Influence of elevated ambient temperature upon some physiological measurements of New Zealand White rabbits

https://doi.org/10.17221/3150-VETMEDCitation:Ondruska L., Rafay J., Okab A., Ayoub M., Al-Haidary A., Samara E., Parkanyi V., Chrastinova L., Jurcik R., Massanyi P., Lukac N., Supuka P. (2011): Influence of elevated ambient temperature upon some physiological measurements of New Zealand White rabbits. Veterinarni Medicina, 56: 180-186.
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This study was conducted to investigate the effect of heat stress (i.e., elevated ambient temperature – Ta; 36 °C ± 3 °C) on growth performance, mortality rate, and on some haematological and biochemical parameters in different categories of gender and age of New Zealand White (NZW) rabbits. Animals were divided into two main groups (control and treatment), in each group there were 56 rabbits: adult females (n = 20), adult males (n = 4), growing females (n = 16), and growing males (n = 16). Results revealed that total and daily feed intake, feed conversion ratio, and total and daily gain in body weight for growing NZW rabbits were affected negatively by elevated Ta. Decreases in feed intake led to less protein biosyntheses and less fat deposition, which led to lower body weight gain. These observations were made in growing and adult rabbits of both genders. Analysis showed that red blood cell (RBC) counts showed alterations. Packed cell volume (PCV) (in adult females and males), white blood cell (WBC) counts (in growing females), lymphocytes (in growing males), monocytes (in growing females and adult males), basophils (in growing females and growing and adult males) were significantly (P < 0.05) decreased, and total proteins (TP) (in adult females), glucose (Glu) (in adult females), and calcium (Ca2+) (in growing males and females) were significantly (P < 0.01) lower in the experimental group. Furthermore, elevated Ta increased the mortality rate (MR) in both age groups. The mortality rate was 30.36% for growing and adult rabbits of the experimental group, compared with 7.14% for the control group, and was 25% for adult compared with 34.38% for growing experimental rabbits. Exposure of NZW rabbits of both ages and genders to elevated ambient temperature (36°C ± 3 °C), negatively affected their internal homeostasis which was reflected in their growth rate and various physiological signs.
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