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Heer, F.; Dobenecker, B. and Kienzle, E. (2017): Effect of cation-anion balance in feed on urine pH in rabbits in comparison with other species. In: Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, Vol. 101, No. 6: pp. 1324-1330

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In the present investigation, the impact of diet composition on urine pH in rabbits was compared with previous studies on rabbits, cats, dogs, pigs and horses. A total of 13 dwarf rabbits were fed six different diets with a cation-anion balance (CAB) between -39 and +320mmol/kg dry matter (DM) using ammonium chloride (NH4Cl) as an acidifier. CAB was calculated as follows: CAB (mmol/kg DM) = 49.9*Ca + 82.3*Mg + 43.5*Na + 25.6*K - 59*P - 62.4*S - 28.2*Cl;minerals in g/kg DM. Urine, faeces and blood were collected. Urine pH ranged from 5.26 +/- 0.22 at a CAB of -39 mmol/kg DM to 8.56 +/- 0.24 at a CAB of +320mmol/kg DM. A low CAB in the feed reduced blood pH and blood base excess significantly. Renal excretion of Ca, P, Na and Mg and water was significantly higher in rabbits eating acidifying diets. In comparison with other species, rabbits reacted to acidifying diets in a similar way as cats, dogs and pigs. Rabbits on a mildly alkalizing diet, however, had a trend to higher urine pH than other monogastric species on such diets (cats, dogs, pigs, horses).

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