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Abstract

As wild felids are obligate carnivores, it is likely that poorly enzymatically digestible animal tissues determine hindgut fermentation, instead of plant fibre. Therefore, faecal concentrations of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA, including branched-chain fatty acids, BCFA), indole and phenol were evaluated in 14 captive cheetahs, fed two different diets differing in proportion of poorly enzymatically digestible animal tissue. Using a cross-over design, the cheetahs were fed exclusively whole rabbit or supplemented beef for 1 month each. Feeding whole rabbit decreased faecal propionic (p < 0.001) and butyric (p = 0.013) acid concentrations, yet total SCFA was unaltered (p = 0.146). Also, a remarkably higher acetic acid to propionic acid ratio (p = 0.013) was present when fed whole rabbit. Total BCFA (p = 0.011) and putrefactive indole (p = 0.004) and phenol (p = 0.002) were lower when fed whole rabbit. Additionally, serum indoxyl sulphate, a toxic metabolite of indole, was analysed and showed a quadratic decrease (p = 0.050) when fed whole rabbit. The divergent SCFA ratios and the decrease in putrefaction when fed whole rabbit could be caused by the presence of undigested tissue, such as skin, bone and cartilage, that might have fibre-like functions. The concept of animal fibre is an unexplored area of interest relevant to gastrointestinal health of captive cheetahs and likely other felids.

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... Although there is a plethora of data showing the effects of plant-derived fi ber sources on the fermentation in the large intestine of animals, there is a dearth of information on the effect of animal-derived components. A recent study in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus; Depauw et al., 2011 ) showed differences in intestinal fermentation patterns when animals were fed meat-only diets vs. whole prey, indicating a possible impact of enzymatically undigested animal tissue on hindgut fermentation. This study was conducted to evaluate the in vitro fermentation kinetics and end-product profi les achieved by different animal substrates that are assumed to be poorly digested by a strict carnivore, the cheetah. ...
... One thing noticed was the very high ratio of acetic to propionic acid for collagen, in contrast to all other substrates. An in vivo study has also reported a very high acetic to propionic acid ratio (6 to 1) in feces from cheetahs fed whole rabbit, compared with supplemented beef (Depauw et al., 2011). In the present study, the rating of substrates was achieved by combining the inoculum of cheetahs fed the 2 relative extreme diets for carnivores (whole prey and muscle meat) to ensure that a representative fecal inoculum was obtained. ...
... In the present study, the rating of substrates was achieved by combining the inoculum of cheetahs fed the 2 relative extreme diets for carnivores (whole prey and muscle meat) to ensure that a representative fecal inoculum was obtained. The distinct difference in fermentation profi le in the study by Depauw et al. (2011) showed the role of diet type (meat-only vs. whole prey) in fermentation kinetics in the large tine as a result of the type and amount of enzymaticallyindigested animal tissue present in the hindgut. In vegetable substrates, TDF is a valuable analytical measure for fi ber content and, thus, valuable in predicting fermentability of a substrate. ...
Article
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The natural diet of felids contains highly digestible animal tissues but also fractions resistant to small intestinal digestion, which enter the large intestine where they may be fermented by the resident microbial population. Little information exists on the microbial degradability of animal tissues in the large intestine of felids consuming a natural diet. This study aimed to rank animal substrates in their microbial degradability by means of an in vitro study using captive cheetahs fed a strict carnivorous diet as fecal donors. Fresh cheetah fecal samples were collected, pooled, and incubated with various raw animal substrates (chicken cartilage, collagen, glucosamine-chondroitin, glucosamine, rabbit bone, rabbit hair, and rabbit skin; 4 replicates per substrate) for cumulative gas production measurement in a batch culture technique. Negative (cellulose) and positive (casein and fructo-oligosaccharides; FOS) controls were incorporated in the study. Additionally, after 72 h of incubation, short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), including branched-chain fatty acids (BCFA), and ammonia concentrations were determined for each substrate. Glucosamine and glucosamine-chondroitin yielded the greatest organic matter cumulative gas volume (OMCV) among animal substrates (P < 0.05), whereas total SCFA production was greatest for collagen (P < 0.05). Collagen induced an acetate production comparable with FOS and a markedly high acetate-to-propionate ratio (8.41:1) compared with all other substrates (1.67:1 to 2.97:1). Chicken cartilage was rapidly fermentable, indicated by a greater maximal rate of gas production (R(max)) compared with all other substrates (P < 0.05). In general, animal substrates showed an earlier occurrence for maximal gas production rate compared with FOS. Rabbit hair, skin, and bone were poorly fermentable substrates, indicated by the least amount of OMCV and total SCFA among animal substrates (P < 0.05). The greatest amount of ammonia production among animal substrates was measured after incubation of collagen and rabbit bone (P < 0.05). This study provides the first insight into the potential of animal tissues to influence large intestinal fermentation in a strict carnivore, and indicates that animal tissues have potentially similar functions as soluble or insoluble plant fibers in vitro. Further research is warranted to assess the impact of fermentation of each type of animal tissue on gastro-intestinal function and health in the cheetah and other felid species.
... Based on these reports, we speculate that the occurrence of two types of faeces might be an indication of a separation mechanism operating in the gastrointestinal tract which might be linked to different substances in a heterogeneous carnivore diet. Examples of more recalcitrant substances are skin, hair, bone or collagen in whole prey (i.e., 'animal fibre' [17]), which may have some analogies with the coarse or larger-sized, difficultto-digest plant material consumed by herbivorous species. As in plant-derived fibre, more soluble and insoluble fractions can be distinguished within 'animal fibre', with collagen representing the soluble, smaller particles and fermentable fraction and substances such as hairs and bones as the more insoluble, coarser fraction [18], which could provoke a possible separation in the gut as described above for the herbivorous species. ...
... Faecal SCFA and ammonia concentrations were comparable to the levels found in domestic dogs fed commercial diets rich in plant-derived fibre [58,59]. This suggests that the undigested parts of the chick diet can serve as a source for SCFA production as shown in humans and cheetahs [17,18,60] with different animal based substrates that have different fermentative profiles [17,18]. Based on the ratios acetic acid, propionic acid and butyric acid to total SCFA from our study and the ratios from in vitro fermentation of animal-based substrates [18], collagen, cartilage and glucosamine-chondroitine were potentially substrates for fermentation in the undigested parts of the chick. ...
... Faecal SCFA and ammonia concentrations were comparable to the levels found in domestic dogs fed commercial diets rich in plant-derived fibre [58,59]. This suggests that the undigested parts of the chick diet can serve as a source for SCFA production as shown in humans and cheetahs [17,18,60] with different animal based substrates that have different fermentative profiles [17,18]. Based on the ratios acetic acid, propionic acid and butyric acid to total SCFA from our study and the ratios from in vitro fermentation of animal-based substrates [18], collagen, cartilage and glucosamine-chondroitine were potentially substrates for fermentation in the undigested parts of the chick. ...
Article
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Pronounced variations in faecal consistency have been described anecdotally for some carnivore species fed a structure-rich diet. Typically two faecal consistencies are distinguished, namely hard and firm versus liquid and viscous faeces. It is possible that a separation mechanism is operating in the carnivore digestive tract, as in many herbivore species. Six beagle dogs were fed two experimental diets in a cross-over design of 7 days. Test diets consisted of chunked day old chicks differing only in particle size (fine = 7.8 mm vs coarse = 13 mm) in order to vary dietary structure. Digestive retention time was measured using titanium oxide (TiO2) as marker. The total faecal output was scored for consistency and faecal fermentation profiles were evaluated through faecal short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) and ammonia (NH3) analyses. A total of 181 faecal samples were collected. Dietary particle size did not affect faecal consistency, fermentative end products nor mean retention time (MRT). However, a faecal consistency dichotomy was observed with firm faeces (score 2–2.5) and soft faeces (score 4–4.5) being the most frequently occurring consistencies in an almost alternating pattern in every single dog. Firm and soft faeces differed distinctively in fermentative profiles. Although the structure difference between diets did not affect the faecal dichotomy, feeding whole prey provoked the occurrence of the latter which raises suspicion of a digestive separation mechanism in the canine digestive tract. Further faecal characterisation is however required in order to unravel the underlying mechanism.
... The concentrations of fecal fermentative end-products in exotic felid species living in the wild are unknown. However, Depauw et al. (2013) measured these compounds in captive cheetahs fed whole prey rabbits (61% CP) or a raw beef-based diet (86% CP) containing no supplemental fi ber. Fecal acetate, propionate, and total BCFA concentrations in cheetahs fed cellulose in the present study were numerically greater compared with those fed whole rabbits in that study (353 vs. 171 umol acetate/g DM, 79 vs. 36 umol propionate/g DM, and 20 vs. 4.35 umol total BCFA/g DM; Depauw et al., 2013). ...
... However, Depauw et al. (2013) measured these compounds in captive cheetahs fed whole prey rabbits (61% CP) or a raw beef-based diet (86% CP) containing no supplemental fi ber. Fecal acetate, propionate, and total BCFA concentrations in cheetahs fed cellulose in the present study were numerically greater compared with those fed whole rabbits in that study (353 vs. 171 umol acetate/g DM, 79 vs. 36 umol propionate/g DM, and 20 vs. 4.35 umol total BCFA/g DM; Depauw et al., 2013). ...
... Fecal butyrate concentrations were similar (39 vs. 33 umol butyrate/g DM) between these studies (Depauw et al., 2013). Fecal phenol and indole concentrations in cheetahs fed whole rabbits (Depauw et al., 2013) were similar to those for cheetahs fed cellulose and beet pulp in the current study (1.2 vs. 1.4 umol phenol/g DM, and 1.1 vs. 1.2 umol indole/g DM). ...
Article
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Little nutritional or metabolic information has been collected from captive exotic cats fed raw diets. In particular, fiber types and concentrations for use in raw meat-based diets for captive exotic felids have not been well-studied. Our objective was to evaluate the effects of fiber type and concentration on apparent total tract energy and macronutrient digestibility, fecal characteristics, and fecal fermentative end-products in captive exotic felids. Four animals of each captive exotic species [jaguar (Panthera onca), cheetah (Acinonyz jubatus), Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti), and Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica)] were randomized in four 4 x 4 Latin square designs (1 Latin square per species) to 1 of the 4 raw beef-based dietary treatments (94.7 to 96.7% beef trimmings): 2 or 4% cellulose, or 2 or 4% beet pulp. Felid species, fiber type, and fiber concentration all impacted digestibility and fecal fermentative end-products. Inclusion of beet pulp increased (P ≤ 0.05) fecal short-chain fatty acids and fecal output in all cats. Inclusion of 2 and 4% cellulose, and 4% beet pulp increased (P ≤ 0.05) fecal bulk and diluted fecal branched-chain fatty acid concentrations compared with 2% beet pulp. Apparent total tract DM, OM, fat, and GE digestibility coefficients decreased (P ≤ 0.05) linearly with BW of cats. Additionally, fecal moisture, fecal score, and concentrations of fermentative end-products increased (P ≤ 0.05) with BW. Although the response of many outcomes was dependent on cat size, in general, beet pulp increased wet fecal weight, fecal scores, and fecal metabolites, and reduced fecal pH. Cellulose generally reduced DM and OM digestibility, but increased dry fecal weight and fecal % DM. Although beet pulp and cellulose fibers were tested individually in this study, these data indicate that the optimum fiber type and concentration for inclusion in captive exotic felid diets is likely a combination of fermentable and non-fermentable fibers, with the optimal fiber blend being dependent on species. Smaller cats, such as cheetahs and jaguars, tolerated fermentable fibers, while larger cats, such as Malayan and Siberian tigers, appeared to require more insoluble fibers that limit fermentation and provide fecal bulk. Further research is required to test whether these trends hold true when fed in combination.
... Little attention has been paid to the inclusion and role of animal fibers, which would be inherent in whole prey diets (Clauss et al., 2010). Data from captive exotic cats indicate that different animal fibers may impact digestibility and fermentation of diets; however, the role of these fibers in the diet and health of cats has not yet been fully elucidated (Depauw et al., 2012(Depauw et al., , 2013Kerr et al., 2013a). ...
... On the other hand, fermentable fibers (e.g., beet pulp) provide energy for microbial growth (i.e., protein synthesis), which decreases the excretion of N in the urine and increases excretion of fecal N. Additionally, their characteristics may impact the digestibility of other ingredients by altering the viscosity, water binding capacity, and transit of digesta. The GRO and WHO had no added plant fiber; however, whole prey and raw meat items can be a source of nonfermentable and fermentable animal fibers (e.g., connective tissue, skin, bone, and feathers; Depauw et al., 2012Depauw et al., , 2013Kerr et al., 2013a). Because the GRO did not include feathers, this may have decreased the fiber available to provide fecal bulk and fermentative substrates. ...
... However, the impact that high digestibility may have on long-term animal health have not been ascertained. Additional bulking materials (e.g., cellulose, feathers, etc.) or fermentable compounds (e.g., gums, animal fiber, etc.) or both may benefit the cat by diluting energy and providing substrates for fermentation and the production of short-chain fatty acids that are beneficial to gut health (Depauw et al., 2012(Depauw et al., , 2013Kerr et al., 2013c). ...
Article
Our objectives were to evaluate the composition of whole 1- to- 3-day-old chicks (Whole), ground adult chicken (Ground), chicken-based canned diet (Canned), and chicken-based extruded diet (Extruded); and evaluate apparent total tract energy and macronutrient digestibility of these diets by four captive African wildcats (Felis silvestrus lybica) utilizing a Latin Square design. We analyzed diets for macronutrient and mineral (Ca, P, K, Na, Mg, Fe, Cu, Mn, Zn, and S) composition, and screened for potentially pathogenic bacteria. Canned and Extruded diets tested negative for all microbes and met macronutrient and mineral recommendations for domestic cat foods [AAFCO (2012). Official publication. Oxford, IN: AAFCO]. Whole prey diets (Ground and Whole) met macronutrient requirements for domestic cats; however, they were below recommendations in some minerals [Mn, Cu, K, and Na; AAFCO (2012). Official publication. Oxford, IN: AAFCO], and tested positive for potentially pathogenic microorganisms (Salmonella, E. coli spp.). For all diets, apparent total tract organic matter digestibility was high (>85%). Organic matter digestibility was higher (P ≤ 0.05) for cats fed Ground (94%) compared to those fed Canned, Extruded, or Whole (87, 86, and 85%, respectively). Apparent total tract crude protein digestibility was lower than expected (i.e., <85%) for cats fed Extruded (81%) and fat digestibility was lower than expected (i.e., <90%) for cats fed Whole (82%). Cats fed whole prey items tested herein adequately maintained BW short-term; however, long-term studies are needed. These data indicate that there may be a need to monitor whole prey composition and when necessary, adjust the diet to account for potential deficiencies. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
... Little attention has been paid to the inclusion and role of animal fibers, which would be inherent in whole prey diets (Clauss et al., 2010). Data from captive exotic cats indicate that different animal fibers may impact digestibility and fermentation of diets; however, the role of these fibers in the diet and health of cats has not yet been fully elucidated (Depauw et al., 2012(Depauw et al., , 2013Kerr et al., 2013a). ...
