Dietary management of hypercholesterolemia in a bachelor group of zoo-housed Slender-tailed meerkats (Suricata suricatta)
Keywords:hypercholesterolemia, meerkats, nutrition, preventative health
Slender tailed meerkats (Suricata suricatta) are commonly exhibited in zoos across the world. They are primarily insectivores with their wild diet being low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It has been recognised for many years that they are prone to hypercholesteremia and this can lead to meningeal cholesterol granulomas. Cholesterol blood levels have been established in a free-living meerkat population to allow for comparison to captive populations. This article reports the results of blood cholesterol levels in 11 captive male meerkats fed a whole prey diet. It was shown that on this diet all meerkats had hypercholesteremia due to high fat diet being fed. A new diet was introduced, eight months later the same meerkats had their cholesterol levels measured and they all showed a significant reduction. This shows the importance of regular health monitoring and diet review based on clinical findings in captive populations.
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