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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 April, 2004, 05:57 GMT 06:57 UK
Vet to research bunny ailments
Rabbits
Rabbits are becoming more popular pets
The growing popularity of rabbits as pets and their increasing girth has led an Edinburgh veterinary school to appoint a special bunny expert.

The post will be created at Edinburgh University's Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in August.

It will be funded by a charitable body which promotes research into pets' medical and surgical problems.

There has been an increase in rabbits which are obese, have gut problems or suffer from overgrown teeth.

Anna Meredith, head of the Exotic Animals Service at the veterinary school, said rabbits were becoming more popular pets.

Friendly and responsive

"I think rabbits are filling a need now. People's lives are becoming busier and they still want to keep pets but cats and dogs can be quite time-consuming," she said.

"Rabbits actually make very good companion animals. They are friendly and responsive."

Ms Meredith said that domestic rabbits used to live to the age of four or five but better diet and care had extended their live expectancy.

However, many rabbits were often overfed and had become obese.

The new post will be a three-year position offered to a junior vet who has a particular interest in rabbits.

The idea is to increase knowledge of rabbit medicine and study diseases to which the animal is susceptible.

"As the veterinary profession gets much broader you can't really be a Jack of all trades so much these days, so people are tending to specialise more," Ms Meredith said.


SEE ALSO:
Parents warned over pet rabbits
16 Jan 04  |  Scotland


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