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Boehmer, Christine and Boehmer, Estella (2020): Skull Shape Diversity in Pet Rabbits and the Applicability of Anatomical Reference Lines for Objective Interpretation of Dental Disease. In: Veterinary Sciences, Vol. 7, No. 4, 182

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Acquired dental problems are among the most frequently encountered diseases in pet rabbits. However, early symptoms are often overlooked because the affected animals first appear completely asymptomatic. Alterations from anatomical reference lines according to Bohmer and Crossley applied to standard skull X-ray images, have been shown to be indicative of tooth health problems in pet rabbits. Despite its proven usefulness, there are exceptions in which the anatomical reference lines appear not to be suitable for application. We addressed this issue by quantifying the cranial morphology of a large data set of pet rabbit patients (N = 80). The results of the morphometric analyses revealed considerable diversity in skull shape among the typical pet rabbits, but variance in only a few parameters influences the applicability of the anatomical reference lines. The most substantial parameter is the palatal angle. Specimens in which the anatomical reference lines could not be applied, have a rather large angle between the skull base and the palatal bone. We recommend to measure the palatal angle before applying the anatomical reference lines for objective interpretation of dental disease. Pet rabbits with a palatal angle larger than 18.8 degrees are not strictly suitable for the successful application of the anatomical reference lines.

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