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Nutrition - I think I want a Fennec Fox

For species less common than reds and arctics.

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Re: I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby Ash » Tue Nov 24, 2015 6:03 pm

Oh my, lol. Maybe we're feeding our bearded dragons waaaaay too much! lol
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Re: I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby TamanduaGirl » Tue Nov 24, 2015 7:01 pm

LoL how much do they eat? I saw several saying theirs eat 3-5 as adults. I was just trying to figure out how many a colony would be producing.
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Re: I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby Ash » Wed Nov 25, 2015 10:12 am

10-15 to the plated lizard, 10-15 to one of the beardies, and about 6 for the other beardie (he doesn't eat as much). Several times a week.

We don't feed ours daily since we're only open certain days of the week (they have their veggies and greens on the off days). But I believe they're getting the dubias every other day or so.
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Re: Nutrition - I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sun Dec 20, 2015 6:33 pm

Since we were already talking nutrition here, and it was the predominant topic, I altered the title instead of making a new one.

Since many suggest 90% animal matter and 10% veggies for fennec this could be a good food(but costly) As it's exactly that ratio but the 90% freeze dried rabbit including bone and organs, plus a few vitamins and minerals that look okay. It even has taurine added.
https://www.stellaandchewys.com/product ... eze-dried/
Hey one of the dogs on the label even looks like a fox with it's ears back! But it's roughly $30 a pound. This study found rabbit to be 68% moisture. Which then would be equivalent to 76 oz fresh so 4.75 pounds fresh so $6 a fresh pound, if that water content is right. Honestly that price could be worth the saved time grinding and such yourself, time is money. http://www.grjournals.com/portals/grjou ... 72-176.pdf Lots of good nutrition info in that.

PS on that 10% veggies. Many add 2-3 heaping tablespoons of veggies. Thing there is 2 rounded teaspoons would be 10%, I did the math based on average amount of food eaten per day. Also as said earlier should be mostly root veggies, not beans and corn and such.

And here's a reason to avoid cat foods. Turns out cat food has too much Retinol for fennecs(opinion based on facts of one case). That 12yr old fennec in Japan being fed heaps of smelts with half cat and half dog kibble started having spinal issues at 9yrs. Now this hasn't been commonly documented in fennecs but animals are rarely full body xrayed either. This one was favoring a front foot, said to be unrelated due to the spinal lesions started in the rear spine, like in tamanduas(in tamanduas proven to be due to too much retinol). She has had annual x-rays since and it continues to progress but diet wise they haven't changed anything as the vet just deemed it old age related. Smelt has 500iu retinol per kg. Rabbit meat actually has zero according to USDA database(but that's meat only it is in whole prey due to organs). Cat food of course always has tons of retinol often topping 10,000iu Smelt is probably okay as part of the diet. Insects are low in retinol(some species don't even have any), I'm not sure on mice but found the below.

Whole prey info
Vitamin A.
Adult laboratory-reared rodents, such as rats and mice, appear to contain higher levels of vitamin A than do free-ranging rodents, such as prairie dogs. Species differences in vitamin A concentration are apparent even within broad taxonomic categories, but all whole prey analyzed to date would appear to exceed the dietary requirements of domestic dogs and cats (approximately 4,000 IU/kg DM) without a need for further supplementation. In fact, some of the concentrations reported approach or exceed presumed upper safe limits for this nutrient (33,000 IU/kg DM for dogs to 100,000 IU/kg DM for cats).

Rabbit, domestic - 6,200IU/kg Retinol
Lizard, anolis - 4,880IU/kg
Rat Neonatal, <10 g - 21,333 iu/kg
Rat Adult or >50g - 151,389IU/kg
Chicken - 35,600IU/kg
Adult Mouse Mouse, domestic 578,272IU/kg

http://www.naturalpetproductions.net/ar ... ymodel.pdf

There's also this which is 100% rabbit http://www.naturalpetwarehouse.com/Vita ... Dog-Treats

Now if your not made of money you can buy whole rabbits and grind them then dehydrate yourself but to save time buy preground whole rabbits.
http://www.raising-rabbits.com/raw-rabbit.html
This is even cheaper http://larsonrabbitry.com/products
Whole it's less than what I pay for beef here. Ground it's more but a home grinder may not handle bones, rabbit bones may be soft enough though. I'm not sure. If you don't already have a grinder shop for one that says it can handle bones of small animals like birds and rabbit. Plus the skull could be a problem if you want truly whole prey, I'm thinking the sledge hammer taken to it but that's getting graphic. Pre ground might be best for squeamish folk. But if bought whole you can dehydrate the ears for chews. Rodentpro also has frozen rabbit but priced per rabbit rather than pounds.

