OBSERVATIONS ON WEIGHT LOSS AND FECAL CONSISTENCY IN GIANT ANTEATERS (MYRMECOPHAGA TRIDACTYLA) DURING THREE TRANSITIONS FROM A MIXED NATURAL IN-HOUSE TO COMMERCIAL COMPLETE DIETS

Giant anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) are highly specialized insectivores with low energy requirements compared with similar-sized mammals and an exceptional feeding apparatus and behavior.6,7 Common health problems which have been attributed to suboptimal nutrition are loose stool or diarrhea, anorexia, tongue tip constriction or vitamin K deficiency.4,8 Traditional, natural in-house diets typically include dog kibble, cereals, honey, milk products, meat and...

BODY CONDITION SCORING INDEX FOR FEMALE AFRICAN ELEPHANTS (LOXODONTA AFRICANA) VALIDATED WITH ULTRASOUND MEASUREMENTS OF SUBCUTANEOUS FAT

A major problem of zoo African elephants is ovarian acyclicity, which preliminary studies suggest may be related to obesity. To test this relationship, methods to accurately quantify body condition and obesity in elephants are warranted. Body condition scoring (BCS), an indirect means of measuring body condition based on visual evaluation of subcutaneous fat and key skeletal elements, has become an...

THE INTERACTION BETWEEN VARIATION IN DIGESTIVE EFFICIENCY, VITAMIN D STATUS, CALCIUM METABOLOISM, AND BONE DENSITY IN COMMON MARMOSETS (CALLITHRIX JACCHUS)

Despite its long history of captive management, nutrition and dietary husbandry of common marmosets remains a major concern among colony managers in the United States (2004 survey by the Marmoset Research Group of the Americas). Nutrient requirements for the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) are poorly characterized, and dietary husbandry of this species has been informed more by practical and anecdotal...

MODELING INDIVIDUAL ENERGY STATUS FOR IMPROVED ANIMAL MANAGEMENT

Energy use may represent the most direct gauge of physiological activity and thus relative nutrient requirements, however nutrient requirements are generally reported relative to intake or bodyweight, assumptions which make it difficult to confidently estimate nutrient targets for individuals and species. Managing energy balance in captive exotic animals is even more challenging due to the limitations of their environment including...

BLOOD GLUCOSE LEVELS IN THREE SPECIES OF AGALYCHNIS SP.

In the normal animal, the homeostasic level of blood glucose is mantained by the equilibrium between glucose supply and removal, as a result of a finely balance system of hormonal interactions.1 Reference glucose values can vary depending of the sex, weight, management and feeding systems, among others.3 Several studies have analyzed blood parameters for frogs, however, no previous studies have...

Selection of proper feeds to assist in the dental management of carnivores

Proper dental care of carnivores in a zoological setting is of utmost concern among zoo professionals. Dental health is based on nutrition, environment, and overall animal health. This paper deals with the nutritional aspect of carnivore health. Zoo carnivores are able to survive on a variety of diets in captivity, but in order to assure proper dental health, feeds which...

Determination of tannin levels in various plants and their possible effect on iron chelation in lemurs

Lemurs are one of several species that can suffer from excess iron accumulation in tissues, termed hemosiderosis. The more severe form, hemochromatosis, develops when hemosiderosis is accompanied by functional or morphologic evidence of iron toxicity and may result in clinical disease and death. Organs most often affected include the liver, heart, spleen, and gastrointestinal tract. The pathology of this problem/disease...

Case Study: Elimination diet for a female orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus abelii) with digestive problems at the Toronto Zoo

Ramai (ISIS #20164) is a female Sumatran orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus abeiii) who was born at the Toronto Zoo on 4 October 1985. She was parent-reared, and currently weighs approximately 62 kg. Ramai has had a history of loose stool and skin problems. A fecal scoring chart was developed to illustrate the range of fecal consistency observed in orangutans at the...

Effective duration of a copper oxide bolus administered orally to bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus dorcas)

Two male bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus dorcas) (70.5 kg) received a 12.5 g copper oxide bolus orally during anesthesia and were offered a diet of high fiber herbivore pellets with ad libitum access to Bermuda grass hay, water, and either a white salt or trace mineralized salt block. Blood samples were collected prior to bolus administration and every four weeks subsequently...

