Comparative serum analysis of free-ranging and managed green moray eels (Gymnothorax funebris) and relationship to diet fed to eels under human care

Green moray eels (Gymnothorax funebris) under human care are reported to have elevated plasma cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations with associated development of lipid keratopathy (Clode et al. 2012). Nevertheless, serum trace mineral and vitamin analyses have not been assessed, and the complete nutrient content (cholesterol, vitamins, and minerals) of managed eel diets has also not been reported (Clode et al....

Evaluating the nutrition of a flock of non-breeding greater flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber roseus) at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

A flock of 150 greater flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber roseus) at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park were moved to a new enclosure in 2010 to provide them a larger exhibit and to promote the breeding of lesser flamingos (Phoeniconaias minor) that shared the previous exhibit. Since the greater flamingos moved, they have not laid eggs through June 2015. A nutrition...

Hypovitaminosis A: influence of three diets or topical treatment on hepatic, adipose, and plasma retinoid concentrations and presence of squamous metaplasia in Mississippi gopher frogs (Rana capito servosa)

Hypovitaminosis A has been linked to health concerns in amphibians causing squamous metaplasia of the tongue, bladder, kidneys and other organs. Juvenile Mississippi Gopher Frogs (Rana capito servosa) at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium (n = 32) were randomly assigned to one of four vitamin A treatment groups including three dietary feeder cricket treatments and one topical vitamin A...

Ex situ amphibian nutrition: recent findings and future directions

In 2013 a workshop was hosted to evaluate the current understanding of amphibian medicine and nutrition, in order to further our progress in establishment of successful breeding programs to promote amphibian conservation (Olea-Popelka et al., 2014). The Nutrition Working Group identified a number of challenges and opportunities for advancement in this field (Ferrie et al., 2014). First, an overarching theme...

Evaluation of vitamin A status and diagnosis of hypovitaminosis A in amphibians

Without supplementation, insect-based diets for amphibians and reptiles are known to be deficient in nutrients such as calcium and vitamin A (Livingston et al., 2014). In the last decade, hypovitaminosis A has been recognized as a limiting factor for amphibian conservation programs that must successfully maintain and breed endangered species for ex situ rescue, survival assurance, and reintroduction programs (Pessier,...

Monoozygenase conversion in two anura species

It is unknown whether pro-vitamin A supplements used in captive diets of amphibian insectivores provide the animals with nutrients they can convert for their vitamin A needs. This research sought to evaluate if activity of ?–carotene 15,15’-monooxygenase was present in the liver and small intestine of two anura species, as gauged by the conversion of ?–carotene to retinal. Liver and...

Nutritional pathology 101: common post mortem lesions of nutritional deficiencies and excess across taxa

The wide variety of lifestyle, digestive tract, and physiologic adaptations that exist across taxa result in an expansive array of nutritional needs and sensitivities, which can result in inadvertent essential nutrient excesses or deficiencies that result in disease (Barboza et al., 2009; Dierenfeld, 1997). While the incidence of nutrition related disease has seen a steady decline in veterinary pathology with...

Gut loading as a method to effectively supplement crickets with calcium and vitamin A

Limited quantities of vital nutrients such as calcium and vitamin A in crickets have led to the occurrence of diseases such as rickets, osteomalacia, metabolic bone disease (calcium deficiency) and more recently, squamous metaplasia or “short tongue syndrome” in amphibians. Gut loading has been an effective method to supplement feeder crickets with both calcium and vitamin A. A dose of...

Vitamin A supplementation via cricket dusting: the effects of dusting fed and fasted crickets of three sizes using two different supplements on nutrient content

This study was undertaken to determine the efficacy in delivering vitamin A supplementation via dusting feed crickets (Acheta domestica) to reptiles and amphibians, many of whom have shown vitamin A deficiencies at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and other institutions. While there have been multiple previous studies regarding supplementation in crickets, the majority have focused on calcium supplementation. Levels of vitamin A...

Effect of nutrition on the reproductive fitness of the endangered Attwater’s Prairie Chicken

Attwater’s Prairie Chickens (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri) are an endangered Texan grouse species. Their survival relies on captive breeding for propagation of the free-ranging population. In recent years, chick hatchability and survivability in captivity has steadily decreased, with survivability in 2004 less than 30%. Preliminary data obtained in 2004 from captive and free ranging Attwater’s Prairie Chickens, demonstrated potential differences in...

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...

Influence of diet and time on fat and retinol concentrations in adult feeder crickets

Many captive amphibians are fed supplemented crickets (Acheta domesticus) as a basal diet. There is concern that some amphibians have unique requirements for certain vitamins, particularly vitamin A due to its association with squamous metaplasia of mucous producing epithelia, resulting in inability to capture prey. Because vitamin A is fat soluble, it was hypothesized that increasing fat concentration of crickets...

Serum survey of Vitamins A and E in Sharks

Although sharks are known to have unique aspects of lipid metabolism, fat-soluble vitamin concentrations have not been widely reported in the literature. Serum or plasma samples were obtained from eight species of sharks: black-tipped (Carcharhinus brevipinna; n=1), bonnethead (Sphyrna tiburo; n=7), brown (C. plumbeus; n=16), bull (C. leucas; n=14), lemon (Negaprion brevirostis; n=30), nurse (Ginglymostoma cirratum; n=14), sand tiger (Carcharias...

Survey of circulating retinol (Vitamin A) and tocopheral (Vitamin E) concentrations in nesting marine turtles

Although marine turtles are relatively well-studied endangered and threatened species, critical discontinuities exist in the literature regarding numerous significant blood values, especially those of free-ranging populations. Gaining a better understanding of marine turtle ecological physiology is an urgent priority, considering the impact such information could have on conservation management plans and population health assessments [Bolten and Bjorndal, 1992; Raphael et...

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...

Ascorbic acid, vitamin E, vitamin A, and trace elements in serum of zoo crocodilians.

A potential clinical case of ulcerative gingivitis in a male gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) initiated an investigation to determine if there was adequate ascorbic acid in the diet of crocodilians at the San Diego Zoo (SDZ), and San Diego Zoo Safari Park (SP). Reptiles can synthesize ascorbic acid and classic deficiency is rarely seen. The objective of this summary was to...

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...