More reason to feed rabbit "Also, rabbit meat does not contain uric acid and has a low content of purines (Hernández et al., 2007)." IOW this meat is less work for the kidneys. Some studies show it to be low in phosphorus which is also good for the kidneys.
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Re: I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Dec 21, 2015 8:34 pm

Ash wrote:I know Elina feeds her fennecs a stellar diet. I don't know how old hers are, but I'm certain they are going to live longer than the average captive fennec because of this.


For the heck of it I just check the ages she got them viewtopic.php?p=58055#p58055

So now 5years 10 months and 7 years 4 months for her oldest :)
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Re: Nutrition - I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sun Mar 13, 2016 4:15 pm

So I think I figured out a major contributor of fennec kidney and liver failure and it was kinda staring me in the face but missed it till a discussion about mice lead me to a bit more research on effect of chronic retinol overload. As that sentence hints, it's retinol :icon-wink:

Other potential complications of excess vitamin A include:
liver damage
osteoporosis (a condition causing bones to become brittle, weak, and prone to breaks)
excessive calcium buildup in the body
kidney damage due to excess calcium


Now wild fennecs eat lots of insects, a few lizards and some rodents. Great let's feed them mice, you say! Wait look at my earlier post first.

Adult Mouse, domestic 578,272IU/kg
Wild non-domesticated mouse 11,800IU/kg

Huge difference!

Now I could not find much info on retinol content of wild African rodents or lizards but Anoles are 4,880IU/kg
Rabbits are 6,200IU/kg and regular wild mice 11,800

Someone mentioned feeding frozen thawed chicks, retinol wise that's great. Adult chicken is 35,600IU/kg(whole prey). I could not find info on chicks but the younger the animal the lower the retinol so random semi educated guess it could be around wild mouse values.

So let's look at pet foods
EVO
Turkey & Chicken Formula Large Bites Dog Food : 13,900.0 IU/kg
Looks pretty good,their redmeat formula is only a bit more at 16,000

But many feed cat food or half cat and half dog food
EVO
Turkey & Chicken Formula Cat & Kitten Food 32,700.0 IU/kg

Now we don't have info on the actual retinol need of fennecs but take for example the larvae of an African moth I found that is only 60iu/kg. So you have a diet in large pat made of of insects low in retinol and wild lizards and mammals still fairly low and you won't likely have a high need. So it's fairly safe to assume cat food as a staple is too high for them.

So Rabbit is great and maybe a super rare mouse as a treat since excess retinol and be stored for later use by the body. It is also highly likely that that they can convert carotene into retinol if needed like other mammals, so if you fed something like sweet potato as the small amount of vaggie matter they can convert it if the rabbit is somehow not enough and or the rare mouse can b store for use when/if the main diet of rabbit an insects aren't enough.

So there you have it. I already knew more than most about retinol due to tamandua and it's effects on their spine but had not realized it might also be implicated in the premature kidney failure that is common in fennecs, till now. Of course imbalances of other vitamins and minerals could also be a concern but if we use the above info to feed a more wild type biologically appropriate diet the others would be fairly likely to be a close match as well.
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Commercial food list

Postby TamanduaGirl » Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:42 pm

Really Good food:

Freeze dried best if wanting to feed something dried:

https://www.stellaandchewys.com/product ... eze-dried/
90% rabbit 10% fruit and veggies, close to perfection, does not add any extra vitamin A

Pure freeze dried, so would add veggies like squash yourself. Sold as treats for dogs so can get costly:
https://www.naturalpetwarehouse.com/Vit ... Dog-Treats

Kibbles the only other dried option:

Good:

http://www.instinctpetfood.com/product/ ... en-formula
While not rabbit based this may be the best to feed as vitamin A is only 11800 IU/kg and the ingredients are nice. The cat version is also okay at 13,000 IU but that's still higher so dog is better.

