Serum vitamin D levels in free-ranging koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus)

Pye, Geoffrey W., Ellis, William, FitzGibbon, Sean, Opitz, Brian, Keener, Laura and Hollis, Bruce W. (2013) Serum vitamin D levels in free-ranging koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 44 2: 480-483. doi:10.1638/2012-0032R.1

Author Pye, Geoffrey W.
Ellis, William
FitzGibbon, Sean
Opitz, Brian
Keener, Laura
Hollis, Bruce W.
Title Serum vitamin D levels in free-ranging koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus)
Formatted title
Serum vitamin D levels in free-ranging koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus)
Journal name Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1042-7260
Publication date 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1638/2012-0032R.1
Volume 44
Issue 2
Start page 480
End page 483
Total pages 4
Place of publication Yulee, FL, United States
Publisher American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
Collection year 2014
Subject 1103 Clinical Sciences
3400 Veterinary
Formatted abstract
Due to climatic conditions in Northern America and Europe, koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) are often housed indoors. Koala joeys raised in these environments are susceptible to the development of metabolic bone disease due to a lack of exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation to themselves and their dam. As an initial step toward describing vitamin D sufficiency and adequately measuring responses to supplementation, vitamin D values were calculated by using serum collected from 20 free-ranging koalas on St. Bees Island, Queensland, Australia. Vitamin D values ranged from 8.1 to 30.4 pg/ml (18.4 ± 5.5 pg/ml) for 1, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, and from 1 to 14 nM/L (7.4 ± 3.0 nM/L) for 25-hydroxyvitamin D. These koala serum vitamin D values are unusually low when compared with eutherian mammals. Although this study was limited in numbers and in the geographically range of the koalas sampled, it does suggest that the koala's requirement for vitamin D is low. Therefore, supplementation to prevent disease may be relatively easy to achieve because low doses will likely meet requirements. Caution should be taken to avoid intoxication if supplementing vitamin D in koalas.
Keyword Koala
Metabolic bone disease
Phascolarctos cinereus
Vitamin D
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
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