Review. New trends in rabbit feeding: Influence of nutrition on intestinal health

R. Carabaño, I. Badiola, S. Chamorro, J. García, A. I. García-Ruiz, P. García-Rebollar, M. S. Gómez-Conde, I. Gutiérrez, N. Nicodemus, M. J. Villamide, J. C. De Blas

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

    33 Citations (Scopus)


    The role of gut barrier against pathogens and its interaction with dietary factors in weaned rabbits affected with digestive disorders, especially epizootic rabbit enteropathy is reviewed. This interaction was studied identifying nutritive factors that influence gut barrier function of mucosa. It was examined the morphology, and enzyme activity of mucosa and the gut associated immune system. Besides, it was characterized the substrate that reaches the caecum and its capacity to favour pathogen bacteria growth, by reviewing the effect of diet on ileal digestibility of nutrients, transit time and microbiota population. The nutritional factors which affect health of early weaned rabbits are level and type of both fibre and protein. The optimal dietary level of insoluble fibre to minimise mortality is 30-32%. Furthermore, a moderate inclusion of soluble fibre (12%) improves mucosa integrity and decreases mortality and the frequency of detection of Clostridium perfringens and Campylobacter spp in the caecum. The reduction of ileal nitrogen flow had a positive effect on pups viability and frequency of detection of C. perfringens. Furthermore, dietary supplementation with 1% of glutamine reduced fattening mortality, the frequency of detection of C. perfringens, and Helicobacter spp, and diminished the counts of Eimeria spp at the jejunum. In conclusion, a correct diet formulation may help to limit the epizootic rabbit enteropathy incidence in weaned rabbits.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)15-25
    JournalSpanish Journal of Agricultural Research
    Issue numberSPEC. ISS.
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2008


    • Fibre
    • Gut barrier function
    • Protein
    • Weaning
    • Young rabbits


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