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  • Author or Editor: Ilse H. Stalis x
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Objective—To assess serum iron and ferritin concentrations, total iron-binding capacity, and transferrin saturation as indicators of iron metabolic status in 3 genera of lemurs and determine whether these variables are useful for screening for iron overload.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—11 ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta), 11 black lemurs (Eulemur macaco macaco), and 11 red-ruffed lemurs (Varecia rubra).

Procedures—Blood samples were collected weekly for 3 weeks and assayed for serum iron and ferritin concentrations and total iron-binding capacity. Liver biopsy specimens were evaluated histologically and assayed for total iron, nonheme iron, and trace mineral concentrations. Deposition of iron was scored on Prussian blue–stained slides.

Results—Hepatic iron content ranged from 497 to 12,800 Pg/g dry weight (median, 2,165 Pg/g). Differences were seen in mean hepatic iron content across genera, with ruffed lemurs having the highest concentrations and ring-tailed lemurs having the lowest. Iron accumulation in the liver was mild, and cellular pathologic changes associated with iron storage disease were not detected in any lemur. Ferritin concentration was the only variable that correlated significantly with hepatic iron content in all 3 genera of lemurs; however, both transferrin saturation and serum iron concentration were correlated with hepatic iron concentration in ring-tailed and ruffed lemurs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Serum ferritin concentration was the only variable that was consistently correlated with hepatic iron content in all 3 genera. Mean hepatic iron content varied across genera, suggesting that the propensity for lemurs to develop iron overload in captivity may vary across taxa.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To characterize infection patterns and identify factors associated with avian mycobacteriosis among zoo birds that were housed with infected enclosure mates.

Design—Matched case-control study.

Animals—79 birds with avian mycobacteriosis (cases) and 316 nondiseased birds (controls) of similar age and taxonomic group that were present in the bird collection of the Zoological Society of San Diego from 1991 through 2005.

Procedures—Inventory and necropsy records from all eligible, exposed birds (n = 2,413) were examined to determine disease incidence and prevalence in the exposed cohort. Cases were matched in a 1:4 ratio to randomly selected controls of similar age and taxonomic grouping. Risk factors for mycobacteriosis (demographic, temporal, enclosure, and exposure characteristics as well as translocation history) were evaluated with univariate and multivariable conditional logistic regression analyses.

Results—Disease prevalence and incidence were estimated at 3.5% and 8 cases/1,000 bird-years at risk, respectively. In the multivariable model, cases were more likely to have been imported into the collection, exposed to mycobacteriosis at a young age, exposed to the same bird species, and exposed in small enclosures than were controls. Odds for disease increased with an increasing amount of time spent with other disease-positive birds.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The low incidence of mycobacteriosis and the risk factors identified suggested that mycobacteria may not be easily transmitted through direct contact with infected enclosure mates. Identification of risk factors for avian mycobacteriosis will help guide future management of this disease in zoo bird populations.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association