Blood chemistry and relative organ weights of rabbits fed neem leaf meal based diets
Two experiments were conducted to determine the effect of neem leaf meal (NLM) based diets on blood and relative organ weight characteristics of rabbits. In the first experiment, 36 rabbit bucks aged 7 to 8 months were distributed into four dietary groups, T1 , T2 T3 and T4 of 9 rabbits using completely randomized design. Each group was replicated 3 times with 3 rabbits per replicate. Rabbits in T1 group were fed diet that contained 0% NLM while those in T2 T3 and T4 groups were fed diets that contained NLM at 5%, 10% and 15%, respectively for 112 days. In the second experiment, 36 rabbit does were used and experimental procedures were laid out as described in experiment 1. Blood samples for analysis, live weight and organ weights were collected from each replicate and data obtained analysed statistically. Higher (p<0.05) kidney weight was obtained for rabbit does on diets T2 T3 and T4 . Bucks on diet T2 recorded significantly (p<0.05) higher pancreas weight than those on diet T1 diet. No significant effect (p>0.05) on haematological parameters was observed among all treatments except for MCV and neutrophils which were significantly (p<0.05) decreased in the groups fed diets T2 and T4 and diets T1 and T3 groups respectively than others. Rabbit bucks and does on diet T1 recorded significantly (p<0.05) higher serum cholesterol values than those on the other diets. Serum glucose value of rabbits on diet T4 was significantly (p<0.05) different from those on the other diets. Serum ALP value of rabbits on diet T1 differed significantly (p<0.05) from those on the other 3 diets with the exception of bucks on diet T4 that had similar value with those on diet T1 . Addition of neem leaf meal in rabbit diets increased serum AST and ALT values but the differences were not significant (p>0.05). It was therefore concluded that up to 5% of neem leaf meal can be included in the diet of pubertal rabbits without any deleterious effects on their organs and blood characteristics.
Keywords: Rabbits, neem leaf meal, haematology, serum biochemistry, organs