The impact of nutritional factors on the development of phosphatic uroliths using meat goats as a model for captive giraffes

Obstructive urolithiasis is a documented problem in domestic ruminants, such as the meat goat, and exotic herbivores, such as captive giraffe. These two species develop phosphorus based uroliths and are considered browsing ruminants. Due to the logistical challenges of performing studies with captive giraffe, a metabolic trial was conducted using meat goats as a model. The intent of this study...

Nutritional diseases of amphibians

Basic knowledge of amphibian nutrition lags far behind that of reptiles and even fish. Recent documentation of worldwide declines and extinctions of amphibian populations and subsequent development of a variety of ex-situ and in-situ captive propagation programs will almost certainly increase the demand for scientifically based programs for nutritional management of these animals. Because the class Amphibia has such rich...

Practical considerations for supportive nutritional care of elasmobranchs

Inappetence / anorexia is not always a sign of a clinical disease process in progress. Anorexia in elasmobranchs (sharks, skates, and rays) can be caused by a variety of factors ranging from injury, inappropriate water quality, environmental disturbance, and social organization to temperature changes, season or life stage, and manifestation of typical foraging behavior. The challenge is to determine, as...

Diet-induced diabetes in captive plains viscachas (Lagostomus maximus)

Plains viscachas (Lagostomus maximus) are large, nocturnal rodents that inhabit the pampas of Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina. They are considered to feed on poor quality food in the wild: grass, forbs and bushes. Plains viscachas have been kept and bred at Zurich Zoo since 1964 and have shown the tendency to develop a type II diabetes mellitus, which was supposedly...

Hypomagnesemia, hypocalcemia, and ruminitis in ungulates: an under-recognized syndrome?

Macro- and microminerals are critical in maintaining normal physiologic processes. Requirements for domestic ungulates have been documented and are available through the National Research Council (NRC). Normal values have not been established for most wildlife species. Due to specialized feeding habits, collection of baseline data for each species is needed to develop complete diets and detect nutritional diseases. Several cases...

Improvement of male fertility by long-term beta-carotene supplementation in white rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum)

Substantial knowledge on the reproductive physiology of the female white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) has been gathered over the past years. However, little emphasis has been put on the evaluation of male fertility as a possible contributing factor to the demographic crisis of the captive population considering that 81% of male captive white rhinoceros have not sired offspring. Objective of this...

Suspected Vitamin D3 toxicity in a group of black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis)

Three black rhinoceros (two males, one female, Diceros bicornis) in a group of 10 black rhinoceros, (two male and two female long-term wild-caught adults and six male captive-born juveniles) began to show hypercalcemia and partial anorexia over a 5-mo time frame. These signs were more pronounced in the adult rhinoceros, serum sampling in the juveniles were inconsistent due to behavioural...

Comparison of parathyroid hormone, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium in serum and urine of nyala (Tragelaphus angassi) on concentrates or a forage only diet

The nyala (Tragelaphus angasii) herd at Busch Gardens Tampa has historically had one of the highest incidences of Johne’s disease (Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis, Mptb) within the collection. A 10-yr epidemiologic review at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay revealed 27/83 (32.5%) Mptb culture positive individuals. At the time of this trial, 20/21 positive animals were also noted to be hypocalcemia. It was...

Obesity, weight management and dietary analysis in Micronesian kingfishers (Halcyon cinnamomina cinnamomina)

Mortality in captive Micronesian kingfishers (Halcyon cinnamomina cinnamomina) is notably high in age classes that should be peak breeding years. Females, in particular, suffer high rates of mortality earlier than would be expected from examining patterns in related species. Many birds are overweight and sustained weight loss has been difficult to achieve. Body mass for the 2.2 birds in this...

Analysis of nectar replacement products and a case of iron toxicosis in hummingbirds

Twenty-five of 26 hummingbirds (Trochilidae) from 7 species previously maintained in an aviary on a commercial nectar substitute for 13 years, died over 3-month period. Gross necropsy was inconclusive; however, staining of liver and intestinal tissue showed high levels of Fe deposition. Analysis of separate bags (n=9) of the nectar product, with identical lot numbers, showed variation in Fe content...