Wellness Core Original Dog or Wellness TruFood Chicken & Chicken Liver dog if supplemented with taurine. It only has 5,000 IU/kg but it has no taurine added.

Taste of the wild dog formulas, all formulas contain 16,500 IU/kg total vitamin A as fed, except for the Pacific Stream Puppy and High Prairie Puppy formulas which each contain 22,000 IU/kg vitamin A as fed.

http://natureslogic.com/products/dry-ki ... le-rabbit/
Rabbit and turkey and the other ingredients are a nice variety. Second lowest(of the rabbit kibbles) in vitamin A. Vitamin A listed as 23K so still high so as much as I'd prefer rabbit the instinct is better if feeding kibble.

Pretty Good:

http://naturalplanetpetfood.com/pet-foo ... d-salmon/1
Actually has more salmon than rabbit. They replace grains with starch which I dislike but do like the lower vitamin A content for fennecs. Does add vitamin A supplement but it is the lowest total amount(of the rabbit kibbles). Vitamin A listed 22K

Okay:

http://www.merrickpetcare.com/dogs/prod ... ipe?id=303
Merrick Real Rabbit & Chickpeas Adult Dry Dog Food, 12 Lb
Pretty good ingredients though uses other meats like chicken too, adds vitamin A but does not list amount so can not list higher without knowing

http://www.solidgoldpet.com/product/dre ... er-rabbit/
rabbit but lots of starches and peas and lentils and other fillers, adds vitamin A but does not list the amount

http://www.instinctpetfood.com/product/ ... ood-rabbit
Has lots of rabbit as it has rabbit meal and whole rabbit and freeze dried rabbit BUT Vitamin A listed is very high and it's got pork liver as well as vitamin A supplement which means retinol. Vitamon A listed as 29k


Not so good:

http://www.wysong.net/products/anergen2 ... t-food.php
Has the most rabbit but says for cats and dogs so that's a bit odd as they do NOT have the same nutritional needs. Has vitamin A supplemented which means retinol. Amount not listed but if it's good far cats and ferrets it has to be too high for fennecs. If I find out the retinol is lower I'll move this higher but if it is lower it'd not be good for cats and ferrets which it claims it is. If they didn't add the vitamin A the ingredients would be great.

Bad(Avoid):

http://bluebuffalo.com/natural-dog-food ... lt-rabbit/
BLUE Wilderness® Rocky Mountain Recipe™ Rabbit
Has more chicken than rabbit, caramel* coloring is unhealthy, vitamin A content unknown
*caramel color, contains 4-methylimidazole (4-MIE), a known animal carcinogen, caramel color is bad for kidneys and liver

------
Canned:
If it's just a matter of not wanting to feed raw rabbit meat canned can be a great option.

https://evangersdogfood.com/product/30101/
This particular one is pure rabbit so you'd add the bit of veggies(squash) to the diet yourself, since no bone would need to add calcium too and some taurine wouldn't hurt.

Black Forest Rabbit and Blueberries- Dog Food
Rabbit, broth and sweet potatoes, sounds great, does add vitamin A does not say how much.

http://wildcalling.com/products/hoppys/
95% rabbit and liver. Adds vitamin A but doesn't say how much. Don't see any veggies added so would need to add those to the diet.

http://www.merrickpetcare.com/dogs/prod ... ipe?id=239
Rabbit and turkey, looks pretty good, has sweet potato, does add Vitamin A does not say how much.

http://bluebuffalo.com/natural-dog-food ... -dog-food/
Rabbit, chicken and turkey so probably more fowl than bunny but no nasty chemicals like the kibble. Adds A doesn't say how much.

Caution
http://www.instinctpetfood.com/product/ ... ood-rabbit
95% rabbit and liver adds vitamin A does not say how much but considering the kibble is high this probably is too.

Bad
http://natureslogic.com/products/cans/c ... od-rabbit/
120K Vitamin A unexceptionable
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Re: Nutrition - I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby TamanduaGirl » Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:02 am

Got distracted going through some old threads tonight. Moved some. Didn't find what I wanted may have been lost in the trim years ago.

Anyway found some diet info I forgot I had.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar ... 9188902246
Fennec fox captive blood levels and diet intake
Retinol Diet 0.89mg/day - Blood Mean 1.7mg/l range 1.5-2.1mg/l
Vitamin E 5.8mg/d alpha-Tocopherol(E) blood Mean Average 6.7mg/l range 5.8-7.7
The above would be more meaningful if they had tested animals in the wild.

