Vitamin A deficiency in the captive African lion cub, Panthera leo (Linnaeus, 1758)

06 Jul 2016

Dietary, breeding and clinical histories and pathological findings are presented from 2 confirmed and 5 presumed cases of vitamin A deficiency in immature African lions. Five of the 7 animals were born in the wild while 2 were born in captivity. All animals were fed lean red meat sprinkled with a vitamin/mineral supplement. Salient clinical signs were incoordination, "star gazing", blindness and intermittent convulsions. Pathological lesions seen in 4 animals included severe thickening of the cranial bones, with consequent marked compression of the brain and partial herniation of the cerebellum. Vascular damage in the cerebellum and ensuing haemorrhages, resulting in acute increases of an already high intracranial pressure, were thought to be the cause of some of the clinical signs, particularly convulsions rather than direct pressure-necrosis and atrophy of nervous tissue