Split penis - genetic or ??

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by rabbitgal, Apr 23, 2007.

  1. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    I'm horrified - a Creme d'Argent buck I sold a few months ago has a split penis, which is a genital defect. (link goes to a page with pics of the condition...graphic) The defect was spotted at the last show the rabbit was at. The customer will be getting a full refund, of couse, but I'm at a loss! :grump: This buck's parents were purchased, so that's a sort of sick "consolation"... :hobbyhors

    I've NEVER noticed anything really "weird" in any of my rabbits before, but to tell the truth, I really didn't know what it looked like. However, many of my rabbits are shown before they're bred, so you'd think that if a buck had a split penis, it would have shown up on the judging table?? :shrug:

    In your experience, have you noticed that split penis is a genetic disorder or something caused by environmental factors? If it's genetic, is there any way to identify carriers? I'll be checking every male rabbit in the barn to see if any of the others have split penises...we have a son and some close relatives of the culprit also.

    Either way, I'm desperate to know *how* this happened and if there's any way I can eradicate it from my herd. :help:
     
  2. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    This type of failure to close can very often be related to in utero temperatures. Spina Bifida, Cleft palates, etc are linked to high environmental temps in many mammals, and is not necessarily genetic in cause.- Basically what happened is this-- the egg, when fertilized, produces a large hollow 'ball' of cells, which then folds in on itself. The tube down the middle later houses the spinal cord, while the 'seam' becomes things like (not being anatomically correct with names here) the "butt crack" and the "groove" under the nose in the top lip, the faint "line" some of us see down our fronts, and umm, yes, I did notice a "seam" on my husbands male parts. I can feel the seam in my palate-- it is right in line with the uvula-- that hangy thingy in the back of the throat-- you may also feel a seam or "suture" in the forehead portion of your skull.

    So don't fret-- watch for it-- but don't fret...
     

  3. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    So he may have just been "cooked" in utero? It makes sense - it did get warm in the barn early last summer when the buck was born...hot enough to cause a couple cases of heat stroke anyway. I could kiss you, Terry. ;) Off the cuff, can you recommend a website with more info?

    I do have two does and a son sired by the buck with the split penis...and they were born in January, so... If the son or one of the other close relatives has a split penis or sires a rabbit with a split penis, wouldn't that indicate a genetic link?


    We went through something similar with our male Doberman, although not a split penis, an umbiblical hernia. We opted to have him neutered, but we did find out that it may have been related to nutrition. Several of his littermates also had the same condition, so I suppose we'll never know for sure. :shrug:
     
  4. Somerhill

    Somerhill Well-Known Member

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    There was a discussion on this topic on the French Angora list a few months ago. I don't have the links, but you may be able to "google"and find research suggesting this condition can be caused by environmental conditions such as mold in feed, lack of minerals, exposure to chemicals, etc.... and I seem to remember part of the discussion focused on the "seam" that Terry mentions....
    Sorry to not have more concrete info
    Lisa at Somerhill
    www.somerhillfarm.com
     
  5. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    Thanks Lisa. :)

    I checked all the bucks, including the rabbit's sire and son, and the relatives are clean. :shrug: Incidentally, my old Creme buck, who is from completely separate bloodlines, does have a genital bisection. His sons are clean though! Arrrg.

    We do have a litter related to buck number 1, that's about 10 weeks. Three of them looked kind of "funny", but these guys haven't hit puberty yet, so it's a little hard to tell. There's an even younger litter (6 weeks or so?) that's a repeat breeding of the two animals that produced the little misfit, but we'll have to wait a few weeks before I'll be able to tell if they have genital bisections.


    This would make an interesting article for Domestic Rabbits. :rolleyes:
     
  6. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    Umbilical hernias in dogs is MOST OFTEN a result of the mother being a bit rough during the birthing process, and actually pulling the cord a bit hard. After being "in dogs" for several years, I quit worrying about the hernias and focused on more important things-- like overall health. Some breeds are just more prone to them, due to the structure of the mother's jaw-- something we humans caused!!!

    Lisa-- that "seam" is ever so important-- it is what makes our insides our insides, and our outsides our outsides!!! That is why there is the focus on it. that seam runs all the way through the body, and can even be seen within certain muscle groups!!! If the issue if a split penis was brought up in Angoras, chances are, they may have some real issues and a more definitive answer taht could help with other heavier coated animals.

    oh-- some animals are naturally "bifurcated!!!" The opossum has a penis with TWO tips, and if I remember correctly, so do camelids! But, it's not quite the same as this poor guys prblem...
     
  7. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    Y'know, it's interesting that rabbits aren't...erm..."bifurcated". Does do have two cervices, but I suppose bifurcated genitals in males would serve no purpose. :shrug:

    Why would split penis be a bigger problem in Angoras??

    rabbitgal <--who is extremely grateful for technical terms in certain cases...[blush]
     
  8. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    If the issue is heat generated, the heavier coat of the Angora would be holding in body heat of the mother-- in other words, a higher body temp= failure to close the "seam" it would be interesting to know if some of the other heavier coated breeds have the same rate of split penises within their breedings.

    And does have two uterine HORNS-- I see only one cervix!!! I have no idea why certain animals are bifurcated-- unless it is related to older, stimulated ovulation-- which possums are, as are camelids and rabbits. Nature keeps what works, and usually disposes of what doesn't. 'Possums are very "old" while rabbits are a bit "newer" along the clade diagram.

    :nono: Now, don't be trying to use the term "bifurcated" in everyday conversation. You will be labelled in such a way that 'regular' people won't want to talk with you!! I really think we are losing our language, and I dislike simplifying everything I say, but I know here, at least, some interesting terminology can be stimulating to others, rather than insulting. :p