Metabolic and oxidative stress markers of rabbit bucks at peak of heat stress in Southwest Nigeria
In this cross-sectional study, serum biochemical and oxidative stress indicators in rabbit bucks of different age groups were assessed at peak of heat stress in the tropical condition of South west Nigeria. This investigation was carried out between February and March, when highest temperature-humidity index (THI) is observed in the study location. Thirty-four (34) pubertal rabbit bucks between 4 and 5 months old, thirty-six (36) mature rabbit bucks between 7 and 9 months old and thirty-five (35) adult rabbit bucks above 1 year old were used in this study. Animals were housed individually and allotted randomly into experimental units using the Completely Randomised Design (CRD). After 9 weeks of exposure of the animals to the prevailing heat stress condition in the study area; blood was sampled from all the rabbit bucks through the ear vein into sample bottles for serum biochemical and oxidative status assay using standard procedures. The result revealed that serum glucose, magnesium and sodium in adult rabbit bucks was significantly (P<0.05) higher than those of pubertal and mature bucks. Serum lipid peroxidation of adult rabbit bucks was significantly (P<0.05) higher than mature bucks, while serum superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and catalase activities of bucks were not significantly (p>0.05) affected by the differences in age. Total antioxidant capacity of adult and mature rabbit bucks was significantly (P<0.05) higher than pubertal bucks. The study concluded that at peak of heat stress, adult rabbit bucks are more sensitive to oxidative stress than mature and pubertal bucks. Efforts to combat heat stress in rabbits with antioxidant supplements should cut across three physiological age groups.
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