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Kerr K.R.,Urbana University | Kerr K.R.,University of Florida | Morris C.L.,Iowa State University | Burke S.L.,Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium | Swanson K.S.,Urbana University
Journal of Animal Science

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 that meet the nutritional requirements of their cats. Our objective was to evaluate the effects of feeding 1- to 3-d-old whole chicks (WHO), ground adult chicken product (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 use 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. © 2014 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved. Source

Mcmahon K.W.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Mcmahon K.W.,Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | Polito M.J.,Louisiana State University | Abel S.,Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium | And 2 more authors.
Ecology and Evolution

Compound-specific stable isotope analysis (CSIA) of amino acids (AA) has rapidly become a powerful tool in studies of food web architecture, resource use, and biogeochemical cycling. However, applications to avian ecology have been limited because no controlled studies have examined the patterns in AA isotope fractionation in birds. We conducted a controlled CSIA feeding experiment on an avian species, the gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua), to examine patterns in individual AA carbon and nitrogen stable isotope fractionation between diet (D) and consumer (C) (Δ13CC-D and Δ15NC-D, respectively). We found that essential AA δ13C values and source AA δ15N values in feathers showed minimal trophic fractionation between diet and consumer, providing independent but complimentary archival proxies for primary producers and nitrogen sources respectively, at the base of food webs supporting penguins. Variations in nonessential AA Δ13CC-D values reflected differences in macromolecule sources used for biosynthesis (e.g., protein vs. lipids) and provided a metric to assess resource utilization. The avian-specific nitrogen trophic discrimination factor (TDFGlu-Phe = 3.5 ± 0.4‰) that we calculated from the difference in trophic fractionation (Δ15NC -D) of glutamic acid and phenylalanine was significantly lower than the conventional literature value of 7.6‰. Trophic positions of five species of wild penguins calculated using a multi-TDFG lu-Phe equation with the avian-specific TDFG lu-Phe value from our experiment provided estimates that were more ecologically realistic than estimates using a single TDFG lu-Phe of 7.6‰ from the previous literature. Our results provide a quantitative, mechanistic framework for the use of CSIA in nonlethal, archival feathers to study the movement and foraging ecology of avian consumers. Compound-specific stable isotope analysis of amino acids has rapidly become a powerful tool in studies of food web architecture, resource use, and biogeochemical cycling. We conducted a controlled feeding experiment on gentoo penguins to examine patterns in individual amino acid carbon and nitrogen isotope fractionation in non-lethal, archival feathers. Using the newly derived avian-specific amino acid fractionation factors, we examined wild penguin foraging ecology and trophic dynamics in the Southern Ocean, including identifying the sources of primary production supporting wild penguins and calculating wild penguin trophic position. © 2015 Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

Frasier C.L.,Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium | Rakotonirina J.-N.,Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership | Razanajatovo L.G.,Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership | Nasolonjanahary T.S.,Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership | And 4 more authors.
Primate Conservation

Data are lacking on intraspecific variability in life history traits for the Critically Endangered greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus). Until now, detailed investigations on wild individuals had only been published for Ranomafana National Park, limiting the predictive power on the greater bamboo lemurs' possible responses to threats such as habitat loss and climate change. In this study, data were compiled on vital statistics and basic aspects of infant development for a 48-month period in Kianjavato, Madagascar. The area is mixed-use lowland forest with dense pockets of bamboo amid a disturbed landscape. Four core social groups, which would frequently coalesce into two larger groups, were monitored intensively. The birth pulse occurred in mid-to late September, nearly one month earlier than in Ranomafana National Park. Interbirth intervals and rates of attainment of infant developmental landmarks such as locomotor independence and weaning are discussed. Infant mortality averaged 47% with most deaths concentrated in December and January, while adult mortality was low with most deaths occurring during the dry season. Annual female adult mortality ranged from 0% to 22%. The mortality of adult males could not be assessed due to their dispersal. Source

Napier J.E.,Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium | Kutinsky I.B.,Michigan Heart Group | Armstrong D.L.,Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium | Orton D.,Alegent Creighton Cardiac Center | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine

Abstract: Until the majority of the great ape population is trained for conscious cardiac evaluations, most individuals will require general anesthesia to perform echocardiograms. Within the veterinary community, concern exists that certain anesthetic protocols may exacerbate or artificially induce signs of cardiac disease. Because of potential cardiovascular effects, medetomidine has generally been used cautiously in patients with cardiac disease. The combination of ketamine and medetomidine is frequently used by many institutions because of its reversibility. To date, no published studies have obtained physiologic or echocardiographic parameters comparing different anesthetic protocols. In this study, with the use of seven adult male gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) with and without cardiac disease, echocardiographic and indirect blood pressure data during three phases of an anesthetic protocol were collected. The initial echocardiographic study was completed with ketamine/medetomidine alone (5-7 mg/kg, i.m., and 0.05-0.07 mg/kg, i.m., respectively); the second study was completed after the addition of sevoflurane inhalant anesthesia to this procedure; and the third study was completed after reversal of medetomidine by administration of atipamezole (5:1 with the medetomidine dose given at induction). Without exception, ejection fractions were 15-25% lower under anesthesia with medetomidine as compared to ejection fractions after administration of atipamezole. Indirect blood pressures were higher on ketamine/medetomidine, lower with addition of sevoflurane, and considerably lower after administration of atipamezole. © 2013 American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. Source

Earl J.E.,Oklahoma State University | Chaney J.C.,University of Tennessee at Knoxville | Sutton W.B.,Tennessee State University | Lillard C.E.,University of Tennessee at Knoxville | And 8 more authors.

There is growing evidence that pathogens play a role in population declines and species extinctions. For small populations, disease-induced extinction may be especially probable. We estimated the susceptibility of two amphibian species of conservation concern (the dusky gopher frog [Lithobates sevosus] and boreal toad [Anaxyrus boreas boreas]) to an emerging pathogen (ranavirus) using laboratory challenge experiments, and combined these data with published demographic parameter estimates to simulate the potential effects of ranavirus exposure on extinction risk. We included effects of life stage during pathogen exposure, pathogen exposure interval, hydroperiod of breeding habitat, population carrying capacity, and immigration in simulations. We found that both species were highly susceptible to ranavirus when exposed to the pathogen in water at environmentally relevant concentrations. Dusky gopher frogs experienced 100 % mortality in four of six life stages tested. Boreal toads experienced 100 % mortality when exposed as tadpoles or metamorphs, which were the only life stages tested. Simulations showed population declines, greater extinction probability, and faster times to extinction with ranavirus exposure. These effects were more evident with more frequent pathogen exposure intervals and lower carrying capacity. Immigration at natural rates did little to mitigate effects of ranavirus exposure unless immigration occurred every 2 years. Our results demonstrate that disease-induced extinction by emerging pathogens, such as ranavirus, is possible, and that threat may be especially high for species with small population sizes. For the species in this study, conservation organizations should incorporate ranavirus surveillance into monitoring programs and devise intervention strategies in the event that disease outbreaks occur. © 2016 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg Source

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