Wild felid populations are decreasing in their natural habitat. Captive populations housed in zoological institutions represent genetic potential for eventual later reintroduction but also study material to better understand physiology and pathology of each species.1 Few data have been published about Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) pathology in zoos whereas this species is abundant in captivity. This study aims to increase knowledge about Eurasian lynx diseases in zoos. It was initiated by the vet advisor and approved by the Eurasian lynx European Studbook (ESB). To conduct this study, an online survey was sent to all ESB institutions members by e-mail and advertised in the 2017 Eurasian Lynx annual report. The answer rate was 59.2%.
Skin disease is the predominant pathology with 26.7% of answers, followed by digestive tract pathology (20%) and renal pathology (18.8%). Those results are consistent with main pathologies described in other felid species.2 The study exposes squamous cell carcinoma as the most reported neoplasia (25%) and provides descriptions of new neoplasia such as renal cell carcinoma (n=1) or nasal adenocarcinoma (n=1). The study also mentions the first report of two side effects relative to an ivermectine administration in this species. Data collected about vaccination, coproscopy or contraception will also be a valuable tool for zoo veterinarians.
This retrospective study represents the first overview of captive Eurasian lynx pathology. It will allow updating the veterinary section of the EAZA Eurasian lynx best practice guidelines and will play a role in improving this species’ health and welfare in zoological collections.
Key words: Eurasian lynx, ivermectine, Lynx lynx, neoplasia, pathology, skin disease
The authors would like to thank all the ESB institutions who have answered the on-line questionnaire.
1. Junginger J, Hansmann F, Herder V, Lehmbecker A, Peters M, Beyerbach M, Wohlsein P, Baumgärtner W. Pathology in Captive Wild Felids at German Zoological Gardens. PLoS ONE. 2015 ; 10(6): e0130573.
2. Lamberski N. Felidae. In: Miller E, Fowler M. Fowler’s Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine, Volume 8. Saunders ; 2015. p. 467–476.