The use of a probiotic in captive cheetahs (Acinoyx jubatus)
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Juvenile captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) often present with diarrhoea that is commonly associated with bacterial infections. A species-specific probiotic containing Lactobacillus Group 2 and Enterococcus faecium was prepared from healthy adult cheetahs. Juvenile cheetahs (n = 27) between 8 and 13 months of age were included in the probiotic trial. The animals were observed prior to and after feeding of the probiotic which was made available for 28 days. Feeding of the probiotic resulted in a significantly increased body weight in the treatment group (P = 0.026), while there was no increase in the control group. A relative improvement in the faecal quality in the probiotic group during the treatment period compared with the pre-treatment (P = 0.0363) and post-treatment (P 0.004) period was observed. This was accompanied by an absence of blood and mucus in the faeces during the treatment period in the probiotic group.