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This study aimed to characterize the bacterial and eukaryotic microbiota of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract in domestic rabbits and to evaluate the effect of different diet characteristics, such as pelleting, extrusion, and hay supplementation.


30 New Zealand White rabbits (15 male and 15 female; 6 to 7 months old) were fed 1 of 6 diets (5 rabbits per diet) for 30 days after an initial acclimation period. At the end of the trial, samples were collected from the stomach, small intestine, cecum, large intestine, and hard feces.


The samples were analyzed using 16S rRNA and internal transcribed spacer 1 region-targeted amplicon sequencing.


The bacterial microbiota was distinct between the foregut and hindgut. The most abundant bacterial genera included an unclassified genus in the Bacteroidales order and Alistipes. Candida was the most abundant genus in the eukaryotic dataset. In the bacterial dataset, diet No Hay/Pellet E was shown to have lower diversity (Shannon diversity, P < .05) compared to all diet groups except for No Hay/Pellet M. Few significant differences in alpha-diversity indexes between diet groups were detected in the eukaryotic dataset.


Our findings demonstrated that feeding hay had a significant effect on the beta diversity of the bacterial microbiota. Given the prevalence of gastrointestinal disease in the domestic rabbit population, furthering our understanding of what constitutes a healthy rabbit microbiota and the effects of different diets on the microbial community can help veterinarians implement better intervention strategies and allow pet owners to provide the best level of care.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Health and ruminal variables were intensively measured during adaptation to grain-based diets in 6 beef cattle with fistulated rumens. The cows had been maintained on prairie grass hay-supplemented diets, and were converted to a grain-based finishing ration by feeding each successive diet (diets 1-4, respectively) for a period of 7 days. Each cow was evaluated and samples were obtained 3 times each day for the first 5 days that each diet was fed. Health variables monitored were rectal temperature, pulse, respiratory and rumen motility rates, fecal consistency, demeanor, blood pH, and blood glucose and l(+) lactate concentrations. Ruminal variables monitored were pH and glucose, dl-lactate, and volatile fatty acid concentrations of rumen contents. Data were analyzed by use of a multivariate anova. We determined that most of the health variables were within reference range limits throughout the adaptation period; however, analysis of pulse and respiratory rates indicated that diets 2 and 4 were stressful. Although blood pH continually decreased during feeding of the 4 diets (7.38 to 7.30), blood l(+) lactate and glucose concentrations had large increases only within diet 4. The pH of ruminal contents decreased progressively from 6.8 to 5.3. Rumen glucose concentration was low (< 1 μmol/ml), except with diet 4 in which values were 8 times higher than for other diets. By the end of the study, the ruminal contents of all animals were acidic (pH < 5.5), and, on the basis of higher than background amounts of ruminal glucose and dl-lactate, it was determined that rumen microbial equilibrium had not yet been achieved. Analysis of results of this study suggested that ruminal imbalance could be evaluated by monitoring pulse and respiratory rates, blood pH, and blood glucose concentrations.Assessment of the rumen alone could be accomplished by monitoring the variables of rumen pH, rumen glucose, and dl-lactate concentrations. Respiratory rate, blood and rumen content pH, and blood l(+) lactate concentrations were significantly (P < 0.001) affected by time after feeding.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

exercise while breathing cold air would persist for at least 48 hours. Materials and Methods Animals —Nine adult horses (5 geldings and 4 mares) were housed separately in stalls and fed grass hay supplemented with a commercial grain mix a throughout

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

vaccination. Throughout the study, calves were fed a complete starter grain ration c and had ad libitum access to grass hay, supplemental salt blocks, and water. The starter ration contained 13.5% crude protein and 2.79% crude fat with a total digestible

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

days prior to examination. The animal was fed a base diet of timothy hay pellets and timothy hay, supplemented with fruits and vegetables, and it received a 50-mg vitamin C tablet orally once daily. The guinea pig was housed on recycled paper bedding

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association