Rabbit Health Research is a non-profit research team with special interest in promotion of pet rabbits health and welfare.

Our projects are based in University of Helsinki, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Finland.

DVM Johanna Mäkitaipale and DVM Sanna Engblom are administrators and main researchers of Rabbit Health Research.


I graduated from University of Helsinki, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in 2005. I am currently working as orthopaedic surgeon in Evidensia Tammisto Small Animal Hospital. I got interested in orthopaedics 2007 and since then I have actively gained my professional experience and participated to orthopaedic congresses and education here in Finland and abroad. I have worked in Evidensia (previously Univet) Small Animal Hospitals in Kouvola and Tammisto since 2009. I am Specialist in Small Animal Diseases (orthopaedics/ surgery) since 2012 and completed GP Certificate in surgery (SAS) 2014.

Research has attracted me since my veterinary studies at university. I decided to start my PhD in the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, after I got a pet rabbit with advanced stage of dental disease and several old fractures. As orthopaedic surgeon, I was interested in rabbit fractures, which have a reputation of being a bit more tricky compared to those of dogs and cats. I red about studies of Mrs Frances Harcourt-Brown regarding the osteopenia of the skull bones of rabbits with advanced stages of dental diseases. I was wondering whether the osteopenia could predispose to fractures too. So I decided to do research on metabolic bone diseases in rabbits.

I ended up to have several rabbit related research projects with wonderful, inspirational and professional colleagues. I am very grateful to them all and pleased to be able to work with them.

At home, I have two pet rabbits (Petteri and Kielo) and a Border collie (Tending Tremor).


I became a licentiate of veterinary medicine
in 2018 when I graduated from University of Helsinki. I have been working in several small animal clinics in Helsinki since 2017. I have over ten years working experience in software engineering due to my previous profession (BSc in IT).

Currently, I am part of emergency room staff in Evidensia Tammisto Small Animal Hospital, Vantaa. As a general small animal practitioner, I have a passion for emergency and intensive care, surgery, neurology and rabbit medicine. I intend to specialise in small animal diseases in near future.

Up until now, I have participated in following veterinary medicine research projects: prevalence of uterine disorders in Finnish domestic rabbits (my licentiate thesis), vestibular disease in rabbits (my bachelor’s thesis) and dental anatomy and disease of rabbits and rodents (seminar presentation). Rabbits’ uterine disease project was made under supervision of DVM Johanna Mäkitaipale/Rabbit Health Research. We had the best kind of co-operation with Johanna which inspired me to continue rabbit related research to a doctoral thesis.

I have always had a soft spot on animals no matter what species and veterinarian is actually my childhood dream occupation. I felt in love with rabbits as a child when I got my first pet female rabbit called Nassu at the age of twelve. At the moment, I am a happy owner of two lovely female rabbits Lady Morris (mixed breed) and Gemma (rex) and a Dalmatian called Massey.