Effect of diet on the incidence of and mortality owing to gastritis and renal disease in captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in South Africa

  • Published source details Lane E.P., Miller S., Lobetti R., Caldwell P., Bertschinger H.J., Burroughs R., Kotze A. & van D.A. (2012) Effect of diet on the incidence of and mortality owing to gastritis and renal disease in captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in South Africa. Zoo Biology, 31, 669-682.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Carnivores: Feed commercially prepared diets

Action Link
Management of Captive Animals
  1. Carnivores: Feed commercially prepared diets

    A replicated, controlled study in 2012 of cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus in a wildlife centre in South Africa, found that cheetahs fed commercial dry feline food had a similar likelihood of developing gastritis compared to cheetahs fed horsemeat and bone with supplement. Cheetahs on the commercial diet had a daily hazard of developing gastritis 2.2 times higher than cheetahs on the meat-based diet (gastritis grade 3 or above), although this difference was not significant. Serum urea levels were lower (14.76 vs 19.15 mmol/litre) and creatine levels higher (256.9 vs 249.1 umol/litre) on the commercial compared to the meat-based diet. Serum urea and creatine are expected to increase with renal disease. Forty-eight cheetahs which had a gastritis grade of less than 3 and whose blood protein creatine levels were below 300 umol/litre were studied. They were fed either 4 kg of horsemeat and bone, 5 g of vitamin/mineral supplement and 20 ml of fish-oil supplement (n=26) or 500 g of commercial adult feline food (n=22) daily, both diets included one whole eviscerated chicken twice a week. A concurrent study comparing a meat-based diet with a commercial food formulated for renal disease in cheetahs diagnosed with gastritis and/or renal disease was inconclusive. Gastritis was graded 0-9 based on biopsies, with 9 being most inflamed. 

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