Physical Exams for Aging Rabbits

Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine
May 17, 2024 12:00 am

Additional procedures associated with older rabbits.

  • Responsibility

    1. Husbandry Technicians
    2. Veterinary Technicians
  • Glossary Definitions

    Aging Rabbits

    Rabbits greater than, or equal to, 2 years of age housed within ULAM facilities.


    Electronic Medical Record (EMR)

    A medical record that is functionally built in eRAM and utilized by ULAM to report and assess health concerns and provide clinical care for animals in research.

  • Procedures

    1. Rabbits >2 years old:

    1. Husbandry personnel:
      1. Submit an ATR when a rabbit has reached 2 years of age.
        1. Denote on the ATR “2-year old rabbit”.
      2. Submit an ATR if a rabbit is more than 30 days overdue for an exam (e.g., if a rabbit is 2 years old and it has been 12 months + 31 days since their last recorded exam).
        1. Denote on the ATR “Due for Physical Exam"
    2. The veterinary technician:
      1. Inform the veterinary resident that a rabbit is due for an annual or semiannual physical examination.
    3. The veterinary resident:
      1. Perform a routine physical examination:
        1. Annually, starting at 2 years of age.
        2. Semiannually, starting at 4 years of age.
        3. Complete the examinations within 30 days of the animal reaching the required age.
      2. Obtain the weight of the animal at each examination and record:
        1. On the back of the animal’s cage card, and
        2. In the animal’s EMR
      3. Place a yellow acetate and denote the following information once the physical examination is complete:
        1. Date of each physical examination.
        2. Clinical number.
        3. Age of the rabbit (i.e., 2 year old, 3 year old, or 4+ year old).
      4. Additional diagnostics are at the discretion of the veterinarian based on the physical condition of the rabbit and prior research manipulations.
      5. Consider contacting the PI to offer a prophylactic ovariohysterectomy for rabbits at 2 years of age if the animal is not a primary breeder.
        1. Note the PI’s decision on the rabbit’s clinical record.
        2. Perform any approved ovariohysterectomies.

    2. Charging

    1. Physical examinations and subsequent, approved diagnostic tests are subsidized by the Veterinary Service Fee (no direct charge to the PI).
    2. The PI is responsible for surgery fees associated with prophylactic ovariohysterectomy.
    3. See Standard Charging Procedures for Veterinary Services.




Species: Rabbits

Questions or concerns about the content of this document should be directed to the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine (ULAM) at (734) 764-0277 or