Veterinary rabbit research wins national award - Veterinary Practice
Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Veterinary rabbit research wins national award

A research project carried out by the RWAF and academic experts has won a poster prize at the 75th annual Association for Veterinary Teaching and Research Work Conference in Dublin

A research project carried out by the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF), alongside academic experts including Hartpury PhD student Nicola Clements has won a prestigious poster prize at the 75th annual Association for Veterinary Teaching and Research Work (AVTRW) Conference in Dublin.

The project aimed to find out about the amount of veterinary education provided on rabbits and how effective it is perceived to be. The poster, titled “What’s Up, Doc?”, was praised by the panel at the conference, which took place online due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

Senior Lecturer at the University of Gloucestershire Richard Rolfe joined Hartpury postgraduate student Nicola Roberts and Richard Saunders, veterinary advisor at RWAF to conduct the research.

The survey was promoted via social media to veterinary professionals, resulting in 58 responses in the week when it was active. Responses were from across a range of cohorts from pre-1970 to the current decade, coming from 9 of the 10 UK veterinary schools.

Results showed that many vets lack confidence, particularly at the point of graduation where only 1 in 10 vets felt well-prepared. This confidence improves thanks to continuing professional development (CPD), but more than half did not currently feel very confident when treating rabbits.

Fourty percent of vets received one day or less of teaching on rabbits during their degree, which generally consists of around 1,000 teaching days in total.

The majority of respondents identified increasing the amount of teaching as the best way to improve competence and confidence in treating rabbits.

“Rabbits are the third most popular pet in the UK, but are prey animals with a physiology completely unlike cats and dogs,” said Nicola Clements, a first year PhD student at Hartpury.

“There is the perception in the rabbit owning community that many vets in general practice lack confidence when treating rabbits and we wanted to explore this further with our research.

“This was a small survey but offered clear indicators that education on rabbits during veterinary degrees needs to change. Ideally, more research needs to take place on a wider scale with the support of one or more veterinary schools.”

Other prize winners included Jayne Orr of the University of Glasgow for her presentation titled “Does simulator training in teaching undergraduate veterinary students to calve a cow improve confidence and ensure successful learning outcomes?”.

John Donlon of University College Dublin was runner up with his presentation titled “Development of an adjusted clinical scoring system for diagnosis of respiratory disease in pre-weaned dairy calves using machine learning techniques”. Sanam Sewgobind of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) was runner up for the poster “Real-Time PCR for diagnosis of DVE in the UK”.

Veterinary Practice

Improve Veterinary Practice (part of the Improve International Group) is an online knowledge and information hub for veterinary professionals across all specialties. It provides reliable, useful and interesting content, written by expert authors and covering small animal, large animal, exotics, equine and practice management
sectors of the veterinary surgeon and nursing professions.

Improve Veterinary Practice also offers a subscription-based membership, offering CPD courses and much more for the whole veterinary community.

Improve Veterinary Practice exists to inspire and inform your day-to-day work, and enable your ongoing professional development.

More from this author

Have you heard about our
IVP Membership?

A wide range of veterinary CPD and resources by leading veterinary professionals.

Stress-free CPD tracking and certification, you’ll wonder how you coped without it.

Discover more