Bodyweight and body condition score in rabbits on four different feeding regimes

J. L. Prebble, D. J. Shaw, A. L. Meredith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to assess the effects of four diet regimes (extruded diet with adlib hay, muesli with ad lib hay, ad lib hay only, ad lib muesli only) on bodyweight and body condition score in rabbits. METHODS: Thirty-two Dutch rabbits were studied over 9months. Bodyweight and body condition score were recorded weekly. RESULTS: All groups gained weight with age, but relative to the ad lib hay only group (mean, 1·77±0·13kg), after 9months rabbits in the ad lib muesli only group were 146% heavier (2·59±0·32kg); extruded diet with ad lib hay group 125% heavier (2·21±0·10 kg); and muesli with ad lib hay group 123% heavier (2·18±0·13 kg). Median body condition score of the ad lib muesli only group was obese (4·5) and was higher than that in both the extruded diet with ad lib hay and muesli with ad lib hay (median=3·5) groups (P<0·001). Both the extruded diet with ad lib hay and muesli with ad lib hay groups had above-ideal body condition score despite having bodyweights within the breed standard range. The ad lib hay only group had a median body condition score of 3 (ideal). There was an overall positive correlation between body condition score and weight (qs=0·814, P<0·001). CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The feeding of muesli without hay should be avoided, to prevent obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-212
JournalJournal of Small Animal Practice
Volume56
Issue number3
Early online date21 Dec 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

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