... On the other hand, fermentable fibers (e.g., beet pulp) provide energy for microbial growth (i.e., protein synthesis), which decreases the excretion of N in the urine and increases excretion of fecal N. Additionally, their characteristics may impact the digestibility of other ingredients by altering the viscosity, water binding capacity, and transit of digesta. The GRO and WHO had no added plant fiber; however, whole prey and raw meat items can be a source of nonfermentable and fermentable animal fibers (e.g., connective tissue, skin, bone, and feathers; Depauw et al., 2012Depauw et al., , 2013Kerr et al., 2013a). Because the GRO did not include feathers, this may have decreased the fiber available to provide fecal bulk and fermentative substrates. ...
... However, the impact that high digestibility may have on long-term animal health have not been ascertained. Additional bulking materials (e.g., cellulose, feathers, etc.) or fermentable compounds (e.g., gums, animal fiber, etc.) or both may benefit the cat by diluting energy and providing substrates for fermentation and the production of short-chain fatty acids that are beneficial to gut health (Depauw et al., 2012(Depauw et al., , 2013Kerr et al., 2013c). ...
Article
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There has been a recent increase in the popularity of feeding unconventional diets, including whole prey diets, to domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus). Data are needed that allow animal caretakers to choose and formulate diets, which meet the nutritional requirements of their cats. Our objective was to evaluate the effects of feeding 1- to 3-d old chicks (WHO), ground adult chicken (GRO), a chicken-based canned diet (CAN), and a chicken-based extruded diet (EXT) on apparent total tract energy and macronutrient digestibility, N balance, and blood metabolites of domestic cats (n = 11). Macronutrient, energy, and moisture concentrations of diets varied greatly (e.g., CP: 35 to 72% DM); however, cats fed all diets maintained BW and N balance. In general, cats fed WHO had lower nutrient digestibility than those fed CAN and EXT. Cats fed GRO had greater nutrient digestibility than cats fed commercial diets. For example, apparent OM and GE digestibility coefficients were greater (P ≤ 0.05) for cats fed CAN (86 and 88%, respectively), EXT (88% and 88%), and GRO (94% and 95%) compared with those fed WHO (83% and 83%), and greater (P ≤ 0.05) for cats fed GRO compared with those fed CAN and EXT. Many blood metabolites were modified by diet, but most remained within reference ranges for domestic cats. Serum cholesterol was elevated above the reference range for all treatments, and greater (P ≤ 0.05) for cats fed WHO compared with those fed CAN, EXT, and GRO. Serum creatinine concentrations were above the reference range for all treatments, and greater (P ≤ 0.05) for cats fed GRO compared with those fed CAN or WHO. These data indicate that the whole prey tested herein maintained short-term health and are adequately digestible for utilization in companion animal diets. Research is needed to determine the global and long-term health implications of feeding whole or ground diets to domestic cats, which may be different in terms of macronutrient, energy, and moisture profiles and nutrient digestibility.
... The type of diet offered to captive cheetahs has been implicated as a potential factor in gastro-intestinal disease in this species . Recently, we demonstrated that the type of a strict carnivorous diet modulates microbial fermentation processes in the cheetah (Depauw et al. 2011). Cheetahs fed a supplemented beef diet were observed to have significantly higher concentrations of faecal putrefactive compounds, accompanied by looser stool and a higher incidence of diarrhoea as compared to the same cheetahs fed whole rabbit. ...
... Cheetahs fed a supplemented beef diet were observed to have significantly higher concentrations of faecal putrefactive compounds, accompanied by looser stool and a higher incidence of diarrhoea as compared to the same cheetahs fed whole rabbit. In contrast, faecal concentrations of total short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) were unaltered by diet type (Depauw et al. 2011). These differences in fermentation were attributed to the relatively high intake of animal fibre (bone, fur, connective tissue), in combination with a reduced protein intake, of whole prey compared with meat-only diets (Depauw et al. 2011). ...
... In contrast, faecal concentrations of total short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) were unaltered by diet type (Depauw et al. 2011). These differences in fermentation were attributed to the relatively high intake of animal fibre (bone, fur, connective tissue), in combination with a reduced protein intake, of whole prey compared with meat-only diets (Depauw et al. 2011). ...
Article
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Gastrointestinal disease is omnipresent in captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), in contrast to its freeranging populations. The current study aimed to evaluate the effect of diet type (meat-only whole prey) on gastrointestinal health in captive cheetahs by measuring faecal and serum concentrations of S100/calgranulins. This paper reports faecal S100A12 and calprotectin concentrations in 12 captive cheetahs fed supplemented beef versus whole rabbit for one month in a cross-over design. Also, serum S100A12 and calprotectin concentrations were determined in four cheetahs fed whole rabbit and six cheetahs fed supplemented beef, and these were compared to the faecal concentrations of the respective marker proteins. Both the immunoassay for canine calprotectin and canine S100A12 were precise and reproducible for use with serum samples and faecal extracts. Whereas the assay for S100A12 was linear and accurate, an inconsistent linearity of the canine calprotectin assay was observed and could be indicative of an insufficient cross-reactivity of the specific antibody used for this assay. Serum concentrations of S100A12 and calprotectin were not altered by diet type, and were not correlated with the respective concentrations in faeces. Numerically (P=0.241) greater calprotectin concentrations and greater (P=0.041) faecal S100A12 concentrations were detected in cheetahs fed supplemented beef compared with whole rabbit. These findings demonstrate that whole prey feeding may decrease intestinal inflammation in the captive cheetah. Consequently, the relation between diet type and intestinal inflammatory conditions in the captive cheetah warrants further investigation.
... Additionally, more recent studies in felines are described and discussed in the present review. Besides plant fibres, the importance of animal fibre for carnivorous species has been discussed by Depauw et al. (14) in cheetahs. Animal fibre is defined by the latter authors as low-to non-digestible (glyco)protein-rich substances that are potential substrates for large-intestinal fermentation (14) . ...
... Besides plant fibres, the importance of animal fibre for carnivorous species has been discussed by Depauw et al. (14) in cheetahs. Animal fibre is defined by the latter authors as low-to non-digestible (glyco)protein-rich substances that are potential substrates for large-intestinal fermentation (14) . Plantinga et al. (15) hypothesised that the consumption of whole prey, which is a major source of animal fibre, by feral cats might enhance gut health and affect the microbiota differently as compared with foods of plant origin. ...
... Qualitatively, the most abundant bacterial phylum in the feline duodenal microbiota was Firmicutes, consisting primarily of Clostridiales, detected with both culture-plating Stomach of suckling kittens and adults cats (14) : Predominance of Enterococcus spp. (log 10 5·64 (SD 0·97)/g) and Lactobacillus spp. ...
Article
Domestic cats are obligate carnivores and in this light hindgut fermentation has been considered unimportant in this species. However, a diverse microbiota has been found in the small and large intestines of domestic cats. Additionally, in vitro and in vivo studies support the hypothesis that microbial fermentation is significant in felines with potential benefits to the host. Results on microbiota composition and microbial counts in different regions of the feline gastrointestinal tract are compiled, including a description of modulating host and technical factors. Additionally, the effects of dietary fibre supplementation on the microbiota composition are described. In a second section, in vitro studies, using inocula from fresh feline faeces and focusing on the fermentation characteristics of diverse plant substrates, are described. In vivo studies have investigated the effects of dietary fibre on a broad range of physiological outcomes. Results of this research, together with studies on effects of plant fibre on colonic morphology and function, protein and carbohydrate metabolism, and the effects of plant fibre on disease conditions that require a decrease in dietary protein intake, are shown in a third section of the present review. Conclusively, for fructans and beet pulp, for example, diverse beneficial effects have been demonstrated in the domestic cat. Both dietary fibre sources are regularly used in the pet food industry. More research is warranted to reveal the potential benefits of other fibre sources that can be used on a large scale in feline diets for healthy and diseased cats.
... However, the role of nutrition in preventing, treating and causing gastrointestinal disease is well established in domestic carnivores [7][8][9] and may be of equivalent significance to the captive cheetah population. This has been confirmed by the recent work of Depauw et al. [10][11][12], whereby a beneficial reduction in putrefactive factors (bacterial fermentation by-products) was observed in cheetahs following a dietary change from meat chunks to whole rabbit carcasses [11]. Additionally, consumption of a whole carcass diet resulted in a tendency towards improved stool consistency in captive cheetahs, compared to when the same animals were fed a raw meat diet [10]. ...
... This has been confirmed by the recent work of Depauw et al. [10][11][12], whereby a beneficial reduction in putrefactive factors (bacterial fermentation by-products) was observed in cheetahs following a dietary change from meat chunks to whole rabbit carcasses [11]. Additionally, consumption of a whole carcass diet resulted in a tendency towards improved stool consistency in captive cheetahs, compared to when the same animals were fed a raw meat diet [10]. These findings were supported by a subsequent in vitro study in which changes in cheetah faecal fermentation profile were elicited by animal tissue substrates (e.g. ...
... The concept of 'animal fibre' (i.e. non-digestible tissues of animal origin) was thus postulated, and potential functions similar to plant fibres were suggested [10]. In 2005 an international workshop on the diseases affecting the captive cheetah population established that it was necessary to "conduct an epidemiological analysis of risk factors for developing moderate to severe gastritis including genetic lineage, housing, diet, collection size and density, and exposure to the public" [14]. ...
Article
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Gastrointestinal diseases pose significant risks to captive cheetah survival and welfare. Multiple factors are thought to be associated with these diseases, but to date a comprehensive epidemiological survey of disease risk factors has not been conducted. A survey of diet and health parameters was completed for 184 captive cheetahs in 86 international facilities. Comparisons were made among dietary factors with respect to disease status and observed faecal consistency, incidence of vomiting and diarrhoea in the past 4 weeks. Extremely dry faeces were most common in cheetahs fed carcasses, but was still of low incidence (15%). Contrastingly, cheetahs fed commercially prepared diets had the highest prevalence of liquid faeces "always" or "often" (9%). Cheetahs fed raw meat diets had the highest prevalence of soft faeces with no shape (22%), as well as of firm and dry faeces (40%). No broad category of diet exerted any influence on the health parameters investigated. However, feeding of ribs at least once per week reduced the odds of diarrhoea (P = 0.020) and feeding of long bones (limbs) at least once per week was associated with a lower odds of vomiting (P = 0.008). Cheetahs fed muscle meat at least once per week had reduced odds of suffering from chronic gastritis (P = 0.005) or non-specific gastrointestinal disease (P < 0.001). The only factor identified as increasing the odds of chronic gastritis was feeding of horse "often" or "always" (P = 0.023). The findings of the current study build on existing empirical research to support a recommendation towards a greater inclusion of skeletal components. Current husbandry guidelines advocating the use of supplemented raw meat diets are likewise supported, but the use of horse meat, as well as commercially prepared diets for captive cheetahs, warrants caution until further research is conducted.
... Although there is a plethora of data showing the effects of plant-derived fi ber sources on the fermentation in the large intestine of animals, there is a dearth of information on the effect of animal-derived components. A recent study in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus; Depauw et al., 2011) showed differences in intestinal fermentation patterns when animals were fed meat-only diets vs. whole prey, indicating a possible impact of enzymatically undigested animal tissue on hindgut fermentation. This study was conducted to evaluate the in vitro fermentation kinetics and end-product profi les achieved by different animal substrates that are assumed to be poorly digested by a strict carnivore, the cheetah. ...
... One thing noticed was the very high ratio of acetic to propionic acid for collagen, in contrast to all other substrates. An in vivo study has also reported a very high acetic to propionic acid ratio (6 to 1) in feces from cheetahs fed whole rabbit, compared with supplemented beef (Depauw et al., 2011). In the present study, the rating of substrates was achieved by combining the inoculum of cheetahs fed the 2 relative extreme diets for carnivores (whole prey and muscle meat) to ensure that a representative fecal inoculum was obtained. ...
... In the present study, the rating of substrates was achieved by combining the inoculum of cheetahs fed the 2 relative extreme diets for carnivores (whole prey and muscle meat) to ensure that a representative fecal inoculum was obtained. The distinct difference in fermentation profi le in the study by Depauw et al. (2011) showed the role of diet type (meat-only vs. whole prey) in fermentation kinetics in the large intes- tine as a result of the type and amount of enzymaticallyindigested animal tissue present in the hindgut. In vegetable substrates, TDF is a valuable analytical measure for fi ber content and, thus, valuable in predicting fermentability of a substrate. ...
... They exert a fibre like effect in the large intestine (Depauw et al., 2012). These SHFTC are bulking agent which act as physical barriers between the bacteria and substrates and improve the gut health by reducing the concentration of indoles, phenolics and biogenic amines (Depauw et al., 2013). However, the beneficial response of SHFTC is also accompanied with decreased production of SCFA. ...
... Results of the present experiment demonstrate that all the five substrates used in this experiment were fermented by faecal inoculums collected from leopards fed conventional zoo diet. Depauw et al. (2013) earlier have demonstrated that cheetah faecal inoculums can degrade cartilage, collagen, condroitin, FOS, bone, hair, and skin. Study of Daisy (2011) clearly indicated that not only FOS but also other PDS like inulin, citrus pectin, guar gum, and amino acid mixture can be degraded by the faecal inoculums of cat fed on diets containing substantial amount of carbohydrates. ...
... A comparison among different fermentation substrate showed that synthetic dietary fibres like FOS are most rapidly degradable substrate. Earlier researches conducted on this line indicate that FOS was rapidly fermented by the cheetah faecal inoculum (Depauw et al., 2013). On the other hand, GT and CC were the least degradable among the substrates. ...
Article
An in vitro experiment was conducted to determine the prebiotics potential of plant derived fibres (Jerusalem artichoke (JA) and chicory (CH)) and animal derived substrates (ADS) (chicken cartilage (CC) and goat tendon (GT)) as compared to positive control of fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS). Eleven Indian leopards fed meat only diets were used as donor animals. Pooled faecal samples were diluted 1:20 (w/v), 30 ml of buffered faecal suspension and 250 mg substrate were placed into 100 ml fermentation glass syringe and incubated for 24 h. Each substrate was incubated in quadruplicate, repeated three times at weekly interval. Cumulative gas production (CGP) was measured at 0, 3, 6, 12, 18 and 24 h. The CGP, and concentrations of short chain fatty acids (SCFA) and lactate were higher (P < 0.01), with simultaneous decrease (P < 0.01) in concentration of ammonia, branched chain fatty acids and pH when plant derived substrtaes (PDS) were incubated as compared to ADS. It is evident that the PDS are better fermentation substrate than ADS. Beneficial effects of using PDS as substrates included decreased pH and ammonia level, and increased concentration of butyrate and lactate. Between the PDS, JA showed the best response in terms of reduction of pH, ammonia and improvement in the concentration of butyrate and lactate. It was concluded that JA has the potential to be used as prebiotic in the diet of captive Indian leopard fed meat only diets.
... Faecal SCFA concentrations were determined via gas chromatography after extraction with diethyl ether [30]. Faecal phenol, indole and p-cresol concentrations were measured as described by Depauw et al. [31]. ...
... Plasma acylcarnitine profile was determined according to Zytkovicz et al. [32]. Serum indoxyl sulphate concentrations were measured according to Depauw et al. [31]. ...
