Tampa, FL, United States
Tampa, FL, United States

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Gerlach T.J.,University of Florida | Gerlach T.J.,Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission | Estrada A.H.,University of Florida | Sosa I.S.,University of Florida | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2015

A standardized echocardiographic technique was recently established for the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris). There are no available published data on normal echocardiographic parameters in any Sirenian species. The purpose of this study was to report reference parameters for various echocardiographic measurements. These parameters are intended to serve as a comparison for future research into the prevalence of cardiac diseases in the manatee and to aid in diagnosing animals with suspected cardiac disease in rehabilitation facilities. Annual health assessments of free-ranging manatees in Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, and pre-release health assessments of rehabilitated manatees at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo permitted comparison of echocardiographic measurements in adult (n = 14), subadult (n = 7), and calf (n = 8) animals under manual restraint. © 2015 American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.


Barratclough A.,Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo | Barratclough A.,University of Florida | Floyd R.F.,University of Florida | Conner B.,University of Florida | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2016

Hemostatic disorders presumptively play an important role in the pathophysiology of several important disease conditions in the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris). Prior to pursuing such clinical implications, it is essential to establish normal hemostatic profiles in clinically healthy animals. During annual health assessments of free-living manatees organized by the US Geological Survey, blood samples were collected from 12 healthy animals from the Atlantic coast and 28 from the Gulf of Mexico coast of Florida, with body lengths of 210–324 cm. The following analyses were performed on citrated plasma: prothrombin (PT), partial throm-boplastin time (PTT), and concentrations of fibrinogen, D-dimers, and coagulation factors VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, and XII. Compared to other mammalian species, manatees had short PT (9.2±1.5 s) and PTT (10.7±0.5 s), fibrinogen was 369±78.7 mg/dL, antithrombin III was 132±11%, and D-dimer was 142±122 ng/mL. Baseline concentrations for the listed coagulation factors were established. When comparing coagulation factors between locations, Atlantic coast manatees had significantly higher factors VIII, IX, and X than did Gulf Coast manatees. This finding may reflect differences in water salinity, diet, or genetics. There were no differences in coagulation factors when among sexes and sizes. These baselines for hemostatic profiles and coagulation factors in healthy free-living manatees lay the foundation for diagnosis and future research of hemostatic disorders and contribute to understanding their role in the pathophysiology of manatees affected by various diseases. © Wildlife Disease Association 2016.


Smith L.N.,University of Florida | Smith L.N.,Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission | Rotstein D.S.,United Road Services | Ball R.L.,Tampas Lowry Park Zoo | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2015

Few reports of neoplastic diseases in manatees exist in the veterinary literature. This case series presents reproductive neoplasia noted in eight wild and long-term captive female Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) obtained through carcass recovery and animal rehabilitation programs between April 2009 and May 2014. All cases were evaluated histologically, and diagnoses of uterine carcinoma (n = 1), granulosa cell tumor (n = 2), ovarian adnexal tumor (n = 1), and leiomyoma (n = 5) were made. The underlying cause of tumor development and effects on reproductive success is currently unknown, but possible asymmetric reproductive aging and/or a correlation between obesity and reproductive disorder in long-term nonreproductive female manatees are of interest and warrant further investigation. © Copyright 2015 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.


Less E.H.,Cleveland Metroparks Zoo | Less E.H.,Case Western Reserve University | Lukas K.E.,Cleveland Metroparks Zoo | Lukas K.E.,Case Western Reserve University | And 11 more authors.
Zoo Biology | Year: 2013

In the wild, western lowland gorillas consume a diet high in fiber and low in caloric density. In contrast, many gorillas in zoos consume a diet that is high-calorie and low in fiber. Some items commonly used in captive gorilla diets contain high levels of starch and sugars, which are minimal in the natural diet of gorillas. There is a growing concern that captive gorillas may qualify as obese. Furthermore, the leading cause of death for adult male gorillas in zoos is heart disease. In humans, a diet that is high in simple carbohydrates is associated with both obesity and the incidence of heart disease. In response to these issues, we implemented a biscuit-free diet (free of biscuits and low in fruit) and measured serum biomarkers of obesity and insulin resistance pre- and post-diet change at three institutions: North Carolina Zoological Garden, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, and Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. We also added a resistant starch supplement to gorilla diets at two of the above institutions. We anticipated that these diet changes would positively affect biomarkers of obesity and insulin resistance. Both diet manipulations led to a reduction in insulin. Resistant starch also decreased overall serum cholesterol levels. Future research will examine these health changes in a greater number of individuals to determine if the results remain consistent with these preliminary findings. Zoo Biol. 33:74-80, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Gerlach T.J.,University of Florida | Gerlach T.J.,Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission | Estrada A.H.,University of Florida | Sosa I.S.,University of Florida | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2013

Antemortem studies pertaining to the manatee cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary systems are limited despite reports of cardiac disease in postmortem specimens. The objective of this project was to develop a technique for echocardiography in the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris). Because of their unique anatomy, a ventral approach was employed by use of an echocardiography table designed specifically for this study. Fourteen clinically healthy, free-ranging and captive Florida manatees underwent echocardiography between the fall of 2011 and winter of 2012. Eight females and six males of various age categories were included in the study. Clear visualization of all valves and chambers was accomplished, and length and width measurements of the left atrium, peak aortic flow velocity, and ejection fraction percentage were calculated in most animals. Abnormalities observed during the study included atrioventricular regurgitation and severe right-atrial enlargement. Based on the results of this study, echocardiography in the Florida manatee is possible, which has both clinical and research implications in larger epidemiologic studies evaluating diseases of the cardiopulmonary and cardiovascular systems. © 2013 American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.


