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 is administrator and main researcher 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. Vitamin D deficiency and hypocalcaemia was suspected to be a cause for osteopenia. I was wondering whether the osteopenia could predispose to fractures too. So I decided to do research on vitamin D and bone health in Finnish pet rabbits. I finalised my doctoral dissertation 2020.

I am involved in 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. After my PhD study, I have continued these research projects as post-doctoral researcher at Helsinki University.

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