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Studies on digestive physiology and feed digestibilities in captive Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis)


Clauss, M; Polster, C; Kienzle, E; Wiesner, H; Baumgartner, K; von Houwald, F; Ortmann, S; Streich, W J; Dierenfeld, E S (2005). Studies on digestive physiology and feed digestibilities in captive Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis). Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, 89(3-6):229-237.

Abstract

We performed intake, digestibility and ingesta passage studies in 11 Indian rhinoceroses (Rhinoceros unicornis) from four zoological institutions, using total faecal collection for the quantification of faecal output. The regularly fed zoo ration of roughage and concentrates (ration RC) and a roughage-only ration (ration R) were used; the roughage source differed between the facilities and comprised grass hay, grass silage, straw and lucerne hay. Dry matter intake ranged between 0.8 and 1.3% of body weight on ration RC and 0.5-1.2% on ration R. Digestibility coefficients achieved were similar to those reported for horses on diets of comparable composition. Endogenous losses as determined by linear regression analysis were within the range reported for horses. Measurements of faecal volatile fatty acids, faecal lactate and faecal pH also showed similarity to similar measurements in horses. The mean retention times of fluids (Co-EDTA) and particles (Cr-mordanted fibre <2 mm) in the whole gastrointestinal tract averaged 42 and 61 h, respectively, and were the longest ever recorded in a monogastric ungulate with this marker system. The results suggest that the horse is a useful model animal for designing diets for Indian rhinoceroses. Why digestive parameters are similar between these species in spite of enormous differences in body weight and retention times remains to be answered.

We performed intake, digestibility and ingesta passage studies in 11 Indian rhinoceroses (Rhinoceros unicornis) from four zoological institutions, using total faecal collection for the quantification of faecal output. The regularly fed zoo ration of roughage and concentrates (ration RC) and a roughage-only ration (ration R) were used; the roughage source differed between the facilities and comprised grass hay, grass silage, straw and lucerne hay. Dry matter intake ranged between 0.8 and 1.3% of body weight on ration RC and 0.5-1.2% on ration R. Digestibility coefficients achieved were similar to those reported for horses on diets of comparable composition. Endogenous losses as determined by linear regression analysis were within the range reported for horses. Measurements of faecal volatile fatty acids, faecal lactate and faecal pH also showed similarity to similar measurements in horses. The mean retention times of fluids (Co-EDTA) and particles (Cr-mordanted fibre <2 mm) in the whole gastrointestinal tract averaged 42 and 61 h, respectively, and were the longest ever recorded in a monogastric ungulate with this marker system. The results suggest that the horse is a useful model animal for designing diets for Indian rhinoceroses. Why digestive parameters are similar between these species in spite of enormous differences in body weight and retention times remains to be answered.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2005
Deposited On:29 Apr 2008 09:01
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:22
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0931-2439
Publisher DOI:10.1111/j.1439-0396.2005.00546.x
PubMed ID:15788000
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-2383

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