Floppy eared bunnies may look adorable - but vets warn that the pets are more likely to suffer from health problems.
The ‘lop’ variety of rabbits, which have floppy ears, have many fans - particularly celebrities who pose with them on social media.
They include the model Cara Delevingne, Paris Hilton and Florence Welch from Florence + The Machine.
But a study of rabbits brought to a rabbit rescue centre found the floppy eared bunnies were much more likely to have narrowed ear canals and abnormal teeth than those with ‘up’ or erect ears.
A study has found that bunnies with floppy ears are 43 times more likely to have narrowed ear canals than those with 'up' ears (file picture)
The research is the latest to highlight how animals becoming popular for cuteness can have health problems - with other examples being the trendy French Bulldog, which can have trouble breathing because of their flat faces.
Their study, published in the journal Vet Record, involved examining the teeth and ears of 15 floppy rabbits - or lops - and 15 erect eared rabbits at a rescue centre.
The researchers observed their behaviour, looking for signs of pain or discomfort such as head shaking or ear scratching, and checked their medical records.
They found that lops had much higher levels of ear and dental problems.
They were 43 times more likely to have narrowed ear canals and significantly more likely to have a build-up of ear wax, and were 15 times more likely to exhibit a potential pain response during ear examination.
The lops were 23 times more likely to have diseased incisor teeth, 12 times more likely to have overgrown molar teeth and at greater risk of developing to molar spurs - sharp points on the edges of the teeth as a result of uneven wear.
Their health records showed that more than half had dental abnormalities, and six had needed dental treatment - compared with none of the erect eared rabbits.
Study leader Dr Charlotte Burn, of the Royal Veterinary College, said: ‘The welfare consequences of a rabbit having lop ears include pain, as indicated by statistically significantly increased pain responses during examination of lop ears.