Comprehensive Health Assessment of Great and Lesser Apes in Two Mexican Zoological Collections
In August 2011 fourteen apes were examined at two Mexican zoological institutions: seven (3.4) chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), two (1.1) pygmy chimpanzees (Pan paniscus), two (0.2) hybrid orangutans (Pongo spp.) and three (1.2) siamangs (Hylobates syndactylus). The health assessments were performed under general anesthesia and included complete physical evaluations, dental and ophthalmic exams, intradermal TB testing, chest and pelvic radiographs, abdominal ultrasound, bronchoscopy (for the two orangutans), echocardiography, and semen collection (for one common chimpanzee and one pygmy chimpanzee). Blood was collected for hematology, serum chemistry, and serologic TB testing (Prima TB-Stat Pak, Chembio Diagnostics, Inc., Medford, NY). Tracheal swabs were collected for TB culture and PCR. Fecal samples were collected for parasite testing. The main objectives were to (1) obtain baseline information on a variety of health parameters for the apes within these collections, (2) guide specific treatment for any health problems identified, (3) learn the current status of these animals regarding important zoonotic risks (i.e., TB) for the staff at each zoo, (4) lead the way for institutions outside the USA to contribute to the Great Ape Heart Project (GAHP). This project was an unprecedented event for Mexican zoological collections.
The participants are extremely grateful to each institution and their staff for their unconditional support to this project, to the Pfizer Company for donating anesthetic drugs, and to the Sound-Eklin company who provided access to a Vivid I ultrasound machine. We are also grateful to the Centro Veterinario México for the assistance of Dr. Jorge Fajardo and to Dr. Emanuel Beltrán for facilitating use of his equipment and sharing his clinical expertise.