Pre and post-gestation blood indices of rabbit does fed graded levels of neem (Azadirachta indica) leaf meal
This study was conducted to investigate the effect of neem leaf meal on the blood status of rabbit does before and after gestation. A total of twenty-four (24) rabbit does of mixed breeds, with initial average live weight of 1975g were randomly allocated into four (4) experimental dietary treatments; each of which was replicated three (3) times with two (2) rabbits per replicate. The rabbits were fed diets containing 0%, 2.5%, 5.0%, and 7.5% neem (Azadirachta indica) leaf meal. Parameters measured included packed cell volume (PCV), haemoglobin, red blood cells (RBC), white blood cells (WBC) and its differentials for haematology while total protein, globulin, albumin, cholesterol, alkaline phosphate (ALP), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) were measured for biochemical indices. All data generated were subjected to one-way Analysis of Variance in a Completely Randomized Design. The findings from this study at pre-gestation showed that neem leaf meal (NLM) significantly (p<0.05) influenced basophil and serum total protein, globulin and glucose. Basophil was significantly reduced in rabbits fed 5.0% NLM (0.33%) while the serum components were affected in rabbits fed 2.5% NLM. The result at postgestation showed no significant (p>0.05) difference in all the parameters measured exceptneutrophils. Neutrophils were significantly (p<0.05) reduced in rabbits on the control diet (26.67%) while rabbits on NLM diets recorded similar values. From the serum component, cholesterol was significantly (p<0.05) highest in rabbits fed 5.0% NLM (62.33mg/dL) and lowest in those fed 2.5% NLM (49.67mg/dL). It was, therefore, concluded that inclusion of NLM in rabbit does' diet up to 7.5% had no adverse effect on the health status of the animals as the values obtained for neutrophils and cholesterol were still within the normal range of rabbit blood profile.