Nutrition and immunity: vitamins and minerals

Infectious diseases impinge on animal health and welfare. Appropriate nutrition may aid in minimizing the incidence of infectious diseases by optimizing immunity. Formulating diets that optimize immunity requires knowing the specific cellular mechanisms by which nutrients affect immunity, and how these mechanisms pertain to specific nutrients and pathogens. Understanding the nuances of nutrition and immunity is important because higher dietary...

Influence of diet on characteristics of nutrient digestion in fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox)

Few data are available regarding the nutrition of fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) in captivity. Cryptoprocta ferox are one of few carnivore species endemic to the island of Madagascar, found in woodlands or savannas. Although considered opportunistic carnivores, lemur species constitute a significant portion of the fossa diet. Average body lengths of fossa, range from 65-80 cm in addition to a 60-80...

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...

Serum fatty acids concentrations in free-ranging and captive giraffe (Giraffa Camelopardalis)

Serum concentrations of fatty acids in captive giraffes were compared to values obtained from free-ranging giraffes in an effort to identify potential nutritional differences in the captive population. Captive giraffes have a specific set of maladies, including peracute mortality, energy malnutrition, pancreatic disease, urolithiasis, hoof disease, and severe intestinal parasitism that may be nutritionally related. Serum samples from 20 captive...

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...

Predicting nutrient values of elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) using near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

From May to December each year, the African elephants (Loxodonta africana africana) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom receive elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) as a significant portion of their diet. Near infra-red reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) is used to quickly predict the nutrient quality of the forage. Samples of elephant grass have been collected since 2003 and used to develop calibration equations. As...

The effect of a produce based gut loading diet on mineral and vitamin content of adult crickets (Acheta domestica)

Adequate supplementation of calcium and other nutrients including vitamin A is integral to successfully holding insectivorous amphibians and reptiles in captivity. Dusting and gut loading insects are two commonly used methods of supplementation. A produce based gut loading diet may be more palatable and thus may gut load more successfully and for an extended period of time. Adult crickets (Acheta...

Calcium gut loading of mealworms (Tenebrio molitor) and the benefit of gel water over apple slices for maximum calcium gut loading

The importance of gut loading insects with calcium is a critical component of an insectivorous animal’s diet. The insect used in this study for calcium supplementation was the regular mealworm (Tenebrio molitor). The standard operating procedure for most gut loading protocols includes feeding high-water produce items (i.e., apples, leafy green vegetables, etc.) in conjunction with a high calcium insect supplement....

Development of a standardized body condition score for cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus)

Standardized body condition indices (BCI) or scores (BCS) provide practical management tools for assessment of diet utilization and general quantification of fat stores that an animal carries. They have been widely developed and applied with livestock, domestic cats and dogs, and more recently, to various wildlife species, primarily hoofstock. Comparisons between BCS developed for free-ranging versus captive wildlife species have...

Carp cakes: another fish alternative

Silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) and bighead carp (H. nobilis) are invasive species that pose a threat of displacing and lowering the abundance of native fishes, mussels and invertebrates. The Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association (MICRA) considers bighead and silver carp the most important aquatic nuisance species in the basin. On the Missouri, Mississippi and Illinois rivers, bighead and silver carp...

The effect of length of cold storage on secondary plant compounds in browse for captive black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis)

The endangered black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) suffers from a high rate of mortality in captivity due to conditions such as hemosiderosis and hemolytic anemia. Supplementation of the diet with native browse species rich in tannins and other iron-binding polyphenolics has been proposed as a dietary strategy for reducing iron absorption and accumulation in this population. This study examined the effect...

Effect of additives on ensiling of willow leaves and twigs

According to Hoffman, ruminants can be classified as browsers (“concentrate selectors”), intermediate feeders, and grazers. Compared to grazers, browsers have different nutritional requirements to meet their specific digestive physiology needs. In general, browse may contain higher amounts of secondary plant compounds and lower fiber concentrations than many grasses. In Rotterdam Zoo, browse often consists of willow leaves and branches. However,...

Nutrient composition of savannahs at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge at Lake Buena Vista Florida is home to a wide variety of animal species. Rooms at the Lodge look out over three savannah areas housing a collection of African animals. In spring 2006, a comprehensive investigation into the nutrient composition of the savannahs at the Lodge was initiated. Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), bahia grass (Paspalum notatum)...

