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Birmingham, AL, United States

McCain S.,University of Tennessee at Knoxville | McCain S.,Birmingham Zoo Inc. | Allender M.C.,Urbana University
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2011

Chronic kidney disease is a common finding in older captive exotic felids. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a probiotic to reduce blood urea nitrogen and creatinine in large felids. Fifteen adult, large felids (6 tigers [Panthera tigris], 5 lions [Panthera leo], 3 cougars [Puma concolor], and 1 leopard [Panthera pardus]) were administered a probiotic twice daily after a baseline complete blood cell count and plasma chemistry panel was obtained. Plasma chemistry values were rechecked at 2 mo (n = 14) and 6 mo (n = 9). There was no significant change in blood urea nitrogen over time; however, there was a significant change in creatinine over time (P = 0.04). Creatinine concentration decreased significantly between 2 and 6 mo (P = 0.02), and a decrease was seen between 0 and 6 mo, but this change was not significant (P = 0.05). There was no significant difference noted for creatinine concentration between 0 and 2 mo (P = 0.35). This probiotic may be helpful in large felids with elevated creatinine concentrations because of chronic kidney disease; however, further studies are warranted. © American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. Copyright 2011 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. Source

McCain S.,University of Tennessee at Knoxville | McCain S.,Birmingham Zoo Inc. | Ramsay E.,University of Tennessee at Knoxville | Kirk C.,University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2013

American black bears (Ursus americanus) have been shown to become transiently insulin resistant and hypothyroid during winter, but no studies have investigated these changes in long-term captive bears or in bears which remain awake year-round. Wild, captive hibernating, and captive nonhibernating bears were evaluated at times corresponding to three of their major physiologic stages: fall (hyperphagic stage), winter (hibernation stage), and summer (normal activity stage). Combined insulin and glucose tolerance tests and thyroid hormone profiles were performed on all bears during each stage. All three groups of bears had evidence of insulin resistance during the winter, as compared to the summer or fall, based on glucose tolerance curves. Analysis of thyroid hormone concentration varied and distinct patterns or similarities were not apparent. While obesity in captive American black bears is multifactorial, the finding that, regardless of their ability to hibernate, captive bears retain similar physiology to their wild counterparts indicates that captive bears' complex physiologic changes need to be addressed in their management. © 2013 American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. Source

Rush E.M.,Birmingham Zoo Inc. | Rush E.M.,St. Georges University | Ogburn A.L.,Birmingham Zoo Inc. | Garner M.M.,Auburn University
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2012

An approximately 31-yr-old California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) with a history of chronic visual impairment and corneal disease presented with slow onset, progressive neurologic deficits. Treatment for rear flipper paresis was not effective and the animal was euthanatized. Histopathologic findings included hepatocellular and biliary neoplasia, ocular amyloidosis, adrenal adenoma and pheochromocytoma, and spinal cord changes consistent with multicentric neurofibromatosis. This is the first documentation of these conditions in a California sea lion. Copyright © 2012 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. Source

Rush E.M.,Birmingham Zoo Inc. | Rush E.M.,St. Georges University | Ogburn A.L.,Birmingham Zoo Inc. | Ogburn A.L.,Auburn University | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2011

A 24-yr-old, male western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) was diagnosed with congestive heart failure using transesophageal and transthoracic echocardiology. New York Heart Association (NYHA) Class III was assigned to the severity of the condition. Over 16 mo, this progressed to NYHA Class IV despite increasing medical therapy. Repeated evaluations suggested that implantation of a cardiac resynchronization therapy device with a defibrillator (CRT-D) could benefit this animal based on clinical signs and underlying evidence of dyssynchrony and suspected fibrotic myocardial disease. Surgical implantation of leads into the right atrium, right ventricle, and left ventricle was accomplished. The CRT-D device was placed under the thoracic pectoral muscles during an initial surgical procedure. Improvement in the gorilla's clinical condition after implantation of the CRT-D device was immediate and dramatic. Subsequent scanning of the device was accomplished through operant conditioning. The data from these device interrogations included stored and real-time cardiac data, which were used to minimize recognized environmental stressors and change device settings. Over 4 yr, case management was critical to successful device use in treatment of the clinical disease. This involved medications, training for device interrogation, exercise to increase activity and improve body condition, and phlebotomy attempts. Dietary management was necessary to manipulate caloric and sodium intake and encourage medication compliance. Cardiac resynchronization therapy device implantation, although requiring specialized equipment and surgical skill, appears to be a viable option for treatment of fibrosing cardiomyopathy with systolic dysfunction in gorillas refractory to medical management. In addition to treatment, this device provides cardiovascular data at rest that could allow for early diagnosis and treatment of gorillas with this and other cardiac conditions in the future. This describes the comprehensive medical, husbandry, and training techniques necessary to successfully manage this intense clinical case in conjunction with intracardiac device therapy. Copyright 2011 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. Source

Hoskinson C.,Birmingham Zoo Inc. | Mccain S.,Birmingham Zoo Inc. | Allender M.C.,Urbana University
Zoo Biology | Year: 2014

Body temperature readings can be a useful diagnostic tool for identifying the presence of subclinical disease. Traditionally, rectal or cloacal thermometry has been used to obtain body temperatures. The use of implantable microchips to obtain these temperatures has been studied in a variety of animals, but not yet in avian species. Initially, timepoint one (T1), nine lorikeets were anesthetized via facemask induction with 5% isoflurane and maintained at 2-3% for microchip placement and body temperature data collection. Body temperature was measured at 0 and 2min post-anesthetic induction both cloacally, using a Cardell veterinary monitor and also via implantable microchip, utilizing a universal scanner. On two more occasions, timepoints two and three (T2, T3), the same nine lorikeets were manually restrained to obtain body temperature readings both cloacally and via microchip, again at minutes 0 and 2. There was no statistical difference between body temperatures, for both methods, at T1. Microchip temperatures were statistically different than cloacal temperatures at T2 and T3. Body temperatures at T1, were statistically different from those obtained at T2 and T3 for both methods. Additional studies are warranted to verify the accuracy of microchip core body temperature readings in avian species. Zoo Biol. 33:452-454, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

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