In Veterinary Medicine
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The incidence of atherosclerosis in African Grey parrots is high. An important risk factor for atherosclerosis in humans is an elevated plasma cholesterol concentration; this might also hold for parrots. Plasma cholesterol levels in humans can be lowered through dietary intervention. We studied the influence of diets with different dietary fatty acid composition and fat content on plasma cholesterol concentrations in African Grey parrots. Four groups of parrots were fed 4 different diets according to a Latin-square design. There were 2 low- and 2 high-fat diets, and the diets contained either sunflower oil or palm kernel oil as a variable fat source. Sunflower oil is rich in the polyunsaturated fatty acid linoleic acid. Palm kernel oil is rich in the saturated fatty acids lauric acid and myristic acid. Twenty parrots were involved in the entire experiment. The high-fat diet with palm kernel oil resulted in significantly higher plasma cholesterol and phospholipid concentrations when compared with the other 3 diets. The magnitude of the parrots’ cholesterolemic response to the amount and type of fat in the diet appeared to be comparable to that reported in humans. Thus, it is possible to influence plasma cholesterol in parrots through dietary intervention.