Gastrointestinal osmolality electrolyte and organic acid composition in five species of East African herbivorous mammals.
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Inherent differences observed in ionic composition of gastrointestinal contents due to diet, feeding regimen and (or) site along the length of the digestive tract were controlled so that a clearer understanding of species differences could be obtained. Three species of ruminants (i.e., Zebu cattle, sheep and goat), a pseudo-ruminant (camel) and a nonruminant (donkey) were compared. Specific differences were observed in organic acid concentration, pH and electrolyte composition at various sites along the length of the tract. In general, Zebu cattle exhibited major differences in colonic volatile fatty acid, sodium and chloride concentrations when compared to other species. Donkeys, camels, sheep and goats were generally similar in their gastrointestinal ionic composition. (Key Words: Organic Acids, Gut Electrolytes, Osmolality, Zebu Cattle, Camels, East African Herbivores