The objective of this study was to assess the acceptance and safety of two species of food-grade clams, ocean quahog (Arctica islandica) and Atlantic surf clam (Spisula solidissima), for consumption by fur-farmed American mink (Neovison vison). These clams contained thiaminase that can lead to weight loss, paralysis, and death. Across 19 wk, 39 black, adult female mink divided into three groups were fed a standard chicken-based control diet, 10% clam diet, or 20% clam diet and assessed for feed consumption rates, body weights, locomotor stereotypic behavior, overall activity levels, and ability to complete a novel tunnel climbing task. The 20% clam group consumed significantly less metabolizable energy compared with the control group, but there was no significant difference in weight gain between groups. There were some inconsistent group differences in stereotypy and overall activity with all groups showing significant behavioral differences across study weeks; possibly related to ambient weather and photoperiod. There were no significant group differences in their ability to complete the tunnel task. Based on our results, no negative effect of clam consumption was observed in adult female mink, but further studies are needed to determine clam safety to both male and female mink from all life stages.
paralysie de Chastek