... However, TDF does not clearly differ from HP to LP in terms of plant fibre content. Therefore, the higher TDF content in HP vs. LP could be of animal origin [31,43], where the content of pork greaves was clearly higher in HP vs LP. TDF in the pork greaves was thus analyzed and observed to be 7.0% on DM basis. ...
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Background: High protein diets shift the faecal microbiota into a more unfavourable composition in obese humans. In lean dogs, higher protein consumption is accompanied with increased production of putrefactive fermentation products, whereas obese dogs have a different gut microbiota compared to lean dogs. Still, the impact of high dietary protein on gut microbiota in obese dogs remains unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate faecal microbial changes in lean and obese dogs in response to two different levels of dietary protein. Six healthy lean and six obese Beagles were fed a high protein diet (HP) and a low protein diet (LP) for 28 days each in a crossover design. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and quantitative PCR were performed on faecal samples for microbial profiling. Plasma acylcarnitine and fermentation metabolites were measured. Results: Dogs fed HP had higher concentrations of protein fermentation metabolites including faecal ammonia, isovalerate, isobutyrate, phenol, indole, serum indoxyl sulphate and plasma 3-OH isovalerylcarnitine compared to dogs fed LP, whereas no changes in faecal concentrations of acetate and butyrate were observed. The abundances of clostridial clusters IV and XIVa, covering the majority of butyrate-producing bacteria, and of the butyrate kinase gene, one of the terminal genes of the butyrate synthesis pathway were higher in dogs on HP compared to LP. Significant interactions between diet and body condition were found for the abundance of Firmicutes, Lactobacillus and clostridial cluster I. The similarity coefficient of faecal microbiota between the two diets was smaller in obese dogs than in lean dogs. Conclusions: High protein diet increased the abundance and activity of butyrate-producing bacteria in Beagles independent of the body condition. In addition, increasing dietary protein content had a greater overall impact on faecal microbiota in obese compared to lean dogs.
... They exert a fibre like effect in the large intestine (Depauw et al., 2012). These SHFTC are bulking agent which act as physical barriers between the bacteria and substrates and improve the gut health by reducing the concentration of indoles, phenolics and biogenic amines (Depauw et al., 2013). However, the beneficial response of SHFTC is also accompanied with decreased production of SCFA. ...
... Results of the present experiment demonstrate that all the five substrates used in this experiment were fermented by faecal inoculums collected from leopards fed conventional zoo diet. Depauw et al. (2013) earlier have demonstrated that cheetah faecal inoculums can degrade cartilage, collagen, condroitin, FOS, bone, hair, and skin. Study of Daisy (2011) clearly indicated that not only FOS but also other PDS like inulin, citrus pectin, guar gum, and amino acid mixture can be degraded by the faecal inoculums of cat fed on diets containing substantial amount of carbohydrates. ...
... A comparison among different fermentation substrate showed that synthetic dietary fibres like FOS are most rapidly degradable substrate. Earlier researches conducted on this line indicate that FOS was rapidly fermented by the cheetah faecal inoculum (Depauw et al., 2013). On the other hand, GT and CC were the least degradable among the substrates. ...
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A study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of supplementation of carvacrol (CL), a phytochemical, in ameliorating changes in growth performance and oxidative stress induced by aflatoxin B1 in male broiler chicken fed with maize-soy based diets. The feeding trial of five week duration was conducted with 120 chicks which were divided into 5 dietary treatments with 3 replicates having 8 chicks in each following a completely randomized design. The dietary treatments consisted of: basal diet without any supplement (G1), basal diet supplemented with 1.0% CL (G2), diet contaminated with 1.0 ppm toxin (G3), diet contaminated with 1.0 ppm toxin and supplemented with 1.0% CL (G4), and diet contaminated with 1.0 ppm toxin and supplemented with 0.5% each of CL and HSCAS (G5). The growth performance and FCR of broiler chicken supplemented with CL was poor than birds fed basal diet and AFB1 contaminated feed. The weight of liver in AFB1 group of birds showed an increase while in CL supplemented groups it was comparatively low. Activity of serum enzymes ALT, AST were observed to be high and activity of the oxidative stress marker enzymes CAT, SOD and GSR low in AFB1 group birds. A reverse trend in activity of these enzymes was obtained in CL and binder supplemented groups which was not significant in case of GSR. CL supplemented group of birds recorded higher TAC, protein and glucose and lower MDA, TC and triglyceride compared to AFB1 group birds. The severity and degree of the liver lesions obtained in microscopic observation in CL supplemented birds was far less compared to livers of birds fed aflatoxin contaminated feed. It can be concluded that CL is effective in ameliorating aflatoxin induced changes with regard to oxidative stress in broiler chickens but had no positive impact on growth performance.
... In contrast, the presence of animal fibre (e.g. fur, cartilage, bone, and connective tissue) can significantly lower putrefaction of digesta in the colon of cheetahs, suggesting that this may be a more beneficial source of fermentation in this and possibly other felid species (Depauw et al., 2011). Using an epidemiological approach, Whitehouse-Tedd et al. (2015) identified feeding horse meat as a significant risk factor for GI disease in captive cheetahs, whereas feeding muscle meat and the inclusion of skeletal components in the diet were identified as protective factors. ...
... Feeding et al. muscle meat, which was not associated with the frequency of liquid faeces in the previous four weeks, was associated with diarrhoea in the previous six months in the two related multivariate models (data not reported for one model). Combined, the impact of beef (or muscle meat, regardless of species of origin) may have been attributable to the relative lack of animal fibre provided from this diet, which has previously been demonstrated to reduce faecal quality in captive cheetahs (Depauw , 2011). Alternatively, et al. as reported by Kerr (2010), this meat source-based et al. difference in faecal quality may reflect differences in plantbased fibre sources that were not quantified in this survey. ...
... Alternatively, et al. as reported by Kerr (2010), this meat source-based et al. difference in faecal quality may reflect differences in plantbased fibre sources that were not quantified in this survey. It may be that the drivers of faecal consistency in tigers are distinct from those contributing to loose faeces (Depauw et al., 2011) or GI disease (Whitehouse-Tedd , 2015) et al. in cheetahs, or that other (unmeasured) factors explained the observed GI signs in the study tigers. Further research is therefore warranted. ...
Article
Gastrointestinal (GI) health is important to the welfare of captive tigers, and diet is considered a likely influencing factor. A survey was performed to collect information on GI health indicators and diet of tigers housed in zoological facilities across the globe. Completed surveys were received for one tiger from each of 32 facilities. Three (9%) tigers were reported as being diagnosed as having current GI disease; 24 (75%) had ideal (soft with shape) faeces ‘often’ to ‘always’ during the four weeks before survey completion. Potential associations between current GI disease and other variables could not be explored because of the low disease prevalence. Commercial raw meat diets were the most commonly fed diet type, and the most common food source was horse. Upon multivariate analysis, including country as a covariate, the odds and frequency of vomiting during the previous six months increased with the frequency of feeding muscle meat and chicken, and decreased as the frequency of feeding long bones increased. The odds and frequency of diarrhoea over the previous six months increased with the frequency of feeding beef and muscle meat; and the frequency of liquid faeces in the previous four weeks increased with oral antimicrobial treatment and increasing frequency of feeding beef. Although limited by the small sample size, these findings characterised the nutritional care that captive tigers currently receive and provided preliminary insight into dietary associations with indicators of GI health. The findings support the need to consider species-specific dietary adaptations and for further investigations into the health impact of diet in captive tigers.
... For example, commercially available 1-3-d-old chicks (CHI) are approximately 72-76 % CP, 16-20 % fat and <5 % nitrogen-free extract (14,15) . Previous studies have shown that extruded and whole-prey diets differ in digestibility as well as macronutrient composition (14)(15)(16)(17) , and this may alter the fermentable substrates that are available to the gastrointestinal microbiota for fermentation (18,19) . The objective of the present study was to compare the faecal microbiota of cats fed an EXT chicken-based diet to those fed commercially available whole CHI. ...
... Although it has been recognised that animal tissues provide substrate for fermentation (i.e. animal fibre (18,19) ), their role in gut health has not been fully elucidated, and little is known about their impacts on microbial populations. The EXT diet tested herein included multiple ingredients that would contribute to the dietary fibre fraction, including beet pulp and fructooligosaccharides, which likely contributed to the differences in microbial populations. ...
Article
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Extruded cat foods differ greatly in macronutrient distribution compared with wild-type diets (i.e. small mammals, reptiles, birds and insects). Based on the literature, this variability likely impacts faecal microbial populations. A completely randomised design was utilised to test the impacts of two dietary treatments on faecal microbial populations: (1) chicken-based extruded diet (EXT; n 3 cats) and (2) raw 1-3-d-old chicks (CHI; n 5 cats). Cats were adapted to diets for 10 d. Bacterial DNA was isolated from faecal samples and amplicons of the 16S rRNA V4-V6 region were generated and analysed by 454 pyrosequencing. Faeces of cats fed CHI had greater (P < 0·05) proportions of the following bacterial genera: unidentified Lachnospiraceae (15 v. 5 %), Peptococcus (9 v. 3 %) and Pseudobutyrivibrio (4 v. 1 %). Faeces of cats fed EXT had greater (P < 0·05) proportions of Faecalibacterium (1·0 v. 0·2 %) and Succinivibrio (1·2 v. < 0·1 %). Five genera, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, were present in a majority of samples (two to three out of three) from cats fed EXT, but were not detected in the samples (zero of five) for cats fed CHI. These shifts in faecal bacterial populations compared with feeding a whole-prey diet may impact the functional capacities of the microbiota and its interaction with the host. Further research is warranted to determine the impacts of these shifts on long-term health of domestic cats.
... Such research is hampered by small sample sizes, great variation in the dietary components that are fed to cheetahs, difficulty in obtaining definitive diagnoses of both gastritis and early renal disease, as well as the slow progression of these diseases. The provision of whole carcasses has recently been shown to improve faecal consistency in captive cheetahs compared to when a meat-based diet or commercially prepared diets were fed (63,80). Cheetahs fed whole rabbit carcasses produced higher faecal short chain fatty acid (proprionic acid and butyric acid) concentrations and lower putrefactive products (indole and phenol) than those fed supplemented beef (80). ...
... The provision of whole carcasses has recently been shown to improve faecal consistency in captive cheetahs compared to when a meat-based diet or commercially prepared diets were fed (63,80). Cheetahs fed whole rabbit carcasses produced higher faecal short chain fatty acid (proprionic acid and butyric acid) concentrations and lower putrefactive products (indole and phenol) than those fed supplemented beef (80). The differences in this study were ascribed to the positive effects and fibre-like functions of the additional hair, skin, bones and cartilage provided by the whole rabbit diet. ...
... It can be questioned if sources such as animal fibre might also be included in this definition. The importance of animal fibre for carnivorous species has been investigated in cheetahs by our group (Depauw et al., 2012Depauw et al., , 2013). These authors define animal fibre as 'low to non-digestible (glyco)protein rich substances that are potential substrates for large intestinal fermentation' (Depauw et al., 2012Depauw et al., , 2013). ...
... The importance of animal fibre for carnivorous species has been investigated in cheetahs by our group (Depauw et al., 2012Depauw et al., , 2013). These authors define animal fibre as 'low to non-digestible (glyco)protein rich substances that are potential substrates for large intestinal fermentation' (Depauw et al., 2012Depauw et al., , 2013). In domestic cats only little research has been done on animal fibre, despite the fact that animal meal, which is a source of animal fibre, is the main protein source in the majority of the commercially available extruded and wet diets (Dozier et al., 2003; Yamka et al., 2003) and the growing popularity of feeding raw meat based diets, containing animal fibre as well, to pets (Kerr et al., 2012). ...
... For the effective and comparative scoring of feces, it is important to set up a fecal consistency scale that facilitates objective grading. For carnivores, several scales exist for domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) and cats (Felis catus), for example, in Moxham (2001) and Kerr et al. (2012), that form the basis for several other scales of exotic felids and canids in captivity (Depauw et al., 2013;Smithsonian National Zoological Park, 2005;Vester et al., 2008;Whitehouse-Tedd et al., 2015). Feces are typically scored with a scale ranging from very hard and dry to the other extreme of liquid, runny feces. ...
... uploads/Scat-Poster), these observations are typically mentioned as well, i.e. vegetation leads to firm bullet-type feces, while salmon results in liquid runny feces. The inclusion of more indigestible components, such as "insoluble" fiber (e.g., cellulose), hair, or soil, and the simultaneous occurrence of firm feces is a common feature for other species as well: for example, javan langurs (Trachypithecus auratus auratus; plant fiber; Nijboer et al., 2006), tapirs (Tapirus spp.; plant fiber; Clauss et al., 2009), cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus; animal fiber; Depauw et al., 2013;Whitehouse-Tedd et al., 2015), or anteaters (indigestible ash; Clark et al., 2016). In many of these animals, firmer feces are therefore considered indicative of a diet that more closely matches the natural one. ...
Article
Grading the fecal consistency of carnivores is a frequently used tool for monitoring gut health and overall digestion. Several fecal consistency grading systems are available for mainly felids and canids. No such system exists for the brown bear (Ursus arctos Linnaeus, 1758). We aim at extending current fecal consistency grading systems with a scoring system for brown bears. The system was set up during a diet study with nine individuals fed a variety of diets including beef meat, rabbit, fruit, and grass‐fruit‐pellet mix in an incomplete crossover design. One additional individual was included opportunistically and was fed the typical zoo diet (vegetable‐fruit‐meat‐pellet diet). All feces from the collection period were photographed, graded by “handling the feces” and visually inspected for dietary components. Based on a total of 446 feces, a six‐point scale for uniform fecal consistencies was established. In 11% of all feces, two distinct consistencies could be distinguished, a feature that appears in other carnivore species as well. Hence, an additional grading system for dual consistencies was developed. The fecal consistency of brown bears is heavily dependent on the diet items processed before defecation with the general observation that the more vegetation or whole prey, the firmer the feces, and at certain proportions of the latter, the higher the chance for dual fecal consistencies to occur. The results indicate that in bears, diet may have a strong effect on fecal consistency, hampering animal health assessments without prior knowledge of the diet. Research Highlight We provide a fecal consistency scale for the objective grading of brown bear feces. Dual fecal consistencies occurred for which a separate scale was developed. Diet has a major effect on consistency and may hamper health assessments.
... For this aim, the dog was used as a model for "a" carnivore. To remain true to the carnivore's natural diet, particle size was varied in a complete animal-based diet (Bosch, Hagen-Plantinga, & Hendriks, 2015;Plantinga, Bosch, & Hendriks, 2011) rich in animal fibre (i.e., poorly digestible animal tissues ((glyco)protein-rich matter such as raw bones, tendons, cartilage, skin, hair or feathers)) (Depauw et al., 2013). ...
... This might not only be through the factor particle size but even more likely through the addition of animal fibre (i.e., poorly digestible animal tissues [glyco]protein-rich matter such as raw bones, tendons, cartilage, skin, hair or feathers), which might play a more crucial role in guiding digestive processes such as transit time. Depauw et al. (2013) showed that feeding whole rabbit to cheetahs compared to supplemented beef resulted in a lower amount of putrefactive fermentation products and a better faecal consistency. The mechanism underlying the improved gut health was not completely clear, although it was speculated that the presence of more animal fibre in the whole rabbit diet might have influenced gastric emptying, passage rate, motility and absorption. ...