Metabolic Bone Disease in lizards: Prevalence and potential for monitoring bone health

A consensus that metabolic bone disease (MBD) is the nutritional pathology (NP) most likely to occur in captive lizards was apparent in a study at the Ontario Veterinary College Teaching Hospital (OVCTH) and in two surveys on NP in accredited zoos in Canada and the United States. The prevalence, pathogensis and diagnosis of MBD relative to the OVCTH and zoological...

Does blood sample handling and processing affect levels of vitamin A, E, and D?

Proper handling of blood samples is critical for the most accurate results. Knowledge of which factors affect blood samples leads to a practical and efficient system of handling these samples. This study evaluated the effect of light, temperature, or type of blood collection tube on 25(OH) vitamin D, retinol, and alpha-tocopherol in lion blood samples. Blood samples were collected from...

Nutrition as a major facet of reptile conservation

The importance of nutrition has not received much recognition in conservation biology. However, captive breeding is possible only if nutritional requirements of animals are met, and effective habitat management requires an evaluation of nutritional resources. Three examples involving reptile conservation are presented. The formulation and testing of experimental meal-type diets proved essential for the large-scale rearing of green iguanas (Iguana...

Removing milk from captive gorilla diets: the impact on regurgitation and reingestion (R/R) and other behaviors

To test whether milk consumption facilitates performance of regurgitation and reingestion (R/R) in captive gorillas, an experiment was conducted in which milk was removed from the gorilla diet at Zoo Atlanta. The study was conducted using a withdrawal design (BTB), in which a baseline period (B) of 10 days was followed by a treatment period (T) of 10 days, followed...

Serum concentrations of lipids, vitamins A and E, vitamin D metabolites, and carotenoids in nine primate species at four zoos

The purpose of this work was to measure important nutritional status parameters for captive primates, compare those with published data, and look for a link with diet. The nutritional status of nine captive primate species was examined using biochemical analysis. The species were spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi), colobus monkeys (Colobus guereza), sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus torquatus), Schmidt’s monkeys (Cercopithecus ascanius), mandrills...

The captive Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus): Nutritional considerations with emphasis on management of cystinuria

An important and widely recognized condition of the maned wolf is cystinuria, or excess levels of cystine in the urine. Cystinuria has been identified in the majority of maned wolves tested, both in captivity and in the wild. Cystinuria also occurs in humans and domestic dogs, and has been demonstrated in these species to have a genetic basis. In all...

Nutrition management of patients with diabetes

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is the hormone needed to help process the sugars and starches (carbohydrates) into energy for our body. It is also necessary for our body to use protein and fat from our diet. The two most common types of diabetes are classified as Type 1...

Leadbeater’s possum: Nutritional and environmental challenges of captive possums in eight zoos

Eight zoos participated in a retrospective study by providing diets, post mortems (n = 75) and management practices for captive Leadbeater’s possums (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri). Data was analyzed for correlation of common factors in the morbidity and mortality of captive possums. The results suggest nutritional factors common to most zoos which may play a role in the morbidity and mortality of...

Variation in serum ferritin, serum iron, total iron binding capacity (TIBC) and percent transferrin saturation in Northern Fur Seals: a retrospective study

Hemochromatosis is an excessive accumulation of iron in tissues, particularly liver, and is associated with the development of hepatic lesions. The term hemosiderosis is used when there are no toxic effects of the iron accumulation. Both conditions have been observed in free-ranging and captive specimens of many species (Lowensteine and Munson 1999). Histopathologic analysis of tissues obtained from two aged...

Results of a Preliminary Survey into Wasting Marmoset Syndrome in Callitrichid Collections

A preliminary survey of Wasting Marmoset Syndrome was conducted in order to ascertain the significance of this disease constellation in callitrichid collections during the period from 1989 through 1993. Questionnaires prepared by the Philadelphia Zoo Animal and Animal Health Departments and approved by the AZA New World Primate Taxon Advisory Group were mailed to 275 animal managers and veterinarians at...

Vitamin D and Primates: Recurring Problems on a Familiar Theme

Captive primates housed indoors with little access to ultraviolet light have historically been susceptible to metabolic bone disease. The trend in zoological parks toward building large, indoor exhibits has potentially exacerbated this problem. Most skylight materials are not transparent to the wavelengths of ultraviolet light (UV-B) necessary for endogenous production of vitamin D. It is possible that most primates, like...