You won’t know why but it may well be because the rabbit is feeling pain.

The study by Charlotte Burn from the Royal Veterinary College looked at 15 lop-eared and 15 other breeds of rabbit. She discovered that 14 of the lop-eared rabbits had excess wax compared to 3 of the erect-eared rabbits. She estimated that the lop-eared rabbits were 23 times more likely to suffer from dental problems.

The moral of the story is that people should consider more than a cute appearance when adopting a companion animal and that advice does not only apply to rabbits. Health and behaviour issues are more important. There are many instances of dogs being over-bred causing ill-health and it is similar for purebred cats where you will see over-bred versions of Oriental and Persians cats.

P.S. Clint Eastwood has a lop-eared rabbit and is a favourite of celebrities.

Story: The Times.

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