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Hoby S.,University of Bern | Wenker C.,Zoo Basel | Robert N.,University of Bern | Jermann T.,Zoo Basel | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Nutrition | Year: 2010

Nutritional metabolic bone disease (NMBD) is one of the most frequently observed pathological conditions in herpetoculture. To develop guidelines for NMBD prevention in growing veiled chameleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus), 56 hatchlings were divided into 6 groups [group UV, with UVB exposure; group No: no supplements; group CaAUV: with calcium (Ca), vitamin A, UVB; group CaA: with Ca, vitamin A; group CaADUV: with Ca, vitamin A, cholecalciferol, UVB; and group CaAD, with Ca, vitamin A, cholecalciferol] and reared for 6 mo on locust-based diets. The nutrient composition of the locusts' diet and the locust-based diet for the chameleons was determined. The diagnosis included the detailed description of clinical findings, histopathology, measurements of serum Ca, 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (25-OHD3), liver 25-OHD3, vitamin A, bone mineral density, and bone mineral concentration. Chameleons that received no dietary supplementation of Ca, vitamin A, and cholecalciferol developed NMBD. When Ca and vitamin A were supplemented, the chameleons did not develop NMBD, independently of additional UVB and dietary cholecalciferol. The best prevention for NMBD was achieved by chameleons that received locusts gut-loaded with 12%Ca and dustedwith 250,000 IU/kg (75mg/kg) vitamin A and 25,000 IU/kg (0.625 mg/kg) cholecalciferol plus provision of long (10 h/d), low irradiation exposure (3-120 μW/cm2) to UVB. Chameleons that were fed diets low in vitamin A, cholecalciferol, and Ca were diagnosed with fibrous osteodystrophy. We noticed an interaction of vitamin A and cholecalciferol supplementation in the storage of vitamin A in the liver and formation of colon calcifications. From these findings, recommendations for the rearing of juvenile chameleons were derived. © 2010 American Society for Nutrition.


Rosenbom S.,University of Porto | Costa V.,University of Porto | Steck B.,Zoo Basel | Moehlman P.,IUCN SSC Equid Specialist Group | Beja-Pereira A.,University of Porto
European Journal of Wildlife Research | Year: 2012

Once a diverse family, the Equidae family is now reduced to a single genus, Equus. From the seven extant species of the genus, the African wild ass (Equus africanus) is the most threatened with extinction (last survey indicated 600 individuals). In this work we tested 25 published microsatellite primer pairs isolated from the horse genome on 22 African wild ass (E. africanus) individuals from wildlife reserves and zoos. From the 25 loci tested, 15 amplified well and showed moderate allelic richness (5.06, mean number of alleles) and moderately high expected heterozigosity (0.59). Although all possible loci pairs showed no significant gametic disequilibrium (P > 0.007), deviations from Hardy-Weinberg proportions were found in 2 out of the 15 analysed microsatellite loci (AHT5 and VHL20). Here, we propose these polymorphic markers to be used as a standard set in future studies on population and conservation genetics of the African wild ass. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.


News Article | November 2, 2015
Site: phys.org

African rhinos can serve as natural hosts or as a reservoir for equine herpesviruses. Credit: Azza Abdelgawad/IZW In general, herpes viruses are considered to be specific to a single species or group of related animals. Recent research findings from the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) contradict this assumption by showing that two equine herpes viruses (type 1 and type 9) have evolved an unusual broad host range. Despite favoring African herbivores these viruses can jump beyond their natural hosts, infecting polar bears and other distantly related species and causing fatalities. Interestingly, herpes virus type 9 (EHV-9) may use the African rhinoceroses as a possible natural host or reservoir. The findings were published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. Equine herpes viruses type 1 (EHV-1) and EHV-9 are associated with respiratory disorders, abortion, neurological manifestations and death in horses and their wild relatives such as zebras and onagers and in unusual hosts such as polar bears. Although herpes viruses are known to be host specific, EHV-1 and EHV-9 are somewhat unusual and lack strict host specificity. These two viruses can jump beyond their natural hosts and infect non-equid species with fatal consequences. The results of the study demonstrate a high prevalence of EHV-9 antibodies in healthy African rhinoceroses, suggesting that they are susceptible to EHV-9 infection and may serve as a natural and possibly definitive host or reservoir. Zebras, in contrast, had a lower prevalence of EHV-9 antibodies while having a much higher EHV-1 prevalence, consistent with other equid species such as domestic horses. Interestingly, a higher prevalence of EHV-1 was observed in free-ranging zebras than in zoo kept zebras, suggesting captivity may reduce exposure to virus infection for EHV. An international team of scientists from the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), Freie Universität Berlin (Germany), Réserve Africaine de Sigean (France), Bwabwata Ecological Institute (Namibia), Zoo Basel (Switzerland), and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Kafrelsheikh University (Egypt) investigated the sero-prevalence (whether and how much antibody against these viruses each animals produces) of EHV-1 and EHV-9 in wild and captive animals using a novel sensitive and specific "immunological assay" (biochemical test). The assay was applied to hundreds of samples collected from captive and wild animals representing 30 species in 12 families and five orders. The scientists proposed that EHV-1 and EHV-9 have evolved a broad host range among African mammals including distantly related perissodactyls. Thus, EHV-1 and EHV-9 have a broad host range favoring African herbivores and may have acquired novel natural hosts in ecosystems where wild equids are common and are in close contact with animals such as zebras and rhinos. Several cases of fatal cross species transmission of EHVs have been documented recently, with the assumption that zebras or other equids were the source of infection. Further study is needed to determine the role of these animals in EHV epidemiology in both captivity and the wild. Explore further: Researchers uncover clues to horse herpes and neurologic disorders More information: Azza Abdelgawad et al. Comprehensive Serology Based on a Peptide ELISA to Assess the Prevalence of Closely Related Equine Herpesviruses in Zoo and Wild Animals, PLOS ONE (2015). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0138370


