Main Article Content

Growth Performance Traits and Organ Weights in Semi- Adult Rabbits Exposed to Crude Oil Contaminated Diets

O Mgbere
A Monsi


The effects of feeding forage contaminated with graded levels of crude oil on growth performance traits and organ
weights of semi-adult rabbits were investigated to simulate the impact of a natural crude spillage on wild-life,
game and livestock. Five diets were compounded with five levels of crude oil contamination of 0.00, 0.05, 0.10,
0.15 and 0.20%, respectively. Feed intake, feed conversion efficiency, body weight gain as well as final body weight
were significantly (P < 0.05) depressed with increasing levels of crude oil in the diet. Growth depression increased
inversely with increasing dietary concentration of crude oil. Mortality rate was higher among rabbits exposed to
varying levels of dietary crude oil. There was a significant (P < 0.05) difference in mortality as the crude oil levels
increased in the diets. Evaluation of organ weights showed a sensitive response to crude oil toxicity with significant
(P < 0.05) weight differences in various organs (liver, kidney, pancreas, spleen, heart and gonads) among the rabbits
exposed to crude oil contaminated diets. The liver, kidney and heart hypertrophied while on the other hand, the
spleen, pancreas and gonads atrophied. Post mortem examination of organs from randomly sacrificed rabbits from
crude oil treated groups showed varying degrees of inflammation, necrosis, hypertrophy and atrophy.