Rabbit Carcasses for Use in Feline Diets: Amino Acid Concentrations in Fresh and Frozen Carcasses With and Without Gastrointestinal Tracts

Tammy J. Owens, Andrea J Fascetti, C. Christopher Calvert, Jennifer A. Larsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Whole-prey diets for exotic feline species are common, and this practice has also increased in popularity for domestic cats. However, prior analyses of prey indicate possible essential amino acid inadequacy, and dilated cardiomyopathy from taurine deficiency was reported in cats fed whole ground rabbit. Crude protein, body water, and amino acid concentrations were evaluated in fresh and frozen ground rabbits with (n=10) or without (n = 10) gastrointestinal tracts. Amino acids were greater in fresh samples without gastrointestinal tracts (p < 0.05) except taurine, glycine, and cysteine. When normalized for protein content, only glutamate, alanine, methionine, isoleucine, tyrosine, lysine, histidine, and arginine were greater in fresh rabbits without gastrointestinal tracts (g/16 g N basis; p < 0.05). Freezing at −18°C for 30 days had no effect on crude protein or body water content. After freezing, only methionine was lower and only proline was higher when gastrointestinal tracts were omitted (g/16 g N basis; p < 0.05). Regardless, all essential amino acids except taurine exceeded Association of American Feed Control Officials and National Research Council nutrient recommendations for all feline life stages. In contrast, there was minimal impact of treatment on taurine concentrations. However, although feline taurine requirements for prey and other raw or fresh food diets remain undefined, none of the rabbit samples met any recommendation for taurine concentrations for commercial canned or dry extruded diets, ranging from 20 to 90% of the minimum values. Taurine supplementation is recommended when feeding rabbit to cats. Determination of taurine requirements of cats fed whole-prey diets is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number592753
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Volume7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 21 2021

Keywords

  • amino acids
  • carcass
  • feline
  • nutrition
  • prey
  • rabbit
  • rabbit (lagomorph)
  • taurine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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