Deworming and Vitamins

Medical care is not just treatment of illness, but also prevention of illness. Like domestic cats and dogs, we deworm the animals at Carolina Tiger Rescue to prevent internal parasites. I've been sent on deworming runs a few times since being an intern, and here is the run-down:

For binturongs, we use a liquid dewormer that is injected into a mouse or a banana (no living prey of course). Because binturongs are also carnivores, we use mice because it is a welcome treat. However, because bananas are a binturongs favorite fruit in the whole world, we like to give them options.

The dewormer is measured based on the weight of the binturong and administered once monthly. Deworming is also a good time to monitor the health and behavior of the individual animal, and a great time to have a little visit and give them some attention.

We also use liquid vitamins once a week for our cats. These liquid vitamins are injected into chicken once a week for each cat depending on size. In the wild, carnivores consume a variety of prey and absorb their vitamins and minerals from consuming the intestines or blood supply of their prey. While we offer our cats a whole carcass diet, the chickens we receive from the processing plant do not completely cover the nutrient needs met in the wild. Our cats are not traveling as they would in the wild, so additional nutrients absorbed from the dirt or grass (exotic cats will eat grass too) is not really accomplished in captivity. The vitamins provide those necessary and vital organic compounds for physiological function. A lot of zoos and sanctuaries do not feed whole diets- meaning they do not offer bone or instead of real meat use commercial kibble diets. While commercial diets may be USDA approved, the whole carcass diet most closely resembles a diet in the wild because carnivores need to consume bone and internal organs in addition to meat to get vitamins such as calcium and taurine. This is why exotic cats make poor pets- it is difficult to meet their nutritional needs. Domestic cats are adapted to commercial kibble diets, and exotic cats are not the same in their dietary needs.

Injecting a whole chicken with liquid vitamins for one of our tigers with volunteer Robin Thomson.