Here's a bit you can see cal/phos for red fox http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=030903325X
That is interesting really as it mentions a sign of deficiency is walking on the pasterns which some have had with their red fox kits but "grew out of it" probably then from a better home diet than the store/breeder gave. But that was red kits kinda putting it here just for future easy-to-find-ness.

But using red fox info as general all fox requirements for lack of other species specific info:
cal/phos rang of 1/1 to 1.7/1

http://www.rodentpro.com/qpage_articles_03.asp
whole prey rabbit
Cal/phos 3/2.25 or 2/0.64
Adding veggies will effect the ratio a we bit, insects a bit more depending on how much added. Since veggies have phos it would kick the ratio to about right.

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=030903325X it goes into vitamins requirements. For Vitamin A it says 100IU of retinol or 600IU of carotenes, that is per KG of body weight. 200IU per gram shows signs of making them ill and it began being stored in the liver between 50 to 100IU per KG. Using 100 as the goal per kg as max, about 450 grams per pound so a 3 pound fennec being 1350grams, 1.35kg is 135Iu per day. Geez that's not much.

1.5 cups of food is roughly 3/4's of a pound(13oz). So 135 per 13 oz of food for a fennec which is what they would eat in a day(3/4 cup's twice). Or to make things simpler for comparing 367IU/kg of food.

Smith1947 showed 25IU per KG body weight in growing pups was the minimum.

So 25-100 IU per KG body weight is the acceptable range in red foxes less than that could cause problems but red foxes tolerate more well but they did not test deeper than visual like x-rays.

(of interest in that is that fox, at least red fox, can turn beta-carotene into retinol. Cats and ferrets can not because they are designed to eat only animal matter which has only retinol and no beta-carotene. Plant matter does have bate-carotene and obviously a foxes body can digest it since it absorbs it and can turn it into retinol though is not as efficient at doing so as a more omnivorous animals like rats and humans.)

Now since they can turn carotene into retinol you don't have to worry if retinol might be a bit low they can turn the carotene from their veggies into retinol if they need it but the body wont if it doesn't need it. This is one reason why bright orange things like squash and sweet potato are good for the veggie portion of their diet.


Revisiting earlier
kg=2.2 pounds
Rabbit, domestic - 6,200IU/kg Retinol roughly 2,282IU/368g(13 OZ)
Lizard, anolis - 4,880IU/kg 1,795IU/386g
Rat Neonatal, <10 g - 21,333 iu/kg 7,850IU/268g
I'll just skip the rest they are all obviously too much remember we are looking for 135iu 13 OZ of food(a days worth of feed) per fennec assuming red fox levels
Chicken - 35,600IU/kg
Rat Adult or >50g - 151,389IU/kg
Adult Mouse Mouse, domestic 578,272IU/kg

Yep that even means rabbit is too high but it's the lowest whole prey source I could find. To remedy this feed some rabbit without organs to lower the retinol and more insects as they are also much lower. The veggies only take away about 24 iu or so. In fact feeding one rabbit with organs and one without would is still 2,113.6 per 1.5 pound for combined 1 with and one without. So actually if you had one in 10 rabbits with organs that would take it down to 422.7 per 1.5 pound/day. So maybe give 1 in 25 with organs and the rest without as that's 169IU per 1.5 pounds and some veggies will knock it down to about right.

That may seem a bit baffling but rabbits, mice ect have a much richer diet than their wild counter parts so their livers store up a bunch for retinol. Wild ones as I showed before with mice have much less than their domestic cousins. Insects the fennecs main diet is even lower in retinol.

Mice and other feeders could be rendered safer to eat by gutting them and removing their livers before feeding.

So there you go more scientific info showing dietary need for retinol is low in foxes in general.

Wait lets look at the lowest kibble it lists 22,000iu/kg. Now a 1.5 cups(3/4's twice) of kibble is 0.225kg(225g) a lot less that a half cup of "Real" moist food. So one and a half cups of the kibble would be 4,950iu

One last note too much retinol can weaken bones, could possibly be implicated(in part) in their high incidence of bone breakage.

https://books.google.com/books?id=YmgrA ... es&f=false

-----------

Here's a study on red fox that found the fox to be eating about 80% animal matter and 20% vegetation, though I rounded them off a wee bit.
http://ilacadofsci.com/wp-content/uploa ... -print.pdf

I wish there were something like that on fennecs. I'd probably say 20% max for reds and 10% max for fennecs as an educated guess but 10% for reds and 5% for fennecs as ideal vegetation intake as other studies show varied amounts in reds depending on what's available.