Article
The effect of dietary particle size on gastrointestinal transit in carnivores has not been studied and might offer more insight into their digestive physiology. This study evaluated the effect of two dietary particle sizes (fine = 7.8 mm vs. coarse = 13 mm) of chunked day-old chicks on transit parameters in dogs. Six beagle dogs were fed both dietary treatments in a crossover design of 7 days with transit testing on the fifth day. Transit parameters were assessed using two markers, that is a wireless motility capsule (IntelliCap®) and titanium oxide (TiO2). Dietary particle size did not affect gastric emptying time (GRT), small bowel transit time (SBTT), colonic transit time (CTT) and total transit time (aTTT) of the capsule (p > .05). There was no effect of dietary particle size on TiO2 mean retention time (MRT) (p > .05). The time of last TiO2 excretion (MaxRT) differed (p = .013) between diets, being later for the coarse diet. Both MRT (R = 0.617, p = .032) and MaxRT (R = 0.814; p = .001) were positively correlated to aTTT. The ratio MRT/aTTT tended towards a difference between diets (p = .059) with the coarse diet exceeding fine diet values. Results show that the difference between capsule measurements and TiO2 is larger for the fine than the coarse diet suggesting that the capsule becomes more accurate when dietary particle size approaches marker size. Dietary particle size might have affected transit parameters but differences are too small to claim major physiological consequences.
... When carbohydrates are fermented in the hindgut, they stimulate the growth and population of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus [Zentek et al., 2003] and reduce the population of proteolytic bacteria, resulting in reduced production of toxic end products like phenolic, indolic and biogenic amines [Fahey et al., 2004]. In vitro [Depauw et al., 2011] and in vivo [Depauw et al., 2012] experiments conducted earlier have demonstrated the beneficial effects of slowly degradable animal components on gastrointestinal health in obligatory carnivores. Connective tissues and glycosaminoglycan present in animal tissues have been shown to alter the fermentation profile in cheetahs [Depauw et al., 2012] towards lower putrefaction, and thus protein fermentation, as they provide alternative fermentation substrates to the hindgut microbiota [Depauw et al., 2011]. ...
... In vitro [Depauw et al., 2011] and in vivo [Depauw et al., 2012] experiments conducted earlier have demonstrated the beneficial effects of slowly degradable animal components on gastrointestinal health in obligatory carnivores. Connective tissues and glycosaminoglycan present in animal tissues have been shown to alter the fermentation profile in cheetahs [Depauw et al., 2012] towards lower putrefaction, and thus protein fermentation, as they provide alternative fermentation substrates to the hindgut microbiota [Depauw et al., 2011]. However, skin, hide fur, tendons, and cartilages can be difficult to procure as feedstuffs, even if offered along with meat they are generally refused by the animal and their putrefaction creates unhygienic and unhealthy conditions inside the enclosures. ...
Article
An experiment was conducted to determine the effect of incorporating Jerusalem artichoke (JA) as a prebiotic in the diet of Indian leopards (n = 11 adults) fed a meat-on-bone diet. The trial consisted of three periods (A1 , B, and A2 ). Each period comprised 17 days of adaptation and four days of collection. During the control periods (A1 and A2 ), the leopards were fed their normal zoo diets of 2.5-3 kg of buffalo meat-on-bone six days a week without any supplement. During trial B, meat-on-bone diets of the leopards were supplemented with JA at 2% of dietary dry matter (DM). Meat consumption was similar among the treatments. Supplementation of JA decreased the digestibility of crude protein (P < 0.01). Digestibilities of organic matter and ether extract were similar among the treatments. Serum concentrations of urea and triglycerides were lower (P < 0.05) when JA was added to the diet. Incorporation of JA to the basal diet increased fecal concentrations of acetate (P < 0.01), butyrate (P < 0.01), lactate (P < 0.01), Lactobacillus spp., and Bifidobacterium spp. (P < 0.01) with a simultaneous decrease in the concentration of ammonia (P < 0.01), Clostridia spp. (P < 0.01), and fecal pH (P < 0.01). Fecal microbial profiles and hind gut fermentation were improved, without any adverse effects on feed consumption, nutrient utilization, and serum metabolite profiles. Results of this experiment showed that feeding JA at 2% DM in the whole diet could be potentially beneficial for captive Indian leopards fed meat-on-bone diets. Zoo Biol. 9999:1-10, 2014. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
... Animal fiber in the diet of carnivores, including hair and feathers, affects the production of metabolites of gut bacteria that influence carnivore physiology (Depauw et al. 2011). The present study showed that such effects are the consequence of alteration of the abundance of bacterial species because of the influence of animal fiber. ...
Article
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Hair and feathers are composed of keratin and are indigestible, inalimental, and unpalatable for carnivores. However, carnivores often ingest hair and feathers during feeding or when grooming. We hypothesized that ingestion of hair and feathers would change species diversity and relative abundance of bacteria in the gut of carnivores. To test this hypothesis, we added disinfected poultry down feathers to the normal diet of captive Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus). We then examined changes in fecal bacterial diversity and abundance by using fluorescently labeled terminal restriction fragments (T-RFs). Results showed that numbers of bacterial species increased significantly after feather ingestion, but total abundance was unchanged. This demonstrated that addition of disinfected feathers to the diet stimulated increased production among less abundant bacteria, resulting in a balancing of relative abundance of different bacterial species. Or, some newly-ingested microbial species would colonize the gut because a suitable microhabitat had become available. This implies the overall production of bacterial metabolites would be made up of a greater range of substances after feather ingestion. On one hand the hosts's immune response would be more diverse, increasing the capacity of the immune system to regulate gut microflora. On the other hand, the animal's physiological performance would also be affected. For wild animals, such altered physiological traits would be subjected to natural selection, and hence persistent geographic differences in the character of ingested feathers or fur would drive speciation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
... Recent in vivo and in vitro studies in one of the most endangered exotic felid species, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), point towards a significant role for microbial degradation of undigested animal tissues in the host's metabolic homeostasis [17,18]. However, because the number of captive animals available for well-documented faecal sample collection is extremely limited and because the composition and the functional capacity of the cheetah microbiota is virtually unknown, it has not been possible to link these observations to specific bacterial shifts or adaptations in the intestinal ecosystem. ...
Article
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Imbalanced feeding regimes may initiate gastrointestinal and metabolic diseases in endangered felids kept in captivity such as cheetahs. Given the crucial role of the host's intestinal microbiota in feed fermentation and health maintenance, a better understanding of the cheetah's intestinal ecosystem is essential for improvement of current feeding strategies. We determined the phylogenetic diversity of the faecal microbiota of the only two cheetahs housed in an EAZA associated zoo in Flanders, Belgium, to gain first insights in the relative distribution, identity and potential role of the major community members. Taxonomic analysis of 16S rRNA gene clone libraries (702 clones) revealed a microbiota dominated by Firmicutes (94.7%), followed by a minority of Actinobacteria (4.3%), Proteobacteria (0.4%) and Fusobacteria (0.6%). In the Firmicutes, the majority of the phylotypes within the Clostridiales were assigned to Clostridium clusters XIVa (43%), XI (38%) and I (13%). Members of the Bacteroidetes phylum and Bifidobacteriaceae, two groups that can positively contribute in maintaining intestinal homeostasis, were absent in the clone libraries and detected in only marginal to low levels in real-time PCR analyses. This marked underrepresentation is in contrast to data previously reported in domestic cats where Bacteroidetes and Bifidobacteriaceae are common residents of the faecal microbiota. Next to methodological differences, these findings may also reflect the apparent differences in dietary habits of both felid species. Thus, our results question the role of the domestic cat as the best available model for nutritional intervention studies in endangered exotic felids.
... In the current study, all leopards were offered whole prey, but frequency ranged from 3 times/wk to once per month (0.3 times/wk). Consumption of whole prey provides a variety of nutrients that may impact metabolism, including insoluble animal fiber (Depauw et al., 2013). Alterations in metabolism may provide some explanation of the correlation between increased frequency of feeding of whole prey and increased SOD activity. ...
Article
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Oxidative stress (OS) results from overproduction of reactive species. Nutrient intake can contribute positively or negatively to OS and lack of established nutrient requirements for most exotic species managed in zoos exacerbates possibilities for nutrient imbalances that potentially could lead to reactive species production. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of nutrient intake and nutritional husbandry on markers of OS in male snow leopards (n = 14) maintained in U.S. facilities (n = 12). Diet samples and husbandry information were obtained and snow leopards were immobilized once for collection of blood. Samples were analyzed for chemical composition (diet and blood), antioxidant capacity (blood), and markers of OS (blood). Correlations between weekly nutrient intakes and markers of OS were analyzed by linear regression. Analyzed markers of OS included antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx)) and ferric reducing antioxidant potential (FRAP) that are protective against OS, and protein carbonyls (PC), thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), and DNA/RNA damage that are indicative of oxidative damage. Weekly copper intake (10.1 – 80.2 mg) was negatively correlated with DNA/RNA damage (R 2 = 0.44; P = 0.01). Weekly sodium intake (4.4 – 12.7 g) was positively correlated with GPx activity (R 2 = 0.43; P = 0.04). More frequent feeding of whole prey (0.3 – 3 times/wk) was correlated with increased blood SOD activity (R 2 = 0.55; P < 0.01). In conclusion, greater dietary copper intake and more frequent feeding of whole prey may reduce OS in snow leopards. Dietary sodium intake and relationship with GPx activity should be further evaluated to determine benefit or detriment. No cause and effect can be inferred from our results, but our data suggest altering dietary form and nutrient concentrations may influence OS in snow leopards.
... Furthermore, other lesser-examined aspects of carnivore nutrition, such the importance of animal fiber (e.g. bones, tendons, hair, or feathers; [93,110]), chitin [111], and toxins [112] on foraging behavior could lead to further insights. ...
Article
A widespread perception is that carnivores are limited by the amount of prey that can be captured rather than their nutritional quality, and thus have no need to regulate macronutrient balance. Contrary to this view, recent laboratory studies show macronutrient-specific food selection by both invertebrate and vertebrate predators, and in some cases also associated performance benefits. The question thus arises of whether wild predators might likewise feed selectively according to the macronutrient content of prey. Here we review laboratory studies demonstrating the regulation of macronutrient intake by invertebrate and vertebrate predators, and address the question of whether this is likely to also occur in the wild. We conclude that it is highly likely that wild predators select prey or selectively feed on body parts according to their macronutrient composition, a possibility that could have significant implications for ecological and foraging theory, as well as applied wildlife conservation and management. © 2015 WILEY Periodicals, Inc.
... The importance of diet for glucose homeostasis is illustrated by the results from a study of captive cheetahs. Cheetahs fed whole prey had different colonic short chain fatty acid profiles and lower colonic propionate concentrations than when they were fed meat alone (138). Colonic propionate can be used by felids as a substrate for gluconeogenesis, as described in a study in the domestic cat (139). ...
Article
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Carnivores, such as the dolphin and the domestic cat, have numerous adaptations that befit consumption of diets with high protein and fat content, with little carbohydrate content. Consequently, nutrient metabolism in carnivorous species differs substantially from that of non-carnivores. Important metabolic pathways known to differ between carnivores and non-carnivores are implicated in the development of diabetes and insulin resistance in non-carnivores: (1) the hepatic glucokinase (GCK) pathway is absent in healthy carnivores yet GCK deficiency may result in diabetes in rodents and humans, (2) healthy dolphins and cats are prone to periods of fasting hyperglycemia and exhibit insulin resistance, both of which are risk factors for diabetes in non-carnivores. Similarly, carnivores develop naturally occurring diseases such as hemochromatosis, fatty liver, obesity, and diabetes that have strong parallels with the same disorders in humans. Understanding how evolution, environment, diet, and domestication may play a role with nutrient metabolism in the dolphin and cat may also be relevant to human diabetes.
... Although there are no AAFCO [2012] or NRC [2006] recommendations for it, dietary fiber is an important component of the feline diet. Although plant-based fibers are most commonly acknowledged and studied, indigestible animal tissues such as bones, tendons, skin, hair, and feathers enter the hindgut and are potential substrates for fermentation [Depauw et al., 2013]. Despite being carnivores, dietary fibers and undigested proteins are important for maintaining gastrointestinal health and stool quality in cats. ...
Article
Whole prey diets encourage species-typical behaviors making them popular in the zoo and home setting for captive exotic and domestic felids, respectively. We evaluated macronutrient, mineral, and long-chain fatty acid composition of 20 whole prey items: mice (1–2, 10–13, 21–25, 30–40, and 150–180 days of age); rats (1–4, 10–13, 21–25, 33–42, and >60 days of age); rabbits (still born, 30–45 days, >65 days with skin, and >65 days of age with skin removed); chicken (1–3 days of age, ground adult); duck (ground adult); and quail (1–3, 21–40, and >60 days of age). Composition of whole prey was highly variable (15–40% DM, 34–75% CP, 10–60% fat, and 8–18% ash). A majority of whole prey samples (15/20) had at least one mineral or fatty acid below AAFCO [2012] or NRC [2006] minimum recommended concentrations for domestic cats (K, Na, Cl, Mg, Cu, Mn, and/or Zn; total fat, linolenic acid, arachidonic acid and/or EPA and DHA). These data identify potential nutrient deficiencies allowing for alterations in dietary formulation prior to long-term feeding. Zoo Biol. XX:XX–XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
... Additionally, heart muscle changes consistent with Tau deficiency were observed in 70% of the remaining cats fed the whole rabbit treatment in that study. When fed whole rabbits (Tau = 0.60% DM; i.e., higher than recommendations for domestic cats) for 26 d, cheetahs maintained serum Tau concentrations (Depauw et al., 2013). These data indicate that when feeding whole prey, special care should be made to ensure Tau concentrations are greater than the recommendation for domestic cats. ...
Article
Whole prey diets are commonly used in the zoo and home setting for captive exotic and domestic cats, respectively. Despite their increase in popularity, nutrient digestibility of such diets has been poorly studied. In this study, the precision-fed cecectomized rooster assay was utilized to determine the protein quality and nitrogen-corrected true metabolizable energy (TMEn) of 17 whole prey samples [mice (1 to 2 d, 10 to 13 d, 21 to 25 d, 30 to 40 d, and 150 to 180 d-old); rats (1 to 4 d, 10 to 13 d, 21 to 25 d, 32 to 42 d, and > 60 d-old); rabbits (stillborn, 30 to 45 d, > 65 d-old); chicken (1 to 3 d-old); and quail (1 to 3 d, 21 to 40 d, and > 60 d-old)], and 2 ground poultry-based products (chicken; duck). Amino acid score (AAS) and protein digestibility corrected AAS (PDCAAS) were calculated utilizing the nutrient profile recommendations for domestic cat food as a reference value (AAFCO, 2012). Average individual indispensable amino acid (IAA) and total IAA (TIAA) digestibility coefficients ranged, but depended on amino acid (TIAA: 84 to 94%; Arg: 85 to 95%; His: 87 to 96%; Ile 82 to 92%; Leu: 84 to 94%; Lys: 85 to 93%; Met: 89 to 97%; Phe: 83 to 94%; Thr: 80 to 95%; Trp: 84 to 94%; Val: 80 to 93%) and sample. For a majority of the whole prey items, AA concentrations were greater than the AAFCO (2012) domestic cat nutrient profile recommendations for growth and reproduction and adult maintenance; however, some whole prey had AA concentrations below the AAFCO (2012) recommendations: Met + Cys (1.10% DM) in ground duck (1.06% DM), and Tau (0.20% DM) in 30 to 45 and > 65 d-old rabbits (0.01 and 0.10% DM, respectively), 150 to 180 d-old mice (0.18% DM), and ground duck (0.15% DM). The TMEn (3.76 to 6.44 kcal/g DM) expressed as the percent of GE (i.e., TMEn/GE) ranged from 66 to 85%, demonstrating how variable the digestibility of these items may be and justifying more research in this area. Both Met and Tau are commonly added to commercial pet foods, so supplements are readily available to address potential deficiencies and improve protein quality. A direct comparison of the metabolizable energy of whole prey items by in vivo feline and rooster experiments is needed.
