Effect of footrests on the incidence of ulcerative pododermatitis in domestic rabbit does
Ulcerative pododermatitis or sore hocks is a common condition in adult rabbits housed in cages with wire-mesh floors. This study was carried out on a recently-opened commercial farm with 224 breeding cages (112 without footrests [NFR] and 112 with footrests [FR]) to assess the effect
of footrests on the incidence of sore hocks (SH) and plantar hyperkeratosis (K) on domestic rabbit does, throughout the first part of their productive lives. The accumulated incidence of SH in the fifth lactation was 71.5 and 15.1% for NFR and FR groups, respectively and the accumulated incidence
of K, at the same point, was 100 and 64.5%. The footrests were also found to have a curative effect on 81.3% of affected does. Clinical and epidemiological information obtained in this study revealed that the installation of a plastic platform or slatted footrest on the wire mesh played a
significant role in the prevention and cure of sore hocks. Problems specifically related to cage hygiene and cleanliness were not addressed in this study.