Another interesting note from that and pretty much every other study I found on reds is that their main diet is rabbits and hares but they fall back on other prey when rabbit is not as available.
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Re: Nutrition - I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby dmarksvr » Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:59 am

Thanks, I think this is incredibly helpful...

You might remember we had a discussion a few years ago in this thread viewtopic.php?f=111&t=11452&p=110527#p110527

...And between that and this most recent info: I think you've persuaded me to make some changes to Echo's diet, (Mostly due to Retinol concerns).

She's been getting the innova EVO Chicken/turkey mostly, or blue buffalo (didn't know about the potential cancer causing chemical till this thread though), but most recently Zupreem ferret food since I found some at new local pet shop just down the street and she was about outta food, but those 2 were mostly for when I forgot to order more EVO in a timely manner.

This Thread got me to take another look at the Innova website and I saw they now have a Herring and salmon kitten formula I didn't know about which has 18,900.0 IU/kg VIT A VS 32,700.0 IU/kg in the Chicken/Turkey, and it has more Taurine. I don't see anything about EVO's ferret food on the site any more so I guess they discontinued it but when I first discovered EVO the cat and ferret formulation were Identical. I see now they also have 2 small dog formulations in chicken/turkey or beef that have 13,000 and16,000 IU/kg Vit A respectfully, but both a bit less protein and lack taurine. I guess if you wanted to you could mix those with the kitten formula in a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio to bring down Vit A even further, but still have high protein and taurine in the diet. The EVO salmon/herring formula still has the 87% meat to 13% plant matter ratio as the chicken/turkey formula I was feeding which is close the the 90/10 ratio discussed in this thread.

I ordered the Stella and Chewys absolutely rabbit patties, and I've also decided to add insects back into Echo's diet as a way to further cut down on Retinol in the diet, and replace protein from feeding her less kibble. So I ordered some freeze dried crickets, mealworms, grasshoppers and river shrimp (what the hell, why not), and I'm going to try those along with the rabbit patties and switch her over to the Evo Herring/salmon kitten food since it has substantially less Vit A added in VS the Chicken/turkey formula. Here is a link to the EVO dry foods product page, (Be sure to click all the little green tabs on the right to see all the nutrient profiles)... http://www.evopet.com/products

So I guess I'll try to start her on 1/3 portions of each to make her complete meal once I transition her fully onto the new diet. Because of the fruits/veggies in the kibble and I think in the Absolutely rabbit, I'll probably make fresh veggies more a treat and/or every other day kinda thing because I'd rather have her on dry foods for her teeth.

I didn't realize it till I dug up an old forum thread about her (link below pics), but it looks like Echo will turn 9 years old around Feb 2017. We've had no apparent health problems except for a broken claw a few years ago and small nose rub from when she was young that left a small scar on her nose, and she seems about as active as ever... maybe she has mellowed a little bit, (Barely).

Questions/Comments on this new diet plan or Echo in general are welcome "pop"

P.S.
I found a press release for a new pet food company that will be adding cricket protein to their products, and also use seafood and veggies that weren't quite suitable for humans mostly due to aesthetic concerns. Seems worth keeping an eye on, but for now I don't know if you can buy their products yet and they don't yet list all the nutrient analysis. Link to product webpage in press release... https://cricket.yahoo.com/news/dane-cre ... 00298.html

For anyone who doesn't know, or remember (since I stop by rarely), this is Echo...

Image
Image
Image

Here's an old thread from a forum I'm more active on with info/pics...
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/lounge ... fox-2.html

And more pics in my signature links below :happyfox:
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Re: Nutrition - I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby TamanduaGirl » Fri Nov 25, 2016 5:14 pm

It popped into my head last night that I've been over looking something. They eat a lot of insects in their diet in the wild, so insect diet kibble?

Mazuri Insectivore diet #2 works out to 1,708IU per day roughly for fennec serving sizes (15,040IU/kg). And the cal/phos ratio is within red fox range.