... As hyper-carnivorous ambush predators, cats share physiological traits essential for hunting and endogenous glucose demands [72,77,78]. Fixed variants in big cats reveal adaptive physiological functions essential to their evolutionary success as carnivorous species [79,80]. In cheetahs this included genes involved in spatiotemporal awareness (HARS1) [81] and skeletal muscle function (ACTN3, SACS, MEGF10, SGCG and XIRP1) [44,[82][83][84]. ...
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Background While recent advances in genomics has enabled vast improvements in the quantification of genome-wide diversity and the identification of adaptive and deleterious alleles in model species, wildlife and non-model species have largely not reaped the same benefits. This has been attributed to the resources and infrastructure required to develop essential genomic datasets such as reference genomes. In the absence of a high-quality reference genome, cross-species alignments can provide reliable, cost-effective methods for single nucleotide variant (SNV) discovery. Here, we demonstrated the utility of cross-species genome alignment methods in gaining insights into population structure and functional genomic features in cheetah ( Acinonyx jubatas ), snow leopard ( Panthera uncia ) and Sumatran tiger ( Panthera tigris sumatrae ), relative to the domestic cat ( Felis catus ). Results Alignment of big cats to the domestic cat reference assembly yielded nearly complete sequence coverage of the reference genome. From this, 38,839,061 variants in cheetah, 15,504,143 in snow leopard and 13,414,953 in Sumatran tiger were discovered and annotated. This method was able to delineate population structure but limited in its ability to adequately detect rare variants. Enrichment analysis of fixed and species-specific SNVs revealed insights into adaptive traits, evolutionary history and the pathogenesis of heritable diseases. Conclusions The high degree of synteny among felid genomes enabled the successful application of the domestic cat reference in high-quality SNV detection. The datasets presented here provide a useful resource for future studies into population dynamics, evolutionary history and genetic and disease management of big cats. This cross-species method of variant discovery provides genomic context for identifying annotated gene regions essential to understanding adaptive and deleterious variants that can improve conservation outcomes.
... That we found no evidence of polysaccharide fermentation was unexpected given the study species' predominantly plant-based diets (both in the wild and captivity) and that other carnivoran species produce short chain fatty acids [29,61,62]. The digestive retention times are somewhat more in line with what we expected given their simple, carnivoran gut structure [55], but still shorter than predicted for mammals of their body mass and diet. ...
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Exclusive frugivory is rare. As a food resource, fruit is temporally and spatially patchy, low in protein, and variable in terms of energy yield from different carbohydrate types. Here, we evaluate the digestive physiology of two frugivorous Carnivora species (Potos flavus, Arctictis binturong) that converge with primates in a diversity of ecological and anatomical traits related to fruit consumption. We conducted feeding trials to determine mean digestive retention times (MRT) on captive animals at the Carnivore Preservation Trust (now Carolina Tiger Rescue), Pittsboro, NC. Fecal samples were collected on study subjects for in vitro analysis to determine methane, pH, and short chain fatty acid profiles; fiber was assayed using standard neutral detergent (NDF) and acid detergent (ADF) fiber methods. Results indicate that both carnivoran species have rapid digestive passage for mammals that consume a predominantly plant-based diet: A. binturong MRT = 6.5 hrs (0.3); P. flavus MRT = 2.5 hrs (1.6). In vitro experiments revealed no fermentation of structural polysaccharides - methane levels did not shift from 0 h to either 24 or 48 hours and no short chain fatty acids were detected. In both species, however, pH declined from one incubation period to another suggesting acidification and bacterial activity of microbes using soluble carbohydrates. A comparison with primates indicates that the study species are most similar in digestive retention times to Ateles - the most frugivorous anthropoid primate taxon.
... Nevertheless, this diet will already match the natural diet much closer than a processed diet with very little physical structure and fibrous parts. The importance of such fibrous matter in a carnivorous diet was demonstrated by Depauw et al. (2013). ...
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The genomic signature of dog domestication reveals adaptation to a starch-rich diet compared with their ancestor wolves. Diet is a key element to shape gut microbial populations in a direct way as well as through coevolution with the host. We investigated the dynamics in the gut microbiota of dogs when shifting from a starch-rich, processed kibble diet to a nature-like raw meat diet, using wolves as a wild reference. Six healthy wolves from a local zoo and six healthy American Staffordshire Terriers were included. Dogs were fed the same commercial kibble diet for at least 3 months before sampling at day 0 (DC), and then switched to a raw meat diet (the same diet as the wolves) for 28 days. Samples from the dogs were collected at day 1 (DR1), week 1 (DR7), 2 (DR14), 3 (DR21), and 4 (DR28). The data showed that the microbial population of dogs switched from kibble diet to raw diet shifts the gut microbiota closer to that of wolves, yet still showing distinct differences. At phylum level, raw meat consumption increased the relative abundance of Fusobacteria and Bacteroidetes at DR1, DR7, DR14, and DR21 (q < 0.05) compared with DC, whereas no differences in these two phyla were observed between DC and DR28. At genus level, Faecalibacterium, Catenibacterium, Allisonella, and Megamonas were significantly lower in dogs consuming the raw diet from the first week onward and in wolves compared with dogs on the kibble diet. Linear discriminant analysis effect size (LEfSe) showed a higher abundance of Stenotrophomonas, Faecalibacterium, Megamonas, and Lactobacillus in dogs fed kibble diet compared with dogs fed raw diet for 28 days and wolves. In addition, wolves had greater unidentified Lachnospiraceae compared with dogs irrespective of the diets. These results suggested that carbohydrate-fermenting bacteria give way to protein fermenters when the diet is shifted from kibble to raw diet. In conclusion, some microbial phyla, families, and genera in dogs showed only temporary change upon dietary shift, whereas some microbial groups moved toward the microbial profile of wolves. These findings open the discussion on the extent of coevolution of the core microbiota of dogs throughout domestication.
... Because cats are small carnivores that typically consume much smaller prey species and generally eat them in their entirety, the animals in this study were analyzed with all bones, organs, and intestinal contents present as well as fur and feathers (Carbone et al., 1999). Although some indigestible components of the diet may function as fi ber in the carnivore gastrointestinal tract, the amounts consumed are considered to be negligible (in the case of intestinal contents or voluntarily consumed vegetation or both), and there are no analytical methods to reliably quantify this component as fi ber (in the case of tissue from bone, cartilage, tendons, fur, skin, and feathers; Depauw et al., 2011; Plantinga et al., 2011). Therefore, fi ber analysis was not attempted in this study. ...
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The diet of the feral domestic cat consists of primarily birds and small mammals, but the nutritional composition is relatively unknown. Because of the increasing popularity of natural diets for cats and other wild captive carnivores, the purpose of this study was to describe the body composition and AA concentrations of select birds and small mammals in northern and central California: wild-caught mice (n = 7), Norway rats (n = 2), roof rats (n = 2), voles (n = 4), moles (n = 2), gophers (n = 3), and birds (n = 4). Body water, crude fat (CFa), CP, ash, and AA composition for each specimen were determined. Results are reported as mean ± SD. All results are reported on a DM basis except body water (as-is basis) and AA (g/16 g N). Combined, carcasses had the following mean composition: 67.35 ± 3.19% water, 11.72 ± 6.17% CFa, 62.19 ± 7.28 CP, and 14.83 ± 2.66% ash. Concentrations of Arg, Tau, Cys, and Met were 5.63 ± 0.46 g, 0.92 ± 0.33 g, 1.91 ± 0.89 g, and 1.82 ± 0.19 g/16 g N, respectively. Using NRC physiologic fuel values for CP, CFa, and carbohydrate by difference, the combined average energy content of the carcasses was 3,929 kcal/kg DM, but the fiber content was not determined. With the exception of mice and rats, little historical data exist regarding the body and AA composition of many of the species analyzed in this study. Wild-caught mice and rats were composed of less fat but more ash compared with previously reported data in their purpose-bred counterparts. The CP content of mice in this study was similar to previous reports in purpose-bred mice. The CP content of rats was similar or slightly greater compared with historical findings in purpose-bred rats. The nitrogen content of rats and AA concentrations on a per N basis for both rats and mice were similar to previously published data on purpose-bred rodents. The discrepancies in nutrient composition, especially fat concentration, indicate that using purpose-bred animals to represent the feral domestic cat's diet may not be valid in many instances. When consumed to meet energy needs, the nutrient content of the species reported in the present study exceed the NRC recommended allowances for total fat, CP, and essential AA for felines at all life stages.
... Although the requirement for taurine of cats consuming prey remains unknown, it seems unlikely that it would be less than that for commercial kibble diets due to the indigestible nature of certain components of the carcass. For example, dietary fiber plays a role in feline taurine needs (19), and several lines of evidence support that fur, collagen, or other indigestible components of prey carcasses function similarly to fiber (38)(39)(40). Further, diet type affects taurine metabolism (10,11,13,18,41), and previous studies in other species note differences in the gut microbial population with changes to feed texture (42,43). ...
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Whole-prey diets for exotic feline species are common, and this practice has also increased in popularity for domestic cats. However, prior analyses of prey indicate possible essential amino acid inadequacy, and dilated cardiomyopathy from taurine deficiency was reported in cats fed whole ground rabbit. Crude protein, body water, and amino acid concentrations were evaluated in fresh and frozen ground rabbits with ( n =10) or without ( n = 10) gastrointestinal tracts. Amino acids were greater in fresh samples without gastrointestinal tracts ( p < 0.05) except taurine, glycine, and cysteine. When normalized for protein content, only glutamate, alanine, methionine, isoleucine, tyrosine, lysine, histidine, and arginine were greater in fresh rabbits without gastrointestinal tracts (g/16 g N basis; p < 0.05). Freezing at −18°C for 30 days had no effect on crude protein or body water content. After freezing, only methionine was lower and only proline was higher when gastrointestinal tracts were omitted (g/16 g N basis; p < 0.05). Regardless, all essential amino acids except taurine exceeded Association of American Feed Control Officials and National Research Council nutrient recommendations for all feline life stages. In contrast, there was minimal impact of treatment on taurine concentrations. However, although feline taurine requirements for prey and other raw or fresh food diets remain undefined, none of the rabbit samples met any recommendation for taurine concentrations for commercial canned or dry extruded diets, ranging from 20 to 90% of the minimum values. Taurine supplementation is recommended when feeding rabbit to cats. Determination of taurine requirements of cats fed whole-prey diets is warranted.
... Although cats are obligate carnivores, it has been noted that wild felids consume the hair, bone and skin of their prey that may act as a source of dietary fibre [9,10]. When incorporated into extruded diets, insoluble, non-fermenting fibres such as cellulose, have been shown to alter faecal composition [11] and decrease apparent macronutrient digestibility [12,13]. ...
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Commercial diets high in animal protein and fat are increasingly being developed for pets, however little is understood about the impacts of feeding such diets to domestic cats. The carbohydrate content of these diets is typically low, and dietary fibre is often not included. Dietary fibre is believed to be important in the feline gastrointestinal tract, promoting stool formation and providing a substrate for the hindgut microbiome. Therefore, we aimed to determine the effects of adding plant-based dietary fibre to a high animal protein and fat diet. Twelve domestic short hair cats were fed three complete and balanced diets in a cross-over design for blocks of 21 days: raw meat (Raw), raw meat plus fibre (2%, ‘as is’ inclusion of inulin and cellulose; Raw+Fibre) and a commercially available Kibble diet. A commercially available canned diet was fed for 21 days as a washout phase. Apparent macronutrient digestibility, faecal output, score, pH, organic acid concentrations and bacteriome profiles were determined. Diet significantly affected all faecal parameters measured. The addition of dietary fibre to the raw meat diet was found to reduce apparent macronutrient digestibility, increase faecal output, pH and score. Thirty one bacterial taxa were significantly affected by diet. Prevotella was found to dominate in the Kibble diet, Clostridium and Fusobacterium in the Raw diet, and Prevotella and a group of unclassified Peptostreptococcaceae in the Raw+Fibre diet. Our results show that diets of different macronutrient proportions can strongly influence the faecal microbiome composition and metabolism, as shown by altered organic acid concentrations and faecal pH, in the domestic cat. The addition of 2% of each fibre to the Raw diet shifted faecal parameters closer to those produced by feeding a Kibble diet. These results provide a basis for further research assessing raw red meat diets to domestic cats.
... Most of those tissues are not or are incompletely digested and would therefore have a physiological function as fibre. They pass through the intestinal system as bulk without being assimilated; and may or may not be fermented, improving faecal quality and gut health, as suggested in wild felids (Depauw et al., 2013). In feline diets, fibre sources have been included to promote faecal formation and quality (Prola et al., 2006), to prevent hairball formation (Beynen et al., 2011;Loureiro et al., 2014) and to limit energy content, by reducing nutrient digestibility (Earle et al., 1998;Fekete et al., 2004;Prola et al.,2006). ...
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Obesity is a well-known syndrome of excessive body fat in cats (Felis catus) that affects the health, welfare and lifespan of animals. Consequently, different diet strategies aiming to reduce voluntary feed intake in cats have been studied. One of these consists in reducing energy intake based on reduction of feed intake. Several clinical studies have demonstrated that dietary fibre inclusion in food reduced efficiently voluntary feed intake (VFI) in dogs. However, little clinical data is available regarding the impact of dietary fibre inclusion on cat’s feeding behaviours and VFI. The aim of the current study was to test the performance of sugar cane fibre included at three different levels in extruded feline diets. The main purpose was to measure the impact of fibre inclusion on the cats’ VFI, while maintaining palatability. Four feline diets were formulated with different inclusion levels of sugar cane fibre expressed on an as fed basis (0% sugar cane fibre (control), 3.7% of sugar cane fibre (SF3.7), 5.5% of sugar cane fibre (SF5.5) and 7.3% sugar cane fibre (SF7.3)). The VFI and palatability were evaluated in two different methods: a new method using 79 cats, called ‘consumption kinetics’ based on the dynamic measure of cat’s daily consumptions in ad libitum conditions providing information about cat’s feeding pattern, and the standard palatability two-bowl (versus) test using more than 30 cats. All foods had identical palatability performance, regardless of sugar cane fibre inclusion level, while the VFI of products containing 5.5% and 7.3% sugar cane fibre decreased significantly compared to the control diet. The level of supplementation of sugar cane fibre was efficient to reduce felines VFI without impairing food palatability level, and may be a useful ingredient to add to feline diets to improve the success of the weight management programs.
