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Study of the energy and protein balance of pregnant rabbit does using two comparative methods.

  • Fekete, S Gy
  • Hullár, I
  • Romvári, R
  • Andrásofszky, Emese
  • Szendro, Zs
Published Article
Acta veterinaria Hungarica
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2005
PMID: 16363145


The total body composition of 4 x 10 female, 5-month-old New Zealand White rabbits was determined, using direct chemical analysis and computerised tomography (CT). Ten non-pregnant rabbits (control) and 3 x 10 pregnant rabbits at days 14, 21 and 28 of gestation, respectively, were included in the study. With the advancement of pregnancy, the body weight (BW) of does significantly (P < 0.05) increased (control: 3255 g, day 28: 3938 g), while the dry matter, DM (control: 43.02%, day 28: 40.94%), ether extract, EE (control: 20.15%, day 28: 18.13%), crude protein, CP (control: 20.15%, day 28: 18.13%), and energy concentration decreased (control: 12.41 MJ/kg BW, day 28: 11.81 MJ/kg BW). During pregnancy the protein content of uteri (control: 12.24%, day 28: 49.45% of DM) and the retained energy in the form of uterus with fetuses (day 14: 0.824 MJ, day 28: 2.189 MJ) increased, while the dry matter (control: 82.39%, day 28: 28.96%) and ether extract content (control: 86.05%, day 28: 45.92% of DM) of uteri decreased. With the advancement of pregnancy the dry matter (day 14: 39.70%, day 28: 18.65%) and crude protein (day 14: 75.74%; day 28: 63.63% of DM) content and the number of fetuses (day 14: 8.8; day 28: 6.4) decreased, while their fat concentration (day 14: 10.13%, day 28: 24.34% of DM) increased. According to the equations created from the CT pictures, body fat (R2 = 0.871) and energy (R2 = 0.926) content can be predicted with high accuracy. The accuracy of predicting body protein content is much lower (R2 = 0.356), which can be improved by introducing the body weight as a new dependent variable (R2 = 0.797). It can also be concluded that, in contrast to other animal species, rabbit fetuses show considerable development not only in the last trimester of gestation but already from the second half of pregnancy.

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