A Retrospective Review of Morbidity and Mortality in Pangolins Confiscated from the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Pangolins (Manis javanica and M. pentadactyla) are some of the most commonly traded mammals in the illegal wildlife trade. Little is known about their physiology and pathology. Morbidity and mortality in captivity has historically been high. In 2006, a rescue centre was established in Cuc Phuong National Park, with the aim of developing veterinary and husbandry guidelines for the rehabilitation of confiscated pangolins.
Between 2006 and 2010, 36 pangolins (M. javanica [n=35] and M. pentadactyla [n=1]) were received, and 4 pangolins were born in captivity. Detailed records describing presenting signs, veterinary treatment and clinical response were kept. Most pangolins were in poor condition on arrival. Documented clinical signs included snare trap (n=2) and dog bite wounds (n=1), pyoderma (n=25), and corneal ulceration (n=1). A single confiscated, pre-weaned juvenile (700 gm) was successfully hand-reared using Cat Milk Replacer (Wombaroo). Strongyle and coccidian eggs were identified on fecal floatation using 33% zinc sulfate solution. Gastrointestinal roundworm infection was successfully treated using Ivermectin 10 mg/ml (Ivomec® 1% Injection for Cattle and Swine, Merial) 200 µg/kg s.c., repeated in 21 days. Coccidiosis was successfully treated using Toltrazuril 25 mg/ml (Baycox 2.5%, Bayer Healthcare AG) 5 mg/kg orally, once a day for 3 days. Mortality rate in the centre (72.5%) remains high. Ulceration of oral, esophageal and gastric mucosa was the most commonly seen abnormality on necropsy; however, histologic analysis of these lesions (n=15) failed to elucidate an etiology. Future focus includes development of objective clinical health parameters, and investigation to determine the underlying causes of mortality in confiscated pangolins.