... Recently, the concept of animal fiber (hair, bones, cartilage, etc.) has received more attention. Cheetahs consuming animal fiber in the form of whole prey, produced fecal phenol and indole concentrations that were 65.5 and 61.4% lower compared to cheetahs consuming ground raw meat diets, indicating a potential improvement in gut health [54]. Additionally, fiber can function as a pre-biotic, appetite regulator, and produce valuable short-chain fatty acids that provide energy for the large intestine [55]. ...
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North American zoological institutions typically feed ground raw meat diets to large exotic cats. These diets typically are nutritionally complete, but lack physical properties characteristic of whole prey. Lack of mastication and prey manipulation may contribute to behavioral and health challenges. Pork by-products may provide environmental enrichment to mitigate these challenges. The objectives of this study were to evaluate a pig head for nutritional composition and to determine if a pig head was biologically relevant environmental enrichment for managed large exotic cats. Pig heads consisted of: DM: 48.5%; OM: 60.7%; CP: 38.4%; fat: 22.0%; CF: 13.5%; TDF: 3.4%; GE: 4.1 kcal/g DM. Five individually housed exotic cats (Panthera tigris tigris, Panthera tigris altaica (n = 2), Panthera tigris jacksoni, Panthera leo) were observed in 2-h blocks, 24-h before pig head introduction (Baseline), at time of pig head introduction (Enrichment) and immediately after the pig head was removed (Post Enrichment) via instantaneous scan sampling for 4 consecutive weeks. Active behaviors were 55.7% higher on Enrichment compared to Baseline days, and 26.4% higher compared to Post Enrichment days (p<0.0001). Active behaviors were 39.8% higher on Post Enrichment compared to Baseline days (p<0.0001). Total active behaviors were highest (p<0.0001) in week 3 and lowest (p<0.0001) in week 4 with differences as high as 64.5% seen among weeks. In conclusion, pig heads have potential to provide nutrient dense enrichment to large exotic cats, and employing a pig head as environmental enrichment increased active behaviors and did not lose novelty.
... Traditional commercial cat food often contains 30-40% of protein (Hooda et al., 2013). However, cats are obligate carnivores, having evolved on diets rich in protein and fat (Plantinga et al., 2011;Depauw et al., 2013); therefore, the content of dietary protein has always been a hot topic in feline research. In a 2009 study, Lubbs et al. (2009) identified several variations in the GI microbiota composition in adult cats that were fed diets with different proportions of proteins. ...
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The relationship between microbial community and host has profound effects on the health of animals. A balanced gastrointestinal (GI) microbial population provides nutritional and metabolic benefits to its host, regulates the immune system and various signaling molecules, protects the intestine from pathogen invasion, and promotes a healthy intestinal structure and an optimal intestinal function. With the fast development of next-generation sequencing, molecular techniques have become standard tools for microbiota research, having been used to demonstrate the complex intestinal ecosystem. Similarly to other mammals, the vast majority of GI microbiota in cats (over 99%) is composed of the predominant bacterial phyla Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, and Proteobacteria. Many nutritional and clinical studies have shown that cats' microbiota can be affected by several different factors including body condition, age, diet, and inflammatory diseases. All these factors have different size effects, and some of these may be very minor, and it is currently unknown how important these are. Further research is needed to determine the functional variations in the microbiome in disease states and in response to environmental and/or dietary modulations. Additionally, further studies are also needed to explain the intricate relationship between GI microbiota and the genetics and immunity of its host. This review summarizes past and present knowledge of the feline GI microbiota and looks into the future possibilities and challenges of the field.
... In addition to nutrients, NG allows broader factors such as 'animal fibre' (e.g. chitin, bones and hair; Depauw et al. 2013) or toxins (Lei et al. 2015) to be included within models as dimensions in their own right and their corresponding interactive effects (including negative effects) to be determined. Additionally, nonnutritional variables (e.g. ...
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Carnivorous animals are assumed to consume prey to optimise energy intake. Recently, however, studies using Nutritional Geometry (NG) have demonstrated that specific blends of macronutrients (e.g. protein, fat and in some cases carbohydrates), rather than energy per se, drive the food selection and intake of some vertebrate and invertebrate predators in the laboratory. A vital next step is to examine the role of nutrients in the foraging decisions of predators in the wild, but extending NG studies of carnivores from the laboratory to the field presents several challenges. Biologging technology offers a solution for collecting relevant data which when combined with NG will yield new insights into wild predator nutritional ecology.
... In contrast, the incidence of similar conditions in free-ranging cheetahs was found to be very low [10,11]. Although low heterozygosity and the stress of captivity have been suggested as causal factors [8,12], recent studies have started to focus on the contribution of potential dietary factors in the pathogenesis of these diseases [13][14][15] There is increasing evidence of the critical role of dietary and circulating fatty acids (FA) in health and disease in various species [16][17][18][19]. Besides providing a valuable source of energy, FAs also perform other vital functions in the body, including hormone production, cellular signalling as well as providing structural components of biological membranes. ...
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Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) are highly specialised large felids, currently listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red data list. In captivity, they are known to suffer from a range of chronic non-infectious diseases. Although low heterozygosity and the stress of captivity have been suggested as possible causal factors, recent studies have started to focus on the contribution of potential dietary factors in the pathogenesis of these diseases. Fatty acids are an important component of the diet, not only providing a source of metabolisable energy, but serving other important functions in hormone production, cellular signalling as well as providing structural components in biological membranes. To develop a better understanding of lipid metabolism in cheetahs, we compared the total serum fatty acid profiles of 35 captive cheetahs to those of 43 free-ranging individuals in Namibia using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The unsaturated fatty acid concentrations differed most remarkably between the groups, with all of the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, except arachidonic acid and hypogeic acid, detected at significantly lower concentrations in the serum of the free-ranging animals. The influence of age and sex on the individual fatty acid concentrations was less notable. This study represents the first evaluation of the serum fatty acids of free-ranging cheetahs, providing critical information on the normal fatty acid profiles of free-living, healthy individuals of this species. The results raise several important questions about the potential impact of dietary fatty acid composition on the health of chee-tahs in captivity.
... Additionally, animal fibre has been overlooked in the carnivore diet. Animal fibre consists of indigestible glycoprotein-rich material, such as bone, tendon, cartilage, skin, hair and feathers, and is a substrate for large intestinal microbial fermentation [14]. The term "dietary carbohydrates", as used in this literature review, is referring specifically to digestible carbohydrates, especially simple sugars (mono-and disaccharides) and starches ( Figure 1). ...
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The domestic cat’s wild ancestors are obligate carnivores that consume prey containing only minimal amounts of carbohydrates. Evolutionary events adapted the cat’s metabolism and physiology to this diet strictly composed of animal tissues and led to unique digestive and metabolic peculiarities of carbohydrate metabolism. The domestic cat still closely resembles its wild ancestor. Although the carnivore connection of domestic cats is well recognised, little is known about the precise nutrient profile to which the digestive physiology and metabolism of the cat have adapted throughout evolution. Moreover, studies show that domestic cats balance macronutrient intake by selecting low-carbohydrate foods. The fact that cats evolved consuming low-carbohydrate prey has led to speculations that high-carbohydrate diets could be detrimental for a cat’s health. More specifically, it has been suggested that excess carbohydrates could lead to feline obesity and diabetes mellitus. Additionally, the chances for remission of diabetes mellitus are higher in cats that consume a low-carbohydrate diet. This literature review will summarise current carbohydrate knowledge pertaining to digestion, absorption and metabolism of carbohydrates, food selection and macronutrient balancing in healthy, obese and diabetic cats, as well as the role of carbohydrates in prevention and treatment of obesity and diabetes mellitus.
... A link between an unnatural diet composition and the pathogenesis of diseases has been suggested (e.g. Depauw et al., 2012Depauw et al., , 2013Whitehouse-Tedd et al., 2015). A comparison of the total serum fatty acid profiles between captive and freeranging cheetahs in Namibia demonstrated that most of the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids occur at significantly lower concentrations in the serum of freeranging animals (Tordiffe et al., 2016). ...
Article
In recent years, ecological studies have shown that oxidative status can have a significant impact on fitness components in free-ranging animals. This has raised awareness by conservation practitioners about the importance of identifying the factors associated with individual variation in markers of oxidative status because this might provide several potential benefits for conservation programmes. In this study, we measured five markers of oxidative status in the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), a carnivore species classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. We asked whether the five measures of oxidative damage and antioxidant blood-based markers are associated with a number of socioecological and environmental factors, including individual sex, age class, living condition (free-ranging vs. captive), restraint duration stress (i.e. capture duration stress), spatial tactic of males (territory holders vs. non-territory holders, i.e. floaters) and reproductive status of females (accompanied by offspring vs. solitary). Markers of oxidative damage were higher in those cheetahs that were physically restraint for a longer duration in the trap, indicating that oxidative stress may be increased by short-term unpredictable environmental stressors. Markers of oxidative damage were also higher in captive than free-ranging cheetahs, suggesting that oxidative stress might be a physiological mechanism underlying the detrimental effects of captivity on the health status of cheetahs. Variation of oxidative status markers was also significantly associated with individual age class, spatial tactic and reproductive status, opening new research avenues about the role of oxidative stress in influencing behavioural and life-history traits in cheetahs.
... with those fed whole prey items, which contain stomach and intestinal contents, organs, and other components typically consumed by a predator) that lack indigestible animal components such as bone [32]. Compositional differences in diet may lead to higher levels of putrefaction metabolites, influencing gut health [37,38]. A microbial link is likely, as nutrient uptake is impacted and possibly mediated by the gut microbiome. ...
Article
Captive wildlife are a unique set of animals, whose diverse host–microbe symbioses are underexplored. Compared to their wild counterparts they are particularly susceptible to a variety of diseases, many of which have explicit or purported links to the microbiome. In this perspective, we will examine how the microbiome influences gastrointestinal disorders, metabolic dysregulation, reproduction, and disease susceptibility in captive wildlife. Investigation of wildlife, and specifically captive wildlife, affords a uniqueopportunity to gain understanding of the broad diversity of the associated microbiota and learn from nature’s molecular and microbial responses to disease. Studies like these could lead to the discovery of new interventions, ranging from dietary changes to the use of microbes or their natural products as treatment. Intervention strategies can lead to the discovery of medically relevant small molecules and the develop- ment of a novel platform for N-of-1 targeted medical investigations.
... Nevertheless, different animal tissues differ isotopically [reviewed in 14], and can vary considerably in their digestibility [e.g. [38][39][40][41]. Additionally, sloughed gut lining and microbes, as well as fractionation associated with digestion, may all result in an isotopic offset between consumed prey and faecal matter for predators [28,30,36,42,43]. ...
Article
Faecal isotopic analysis may complement other non-invasive wildlife survey tools for monitoring landscape use by carnivores, such as motion-detecting cameras and non-invasive genetic sampling. We analysed carbon, nitrogen, and strontium isotopes in faecal matter produced by jaguars (Panthera onca) as well as bones from consumed prey at the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve (MPR) in Belize, Central America. The MPR is ideally suited for a spatial isotope study as vegetation and geology both vary considerably. The isotopic composition of faecal matter should reflect the habitat and geology where consumed prey lived. We used bone from consumed prey recovered from jaguar scats as a proxy for diet. Faecal matter and bone showed comparable spatial isotopic trends, suggesting that the isotopic composition of jaguar faeces can be used to detect foraging in different habitats (pine forest versus broadleaf forest) or on different geologies (Mesozoic carbonates; Palaeozoic granite, contact metamorphics, and metasediments). This result is reassuring as bones are not always present in carnivore scats. Studying landscape use by cryptic and wide-ranging carnivore species like jaguars remains challenging. Isotopic analysis of faecal matter complements the existing array of non-invasive spatial monitoring tools.
... Moreover, antioxidants in plants, such as beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol may inhibit the detrimental effects of DCA on colonic cells [47]. In dogs, animal-fibres, such as collagen, has been suggested to have the same properties as plant-fibre [53], Table 1 Dog_id a Diet CA CDCA DCA LCA UDCA G-DCA G-LCA T-CA T-CDCA T-DCA T-LCA 1 CD1 32 41 54 52 13 1 1 3 1 1 0 HMB 40 53 67 53 21 0 2 236 82 196 131 31 10 3 21 3 66 9 CD2 31 29 35 51 4 5 2 3 1 4 2 10 CD1 253 107 88 88 13 8 2 8 2 7 2 HMB 82 44 88 64 16 11 3 2 1 5 1 CD2 157 101 133 111 18 18 3 7 2 11 4 11 CD1 237 100 70 91 47 0 1 29 7 15 6 HMB 101 141 122 87 23 3 2 11 1 17 3 CD2 45 54 61 69 15 5 2 3 1 6 2 and thereby limit any potential toxic effects from secondary BA. In humans, a diet with high content of protein and fat and low content of fibre, is associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer [8,54,55]. ...
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Background: Dogs are fed various diets, which also include components of animal origin. In humans, a high-fat/low-fibre diet is associated with higher faecal levels of bile acids, which can influence intestinal health. It is unknown how an animal-based diet high in fat and low in fibre influences the faecal bile acid levels and intestinal health in dogs. This study investigated the effects of high intake of minced beef on the faecal bile acid profile in healthy, adult, client-owned dogs (n = 8) in a 7-week trial. Dogs were initially adapted to the same commercial dry food. Thereafter, incremental substitution of the dry food by boiled minced beef over 3 weeks resulted in a diet in which 75% of each dog's total energy requirement was provided as minced beef during week 5. Dogs were subsequently reintroduced to the dry food for the last 2 weeks of the study. The total taurine and glycine-conjugated bile acids, the primary bile acids chenodeoxycholic acid and cholic acid, and the secondary bile acids lithocholic acid, deoxycholic acid (DCA) and ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) were analysed, using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Results: The faecal quantities of DCA were significantly higher in dogs fed the high minced beef diet. These levels reversed when dogs were reintroduced to the dry food diet. The faecal levels of UDCA and taurine-conjugated bile acids had also increased in response to the beef diet, but this was only significant when compared to the last dry food period. Conclusions: These results suggest that an animal-based diet with high-fat/low-fibre content can influence the faecal bile acids levels. The consequences of this for canine colonic health will require further investigation.
... However, the role of dietary fiber in the function of the intestine of carnivorous animals has been so overlooked that it has been called a 'forgotten nutrient'. [6][7][8] In particular, some dietary fibers can act as prebiotics, which promote the growth of one or more types of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. Shortchain fatty acid production from fast fermenting dietary fiber is important for maintaining intestinal health. ...
