The effects of dietary protein, fasting, and refeeding on urinary characteristics of 9 captive, female white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were studied from 23 February to 3 May 1984. Urinary sodium (na) and potassium (K) were diminished in fasted deer after 2 and 4 weeks. Renal excretion of Na and K were lower, whereas urinary phosphorus (P) was higher in fasted deer compared to deer fed high protein-high energy (HPHE) diets. Urinary P excretion of the fasted deer was also greater than in a low protein-high energy (LPHE)-fed group. Urinary area excretion of fasted deer was similar to that of deer fed low and high protein diets. One fasted deer died during the study and exhibited notably high excretion of urea, Na, K, and calcium (Ca). No effects of the 2 levels of dietary protein on urinary characteristics were detected. Urinary Na:C and K:C ratios wer significantly correlated with Na and K intake. Urinalysis has potential as a sensitive means of monitoring the nutritional status of white-tailed deer. Data are presented as reference values for interpretation of data from deer under less controlled circumstances.
Additional publication details
Winter fasting and refeeding effects on urine characteristics in white-tailed deer