Diabetes Mellitus in Rabbits

Summary Information
Diseases / List of Miscellaneous / Metabolic / Multifactorial Diseases / Disease summary
Alternative Names  
Disease Agents
  • Seen as a hereditary disease in laboratory rabbits descended from a single female New Zealand white rabbit. (B600.6.w6, J45.109.w1)
  • Can be induced in rabbits by administration of alloxan. (B600.6.w6)
Infectious Agent(s) --
Non-infectious Agent(s) --
Physical Agent(s) --
General Description
  • Polyuria/polydypsia and polyphagia.

(B600.6.w6, J15.23.w5, J45.109.w1)

Clinical pathology / Diagnosis
  • Persistent hyperglycaemia (150-720 mg/dL). (J45.109.w1)
    • Normal range 4.2 - 10.4 mmol/L. (J15.23.w5)
    • Blood glucose may be increased in stressed rabbits, including following handling or transport. (J15.23.w5)
  • Increased serum trigycerides (but without any increase in cholesterol or free fatty acids) in severely affected rabbits. (J45.109.w1)
  • Persistent glucosuria in the absence of other causes.
    • Original female, 50 g/24 hours. (J45.109.w1)
    • Note: 
      • Urine may contain glucose in stressed rabbits, including following handling or transport, therefore preferable test a sample collected from the rabbit in its home environment. (J15.23.w5)
      • Glucosuria occurs in rabbits with anorexia, hepatic lipidosis (Hepatic Lipidosis in Rabbits) and ketosis. (J15.23.w5)
  • Note: only slight ketoacidosis. (J45.109.w1)
  • If tested by intravenous administration of glucose, severe depression of release of immunoreactive insulin. (J45.109.w1)
Further Information
  • Note:
    • This disease is of questionable importance in pet rabbits. (B600.6.w6)
    • This has not been proven as a clinical disease in the general pet rabbit population. (V.w92)
  • Dietary management - increase fibre intake. (J15.23.w5)
    • If the rabbit is obese, manage the diet to encourage weight loss. (J15.23.w5)
  • In laboratory rabbits, signs have been controlled by treatment with insulin at 1 - 10 PZI per day. (J45.109.w1)
Associated Techniques
Host taxa groups /species
Disease Author Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)
Referees Sharon Redrobe BSc(Hons) BVetMed DZooMed MRCVS (V.w92)

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