The effects of dietary protein, fasting, and refeeding on urinary hydroxyproline of nine captive female white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were examined from 23 February to 3 May 1984 in northern Minnesota. In the fasted group, mean hydroxyproline: creatinine (OHP:C) was greater (P< 0.05) at week 4 compared to baseline at week 0. Between fasted deer and deer fed high protein-high energy (HPHE) and low protein-high energy (LPHE) diets, no difference in OHP:C ratios was detected during the initial 4 wk of the study. Urinary OHP:C ratios were significantly (P< 0.05) greater in the fasted group during refeeding, concomitant with greater feed consumption and weight gain. There was also a significant (P< 0.02) time effect in the fasted-refed group; OHP:C ratios increased during these two phases of the study. There was no difference between the HPHE and LPHE fed deer in renal OHP excretion. However, mean OHP:C ratios in yearlings (16.8 ± 2.2) were greater (P<0.001) than in the adults (7.5 ± 1.2) of those groups, indicating a higher collagen turnover rate. Urinary OHP:C shows potential as an indicator of growth and starvation, and the data presented may serve as reference values.
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