Chmurska-Gąsowska, M., Sowińska, N., Pałka, S. et al. 2021. Non-invasive measurement of thyroid hormones in domestic rabbits. Animals 11(5), 1194.
Thyroid hormones are essential for metabolism, energy homeostasis and reproduction. Hormones can be measured in various biological source materials: blood, feces, urine, saliva and others. The aim of our study was to verify usefulness of thyroid hormone analysis in the urine and feces of the domestic rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus f. domesticus), comparing them with the serum analyses. Samples were collected from 27 does in the age of 12–14 weeks. Total thyroxine (tT4), total triiodothyronine (tT3), free thyroxine (fT4) and free triiodothyronine (fT3) were tested using the radioimmunological method in serum, feces and urine. The highest concentration of tT4 was found in feces (104.72 ± 59.52 nmol/mg) and the lowest in urine (3.03 ± 3.11 nmol/mL). The highest tT3 concentration was found in blood serum (3.19 ± 0.64 nmol/L) and the lowest in urine (0.31 ± 0.43 nmol/L). The highest concentration of fT4 was observed in feces (43.71 ± 4.79 pmol/mg) and the lowest in blood serum (14.97 ± 3.42 pmol/L). The statistically highest concentration of fT3 (28.56 ± 20.79 pmol/L) was found in urine, whereas the lowest concentration of this hormone was found in feces (3.27 ± 1.33 pmol/mg). There was a positive and statistically significant correlation between serum and urine fT3 (r = 0.76) and a high positive correlation between serum and feces fT3 concentration (r = 0.62). Correlations between concentrations of other thyroid hormones between serum, urine and feces were found to be insignificant. The results suggest that fT3 can be accurately and reliably measured in the feces and urine of the domestic rabbit.