Effect of a Probiotic Mixture in Captive Cheetahs (Acinonyx Jubatus) with Gastrointestinal Symptoms—A Pilot Study

  • February 10, 2022
  • by Mangiaterra S., Schmidt-Küntzel A., Marker L. L., Di Cerbo, A., Piccinini, R., Guadagnini, D., Turba, M. E., Berardi, S., Preziuso, S., Cerquetella M.

Abstract: Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) are classified as “vulnerable” species due to the low numbers persisting in the wild. Gastrointestinal diseases are very common in this species when they are kept in captivity, in particular gastritis. Clinical signs are predominantly characterized by vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and anorexia. In this study, we evaluated the efficacy of a multi-strain probiotic in two groups of cheetahs: Group A (n = 4)—rescued cheetahs housed at the Cheetah Conservation Fund (Otjiwarongo, Namibia); Group B (n = 9)—captive cheetahs housed in Italian zoos. Animals showed gastrointestinal signs of different severity, and were positive for Helicobacter spp., detected by PCR in stool samples. Two sachets of probiotic formulation were administered to all cheetahs once a day for 21 consecutive days. Clinical conditions (appetite loss, vomiting, stool consistency and Body Condition Score) before (T0) and after 21 days of probiotic administration (T1) were then compared using a simplified Feline Chronic Enteropathy Activity Index (FCEAI) score. A slight but not significant improvement in the scores was observed in Group A, which had mild intestinal symptoms, while a significant decrease in vomiting and stool consistency (**p < 0.01) scores was observed in Group B, which had more pronounced symptoms. Results suggest that high concentrations of live probiotics can be of help in managing gastrointestinal signs in cheetahs.

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