Article
Novel animal-derived fibers are of interest for the pet food industry. We here introduce a method for extracting wool proteins using controlled hydrolysis of wool. This results in an appropriate form and we demonstrate its application in pet food using the domestic cat. The effect of the wool hydrolysate on biomarkers of digestive health (e.g., fecal short-chain fatty acids and fecal microbial composition, apparent amino acid (AA) and protein digestibility), are also described. In a feeding study, a cohort of cats (n=8 per treatment) were fed a basal diet (Control), or the basal diet supplemented with 2% wool hydrolysate , 2% inulin (Synergy1; as is) or 2% cellulose (Novagel; as is). The concentration of butyric acid was not significant (P=0.102) between treatment groups. The concentration of fecal lactic acid was greatest (P=0.007) in cats on the Novagel diet. Valeric acid was increased (P=0.001) in cats fed Synergy1. Supplementation of cat diet with a wool hydrolysate showed similarities to Novagel supplementation in terms of its effects on fecal short-chain fatty acid concentrations and fecal microbiota composition. Wool hydrolysate increased apparent cysteine digestibility compared to Synergy 1 or Novogel. In terms of fecal health, intake, and palatability, the diet supplemented with wool hydrolysate was not detrimental, being similar to currently used dietary fiber supplements. These findings indicate that wool hydrolysates offer promise as an animal-derived supplement source for pet diets.
... Cheetahs have limited delta-6 desaturase [47], an enzyme catalyst for the biosynthesis of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), that converts linoleic acid to gamma-linolenic acid and hence to arachidonic acid [48]. This deficiency needs to be supplemented in the diet; however, different concentrations of arachidonic acid are present in the prey they consume; for example, rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) meat contains lower concentrations of arachidonic acid than the meat of ungulates [49]. In addition, depending on the meat preservation process, there may be different concentrations of PUFA. ...
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The rapid decline of cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) throughout their range and long-term studies of captive breeding has increased conservation action for this species including the study of chronic diseases. Gastritis is one of the captive diseases that leads to high mortality presented with symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, and weight loss. The disease presents different histological lesions in the gastrointestinal tract that are characterized by inconstant and different clinical appearance in captive and free-range cheetahs. The aim of this review is to summarize the causes of chronic gastritis in the cheetah. Factors including diet, living conditions, infections with gastric Helicobacter-like organisms (GHLOs), the lack of genetic polymorphism and the cheetah’s specific-immunocompetence are analyzed. All studies on gastroenteric cheetah pathologies, conducted between 1991 (to the best of our knowledge, the first report on online databases) and 2021, are included in this review, highlighting the possible correlation between stress-related captive conditions and chronic gastric pathology.
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Two experiments were conducted to evaluate digestibility and palatability of a new commercial pork-based raw diet for zoo-managed felids. Currently 2 protein sources (beef or horse) comprise the majority of commercial raw meat diet formulations for exotic carnivores in zoological institutions. Pork-based diets have traditionally not been widely utilized and thus nutrient digestibility of pork has not been adequately evaluated in exotic carnivores. The objectives of this study were 1) to determine if a pork-based diet had similar apparent total tract macronutrient digestibility and fecal scores as standard zoo carnivore diets formulated with either horse or beef, in large exotic felids and 2) evaluate palatability of pork for use in zoos. Ten exotic felids were used including cheetahs (; 3), jaguars (; = 3), leopards (; 2), puma (; 1), and Bengal tiger (; 1). Dietary treatments consisted of 4 raw meat diets: 1 horse-based (Horse), 2 beef-based (B1, B2), and 1 pork-based diet (Pork). Fecal scores also were evaluated (1 = hard to 5 = watery/liquid). This randomized crossover design study consisted of 4 periods, each 10 d for treatment adaptation followed by 4 d of sample collection. Dry matter and crude protein apparent digestibility values were greater ( < 0.05) in felids fed Pork (88.0 and 95.7%) compared with felids fed Horse (83.6 and 92.7%) and B2 (85.6 and 93.1%). Apparent organic matter digestibility was greater ( < 0.05) in felids fed Pork (90.8%) than felids fed Horse (88.5%). Apparent fat digestibility values were high across all treatments but were greater ( < 0.05) in felids fed Pork (98.5%) compared with felids fed B1 (95.5%) or B2 (96.5%). Gross energy digestibility values were greater in felids fed Pork (92.4%) compared with B1 (90.2%). Average fecal scores were 2.30, 2.94, 3.42, and 3.54 for Horse, Pork, B1 and B2, respectively; and were different ( < 0.05) between treatments with exception of B1 and B2 that did not differ. Felids approached the pork diet first in 65.6% of observations and tasted the pork diet first in 71.9% of observations, compared with a beef-based raw diet. Based on results, the evaluated pork-based diet had similar apparent total tract macronutrient digestibility and palatability compared with standard zoo carnivore formulations. In conclusion, pork-based diets could be included among dietary options for large zoo felids.
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Practical relevance: A feeding plan recommendation for cats, both healthy and with disease, should include diet choice, amounts to feed and the feeding method. Diet choice can be complex owing to the abundance of products, sometimes with conflicting marketing messages, and the prevalence of information with no scientific basis. It is important to be aware of the specific challenges of both commercial and homemade diets. Moreover, a nutritional assessment is a prerequisite when recommending a diet to ensure that it is safe, appropriate for the cat's life stage and nutritious for long-term feeding. Commercial vs homemade diets: There are a variety of commercial diets available, allowing considerable customisation. These products are regulated and can be tested to determine nutritional adequacy and safety, although as the industry is partly self-regulated, choice of manufacturer is important. Properly formulated homemade diets can be customised to the patient and are a good option when no commercial product that meets the patient's needs exists. Homemade diets can be an owner preference. A serious limitation is the lack of testing, potentially affecting safety and also resulting in a reliance on database information to determine nutritional adequacy. Generic homemade diet recipes (eg, sourced from the internet) have additional risks of deficiencies and imbalances, and are not recommended. Homemade diets should be devised by a veterinary nutrition specialist with consideration of both patient and owner factors. Clinical challenges: Dietary misinformation, which is all too readily available on the internet, may result in owners making questionable feeding choices for their pets. A homemade diet may be requested by owners based on the perception that there are poor ingredients in commercial foods. The veterinary healthcare team needs to have good evidence-based information to present to owners about diet choice. Evidence base: Several decades of research on feline nutrition forms the basis for nutritional requirements and dietary recommendations. There are varying degrees of evidence regarding requirements for each nutrient, and a lack of data on the effects of different types of processing on nutrient needs.
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In this paper we report on the first edition of the HEp-2 Cells Classification contest, held at the 2012 edition of the International Conference on Pattern Recognition, and focused on Indirect Immunofluorescence (IIF) image analysis. The IIF methodology is used to detect autoimmune diseases by searching for antibodies in the patient serum but, unfortunately, it is still a subjective method that depends too heavily on the experience and expertise of the physician. This has been the motivation behind the recent initial developments of computer aided diagnosis systems in this field. The contest aimed to bring together researchers interested in the performance evaluation of algorithms for IIF image analysis: 28 different recognition systems able to automatically recognize the staining pattern of cells within IIF images were tested on the same undisclosed dataset. In particular, the dataset takes into account the six staining patterns that occur most frequently in the daily diagnostic practice: centromere, nucleolar, homogeneous, fine speckled, coarse speckled and cytoplasmic. In the paper we briefly describe all the submitted methods, analyze the obtained results and discuss the design choices conditioning the performance of each method.
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The maintenance of gut health is complex and relies on a delicate balance between the diet, the commensal microflora and the mucosa, including the digestive epithelium and the overlying mucus layer. Superimposed on this balance is the frequent presence of enteric bacteria with pathogenic potential, the proliferation and metabolic activity of which may perturb digestive function, and lead to diarrhoea, poor growth rates and even death. Such enteric infections with pathogenic bacteria are common in young animals and children. Diet has an important influence on gut health, including effects on proliferation of pathogenic bacteria, and it can provide either beneficial or harmful input. Dietary fibre (DF) is a dietary component that has a major influence in this regard. DF is a heterogeneous class of components that are not hydrolysed by digestive enzymes of non-ruminant animals, and consequently are the main substrates for bacterial fermentation in the distal part of the gut. This review presents evidence that some components of dietary fibre may improve gut health, or alternatively enhance gut perturbation and subsequent diarrhoea in young animals (including piglets, chickens and children). This review reports and discusses how DF interacts with the gut epithelium and mucus, directly or by the way of the microflora, and consequently can protect against or enhance enteric infections.
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N balance and postprandial acylcarnitine profile following intestinal fermentation of oligofructose and inulin were investigated in healthy cats. Two diets were tested in a crossover design: a commercial high-protein cat food supplemented with 4 % DM oligofructose and inulin (spectrum: degree of polymerisation (DP) 2-10: 60 (SE 5) % DM; DP>10: 28 (SE 5) % DM) as high-fermentable fibre (HFF) diet, and the same commercial diet supplemented with 4 % DM cellulose as low-fermentable fibre diet. Eight adult cats were randomly allotted to each of the two diets at intervals of 4 weeks. At the end of each testing period, faeces and urine were collected over a 5-d period, and blood samples were obtained before and at the selected time points postprandially. No differences were found for N intake, N digestibility and faecal N excretion, whereas urinary N excretion was lower when the HFF diet was fed (P = 0.044). N balance was positive in all the cats, and tended to be increased when the HFF diet was fed (P = 0.079). Propionylcarnitine concentrations (P = 0.015) and their area under the curve (AUC) (P = 0.013) were increased when the HFF diet was fed, revealing a more pronounced production and absorption of propionate. Yet, methylmalonylcarnitine concentrations and concurrent AUC were not elevated when the HFF diet was fed, indicating reduced amino acid catabolism. 3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutarylcarnitine concentrations (P = 0.026) and their AUC (P = 0.028) were also reduced when the HFF diet was fed, implying diminished use of branched-chain amino acids as well. In healthy cats, oligofructose and inulin added to a high-protein diet were suggested to reduce postprandial amino acid-induced gluconeogenesis by substitution with propionate.
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The effect of dietary oligofructose and inulin supplementation on glucose metabolism in obese and non-obese cats was assessed. Two diets were tested in a crossover design; a control diet high in protein (46 % on DM basis), moderate in fat (15 %), low in carbohydrates (27 %), but no soluble fibres added; and a prebiotic diet, with 2.5 % of a mixture of oligofructose and inulin added to the control diet. Eight non-obese and eight obese cats were allotted to each of two diets in random order at intervals of 4 weeks. At the end of each testing period, intravenous glucose tolerance tests were performed. Area under the glucose curve (AUCgluc) was increased (P = 0.022) and the second insulin peak was delayed (P = 0.009) in obese compared to non-obese cats. Diets did not affect fasting plasma glucose concentrations, blood glucose response at each glucose time-point after glucose administration, AUCgluc, fasting serum insulin concentrations, area under the insulin curve, and height and appearance time of insulin response. Yet, analysis of acylcarnitines revealed higher propionylcarnitine concentrations (P = 0.03) when fed the prebiotic diet, suggesting colonic fermentation and propionate absorption. Prebiotic supplementation reduced methylmalonylcarnitine (P = 0.072) and aspartate aminotransferase concentrations (P = 0.025), both indicating reduced gluconeogenesis from amino acids. This trial evidenced impaired glucose tolerance and altered insulin response to glucose administration in obese compared to non-obese cats, regardless of dietary intervention; yet modulation of glucose metabolism by enhancing gluconeogenesis from propionate and inhibition of amino acid catabolism can be suggested.
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The effect of Monensin (Rumensin, Eli Lilly & Co.) in incubations with mixed rumen microorganisms metabolizing carbohydrate or protein substrates was investigated. Monensin partly inhibited methanogenesis and increased propionate production, although the effect was not always statistically significant. Incubations with substrates specific for methane bacteria suggest that inhibition of methanogenesis by Monensin was not due to a specific toxic action on the methanogenic flora, but rather to an inhibition of hydrogen production from formate. Total and net microbial growth were considerably decreased by addition of Monensin, although the amount of substrate fermented was not altered, resulting in lowered values of microbial growth efficiency. In incubations with casein, Monensin lowered protein degradation in line with a lowered ammonia production, whereas a slight accumulation of alpha-amino nitrogen was observed. The results suggest that besides an influence of Monensin on the rumen carbohydrate fermentation pattern, another reason for the beneficial effects observed in vivo might be decreased food protein degradation in the rumen, altering the final site of protein digestion in the animal. Also, the possibility of a decrease in rumen microbial growth efficiency has to be considered when using Monensin as a food additive.
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There are close parallels between the fermentative processes which go on in the rumen, caecum, and colon of herbivorous animals and colonic metabolism in man. Short chain fatty acids, which are the main end-product of carbohydrate breakdown in these organs, exert a controlling influence on intraluminal events, absorption, mucosal metabolism, and are accepted as such by animal physiologists. Such recognition has yet to be given to this aspect of colonic function in man, and many studies of colonic metabolism have failed to take account of the possible effect of short chain fatty acids. A great deal still needs to be learnt about these acids in the human colon - in particular, the overall amount produced each day, the main substrates for fermentation, the effect of diet, the molecular form in which they are absorbed, their contribution to energy metabolism, and their interaction with a wide range of other colonic events. Such knowledge should yield important information which may be relevant to the aetiology of colonic disorders which are so prevalent in the human species.
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Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the addition of single sources and blends of dietary fibers to cat diets. In Exp. 1, fermentability of selected fibrous substrates by cat fecal microflora was evaluated. After 24 h of fermentation, OM disappearance (OMD) and total short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production were greatest (P < .05) for citrus pectin, guar gum, and locust bean gum, whereas Solka Floc resulted in the least (P < .05) OMD and total SCFA production. In Exp. 2, six diets were formulated based on results of Exp. 1. The highest (P < .05) digestibilities of DM and OM occurred when cats consumed the diet with no supplemental fiber, and the lowest (P < .05) digestibilities occurred when cats consumed the SCFA blend (SC) diet. Nitrogen and lipid digestibilities also were lowest (P < .05) for cats consuming the SC diet, whereas total dietary fiber (TDF) digestibility (P < .05) was greatest for cats consuming the beet pulp, SC, and combination blend diets. Fecal consistency scores were highest (P < .05) for cats consuming the SC diet, indicating liquid, unformed stools. In conclusion, the in vitro fermentation technique was reasonably accurate in predicting in vivo digestion of fiber. The SC diet, which contained the most fermentable fibers, severely decreased nutrient digestibility and resulted in poor stool characteristics. Diets that contain moderately fermentable fiber provide fermentation end products that may be important in maintaining the health of the gastrointestinal tract of the cat.
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The gut is an obvious target for the development of functional foods, acting as it does as the interface between diet and the metabolic events which sustain life. The key processes in digestive physiology which can be regulated by modifying diet are satiety, the rate and extent of macronutrient breakdown and absorption from the small bowel, sterol metabolism, the colonic microflora, fermentation, mucosal function and bowel habit, and the gut immune system. The intestinal microflora is the main focus of many current functional foods. Probiotics are foods which contain live bacteria which are beneficial to health whilst prebiotics, such as certain non-digestible oligosaccharides which selectively stimulate the growth of bifidobacteria in the colon, are already on the market. Their claimed benefits are to alleviate lactose maldigestion, increase resistance to invasion by pathogenic species of bacteria in the gut, stimulate the immune system and possibly protect against cancer. There are very few reports of well-designed human intervention studies with prebiotics as yet. Certain probiotic species have been shown to shorten the duration of rotavirus diarrhoea in children but much more work is needed on the mechanism of immunomodulation and of competitive exclusion and microflora modification. The development of functional foods for the gut is in its infancy and will be successful only if more fundamental research is done on digestive physiology, the gut microflora, immune system and mucosal function.
