Individual dietary preferences and difficulty with animal training create challenges and nutritional concerns when evaluating a captive sea otter (Enhydra lutris) diet. The importance of vitamin A within the body reflects the necessity that it be ingested in adequate amounts to ensure optimal health. To compare levels of serum vitamin A concentrations from captive sea otters on daily oral vitamin A supplementation, serum samples from eight adult sea otters from three institutions were evaluated for serum vitamin A concentrations. The eight animals were fed a total of four different diets and received oral supplementation via three different methods. Multiple diet items were analyzed for vitamin A content and were found to have low to nondetectable levels of vitamin A. Oral vitamin A supplementation, as a slurry with dietary items, was shown to be effective and a mean serum concentration of approximately 170 ± 51 µg/L was obtained for serum vitamin A concentrations in captive sea otters. Captive diets can be modified to increase vitamin A concentration and supplementation and, if accepted, can be used as a means to ensure adequate vitamin A intake.
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