Info: Whale calf formula (yuck!)

Michael Williamson (
Mon, 22 Nov 1995 10:03:14

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From: Michael Williamson <WHE_WILLIAM@FLO.ORG>
Subject: Info: Whale calf formula (yuck!)
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From:	SMTP%"MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET" 20-NOV-1995 11:33:54.52
Subj:	Milk Formulas
Date:         Mon, 20 Nov 1995 13:06:32 BDB
Reply-To:     Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Sender:       Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Comments:     Warning -- original Sender: tag was rbaird@SOL.UVIC.CA
From:         Andre Barreto <POSASB@BRFURG.BITNET>
Subject:      Milk Formulas
To:           Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
  Here, at last, are the milk formulas that I promised to send to the list.
Given below is a composite message using the formulae and some
advices sent to me. Excuse me if you also sent a formula and your name
doesn't appear here. Some messages were inadventently erased during
the "storm days".
  Again, thanks to everyone who helped and, if you work with strandings,
keep those formulae at hand. Who knows when you'll need them?
Most people suggested using Dr. Forrest Towsend's formula (or contacting
 him to obtain it), which has been used to raise a bottlenose dolphin calf,
a pantropical spotted dolphin calf, and a pygmy sperm whale calf.
From: Cheryl A. Messinger (
    and Randall S. Wells (
There are two schools of thought on calf formulas.  One is to make a dilute
slurry of fish (preferably using the species of fish the adult dolphin eats)
and an electrolyte formula such as Pedialyte.  The other is to make a "milk"
A neonate bottlenose dolphin was raised at Gulfarium in Ft. Walton Beach,
Florida, USA by their Head Trainer, Greg Siebenaler, and their
veterinarian, Dr. Forrest Townsend.
Their formula is as follows:
Herring filets with viscera  750 ml
Lactobacillus    1 Tablespoon or 3 tablets
Lethicin (liquid)    1 Tablespoon
"Multi-Milk"    2.5 cups (dry measure)
MultiVitamin    1 tablet
Osteoform     6 tablets or 1 tablespoon
Safflower Oil    50 ml
Taurine     250 mg
Water (Bottled or boiled)   1100 ml
Yield = 1800 mls
Goal = 150 to 200 kcals/kg of body weight/day
"Multi-Milk" is a non lactose, low carbohydrate, high protein, high fat milk
replacer.  It is often used in zoos.  It is made by PetAg, Inc. I (800)
323-0877, Telex 62505740 ESL UD, or fax 1-708-741-5135.  Elgin, Illinois,
Formula analysis=
Protein 10 gm/100 gm
Ash 1.4 gm/100 gm
Fat 9 gm/100 gm
Carbohydrates 1.2 gm/100 gm
Moisture 78.4 gm/100 gm
Taurine 63 mg/100 gm
Typically with stranded animals, the first 24 to 48 hours they are tubed
water or water with electrolytes, due to the fact that they are almost
always dehydrated.  After this, the next 24 hours is spent slowly
introducing formula - where one feeding is a combination of one fourth
formula mixed with three fourths water...if that goes okay, then the next
feeding is a combination of one half formula and one half water...if that
goes okay, then three fourths formula and one fourth water.  The next
feeding is straight formula.  Remember that marine mammals are lactose
intolerant and cannot digest cows milk unless it is treated with a
substance that will break down the lactose prior to giving it to the
animal.  The sooner you can get the calf to suckle from a bottle, the
better chance it will have of surviving.  Allow it to suckle on your
fingers and introduce the nipple of a bottle with your fingers.  When it
begins to suckle, squirt a little of the formula into its mouth, just
enough so that it can get a taste of the milk.  If you know what this
species eats in your area, you may want to take some of that type of fish
or squid and add a filet or two to flavor the milk and make it more
appealing for the calf to eat.
The formula needs to be watery enough to easily flow
through the nipple on the bottle.  It may be necessary to modify the formula
based upon the clinical condition of the calf.   It is critical to start with
small volumes and make changes gradually so the calf's gastrointestinal
system has time to adjust.   The volume to be fed must be warmed prior to
feeding.  The rest should be refrigerated.  Never use formula that is over 24
hours old.
A calf will need approximately 100 Kcal per Kg of body weight for growth.
 Feeding frequency should be every 2-3 hours around the clock.  It is
extremely important to accurately weigh the calf daily to verify that it is
gaining weight.  If the calf will continue to nurse, then offer whatever
volume per feed the calf will accept.
Formula provided courtesy of Dr. Forrest Townsend, Bayside Hospital for
Animals, 251 N.E. Racetrack Road, Fort Walton Beach, Florida  32547.
 Telephone:  (904) 864-1857; Fax: (904) 863-3980.
Greg Early ( suggested using goat's milk as a source of
low lactose milk. We had a low lactose powder milk available here, but it is
a good suggestion when you can't find it.
  We also received from Monica Muelbert ( a
formula used to feed a harbour porpoise.
Herring fillets plus viscera  8-10 parts or 53 to 59% of volume;
Tap water 5 parts or 29-33% of vol.;
STAT 2 parts; 12-13% of Vol.
Sea Tabs 1 tab;
^Lactobacillus acidophilus^ 1tsp;
STAT is a vitaminic suplement and Sea Tabs are multivitamins with iron.
Instructions: Blend all of the above to a very smooth consistency and
refrigerate. Mix 5 parts of formula to 3 parts of water to 2 parts of cream,
and feed by stomach tube. A Standard fowl stomach tube was resisted; an
0.5-in diameter, highly flexible latex tube was substituted and accepted.
The 28 lb neonatal harbour porpoise was fed 120cc of formula every 2 h. at
29 lb, the amount fed was increased to 300cc per feeding, six feedings
daily. Whole fish (smelt) were begun when the weight of the animal reached
35 lbs. The harbour porpoise was maintained 3 mo, then it died.
  We received from Dr. Lucio Eiras (Mar del Plata Aquarium) the formula
they had been using to nurse theirs Pontoporia. Their formula is:
150 gr "palometa" (local fish)
75 gr  "anchoita" (local fish - clupeid)
75 gr shrimp
50 gr milk cream
1 and 1/2 measure of milk powder
300 cc water
75 mg of B1 vit.
mineral, oligoelements and vitamin suplement
  The fish was used without skin and bones, and all the ingredients should be
put in a blender and liquefied.
  We finally decided to use an adaptation of the above formula.
It is as follows:
200 gr "pescadinha" (fish: Macrodon ancylodon)
20 gr no-salt butter
60 gr Nestogen Soy
60 ml Teragram (multivitaminic)
  "Nestogen Soy" is a low lactose milk powder from Nestle, used for babies.
Instead it has maltose. The fish was used without skin, bones and viscerae.
The above ingredients were put into a blender and completed to 1 liter with
and liquefied. To the final mix we added 100 ml of physiological solution.
Everything was then put through a sieve and given to the dolphin.
When the dolphin stater to get worse, we changed to a solution made only
of shrimp and physiological solution.