While all nutrients are important some are more important than others and cal/phos and retinol are the biggies to get right Any dog or cat will probably fall in range though.

But unfortunately the ingredients still suck and BHA is bad since harms kidneys :wall: Oh well was a thought but a fail and all the hedgehog and other insectivore diets look similarly yucky.

---

Thank you for replying. Helps to have others to brain storm with for new angles on things. Found that food company but they only have treats and additions right now, not main food products but it for sure looks interesting. https://docksidepets.com/ One of them is a cricket and blueberry protein topper. Looks cool but still no nutrient run down but could be a good addition anyway to sprinkle on veggies or something.

The Herring and salmon kitten formula would be about 2,147IU per day. But it's still less than the current kibble so that's a great change. Too bad the dog formula's lack taurine. I suppose one could sprinkle taurine on their daily veggies and add extra meat and insects for more protein. The whole point though for me is making the diet easy, since that's why so many feed kibble. People aren't that interested in my fresh diet recommendations but glad if I can point them at a kibble. So if we could come up with an easy but still good diet more fennecs would benefit. Will be interested to hear if Echo likes the fishy kibble. Some do get fed herring so he might.

Okay after some digging around I found a decent instinct and they do add taurine
Instinct Grain-Free Ultimate Protein Kibble for Dogs - Chicken Formula - http://www.instinctpetfood.com/product/ ... en-formula
11800 IU/kg - roughly 1,341 per daily ration. Add on some insects and stellas or rabbit and you're bringing the retinol down more. I believe the Stella's is meat and bone. Wish Instinct's rabbit was nice and low like that but this is the lowest yet so probably best so far for kibble.

EDIT: One thing I'm interested in but is not often listed is carb/sugar content. I wonder how much the tapioca adds? Okay 22% of the tapioca is carbs but that seems it may be within acceptable ranges but to be sure would need to know total carbs in the food, but based on the ingredients should be plenty lower than 22% total so acceptable based on red fox info https://www.nap.edu/read/1114/chapter/9?term=carb#25

Echo really looks good for her age. I think Wiley at Critter camp is about the same age and has kidney issues already and looking kind of rough.
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Re: Nutrition - I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby dmarksvr » Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:33 am

Thanks, she's a little on the chubby side at the moment, at least she looks that way with her winter coat... hard to tell sometimes. I need to take some more pics and finally get some videos up on youtube.

The dockside stuff looks interesting, but I'm not going to bother with it till they post analysis.

It's a shame Mazuri won't use better ingredients or that would be interesting.

I have fed Echo the trout and salmon flavors of Blue buffalo cat food before and she ate them. I think one of the ferret foods I tried may have had salmon in it too. She will also eat salmon, shrimp, and crab I've given her off my plate as treats on rare occasions. She'll actually eat the shrimp tails that I discard and I think she even ate some crab leg shell once. Which kinda made me wonder if she was craving chitin, and in part why I've decided to add insects back into her diet. Also She's been on the other Evo formula which shares many ingredients so that will hopefully smooth the way. She hasn't been to picky about kibble, but she will turn her nose up at some human food I've offered as a rare treat... but then will find some 3 month old piece of god knows what under the stove and run that back to her room to hide :roll:

I took a look at the instinct food you linked to and like it, but for some reason they don't seem to list the taurine amount in the ultimate protein dog formula, but it is listed in the ingredients and the ultimate protein cat formula did list the amount. It has 13800 iu/kg Vit A vs the 11800 in the dog version... Not sure of the kibble size in the dog formula so maybe not to bad a compromise in my mind, especially if rounding out the diet with insects and something like the Stella and chewys absolutely rabbit. That's still 5000 iu/kg less then the Herring and salmon Evo formula. It's a shame the small dog version of the ultimate protein jacks the Vit A back up to almost 20,000 iu/kg.

I had already ordered a 2.2 LB bag of the EVO herring/salmon, but I ordered a 5lb bag of the instinct ultimate protein cat food. So I'll mix the 2 together assuming she'll eat both of them, and it won't be quite as low in Vit A iu/kg as just the instinct alone, but it will be around 40% or more less Vit A iu/kg then she was getting in her old diet, and that doesn't factor in replacing 1/2- 2/3rds of her kibble with insects and the absolutely rabbit which I'd guestimate at around at least a further 30% decrease in vit A iu/kg. So that should be around 70% decrease in Vit A iu/kg then her old mostly kibble diet. If anyone better at math wants to work that out to something more exact, it would be much appreciated.

