Thiamine Deficiency in Lions

Written by Zutrition . Posted in Disease, Mammals

Thiamine deficiency in captive lions is a cause of neurologic clinical signs including hypermetric ataxia, generalized weakness and tonic-clonic front limb movements.  With this deficiency, many diagnostics may be normal including hemogram, biochemical profile, electrocardiogram, survey radiographs and brain computed tomography.

To treat thiamine deficiency, oral thiamine supplement is administered at 3mg/kg/day along with providing a completely nutritional diet (commercially prepared diets are generally recommended).  Normal thiamine blood values for lions: 160-350 nmol/L. 1.

Administering supplements to captive exotic cats can be a challenge.  Many exotic cats in captivity are fed raw meat/carcasses that are either not supplemented or are supplemented in a way that does not meet daily requirements.  It has been observed that powdered supplements applied to the surface of meat are often removed by the cat prior to consumption.  Exotic cat experts recommend mixing the supplement, powder or liquid, with ground meat or mince to make a meatball that has the supplement mixed thoroughly throughout the meat.  If the supplement is not palatable, it is best to offer the supplemented meatball when the animal is hungry, before offering the remainder of the meal.

1.  Cynthia L. DiGesualdo, D.V.M., John P. Hoover, M.S., D.V.M., Dipl. A.B.V.P., Dipl. A.C.V.I.M., Michael D. Lorenz, D.V.M., Dipl. A.C.V.I.M.  Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, Article: pp. 512-514.


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