Message Number: FHL13253 | New FHL Archives Search
From: "Tressie"
Date: 2011-05-09 11:02:44 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Re: The Vitamin A question answered

Hi Sukie,

I had come across the references you cited already but didn't find the answer to the question - Can Ferretone lead to Vitamin A toxicity in ferrets?

However, I found the answer in an unexpected source (Wikipedia – well referenced):

In general, carnivores are poor converters of ionine-containing carotenoids, and pure carnivores such as cats and ferrets lack beta-carotene 15,15'-monooxygenase and cannot convert any carotenoids to retinal (resulting in none of the carotenoids being forms of vitamin A for these species).

References listed:

Leuenberger MG, Engeloch-Jarret C and Woggon WD (2001). "The reaction mechanism of the enzyme-catalysed central cleavage of beta-carotene to retinal". Angew. Chem. 40: 2614–2616.

Goodman DS, Huang HS, Kanai M and Shiratori T (1967). "The enzymatic conversion of all-trans beta-carotene into retinal". J. Biol. Chem. 242: 3543–3554.

Goodman DS, Huang HS, Shiratori T (1966). "Mechanism of the biosynthesis of vitamin A from beta-carotene". J. Biol. Chem. 241 (9): 1929–32.

In laypersons language - this means that ferrets lack the necessary enzyme to convert Vitamin A derived from plant sources (i.e. beta-carotine) into retinol (Vitamin A) in the body. In other words, Ferretone, which has plant oils in it, cannot cause Vitamin A toxicity in ferrets.

Ferrets (& cats) can only derive Vitamin A from animal sources i.e. beef, calf, chicken liver; eggs, and fish liver oils as well as dairy products.

You were correct Sukie ; )



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