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An increased protein content and less digestible protein sources in the diet can induce bad faecal odour. The present study investigated the effect of adding prebiotics to dog diets enriched with animal-derived protein sources on apparent digestibilities and faecal ammonia concentration. In three subsequent periods eight healthy beagle dogs were fed a commercial dog diet that was gradually supplemented by up to 50 % with meat and bone meal (MBM), greaves meal (GM) or poultry meal (PM) respectively. Afterwards, 3 % fructo-oligosaccharides or 3 % isomalto-oligosaccharides were substituted for 3 % of the total diet. Supplementation with animal-derived protein sources did not decrease the apparent N digestibility significantly but oligosaccharides did. On the other hand the bacterial N content (% DM) in the faeces was highest in the oligosaccharide groups followed by the protein-supplemented groups and lowest in the control groups. When the apparent N digestibility was corrected for bacterial N no significant differences were noted anymore except for the GM group where the corrected N digestibility was still lower after oligosaccharide supplementation. The amount of faecal ammonia was significantly increased by supplementing with protein or oligosaccharides in the MBM and GM groups but not in the PM group. When apparent N digestibility is interpreted, a correction for bacterial N should be taken into account, especially when prebiotics are added to the diet. Oligosaccharides did not reduce the faecal ammonia concentrations as expected.
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The objective of this experiment was to determine the effects of age and diet on serum chemistry, hematology, and nutrient digestibility in healthy dogs. Twelve senior (11 yr old; six males and six females) and 12 weanling (age = 8 wk old; six males and six females) beagles were randomly assigned to one of two dietary treatments: 1) an animal product-based (APB) diet or 2) a plant product-based (PPB) diet. The APB diet was primarily composed of brewer's rice, chicken by-product meal, and poultry fat, whereas the primary ingredients of the PPB diet included corn, soybean meal, wheat middlings, and meat and bone meal. Dogs remained on experiment for 12 mo. A 4-d total fecal collection was performed to determine apparent macronutrient digestibilities after 3 and 10 mo. Blood samples were collected at baseline and after 3, 6, 9, and 12 mo on study. After 3 mo, dogs fed the APB diet had greater (P < 0.001) DM (6 percentage units) and OM (7 percentage units) digestibilities than dogs fed the PPB diet. Senior dogs had greater DM (2.5 percentage units; P = 0.07) and OM (3 percentage units; P < 0.01) digestibilities than young dogs. Dogs fed the PPB diet had a lower (P < 0.001) fecal DM percentage (7.5 percentage units) and greater (P < 0.001) fecal output (253 vs. 97 g/d, as-is basis). After 10 mo, age did not affect nutrient digestibility or fecal characteristics. However, the effect of diet after 10 mo was similar to that observed after 3 mo, as dogs fed the PPB diet had a lower (P < 0.001) fecal DM percentage (7 percentage units), lower OM (4 percentage units; P = 0.09) and fat (6 percentage units; P < 0.001) digestibilities, and greater (P < 0.005) fecal output (235 vs. 108 g/d, as-is basis). At baseline, most serum metabolites were different between age groups, with weanlings having several metabolite concentrations outside the reference ranges for adult dogs. Blood cholesterol, red blood cells, hemoglobin, hematocrit, creatinine, total protein, albumin, bilirubin, sodium, chloride, and alanine transaminase were present in greater (P < 0.05) concentrations in senior dogs, but weanling dogs had greater (P < 0.05) concentrations of glucose, platelets, Ca, P, K, and alkaline phosphatase. Over time, blood cholesterol concentrations were affected by age (P < 0.05) and diet (P < 0.01). Senior dogs had greater (P < 0.05) cholesterol concentrations than weanling dogs. Moreover, dogs fed the APB diet had greater (P < 0.05) cholesterol concentrations than dogs fed the PPB diet. Overall, although serum metabolite concentrations of weanlings were different from senior dogs at baseline, as weanlings matured into young adults, metabolite concentrations were similar to those of senior dogs. Diet had the largest effects on nutrient digestibilities and fecal characteristics. Canine age and diet must be considered when interpreting experimental and clinical data.
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The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) has been considered a paradigm for disease vulnerability due to loss of genetic diversity. This species monomorphism has been suspected to be the basis for their general poor health and dwindling populations in captivity. North American and South African captive populations have high prevalences of hepatic veno-occlusive disease, glomerulosclerosis, gastritis, and systemic amyloidosis, diseases that are rare in other species. Unusually severe inflammatory reactions to common infectious agents have also been documented in captive cheetahs. The current study compared disease prevalences in free-ranging Namibian cheetahs with those in two captive populations of similar ages. The occurrence of diseases in the free-ranging population was determined from 49 necropsies and 27 gastric biopsies obtained between 1986 and 2003 and compared with prevalences in 147 North American and 80 South African captive cheetahs. Except for two cheetahs, the free-ranging population was in robust health with only mild lesions present, in contrast with significantly higher prevalences in the captive populations. Despite widespread heavy Helicobacter colonization in wild cheetahs, only 3% of the free-ranging population had moderate to severe gastritis, in contrast with 64% of captive cheetahs. No severe inflammatory reactions to viral infections were detected in the free-ranging animals. Because free-ranging Namibian cheetahs are as genetically impoverished as captive cheetahs, these findings caution against attributing loss of fitness solely to genetic factors and attest to the fundamental importance of extrinsic factors in wildlife health.
A second collaborative study on acid-detergent fiber and lignin has been completed involving 10 laboratories and 6 samples including timothy, alfalfa, soybean meal, barley straw, orchardgrass, and wheat straw. Results from 7 laboratories appeared normal according to the Youden collaborative test and yielded a mean duplicate error of 0.40±0.31, a standard error between laboratories of 0.40, and a coefficient of variation of 1.02%. The duplicate error for lignin was 0.23±0.31, the standard error between laboratories, 0.28, and the coefficient of variation, 4.26%. Results indicate problems with filtering, handling fritted glass crucibles in a uniform weighing procedure, and reliably preparing asbestos used in the preparation of lignin. Modifications of the previously published method include reduction of sample size to 1 g, elimination of the use of decalin, rigorous definition of filtration and weighing procedures, use of P2O5 or Mg(ClO4)2 as desiccant, and determination of a lignin blank. Problems in filtration can be overcome by not using more vacuum than is necessary, making all additions with vacuum off, and allowing 15–30 sec settling before applying suction. The modified acid-detergent fiber and lignin method has been adopted as official first action.
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Cheetah populations in the USA, in South Africa and Japan are threatened by three highly prevalent diseases -bacterial gastritis, glomerulosclerosis and veno-occlusive disease - causing premature death of potential breeders. Poor breeding success, inappropriate captive management and a paucity of genetic variability are additional problems of captive cheetahs. Organ samples of 58 cheetahs were collected from 1980 to 2001 and retrospectively investigated to obtain a general overview of captive cheetah health within the European Endangered Species Program (EEP). Gastritis (55%) and renal lesions, like glomerulosclerosis (32%), membranous (46%) and membrano-proliferative glomerulonephritis (18%), and interstitial nephritis (32%) were most frequently observed, whilst veno-occlusive disease was not found in Europe. Further priority was given to investigations concerning myelolipomas, which were found mainly in the spleen. In the future it would be important to initiate additional studies concerning husbandry and stress of captive cheetahs in order to gain insight into the aetiology of the pathological alterations.
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Knowledge of the diseases of cheetahs is essential to prevent and treat conditions that can modulate fertility and longevity. Toward this aim, a comprehensive pathology survey was conducted under a directive from the Cheetah Species Survival Plan. To date, 31 adult cheetahs and nine cubs from 16 zoological parks have been evaluated. Also, liver biopsies from 67 female cheetahs from 22 zoological parks were examined. Veno-occlusive disease (VOD) affected 82% of deceased cheetahs and 51% of live female cheetahs, and was the cause of death in nine cheetahs. Glomerulosclerosis and nephrosclerosis affected 84% and 39% of the population, respectively, and caused renal failure in eight cheetahs. The severity of VOD and glomerulosclerosis increased with age, and was not associated with infertility. Chronic gastritis was noted in 91% of the study population, and 95% of these cases also had spiral bacteria. Feline infectious peritonitis caused the death of two cheetahs. Male cheetahs had testicular degeneration, atrophy, and/or spermatogenic arrest, but these cheetahs also had severe systemic illness. Most females did not have reproductive tract lesions that would cause infertility, including those with parovarian cysts. Ovarian histology suggested that infertile cheetahs were not ovulating. Most cubs died from pneumonia or other systemic infections. The results of this study indicate that serious diseases are prevalent in the North American cheetahs, but these diseases do not appear to be the cause of infertility in the population. However, these diseases do limit the life span and well-being of cheetahs in captivity. Further research is needed to elucidate the causes of these diseases. © 1993 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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We recently demonstrated that indoxyl sulfate is a stimulating factor for the progression of chronic renal failure (CRF). In this study we determined whether the urine or serum levels of indoxyl sulfate are related to the progression rate of CRF in undialyzed uremic patients. Fifty&hyphen;five CRF patients with a serum creatinine of >2 mg&sol;dl who had not been treated with an oral sorbent (AST&hyphen;120) were randomly enrolled in the study. We measured the serum and urine levels of indoxyl sulfate, and estimated the recent progression rate of CRF as the slope of the reciprocal serum creatinine versus time (1&sol;S&hyphen;Cr&hyphen;time) plot. The mean urinary amount of indoxyl sulfate in the patients was 60 mg&sol;day. Those with indoxyl sulfate urine levels of >60 mg&sol;day had a significantly faster progression rate of CRF than those with 90 mg&sol;day had the highest CRF progression rate and those with indoxyl sulfate urine levels of
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1. Three methods, based on treatment with neutral detergent or acid detergent, or involving ultrasonic disintegration, are described and compared for the direct estimation of undigested dietary nitrogen in individual samples of sheep faeces. Estimates of the true digestibility of the nitrogen in several sheep diets derived from analyses performed with these methods agreed well with each other, and were in accord with published estimates, derived by extrapolation techniques. Two other methods, based on treatment with phenol–acetic acid–water, and lysozyme–trypsin, respectively, were found to be unsuitable for such estimates. 2. The quantitative distribution of nitrogen between undigested dietary residues, bacterial residues, endogenous debris residues and the water soluble fraction was determined chemically. It was concluded that 57–81% of the non-dietary faecal nitrogen was associated with bacterial material. 3. Indirect evidence suggested that most of the bacterial nitrogen in faeces originated in the rumen.
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Based on preliminary observations of 15 cheetahs at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, a protocol of behaviors associated with feeding was devised. Five animals were then acclimated to videotaping from which comparisons of feeding on commercial and carcass diets were made. Improved appetites, longer feeding bouts and a greater possessiveness of food characterized the carcass-fed animals. Although the commercial diet is nutritionally balanced, these differences indicate that certain non-nutritive requirements are important to psychological health. In addition, the dental abnormalities and oral infections that are found in the captive population could be an indication of the importance of food texture. By recognizing the importance of food texture, flavor and temperature to the effort expended and interest demonstrated in feeding by captive cheetahs, we may enhance their physical and psychological well-being.
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Mixed populations of human gut bacteria degraded cas casein by producing a variety of cell-bound and extracellular proteolytic enzymes. Casein was initially hydrolysed to TCA soluble peptides which were subsequently broken down to volatile fatty acids, ammonia, dicarboxylic acids and a range of phenolic compounds. Amino acids did not accumulate to any extent during casein breakdown, suggesting that the rate of peptide hydrolysis was the limiting step in protein utilisation by these bacteria. Similar fermentation products were produced from bovine serum albumin, however, the insoluble protein collagen was considerably more resistant to degradation by the colonic microflora, as evidenced by the reduced quantities of fermentation end-products formed.
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Part of the uremic retention solutes are generated in the intestine, but this option is rarely discussed in the literature. In this publication, we describe consecutively the role of the intestine in generating uremic retention solutes, the pathophysiological importance of the generated solutes and therapeutic options that are inspired by this knowledge. Apart from its role as a route via which uremic toxins or their precursors enter the body, the intestine also acts as an active player by presenting more precursors for fermentation due to disturbances in assimilation caused by uremia, followed by alterations in further processing related to changes in the composition of the fermenting flora. Many of the toxins generated or introduced into the body via the intestine (advanced glycation end products, indoles, phenols) play an active role in vascular damage. Intestinal therapeutic interventions that could help decrease solute concentration are restriction of dietary intake, however at the expense of increasing the risk of malnutrition, rerouting of intestinal metabolism by administration of prebiotics or probiotics and/ or the administration of active sorbents such as AST-120 (Kremezin).
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Estimating the energy content is the first step in diet formulation, as it determines the amount of food eaten and hence the concentration of nutrients required to meet the animal's requirements. Additionally, being able to estimate the energy content of a diet empirically known to maintain body condition in an animal will facilitate an estimation of maintenance energy requirements. We collated data on nutrient composition of diets fed to captive wild canids, felids, hyenids, mustelids, pinnipeds, and ursids and the digestibility coefficients from the literature (45 species, 74 publications) to test whether differences in protein and fat digestibility could be detected between species groups, and whether approaches suggested for the estimation of dietary metabolizable energy (ME) content in domestic carnivores (NRC [2006] Nutrient requirements of dogs and cats. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.) can be applied to wild carnivores as well. Regressions of digestible protein or fat content vs. the crude protein (CP) or fat content indicated no relevant differences in the digestive physiology between the carnivore groups. For diets based on raw meat, fish, or whole prey, applying the calculation of ME using "Atwater factors" (16.7  kJ/g CP; 16.7  kJ/g nitrogen-free extracts; 37.7  kJ/g crude fat) provided estimates that compared well to experimental results. This study suggests that ME estimation in such diets is feasible without additional digestion trials. For comparative nutrition research, the study implicates that highly digestible diets typically fed in zoos offer little potential to elucidate differences between species or carnivore groups, but research on diets with higher proportions of difficult-to-digest components (fiber, connective tissues) is lacking.
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Numerous molecules, which are either excreted or metabolized by the kidney, accumulate in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). These uremic retention molecules (URMs), contributing to the syndrome of uremia, may be classified according to their site of origin, that is, endogenous metabolism, microbial metabolism, or exogenous intake. It is increasingly recognized that bacterial metabolites, such as phenols, indoles, and amines, may contribute to uremic toxicity. In vitro studies have implicated bacterial URMs in CKD progression, cardiovascular disease, and bone and mineral disorders. Furthermore, several observational studies have demonstrated a link between serum levels of bacterial URMs and clinical outcomes. Bacterial metabolism may therefore be an important therapeutic target in CKD. There is evidence that besides reduced renal clearance, increased colonic generation and absorption explain the high levels of bacterial URMs in CKD. Factors promoting URM generation and absorption include an increased ratio of dietary protein to carbohydrate due to insufficient intake of fiber and/or reduced intestinal protein assimilation, as well as prolonged colonic transit time. Two main strategies exist to reduce bacterial URM levels: interventions that modulate intestinal bacterial growth (e.g., probiotics, prebiotics, dietary modification) and adsorbent therapies that bind bacterial URMs in the intestines to reduce their absorption (e.g., AST-120, sevelamer). The efficacy and clinical benefit of these strategies are currently an active area of interest.
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