Age-Related Changes in Hematology, Plasma Biochemistry, and Urinalysis Values in Endangered, Wild Ring-Tailed Lemurs (Lemur catta) at the Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve, Madagascar
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2012

Cora L. Singleton1, DVM; Aimee Norris1, LVT; Michelle L. Sauther2, MA, PhD; Frank P. Cuozzo3, MA, PhD; Ibrahim Antho Jacky Youssouf4, PhD

1Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, Columbia, SC, USA; 2Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA; 3Department of Anthropology, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, USA; 4Laboratoire de Biologie Animale et Ecologie Terrestre, Faculté des Sciences, Université de Toliara, Madagascar


In 2011, forty wild ring-tailed lemurs were captured using Telazol® (tiletamine/zolazepam) administered via blow dart. Lemurs were divided into three age classes: <5 yr old (n=8), 5–9 yr old (n=17), and ³10 yr old (n=15). Whole blood was collected from a femoral vein and used to perform hematology (white blood cell counts and differentials, hematocrit, total protein) and plasma biochemistry profiles (sodium, potassium, chloride, ionized calcium, glucose, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, and hemoglobin) at the Beza Mahafaly Special Rerserve (BMSR) field laboratory. Hematology profiles were performed manually, and plasma biochemistry profiles were obtained using an i-STAT® portable chemistry machine. Urine samples were collected via manual expression of the bladder from 37 of the 40 lemurs: <5 yr old (n=8), 5–9 yr old (n=16), and ≥10 yr old (n=13). For each urine sample, biochemical values and specific gravity were determined and the sediment was evaluated at the BMSR field laboratory.

Younger lemurs (<5 yr old) had higher average hematocrit; higher average plasma total protein, potassium, and glucose; lower average plasma ionized calcium; higher average urine pH; and more frequent low-level proteinuria and glucosuria than middle-aged and older lemurs. Older lemurs (³10 yr old) had higher average blood urea nitrogen values and lower average white blood cell counts than middle-aged and younger lemurs.

Identifying age-related changes in hematology, plasma biochemistry, and urinalysis values in apparently healthy wild ring-tailed lemurs will aid in proper clinical diagnosis and treatment of captive lemurs, which is especially relevant for management of geriatric animals in zoo populations.


The authors thank Abaxis Animal Health, Union City, CA for their generous lending of an i-STAT® chemistry analyzer for use in Madagascar.


Speaker Information
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Cora L. Singleton, DVM
Riverbanks Zoo and Garden
Columbia, SC, USA

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