Utilization of pork and pork by-products for nutritional management of captive exotic felids

Currently beef and horse comprise the majority of raw meat diet formulations marketed by US companies manufacturing and supplying carnivore diets to zoological institutions. Pork-based diets have traditionally not been fed to managed exotic carnivores, primarily because of microbial and pathogenic concerns, and nutrient digestibility of pork has not been evaluated in captive exotic felids. Additionally, the pork industry currently...

Cheetah nutrition: recent advances and revised SSP recommendations

The SSP Cheetah Animal Care Manual was recently revised and updated, and is due for release by the end of 2015. As part of this process the Nutrition chapter was re-written in order to incorporate recent research findings and provide a more comprehensive overview of our current understanding. A review of the in situ diet of the free-ranging cheetahs demonstrated...

General procedures and guidelines for hand rearing felid neonates

There are many reasons to hand rear felid neonates in a zoological setting. The criteria for doing so should be set in advance of parturition and all preparations made for the process. The possibility of illness or common ailment should be anticipated and plans should be made for routine veterinary checks. Staff involvement, feeding schedules, formula, feeding supplies and methods...

Nutritional management of healthy senior wild felines: using the domestic cat as a model

Nutritional adjustments that might promote health and slow progression or onset of disease (e.g. chronic renal disease, CRD) and improve quality of life in senior wild felines are being presently tested at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (DAK). The idea is based on studies done with domestic cats aimed at controlling the symptoms of CRD (Carey, 1998). We expect to continue long...

Ideal protein and zoo carnivores: further considerations for optimizing diets

Carnivorous zoo species are often fed “natural product” diets, i.e. raw meat-based meals for large felids, whole vertebrate prey, entire fish for aquatic or otherwise piscivorous species, and/or a variety of invertebrates consumed by insectivores. In general, these types of diets contain relative excess protein compared to nutritional requirements established for domestic cats and dogs, (NRC, 2006) or production species...

Advances in feline nutrition 2: evaluations of protein and fiber sources for raw meat based diets in captive exotic felids

Little nutritional or metabolic information has been collected from captive exotic felids fed raw diets. In depth data on nutrient composition (e.g., fatty acid and amino acid composition) are sparse, and may impact diet formulation. Additionally, although several studies have examined total tract nutrient digestibility in captive exotic felid, (Clauss, et al., 2010; Vester, et al., 2010a) most have focused on horsemeat and beef-based...

Advances in feline nutrition 1: commercially available beef and horsemeat-based raw meat diets for captive exotic felids

The predominant diet types fed to captive exotic felids are raw meat supplemented with vitamins and minerals, raw meat-based commercial diets, and whole prey. There is a paucity of information on the nutritive value of many of the dietary options. In the US, commercial rawmeat based diets are the main diet type fed (Pearson, et al., 2005). Reported values for...

UNDERSTANDING RAW MEAT DIET FORMULATIONS

Concerns over raw meat diet formulations for zoological carnivores have included microbial contamination and food safety, protein source, and variations in nutrient composition and product consistency. The Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act along with the 2012 AVMA Policy on Raw Pet Foods have heightened awareness of food safety concerns related to raw meat diet formulations. This awareness...