Onychoclasis in rabbits, can it be genetics??

Help Support RabbitsOnline:


New Member
Jan 17, 2022
Reaction score
I wonder if there is any research or articles on onychoclasis in rabbits, which is based on GENETICS ??
Do any breeds, colors, genes etc have weaknesses that can lead to onychoclasis??

A doctoral thesis has shown that onychoclasis and hypothyroidism in dogs have a genetic background in some breeds. Onychoclasis was associated with DNA markers on chromosome 12 where many immunogens are located in dogs.
I hope someone can give me information (research and articles) about this topic regarding rabbits, or if there are anyone who has relevant experiences about this.

Background for the question:
I do animal rescue in Norway, rabbits are my passion, they are so unique and misunderstood. Over the last 3 years, we have rescued many rabbits that have been dumped by their owners, and we have gained a lot of experience that many rabbit owners do not have, due to the fact that we come across so many different rabbits through rescue. We have treated so many ill rabbits.
There is a lot of good information online about keeping rabbits, but little information about diseases and research beyond what are "common" diseases (such as e.cuniculi, pasteurellosis etc).
I have a situation that has made me a bit puzzled.

In 2021, we rescued 12 rabbits from a breeder, Polish rabbit, Albinos.
This was obviously a "backyard breeder", breeding rabbits as a hobby.
Yesterday, one of the rabbits from this case lost a claw, and the rabbit was treated today by a rabbit-knowledgeable veterinarian.
I also have rabbits from this case in my home, and I was going to trim their claws today.
One of the adult rabbits, born in 2016 made a small kick when she was lifted up, but no drama, the rabbits are manageable.
They are gentle ladies.
Still, one of her claws loosened on her back leg. It felt as if the claw came loose/ broke off effortlessly.
I took care of her, gave her pain relief, and she is going to the vet and remove the broken claw when the clinic opens.

I picked up another one of these rabbits, I got very surprised, the nail on her right thumb on her front paw had loosened. The blood in this claw was clotted, so the claw has not loosened today. Maybe it broke within the last week. She is also going to the vet when the clinic opens.

Neither of these two rabbits have abnormally long claws, or trauma to the toes. They walk on carpets, and have a large areas to move around on, they do not live in cages. They eat high quality hay and Science Selective pellets. They get papaya support and joint support from oxbow.
I am aware what can cause a claw to break on rabbits, that's what I'm asking for of advice.

It is very strange that claws that are not that long, can be torn off so easily. Also, there are 3 different rabbits in two different foster homes. All 3 rabbits have their own room with carpets, and good diet, they are kept right.
Their claws have just "fallen off" / loosened easily. These 3 rabbits has the same genes. Polish rabbits, albinos.

It's important to find answers to if this is something genetic, and how to prevent and support the rabbits.

Thank you.


Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod
Staff member
Sep 10, 2012
Reaction score
Utah, , USA
I've heard of a lot of different rabbit health issues over the years, alot of the usual rabbit health issues, and some of the more rare ones. Several instances of broken nails, some right down to the nailbed, but never ones that fall out. So it would be a pretty unusual health issue from all accounts. There definitely could be a genetic component if all of the rabbits are related. If they were all raised in the same home, it could also possibly be from a nutritional deficiency.

Latest posts