Based on low calorie diets being one of the few proven ways to extend mammal life spans, and that she may have been getting way to much retinol in her diet: I suspect letting her go a half day to a full day without food a rough average of once or twice a week to help control her weight has been beneficial. That may be hard for some owners to do, but if your fox is getting attention and isn't skinny a little tough love I think will help them live longer. In the wild it's often feast or famine, so compared to that I don't think an occasional day without food is a big deal unless your normal diet is nutritionally inadequate. Also fresh water is always on hand, which I think is beneficial even if they in theory can extract most moisture from foods (That theory assumes a raw diet rather then dehydrated foods/kibble). I hope every fox owner does that, and I suspect it helps flush their kidneys and what not.

We haven't seen any problems yet, but hopefully cutting her retinol by around 70% or more prevents and/or will undo any damage the high retinol might have done and helps her live much longer, or at least stay healthier in the years she has left.

:happyfox:
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Re: Nutrition - I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sat Nov 26, 2016 5:59 pm

Yeah Mazuri is disappointing. I thought maybe they had improved as when I looked at their Termant when I heard of it it was pretty good and no BHA. I know of a 22yr old tamandua who was raised on the stuff so have been contemplating adding it to Pua's food. But looks like the rest of their food still sucks.

That's good she likes sea food. Guess most likely like seafood then. I know people feed them goldfish, though not good for them but have only seen more proper fish being part of the meal in other countries.

Yes looks like the instinct cat food will work. They are normally higher than dog food so hadn't looked at them but that one is still low enough to be good compared to most foods 1477 per day vrs 1,341 for the dog.

Skipping meals is a thought. Most leave food out for fear of low blood sugar since they are small but I don't know that that has ever actually been a problem for them like it is for chihuahuas. The little fasts would help her use her stores of fat and the fat based vitamins like retinol in the liver.

Water is for sure beneficial. Just because their kidneys can concentrate their urine efficiently enough to live on little water doesn't mean they should. The more water the less they have to concentrate so the less the kidneys have to work so the longer they can keep working.

Keeping a lean animal will also help keep the kidneys and liver working longer.
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Re: Nutrition - I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby dmarksvr » Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:53 am

Ya it seems like Mazuri is missing an opportunity. They're already in the business so why not make a premium version of their foods to cater to some of the most popular exotic pet categories and the owners willing to pay top dollar for the best diet. Seems like they are content to be the purina/alpo of the exotic pet world. They say their name means "good" in Swahili ...They should look up "better then good" in Swahili and try for that :chair:

Instinct had some rabbit formulas, but for some reason they were really high in Vit A iu/kg compared to the chicken based formulas in the dog food you looked at and the cat version I looked at.

"Just because their kidneys can concentrate their urine efficiently enough to live on little water doesn't mean they should" ...That was my thought exactly. Sure they've adapted to live in a harsh environment, but not forcing them to use that adaptation to survive seems like an obvious way to possibly extend and increase quality of life.

I never would have tried it with my ferrets, especially when they were older, but Echo hasn't seemed to suffer any effects
(like lethargy) from a short fasting period and she generally looks like she could stand to loose some weight most of the time. Here's an article on therapeutic fasting for anyone interested...
http://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/J ... c-Fasting/
...She's usually content in her room but when she's outta food she lets me know by scratching at the door. Occasionally she just does it because she wants out, but 9/10 times it's an empty food bowl. Usually if she's lonely she makes that pathetic trilling sound they do after she scratches at the door. She's got a whole routine down to get me to cater to her every whim :roll:

I was reading more about renal failure in cats/dogs and they really stressed hydration. So another change I might make especially with the absolutely rabbit patties is adding water. They say you can feed them dry but she's been on a dry diet most of her life, so if that did provide any dental benefits her teeth will hopefully last her the rest of her life now. More water in her food at this point would probably be more beneficial then whatever dental benefits might come with dry food. Plus: I think I recently read somewhere there is some doubt whether some animals even get much dental benefit from dry foods. I think it had something to do with tooth shape... That basically because of the shape the teeth they didn't rub against the food enough to get "brushing" like action... Seems like Fennec teeth might fall into this category. The way Echo chews her dry food, it seems like she is almost using her teeth like nut crackers to break the kibble into smaller pieces to swallow rather then truly grinding it down and "chewing" it.

