Mortality Review Within a Population of Managed Primates at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, 2000–2014
Analysis of 64 cases of primate mortality from Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo (TLPZ) from January 2000–December 2014 revealed that approximately 20% of the cases presented with severe cardiovascular disease (CVD) at necropsy or subsequent histologic review of cardiovascular tissue. The remaining cases revealed liver (15.63%), pulmonary (14.06%), renal (7.81%), neoplastic (7.81%) and gastrointestinal (6.25%) diseases as ranking significantly lower in occurrence as related to the primary cause of death. Among the most common CVD diagnoses were fibrosing cardiomyopathy (FCM) and myocarditis. Typical ante-mortem diagnostics may be useful in cardiovascular health concerns but anesthesia had precipitated mortality in some of these cases. Although CVD, especially FCM, has been recognized and monitored within the managed ape populations, our analysis will outline a growing recognition of FCM among several primate species including black and white colobus (Colobus angolensis palliates), siamang (Symphalangus syndactylus), and mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx) in managed care. These findings suggest FCM is perhaps more prevalent than suspected in the smaller primate species. Looking at common pre-disposing factors between great apes and other primates may prove useful at identifying an underlying etiology. Nutrition is believed to be the underlying cause in the cases at TLPZ. As we advance our husbandry and veterinary care proficiency within zoological settings we are obligated to take on a whole health approach toward individual care. Identifying common trends in mortality within and across taxa will outline the steps necessary to improve both management and veterinary care.
The authors thank Drs. Trevor Gerlach; Nico Maldonado; Lizzy Arnett-Chin; Lauren Smith; Ashley Barratclough; Michelle Devlin, CVT; Heather Henry, CVT; and Ryan O’Shea, CVT, of the Veterinary Hospital at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo.