Hooo-Hooo Volume 10, Nr 1 - Page 12

WildLife Group of the SAVA Crystals and Cats: the NZG, CCF and the University of Illinois work together to improve cheetah health The NZG-CCF team: Top row from left to right: Mr Antonie Kloppers, Ms Lucia Mhuulu, Dr Monica Mwale, Ms Gabriella Mulikita, Ms Clemenica Tjazuko, Prof Karen Terio, Dr Anne Schmidt-K√ľntzel. Bottom row from left to right: Mr Eli Walker, Mrs Katrin Hils, Dr Laurie Marker, Dr Emily Lane, Prof Antoinette Kotze, Dr Desire Dalton. Clemencia Tjazuko was an intern at the CCF genetics laboratory at the time of the NZG visit and attended the meetings. Eli Walker works with scat detection dogs at CCF and gave a demonstration to the NZG team. Katrin Hils joined the CCF genetics laboratory as staff on the last day of the meeting. Captive cheetahs suffer from a disease caused by oxalate crystals in the kidney. Similar disease is occasionally seen in humans and domestic cats. The cause in cheetahs is not certain, although in other species the disease may be caused by an inherited susceptibility, consumption of plants or other materials (like antifreeze) that have high levels of oxalate crystal forming compounds, infection with organisms that produce oxalates, certain dietary deficiencies, and other diseases that alter the metabolism of oxalates in the body, such as liver, 12 kidney, pancreas or intestinal disease. Since the freeranging cheetah population is vulnerable, maintaining the health of cheetahs in captivity is of paramount importance. Prof Karen Terio of the Zoological Pathology Programme (University of Illinois) and Dr Emily Lane of the Research and Scientific Services Department of the NZG are veterinary pathologists that have been working together for several years to try and understand the nature of the disease in the kidneys