oa African Zoology - The reversal of essential fatty acid deficiency symptoms in the cheetah

Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



Two members of the Order Carnivora (the lion and the domestic cat) are known to be ?-6-desaturase deficient. Two anoestrous 8-year-old female cheetahs exhibiting symptoms consistent with essential fatty acid (EFA) deficiency were treated with encapsulated natural oils as supplement to their normal meat diet. The condition of both animals improved markedly, they came into full oestrus, mated, became pregnant, and have since produced healthy litters of cubs. This may be the first indication of a possible requirement for ?-6-desaturase reaction products in this species.

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