The Thai Journal of Veterinary Medicine


A milk substitute developed in 1988 (OM) has been used to feed giant panda cubs, but its contents do not match those of panda breast milk. OM contains 10% more protein than the breast milk, and so a novel milk substitute (NM) was developed based on breast milk data. NM has the following nutrition: protein, 38%; fat, 40%; carbohydrates, 12% (containing lactose, 7%); ash, 6%; and moisture, 3%; and it also contains lactoferrin, nucleotides, oligosaccharides and docosahexaenoic acid. In order to ensure that NM is safe before it is fed to premature newborns, a plan was made to subject twin cubs (Kaihin and Youhin, around one year old) to the first feeding test of NM. Here, a crossover feeding test of OM mixture (OMM) and NM-containing mixture (NMM) is described. Kaihin and Youhin were fed 800-1300 ml/d NMM and OMM, respectively, combined with 200 ml/d breast milk for 280-380 days after birth. Then, they were fed 1370-1570 ml/d OMM and NMM, respectively, without breast milk for the next 100 days. Both cubs exhibited constant growth of 90 g/day throughout the test, which is comparable with the growth of previous panda cubs (including twins). Moreover, no NMM-associated safety concerns were observed. Feces were excreted every 3-5 d during milk feeding, whereas they were excreted several times a day when bamboo was consumed. It could be concluded that NM can be fed safely to newborn panda cubs.



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