Serum vitamin A concentrations in captive sea otters (Enhydra lutris)

Alison L. Righton, Judy A. St. Leger, Todd Schmitt, Michael J. Murray, Lance Adams, Andrea J Fascetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Individual dietary preferences and difficulty with animal training create challenges and nutritional concerns when evaluating a captive sea otter (Enhydra lutris) diet. The importance of vitamin A within the body reflects the necessity that it be ingested in adequate amounts to ensure optimal health. To compare levels of serum vitamin A concentrations from captive sea otters on daily oral vitamin A supplementation, serum samples from eight adult sea otters from three institutions were evaluated for serum vitamin A concentrations. The eight animals were fed a total of four different diets and received oral supplementation via three different methods. Multiple diet items were analyzed for vitamin A content and were found to have low to nondetectable levels of vitamin A. Oral vitamin A supplementation, as a slurry with dietary items, was shown to be effective and a mean serum concentration of approximately 170 ± 51 μg/L was obtained for serum vitamin A concentrations in captive sea otters. Captive diets can be modified to increase vitamin A concentration and supplementation and, if accepted, can be used as a means to ensure adequate vitamin A intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-127
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Enhydra lutris
  • sea otter
  • serum concentration
  • supplementation
  • vitamin A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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