Single-Injection Inulin Clearance for Routine Determination of Glomerular Filtration Rate in Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2007
Carlos Sanchez1, DVM, MSc; Suzan Murray1, DVM, DACZM; Scott Brown2, VMD, PhD; Laurie Marker3, PhD; Scott Citino4, DVM, DACZM
1Department of Animal Health, Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington, DC, USA; 2Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA; 3Cheetah Conservation Fund, Otjiwarongo, Namibia; 4White Oak Conservation Center, Yulee, FL, USA


A high prevalence of four unusual diseases has been seen among captive cheetahs from the United States and the Republic of South Africa (RSA).1,9 Of these four conditions, two are renal diseases. Renal disease is considered the leading cause of mortality in captive cheetahs.8 The diagnosis of renal disease in cheetahs is achieved, in most cases, once the kidneys have reached an end-stage. The presence of azotemia is the most common laboratory abnormality observed in cats with renal disease. When azotemia is present, at least 75% of the nephrons of the kidneys are non-functional already.4 At this point, treatment is unrewarding. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is considered a more sensitive test for the detection of early-stage renal disease.5 GFR is also considered to be the best single parameter for assessing overall renal function because GFR is directly related to functional renal mass.3 A simple technique for the assessment of GFR via the determination of inulin clearance from serum or plasma after a single intravenous injection has recently been described in domestic cats and dogs.2,6,7 The studies in domestic carnivores concluded that the inulin excretion test, using a single blood sample at 3 hours after the administration of intravenous inulin, is a valuable tool for the determination of GFR in these species. In summary, animals with suspected renal disease or confirmed renal disease had lower GFR values than control animals.6,7 Using this technique we determined the glomerular filtration rate on three populations of cheetah managed under different conditions. The determination of GFR in captive cheetahs offers the possibility of establishing baseline parameters that could potentially help in the diagnosis of renal disease in early stages.

Literature Cited

1.  Bolton, L.A., and L. Munson. 1999. Glomerulosclerosis in captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). Vet. Pathol. 36:14–22.

2.  Brown S.A., C. Haberman, and D.R. Finco. 1996. Use of plasma clearance of inulin for estimating glomerular filtration rate in cats. Am. J. Vet. Res. 57:1702–1705.

3.  DiBartola, S.P. 2000. Clinical approach and laboratory evaluation of renal disease. In: Ettinger, S.J., and E.C. Feldman (eds.). Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 5th ed. W. B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

4.  Grauer, G.F. 2003. Clinical manifestations of urinary disorders. In: Nelson, R.W., and C.G. Couto (eds.). Small Animal Internal Medicine. 3rd ed. Mosby. St. Louis, Missouri. Pp: 568–583.

5.  Hall Holder E., S. Citino, N. Businga, L. Cartier, and S. Brown. 2004. Measurement of glomerular filtration rate, renal plasma flow, and endogenous creatinine clearance in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus). J. Zoo Wildl. Med. 35(2):175–178.

6.  Haller, K., F. Müller, H. Binder, W. Estelberger, and P. Arnold. 1998. Single-injection inulin clearance—a single method for measuring glomerular filtration rate in dogs. Res. Vet. Sci. 64:151–156.

7.  Haller, M., K. Rohener, W. Müller, F. Reutter, H. Binder, W. Estelberger, and P. Arnold. 2003. Single-injection inulin clearance for routine measurement of glomerular filtration rate in cats. J. Feline Med. Surg. 5:175–181.

8.  Munson, L. 1993. Diseases of captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus): results of the cheetah research council pathology survey 1989–1992. Zoo Biol. 12:105–124.

9.  Munson, L., J.W. Nesbit, D.G. Meltzer, L.P. Colly, L. Bolton, and P.J. Kriek. 1999. Diseases of captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in South Africa: a 20-year retrospective survey. J. Zoo Wildl. Med. 30: 342–347.


Speaker Information
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Carlos Sanchez, DVM, MSc
Department of Animal Health
Smithsonian National Zoological Park
Washington DC, USA

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