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The domestication of the African giant rat (AGRs) (Cricetomys gambianus) to compliment the inadequate animal protein supplies in Nigeria and its potential to serve as a model for biomedical research is yet to be fully exploited. This study determines the effects of varied crude protein (CP) diet on haematological indices and body weight of AGRs. Blood samples were obtained from the orbital sinus of 30 apparently healthy adult male and female AGRs. The AGR’s were kept in captivity and divided into 6 rats per group (A, B, C, D and E). Group A served as control group. The groups werefed with graded levels of crude protein (CP) of (E) 9.83%, (D) 14.79%, (A) 21.21%, (C) 23.93% and (B) 27.84%. Each chloroform pre-anaesthetized AGRs were weighed at days 0 and 14, 28, 42 and 56, while blood samples were collected at days 28 and 56. The samples were each analyzed for erythrocyte and leucocyte parameters and platelet counts by standard methods. All data collected were subjected to analysis of variance and student t-test. At 28 days post-feeding, AGRs fed with 27.84% CP showed no significant elevations in erythrocyte and leucocyte values compared with control values (21.21% CP). However, at 56 days post-feeding, RBC, Hb, PCV, total WBC, eosinophil, lymphocyte and monocyte counts were significantly lowered in the group fed with 27.84% CP. No significant differences in body weights were observed in rats that were fed 27.84%, 21.21%, 14.8% and 9.8% crude protein diets for 28 and 56 days.This study shows improved body weight with 27.84% CP compared with other crude protein percentage used while 14.79% CP had the best haematological parameters when compared with other crude protein groups.
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