I'm thinking of mixing the absolutely rabbit patties, dehydrated insects, and her kibble with water in a blender and making my own version of wet canned food. I'm also considering putting her mostly on insects for about 2 weeks to hopefully purge her body of excess retinol and give her kidneys a bit of break. An all insect day might be worth doing once or twice a week for that purpose also.

Oh I don't wanna discourage anyone from getting their Foxes vaccinated, but one of the articles I was reading about renal failure in cats/dogs did mention medications and vaccines as potentially stressing the kidneys. Echo I think got one half dose distemper shot when she was young but because at the time when I got her some of the vaccines that had a good safety record had been discontinued and I knew she was going to be inside 99.999% of the time, and I"m kinda a hermit that doesn't get many visitors, and being an exotic they can still put em down even if rabies vaccinated: I chose not to risk further vaccinations. However I'm still thinking about getting her a rabies vaccination if I get a social life again before she gets to much older :mrgreen: ...I wonder if that might be in part why we haven't had any health issues yet. No proof that has helped, and again not suggesting people don't get their foxes vaccinated, but at that time and in my specific situation there seemed to be more risk vs reward, so I'm just offering that up as something other owners may want to consider.

Anyways hopefully this new diet will be to Echo's liking and help her live longer and in better health :)
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Re: Nutrition - I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sun Nov 27, 2016 4:25 pm

Yeah outside of the pet food companies selling the stuff it's fairly accepted that kibble doesn't clean teeth. It doesn't make much contact and the binders in it be it grain or tapioca will just stick to the teeth even if their is contact. A lot is genetics. Quasi and Hyzzie were fed the same diet and Quasi needed a lot of dentals and lost a lot of teeth but Hyzzie never did need a cleaning though a couple of her smaller teeth broke off when playing tug, in two separate incidents but the gums just grew over them and they never got infected. She also did enjoy chewing more.

I can't remember for sure if Kat(the cat) ever had a dental if she did it was only the once. Jake will get a dental in this coming year. The vet suggested it last check up but said their was no rush then I spent a ton at the vet for Hyzzie and other pet health issues so we'll just get him check up again and a dental after. First time a bit of build up was mentioned was actually years ago and I started giving him the feline greenies and he's been good till now. Not sure how much they really helped but maybe they helped put of his needing the cleaning. Since he's middle aged now maybe it'll be the only one he'll need.

I know there's a link with dental health and kidney health but Quasi's kidneys were fine and Hyzzie was the one who got kidney issues in her old age. But finding a way to keep them clean is still one more step to helping prevent issues.

Willey's original owner actually brushed his teeth. He'd had a pet in the past die while under for a dental so he didn't want to take any chances. Jake would shred the heck out of me if I tried brushing his teeth.

I plan to start with ground rabbit then when older try giving chunks of rabbit meat so iit has to chew it's food. That's one way rodents could help is chewing them up would help clean teeth but knowing about their sky high retinol I wouldn't give it without gutting it first so the liver and most of the retinol would be gone. Most owners would probably be to squeamish to do that.

I looked at the Instinct rabbit formulas first and was appointed by their high retinol content. I'd really prefer a rabbit based kibble but it's more important to get that retinol content down so the chicken will have to be the one. I'll write and try asking them what the taurine content is in the dog.

We do learn how to communicate with each other. Pua and even Aurora have their own ways of letting me know what they want. Pua is more direct about it.

Oh you were talking about chitin before Chitosan, made from chitin and almost the same thing, is shown to help bind phosphorus and extend kidney life. I wouldn't give it to a young fennec since phos is actually needed(but limit phos ingestion once kidneys are weakened helps extend life) but being a fennec is in it's senior years once it hits 9 you might consider sprinkling a bit of a capsule onto her food. Or maybe since you will be upping the insects and so natural chitin that would be enough for now. Chitosan was one of the things I gave Hyzzie to help with her kidneys and liver.

Another was curcumin and extract of turmeric. I plan to add a wee sprinkle to the food at least now and then for the fennec to help as a preventative as well as make dandelion greens and roosts part of the veggie portion, they are also good for kidney and liver health.

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