Less E.H.,Cleveland Metroparks Zoo | Less E.H.,Case Western Reserve University | Bergl R.,North Carolina Zoological Garden | Ball R.,Tampas Lowry Park Zoo | And 11 more authors.
Zoo Biology | Year: 2013

In the wild, western lowland gorillas travel long distances while foraging and consume a diet high in fiber and low in caloric density. In contrast, gorillas in zoos typically consume a diet that is low in fiber and calorically dense. Some items commonly used in captive gorilla diets contain high levels of starch and sugars, which are present at low levels in the natural diet of gorillas. Diet items high in simple carbohydrates are associated with obesity and heart disease in humans. Typical captive gorilla diets may also encourage undesirable behaviors. In response to these issues, we tested the behavioral impact of a diet that was biscuit-free, had low caloric density, and which was higher in volume at five institutions. We hypothesized that this diet change would reduce abnormal behaviors such as regurgitation and reingestion (R/R), decrease time spent inactive, and increase time spent feeding. The biscuit-free diet significantly reduced (and in the case of one zoo eliminated) R/R and may have reduced hair-plucking behavior. However, an increase in coprophagy was observed in many individuals following the diet change. The experimental diet caused a general increase in time the gorillas spent feeding, but this increase did not occur across all institutions and varied by individual. Interestingly, the overall time gorillas spent inactive actually increased with this diet change. Future research will examine these behavioral changes in a greater number of individuals to determine if the results remain consistent with these preliminary findings. Additionally, future research will examine the physiological impact of this diet change. Zoo Biol. 33:63-73, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Tomita J.A.,Tampas Lowry Park Zoo | Killmar L.E.,Tampas Lowry Park Zoo | Ball R.,Tampas Lowry Park Zoo | Rottman L.A.,Tampas Lowry Park Zoo | Kowitz M.,Tampas Lowry Park Zoo
International Zoo Yearbook | Year: 2014

The Shoebill Balaeniceps rex is categorized as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List and past estimates of the wild population range from 5000 to fewer than 10000 birds. The Shoebill Single Species Action Plan is currently in review and may better define the number of Shoebills remaining in the wild. The Shoebill population in captivity consists of only 40 [21.18.1 (♂.♀.?)] birds at 16 wildlife institutions worldwide. Successful propagation of species with high conservation value is dependent upon understanding the natural history and conservation needs of the taxon, providing appropriate husbandry, and optimizing health and nutrition. To date, only three Shoebill chicks are known to have been hatched in captivity. The first two hatched in July 2008 at Pairi Daiza (formerly Parc Paradisio) in Belgium. These chicks were hand reared and are still surviving at the time of writing. On 26 December 2009, Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, FL, USA, became the first wildlife institution in North America to hatch a Shoebill chick and just the second institution worldwide. This chick was parent reared with careful monitoring by staff. The chronologies of this hatching as well as other significant experiences are detailed in this article. © 2013 The Zoological Society of London.


PubMed | Tampas Lowry Park Zoo
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Diseases of aquatic organisms | Year: 2016

Marine mammals are important indicators for ecosystem health and serve as sentinel species for infectious agents including zoonoses. Histological examination of tissues from a stranded Florida manatee Trichechus manatus latirostris revealed protozoal cysts in the cerebrum and intrahistiocytic tachyzoites in the liver and caudal mesenteric lymph node. Disseminated Toxoplasma gondii infection was confirmed by immunohistochemistry and sequencing of the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer region of formalin-fixed tissues. The lack of baseline information on Florida manatees exposure to this pathogen prompted a study into the seroprevalence of T. gondii in 2 separate geographic habitats in Florida, USA, during the winters from 2011-2014. Serum was collected during routine health assessments of 44 apparently healthy manatees from Crystal River (n = 26) on the west central coast of Florida and Brevard County (n = 18) on the east coast of Florida. Serum was screened for detection of T. gondii immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies via the modified agglutination test. Two animals from Crystal River from 2011 and 2012 (7.7%) and one animal from Brevard County from 2011 (5.6%) tested positive for T. gondii antibodies. Overall seroprevalence for T. gondii was low in the 2 sampled populations and may reflect a low seroprevalence or animal susceptibility. However, continued monitoring of this pathogen in aquatic ecosystems is warranted due to both possible anthropogenic sources and zoonotic potential.

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