Untersuchung zur Wasser- und Futteraufnahme beim Zwergkaninchen unter verschiedenen praxisrelevanten Fütterungs- und Tränkeregimes
Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are often presented suffering from urolithiasis/cystitis. In the prophylaxis of uroliths a high water intake and output is regarded to be beneficial. With respect to an improvement of water intake a study was performed using 12 rabbits. The animals were subjected to different feed and water regimes with practical relevance. Water was provided by an open dish and/or by a nipple drinker. During some trial periods water access was restricted to 6 h or 12 h; during
... h or 12 h; during the remaining trial periods water was accessible ad libitum. In the preference trial open dishes were preferred. With restricted water access rabbits exhibited a 20% higher water intake when open dishes were offered compared to nipple drinkers; there was no such difference when water was accessible ad libitum. At least 50% parsley and hay ad libitum in the feeding doubled total water intake and output and led to less concentrated urine. This feeding can therefore be recommended for urolith prophylaxis. Water restriction to 12 h decreased water (-11%) and food intake (-7%), and increased the dry matter content of urine (+25%) and faeces (+11%). For both animal welfare and physiological reasons, limited water access is therefore rejected. To reach an optimal water provision we recommend feeding with a high proportion of fresh food as well as additional hay ad libitum, with free water access, offered in an open dish.