OBJECTIVE To evaluate whether the nutritive quality of Tenebrio molitor larvae and Zophobas morio larvae, which are commonly cultured as live food sources, is influenced by 4 commercially available diets used as nutritional substrates; identify which diet best improved calcium content of larvae; and identify the feeding time interval that assured the highest calcium intake by larvae.
PROCEDURES Larvae were placed in control and diet treatment groups for 2-, 7-, and 10-day intervals. Treatment diets were as follows: wheat millings, avian hand feeding formula, organic avian mash diet, and a high-calcium cricket feed. Control groups received water only. After treatment, larvae were flash-frozen live with liquid nitrogen in preparation for complete proximate and mineral analyses. Analyses for the 2-day treatment group were performed in triplicate.
RESULTS The nutrient composition of the high-calcium cricket feed groups had significant changes in calcium content, phosphorus content, and metabolizable energy at the 2-day interval, compared with other treatment groups, for both mealworms and superworms. Calcium content and calcium-to-phosphorus ratios for larvae in the high-calcium cricket feed group were the highest among the diet treatments for all treatment intervals and for both larval species.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE A 2-day interval with the high-calcium cricket feed achieved a larval nutrient composition sufficient to meet National Research Council dietary calcium recommendations for nonlactating rats. Mealworm calcium composition reached 2,420 g/1,000 kcal at 48 hours, and superworm calcium composition reached 2,070g/1,000 kcal at 48 hours. These findings may enable pet owners, veterinarians, insect breeders, and zoo curators to optimize nutritive content of larvae fed to insectivorous animals.
CASE DESCRIPTION A 1-year-old reticulated python (Python reticulatus) was evaluated because of a 2-week history of wheezing and hissing.
CLINICAL FINDINGS Rostral facial cellulitis and deep gingival pockets associated with missing rostral maxillary teeth were evident. Tissues of the nares were swollen, resulting in an audible wheeze during respiration. Multiple scars and superficial facial wounds attributed to biting by live prey were apparent. Radiographic examination revealed bilateral, focal, rostral maxillary osteomyelitis.
TREATMENT AND OUTCOME Wound irrigation, antimicrobials, and anti-inflammatory drug treatment resulted in reduced cellulitis. A 3-week regimen that included empirical antimicrobial treatment and improved husbandry resulted in resolution of the respiratory sounds and partial healing of bite wounds, but radiographic evaluation revealed progressive maxillary osteomyelitis. Microbial culture of blood yielded scant gram-positive cocci and Bacillus spp, which were suspected sample contaminants. Bilateral partial maxillectomies were performed; microbial culture and histologic examination of resected bone confirmed osteomyelitis with gram-positive cocci. Treatment with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole was initiated on the basis of microbial susceptibility tests. Four months later, follow-up radiography revealed premaxillary osteomyelitis; surgery was declined, and treatment with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole was reinstituted. Eight months after surgery, the patient was reevaluated because of recurrent clinical signs; premaxillectomy was performed, and treatment with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole was prescribed on the basis of microbial culture of bone and microbial susceptibility testing. Resolution of osteomyelitis was confirmed by CT 11 months after the initial surgery.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Focal maxillectomies and premaxillectomy were successfully performed in a large python. Surgical management and appropriate antimicrobial treatment resulted in a good outcome.