Impact of diet on faecal output and caecotroph consumption in rabbits

Anna Meredith, Jennifer Prebble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: To assess the impact of four rabbit diets (hay only, extruded diet with hay, muesli with hay and muesli only) on faecal pellet size, faecal output and caecotrophy.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirty-two Dutch rabbits were studied over 17 months. Faecal pellet size and weight were measured in weeks 3, 9, 21 and 43 and faecal output in weeks 10, 22 and 45. Number of uneaten caecotrophs was recorded weekly.

RESULTS: Faecal pellets were consistently smaller and lighter in rabbits fed muesli only, and the size of pellets produced by those fed muesli with hay decreased over the course of the study. Faecal output was greatest in rabbits with the highest hay intake. Uneaten caecotrophs were found in greatest frequency in rabbits fed muesli.

CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Muesli diets have a negative effect on faecal output and caecotroph ingestion and may therefore predispose to digestive disorders. Higher hay intake is associated with greater faecal output and fewer uneaten caecotrophs and may assist in preventing the gastrointestinal stasis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-145
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Small Animal Practice
Issue number3
Early online date7 Mar 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Mar 2017


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