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...

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...

Comparison of proximate composition of domestic cat (Felis catus), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), snow leopard (Uncia uncia), African lion (Panthera leo), and Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) maternal milk with exotic cat hand-rearing formulae

The aims of this study are (1) to compare proximate composition of milks of five felids, the domestic cat (Felis catus), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), snow leopard (Uncia uncia), African lion (Panthera leo), and Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) to establish if there exist species-specific differences in felid maternal milk composition, (2) to conduct proximate analyses on commercial hand-rearing formulae...

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...

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...

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...

Dietary intake and digestion in snow leopards (Uncia uncia) at the Bronx Zoo

Although the nutritional requirements of the domestic cat are well known and various investigations have been conducted with larger exotic felids no published information on digestion in snow leopards, Uncia uncia, is available. Two three-day intake and digestion trials were conducted on 4.6 adult (ages 3-15 years) captive-born snow leopards at the Bronx Zoo, Bronx, NY in December, 1996. Routine...

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

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,...

Evaluation of an alternative feline diet at the Toronto Zoo

For many species of cats, little is known about their specific dietary needs. Although there have been some studies concerning digestibility and general nutrition of exotic cats species (Crissey et al. 1997; Allen et al. 1995; Wynne, 1989; Dierenfeld, 1987; Hackenburger and Atkinson, 1983; Barbiers et al. 1982), most information has been extrapolated from data concerning domestic cats (NRC, 1978).

Do maintenance energy requirements of felids reflect their feeding strategies?

Maintenance energy (ME)requirements have been determined for the domestic cat, Felis silvestris catus, but not for larger felids. To determine if the domestic cat represents an appropriate model for studies with larger species, we measured digestive efficiency and digestible energy intakes in cats of different body sizes (body mass range: 15-195 kg)which included clouded leopard, Neofelis nebulosa (n = 9),...

Zoo guidelines for keeping large felids in captivity

Within the family Felidae, determination of minimum husbandry needs of large cats is variable because of differences in size, morphology, and behavior. For purposes of this discussion, a large felid is identified as any species of cat belonging to the genus Panthera, including: lion, P. leo; tiger, P. tigris; jaguar, P. onca; leopard, P. pardus; and snow leopard, Uncia uncia;...

Tiger Nutrition, Food Preparation and Feeding

Unique nutritional requirements of fe lids must be recognized in feeding captive tigers, including the need for high protein and fat diets, inclusion of dietary vitamin A (as retinol), arachadonic acid, taurine, and niacin. General reviews of felid nutrition (Scott 1968, MacDonald et al. 1984), a more specific review applying these data to captive tiger management (Dierenfeld 1987), and a...

Nutrition Chapter in the Cheetah Species Survival Plan – Husbandry Manual

Unique nutritional requirements of felids must be recognized in feeding captive cheetahs, including the need for high protein and fat diets, inclusion of dietary vitamin A (as retinol), arachidonic acid, taurine, and niacin. General reviews of felid nutrition (Scott, 1968; MacDonald et al., 1984) provide indirect evidence that the domestic cat remains the best model for establishing dietary composition parameters...