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Connection between body condition score, chemical characteristics of body and reproductive traits of rabbit does.

  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2008
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • Parole Chiave: rabbit
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Body condition scoring (BCS) is widely used to evaluate the nutritional status of livestock (cows, ewes, sows). In intensive systems, rabbit does are generally inseminated 11 days post partum and, due to a hormonal antagonism and an energy deficit caused by concurrent lactation and pregnancy, they show low fertility. The aim of this investigation was to assess an in vivo method for scoring the body condition of does by verifying the association with the body fat depots, the chemical composition of body tissues, the ovarian status, the hormonal response and the reproductive performance. The evaluation of BCS, involving 66 multiparous lactating does inseminated at 11 days post partum, was based on the test of bone protrusions and fullness of muscle of the loin, rump and hind leg. The traits were subjectively scored using 0, 1 and 2 for poor, intermediate and good condition, respectively. For calculating an aggregate BCS, the hind leg score was omitted, because it is less correlated with the real body condition. Adding the respective score (0–2) of the loin and rump regions, 5 classes of BCS were obtained (0–4). This aggregate BCS was highly correlated with the body fat depots (r = 0.79), the ether extract content of muscle samples of Obliquus abdominis (r = 0.87) and Biceps femoris (r = 0.84), and the ether extract of the empty body (r = 0.84). There was a lower correlation with the body weight (r = 0.45). The increase of BCS corresponded to higher lipid content in the body parts considered, especially the Obliquus abdominis (from 2.0 to 10.0%) and fat depots (from 10.6 to 107.7 g/doe). BCS was not related to ovulation rate or embryo production, but was correlated with sexual receptivity and fertility. Plasma FSH and LH concentrations were determined by RIA, 48, 24, 0 h before and 1 h after GnRH administration and artificial insemination. Animals with extreme body condition scores (BCS ≤ 1 or BCS = 4) showed lower plasma FSH levels (20.0 vs. 34.5 ng/mL) than does with optimal body condition (2 ≤ BCS ≤ 3) and their preovulatory LH surge, released after GnRH administration, was less evident (16.9 vs. 20.3 ng/mL). The poor reproductive performance of does with extreme BCS could be explained by this pituitary activity. On day 11 post-partum, a high number of does (71.2%) had extreme BCS and showed a lower sexual receptivity (37.2% vs. 80.0%) and fertility rate (50.9% vs. 86.6%) than does in optimal condition. On these results, the possibility of applying an in vivo method for scoring the body condition of lactating rabbit does appears promising for use in on-farm reproductive management.