[Effects of a supplementation on sodium chloride or ammonium chloride on urolithic potential in the rabbit]

Tierarztl Prax Ausg K Kleintiere Heimtiere. 2016 Aug 17;44(4):252-9. doi: 10.15654/TPK-151071. Epub 2016 Jun 14.
[Article in German]


Aim: Reduction of urolithic potential by means of increased water intake and urine dilution through supplementation of sodium chloride (NaCl) or decrease of urine pH by supplementation of ammonium chloride (NH4Cl) in rabbits.

Materials and methods: Sixteen female, 6-month-old dwarf rabbits received the following three feeding regimens in a random order: complete feed without supplements = control; complete feed + 10 g NaCl/kg feed = NaCl; complete feed + 2.5 g NH4Cl/kg feed = NH4Cl. The diets were fed ad libitum over a period of 27 days without roughage. Water was provided ad libitum by a drinker. A 14-day wash-out-period (hay feeding) was performed between the different diets. Blood, faeces, and urine were collected at the beginning of each feeding period, after 21-day adaptation to the respective diet, and after the 3-day collection period. The following parameters were analysed: water and food intake as well as acid-base balance and mineral content in blood, urine, and faeces.

Results: NaCl supplementation numerically increased the daily water intake from 40.5 ± 14.4 ml/kg body weight (BW) (control) up to 49.5 ± 14.3 ml/kg BW and significantly increased the daily urine volume from 16.9 ± 7.8 ml/kg BW (control group) to 21.1 ± 7.4 ml/kg BW. The specific gravity of urine samples from NaCl supplementation decreased from 1.060 ± 0.008 to 1.044 ± 0.008. NH4Cl supplementation did not induce significant changes in urine pH, blood acid-base parameters, or calcium retention. Relative supersaturations (RSS) for calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate showed no significant changes after treatment. RSS for struvite increased from 360 ± 735 (after hay feeding) to 3312 ± 6188 on control feeding, 2910 ± 4913 with NaCl supplementation, and 3022 ± 6635 with NH4Cl supplementation (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: NaCl supplementation significantly increased the urine volume and decreased its specific gravity. Therefore, NaCl supplementation might be an additional dietary treatment to increase the elimination of urine crystals in rabbits. NH4Cl supplementation did not induce acidification of the urine.

Keywords: RSS; Urolithiasis; calcium; dietary management; urine dilution; urine supersaturation; water intake.

MeSH terms

  • Ammonium Chloride / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Drinking / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Rabbits*
  • Sodium Chloride / pharmacology*
  • Urinalysis / veterinary
  • Urinary Calculi / prevention & control
  • Urinary Calculi / urine
  • Urinary Calculi / veterinary*
  • Urine / chemistry


  • Ammonium Chloride
  • Sodium Chloride