Objective—To establish a nonterminal semen collection method for use in captive Chilean rose tarantulas (Grammostola rosea) and to evaluate tools for investigating morphology and viability of spermatozoa.
Animals—7 mature male Chilean rose tarantulas.
Procedures—Each tarantula was anesthetized in a 500-mL induction chamber containing a cotton ball infused with 2 mL of isoflurane. Semen collection was performed by applying direct pressure to the palpal bulbs (sperm storage organs) located on the distal segment of the palpal limbs. Morphology of spermatozoa was examined by light microscopy and transmission and scanning electron microscopy. Propidium iodide and a fluorescent membrane-permeant nucleic acid dye were used to evaluate cell viability.
Results—Semen was collected successfully from all 7 tarantulas. Microscopic examination of semen samples revealed coenospermia (spherical capsules [mean ± SD diameter, 10.3 ± 1.6 μm] containing many nonmotile sperm cells [mean number of sperm cells/capsule, 18.5 ± 3.8]). Individual spermatozoa were characterized by a spiral-shaped cell body (mean length, 16.7 ± 1.4 μm; mean anterior diameter, 1.5 ± 0.14 μm). Each spermatozoon had no apparent flagellar structure. The fluorescent stains identified some viable sperm cells in the semen samples.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The described technique allowed simple and repeatable collection of semen from Chilean rose tarantulas. Semen from this species was characterized by numerous spherical capsules containing many nonmotile spermatozoa in an apparently quiescent state. Fluorescent staining to distinguish live from dead spermatozoa appeared to be a useful tool for semen evaluation in this species.
A 9-year-old 37-kg sexually intact male snow leopard (Panthera uncia) with no history of lameness but radiographic evidence of right femoral subluxation and flattening of both femoral heads, 2 juvenile (< 1 year old) 25-kg sexually intact male cheetahs (Acinoynx jubatus) with unilateral hind limb lameness resulting from trauma, and an 11-year-old 110-kg sexually intact female Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) with a 2-year history of left hip joint osteoarthritis were examined.
No clinically relevant clinical findings other than hip joint problems were identified. All 4 felids underwent staged bilateral (snow leopard) or unilateral (cheetahs and tiger [Panthera tigris]) total hip arthroplasty (THA).
TREATMENT AND OUTCOME
In the snow leopard, both femoral THA components were found to be luxated 1 year after surgery. Treatment consisted of autogenous corticocancellous rib graft augmentation of the dorsal acetabular rims and synthetic suture capsulorrhaphies. The snow leopard lived for an additional 4 years with no additional THA-related complications. In the other 3 animals, catastrophic complications (luxation in the cheetahs and femoral fracture in the tiger) occurred shortly after THA. The THA implants were removed, and excision arthroplasty was performed. Long-term outcomes were good in all 3.
Findings underscore the challenges associated with THA in large nondomestic felids. Given the high risk for early catastrophic failure as a result of luxation or fracture, plans must be made and resources must be available in case revision surgery or implant removal with excision arthroplasty becomes necessary.