The objective of this prospective, blinded study was to compare plasma biochemical values and gross and histologic evaluation of kidney and liver from American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) fed extruded diets with protein derived from animal or plant sources. Alligators in two treatment groups were fed an extruded diet with protein derived primarily from plant products for 7 (n = 20) or 10 (n = 20) mo prior to harvest. A control group (n = 20) was fed a commercial diet with protein derived from animal products for the duration of the study. Plasma biochemistry panels were obtained and gross and histologic examination of kidney and liver tissues was conducted for each animal. No differences were found between alligators fed diets with animal or plant protein in terms of either biochemistry profiles or gross or histologic examination of kidney and liver. Plant-based diets, fed for up to 10 mo, do not appear to have any ill effects on the kidney or liver of American alligators.
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