Physiology and Clinical Pathology of Laboratory New Zealand White Rabbits Housed Individually and in Groups
Authors: Fuentes, Gabriela C.; Newgren, James
Source: Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, Volume 47, Number 2, March 2008 , pp. 35-38(4)
Abstract:Rabbits used in the production of antibodies can be housed individually or in groups. This study compared the serum chemistries, antibody production, physiologic plasma cortisol levels, and white blood cell (WBC) counts of female New Zealand White rabbits housed in 2 different housing systems. The control group was housed individually in stainless steel cages, and the experimental group was group-housed on aspen shavings spread on the floor of the animal room. Plastic crates were placed in the group-housing area to provide opportunities for rabbits to hide, and a litter box was available at all times. Both groups received the same food and water and similar environmental enrichment devices. Clinical pathology laboratory evaluations of serum chemistries, immune responses, physiologic parameters such as plasma cortisol, and WBC counts were compared. The group-housed animals had lower WBC counts and higher levels of plasma cortisol than did rabbits individually housed. In addition, the group-housed animals had significantly less weight gain during the first week. Antibody production did not differ between the 2 groups. Group housing appeared to be an appropriate method of housing rabbits for use in research.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2008-03-01
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