Influence of fiber source on apparent digestibility, rate passage and fecal consistency in small felids fed a beef-based carnivore diet

Citation

Edwards MS, Graffney M, Bray RE. 2001. Influence of fiber source on apparent digestibility, rate passage and fecal consistency in small felids fed a beef-based carnivore diet. In Edwards M, Lisi KJ, Schlegel ML, Bray RE, Eds., Proceedings of the Fourth Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition, AZA Nutrition Advisory Group, Lake Buena Vista, FL.

Abstract

In a crossover design, four adult animals, a male and female Amur leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis euptilura) and a male and female Turkmenistan caracal (Caracal caracal michaelis) were fed three fresh-frozen beef based diets containing different sources of fiber; beet pulp (BP), fructooligosaccharides/cellulose blend (FOS), and wood cellulose (Solka Floe┬«) (WC). Assessment included food intake, fecal consistency, animal body weight, apparent dry matter digestibility of each diet, and transit time. Diets were formulated to be isofibrous (12.5% total dietary fiber (TDF)). Fecal evaluation and collection were conducted daily. Physical characteristics of feces were scored using an established index of 1 (dry, crumbly) to 5 (high moisture, loose). Animal body weights were maintained throughout the study. Dry matter intake for the diets containing BP, FOS, or WC was 14.3, 16.3 and 15.2 g kg”1 BW, respectively. The apparent dry matter digestibility (%, ADMD) for the respective diets was 70.2, 74.1 and 67.0. The ADMD for the WC diet was lower (P < 0.05) than the FOS diet but similar to the BP containing diet; there were no observed differences in ADMD between the WC and FOS diets (P > 0.05). The average fecal index score (FIS) for the FOS diet was higher than BP and WC diets (2.90 vs 2.33 and 2.35); however the average FIS for the cats fed the respective diets were within the acceptable range of 2.0 to 3.0. Although transit time values empirically appeared to be slower for the FOS diet, this difference was only observed in one of the three animals. The fresh-frozen beef based diets consisted primarily of human-quality beef that was USDA approved and all diets were palatability, digestible, safe and nutritionally balanced.

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