Feed intake and analysis of browse fed to Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Even though Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) have been exhibited at 4 zoos in the U.S. for about 20 years, the diet is not well defined. Currently, the animals at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden (CZBG) appear in good health and condition with successful reproduction consuming a diet of the following ingredient proportions: 9-18% produce, 76-83% ficus spp., 3-5% ZNN (Zoo...

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...

Nutrient composition of whole crayfish eaten by hellbender salamanders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis spp.)

Four species of native Missouri crayfish identified as foods of the Ozark hellbender salamander (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis bishopi), were analyzed for nutrient content including water, proximate composition (crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, and ash), as well as vitamin A, vitamin E, total carotenoids, and select mineral concentrations. Additionally, fatty acids in crayfish were examined and compared with krill as a...

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...

Investigations into the nutritional composition of moon jellyfish, Aurelia aurita

Proximate nutrients, fat-soluble vitamins A and E, and mineral composition of the moon jellyfish, Aurelia aurita, were measured in wild specimens from Jamaica Bay, NY, and in captive cultured specimens from the New York Aquarium (reported as mean ± SE). Crude protein content of free-ranging jellyfish was approximately twice that seen in captive animals (9.20% ± 0.40% dry matter (DM)...

Nutritional considerations for maintaining aquarium fishes

A broad spectrum of nutritional issues faces aquariums. Although some of these issues may appear very basic, such as maintaining adequate food supplies or ensuring their adequate distribution and consumption within an exhibit, there is an underlying complexity created by the interrelationships of many nutrition-related issues within aquatic systems. This paper briefly describes several of the most prevalent issues facing...

Nutritional physiology of captive fishes

Managing the health of captive fishes requires broad knowledge of environmental, physiological, and nutritional requirements for life in an aquatic realm, something no human being can fully appreciate. In spite of our lack of experience living in an aquatic environment, we can successfully manage the nutritional well-being of captive fishes. In fact, the fundamental requirements of life differ little from...

Nutrient composition and dietary intake of captive horned guans (Oreophasis derbianus)

Captive breeding successes of Oreophasis debianus, the horned guan, have been rare. The nutritional requirements of the species are unknown, and previous studies of its digestive physiology or captive nutritional husbandry have not been published. Three Mexican zoos with successful homed guan breeding programs were selected to evaluate dietary husbandry, including determination of nutrient composition of diets offered and consumed,...

Growth rates and nutrient intake of hand-rearing pink-backed pelicans (Pelecanus rufescens) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Between December 18, 2006 and February 12, 2007, four pink-backed pelican (Pelecanus rufescens) chicks were hatched and hand reared at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (DAK). A pelican hand rearing protocol was developed based on that of the San Diego Zoological Society. The diet was designed to consist of combinations of capelin, smelt, sardines and herring, along with a vitamin and mineral...

Preference of supplemental nectar by three native butterfly species

Two diets, a sugar-water solution (Diet A) and nutritionally complete nectar solution (Diet B), provided in a mixed species enclosure as a source of nutrients for multiple nectivorous species were evaluated for preference among three North American species of butterflies. Preference was defined as number of visits to one of two nectar feeders. The feeder containing Diet B was preferentially...

Hyena diet survey and nutrient guidelines

Diet and nutrition of captive hyenas was evaluated through a survey to document feeding practices. Survey results were compared to both the domestic cat and dog dietary recommendations. The 15 U.S. institutions surveyed fed 60 (33.27) spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) 22 different weekly diets, an average of 11.75 + 9.16 kg of food weekly (amounts on an as-fed basis). Weekly...

Observations of growth of South African cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus) fed different carnivore diets

Significant changes have occurred in the availability of raw ingredients used in fresh meat-based carnivore diets, and as a result, the finished diets. Two litters (n = 9) of maternally reared South African cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus) included in this retrospective study of cub growth were offered comparable carnivore diets that differed primarily in the species (horse [Diet A, Litter...

Highlighting conservation nutrition: the Saint Louis Zoo’s Orthwein Animal Nutrition Center

The Saint Louis Zoo’s high standard for animal care is evidenced by the opening of its Orthwein Animal Nutrition Center (OANC) in 2007, a world class facility that highlights critical functions of the Nutrition Department in meeting the nutritional needs of wildlife. Not only will the collection animals be served, but also the science and research programs supporting the institution’s...