Ill and anorectic captive sharks present a unique challenge for husbandry and veterinary staff. Providing adequate fluid and nutritional support to sharks while minimizing handling remains difficult. This study aimed to evaluate the ability of a nutrient enema to alter blood analyte concentrations. Thirty-six healthy, fasted white-spotted bamboo sharks (Chiloscyllium plagiosum) were enrolled in the study with 18 sharks receiving a nutrient enema and 18 sharks receiving a non-nutrient saline enema. The metabolic state of sharks was evaluated via measurement of blood glucose, blood urea nitrogen, and β-hydroxybutyrate as well as other serum biochemistry parameters. Changes in sodium, chloride, calcium, β-hydroxybutyrate, glucose, total protein, and triglyceride concentrations were seen across time in both groups. Blood glucose absolute concentrations and changes over time differed between the nutrient and nonnutrient groups. This pilot study indicates that it is possible to influence the glucose metabolism of healthy sharks via nutrient enema. Further study is needed to better understand potential therapeutics for ill and anorectic sharks.
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