Postmortem Nutritional Evaluation of Bone Mineral Concentrations in the Horse, Cow, and Dog and Its Application to Exotic Species
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2009

Samantha M. Middleton1, BA; Thomas H. Herdt1,2, DVM, MS, DACVIM, DACVN; Justin Zyskowski2, BS; Dalen W. Agnew1,2, DVM, PhD, DACVP

1College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, Lansing, MI, USA; 2Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, Lansing, MI, USA


The analysis of the skeleton as an index of mineral status has been well-established. Calcium and phosphorus represent the majority of the mineral basis of bone in the form of hydroxylapatite [Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2]. Other elements such as sodium, magnesium, copper, and zinc have not been investigated as thoroughly. In this study, bone density and mineral concentration were used to evaluate equine, bovine, and canine specimens. Once baseline values for bone mineral density and mineral concentration in cows, horses, and dogs were determined, exotic specimens were examined to evaluate the ability to extrapolate from domestic to zoo animals. Initial analyses show comparable values between the domestic and exotic species examined thus far. For instance, the average bone ash percentage for bovine (n=8) and equine (n=9) species was, respectively, 64.95±7.024 and 62.28±3.131 with an average phosphorus content of 12.24% and 10.74%. Specimens from exotic hoofstock such as a reticulated giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) and a Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus) had bone ash percentages of 63.60 and 65.10, respectively. Bone phosphorus content of the giraffe was 11.79% and the camel was 12.25%.

This work provides the first index of normal elemental concentrations and normal bone densities in domestic or exotic species. In addition, this data has provided unique insights on the microenvironment of the bone surface, suggesting further avenues of continued research.


Speaker Information
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Samantha M. Middleton, BA
College of Veterinary Medicine
Michigan State University
Lansing, MI, USA

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