In July 2009, a 14-yr-old male caracal (Caracal caracal) at the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa was found, on abdominal ultrasound, to have a single large cystolith. The cystolith was removed, and the composition was determined to be 100% cystine. Blood and urine samples were also collected from three other apparently healthy caracals at the zoo and were submitted, together with the samples from the affected animal, for analysis using gas chromatograph mass spectrometry for cystine, lysine, alanine, and ornithine levels. The cystine levels in the urine, the fractional excretion of cystine, and the normalized excretion of cystine (μmol/g of creatinine) were all higher in the affected caracal than in the healthy animals. Only a single other case of cystine urolithiasis has been previously reported in any wild felid in the literature.
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