PubMed | Murdoch University, Zoo Basel, Western University of Health Sciences and University of Western Australia
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Zoo biology | Year: 2016

The pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis) is an IUCN Red List Endangered species (CITES Appendix II) that has been housed in zoological collections since 1912. As wild populations continue to decline throughout the species range, successful ex situ breeding and management, including an understanding of morbidity and mortality, are of utmost importance. This study is the first comprehensive review of mortality data from the captive population since 1982 and significantly expands on previous analyses. We solicited necropsy reports from 129/187 zoological institutions worldwide that currently or previously held pygmy hippos and received data for 404 animals (177 , 220 , 7 undermined sex), representing 43% of pygmy hippos that have died in captivity. Mortality in neonates was primarily due to perinatal causes (51.8%-stillbirth, failure to thrive, weakness, poor suckling reflex, maternal neglect) or parent-inflicted trauma (28%). Common causes of mortality in adult and geriatric animals included cardiovascular disease (16%), degenerative musculoskeletal conditions (10%), obstructive gastrointestinal disease (9%), and renal insufficiency (13%), sometimes associated with advanced polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Although not the direct cause of mortality, a number of adult and geriatric pygmy hippos were also overweight to obese. Infectious causes of mortality in included leptospirosis and encephalomyocarditis virus, the latter usually presenting as acute death due to cardiovascular demise. This comprehensive overview presents a useful guide for recommendations in preventative veterinary care and for improved husbandry and management of pygmy hippos in captivity. Zoo Biol. 35:556-569, 2016. 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Kaufmann C.,Veterinary Clinic Mondo A | Hoby S.,Zoo Basel | Vollm J.,Zoo Basel | Wenker C.,Zoo Basel
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2015

Lesser kudus (Tragelaphus imberbis) have been kept in Zoo Basel since 1956. Juvenile mortality used to be high, and a recent study to reveal pathologic findings identified white muscle disease as a major contributor to this problem. Therefore, a retrospective study was initiated using 16 stored serum samples from lesser kudus from 2000 to 2013 to determine the concentration of selected trace elements, including selenium, copper, zinc, and iodine. Additionally, three serum samples were used to measure serum vitamin E values. Serum analysis revealed that copper, zinc, and iodine values were within reference ranges for domestic ruminants, and the supplementation status of these trace elements was assumed to be adequate. In contrast, vitamin E levels were low and selenium levels were scarce in several animals, indicating a deficiency of these essential micronutrients. The results of the analyses are compared with literature references. © Copyright 2015 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.


Koehler A.V.,University of Melbourne | Borel S.,University of Bern | Hoby S.,Zoo Basel | Hentrich B.,University of Bern | And 2 more authors.
Parasitology Research | Year: 2014

Parasites are of major clinical significance in captive primates in zoos, particularly those with direct life cycles. Oxyurid nematodes can be a persistent problem, as infection intensity and environmental contamination with infective eggs are usually high. Observations at the Basel Zoo in Switzerland have revealed that particularly black-handed spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) exhibit continuous oxyurid nematode infection(s), despite regular deworming with anthelmintics. In the present study, using a molecular approach, we were able to identify the nematode (Trypanoxyuris atelis) causing this ongoing problem, and we are now evaluating a practical treatment and control regimen to tackle this parasite problem. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


PubMed | University of Zürich and Zoo Basel
Type: Journal Article | Journal: International journal for parasitology. Parasites and wildlife | Year: 2016

Due to frequent cases of alveolar echinococcosis (AE) in captive primates in Europe, 141 samples of food, which consisting of vegetables and fruits, were investigated for contamination with egg-DNA of taeniids. Each sample consisted of at least 40 heads of lettuce as well as various vegetables and fruits. The samples were purchased at different times of the year: either from September to November (autumn), originating from greenhouses or fields in the Basel region in the North of Switzerland, or in April and May (spring) when fruit and vegetables are sourced from throughout Europe from various wholesalers. Each sample was washed, and the washing water sieved through mesh apertures of 50m and 21m, respectively. The debris, including taeniid eggs, collected on the 21m sieve were investigated by a multiplex PCR-analysis followed by direct sequencing. In 17 (18%) of the 95 samples collected in autumn, taeniid-DNA was detected (Taenia hydatigena in four, Taenia ovis in three, Taenia polyacantha in two and Hydatigera (Taenia) taeniaeformis in five cases). Similarly, in 13 (28%) of the 46 samples collected during spring taeniid-DNA was detected (Echinococcus granulosus s.l. in two, Taenia crassiceps in one, T.hydatigena in two, Taenia multiceps/Taenia serialis in two, Taenia saginata in one and H. taeniaeformis in five cases). Although DNA of Echinococcus multilocularis was not found specifically in this study, the detection of other fox taeniids reveals that vegetables and fruit fed to the primates at the Zoo Basel at different times of the year and from different origin are contaminated with carnivores faeces and therefore act as a potential source of AE infections.


PubMed | University of Zürich and Zoo Basel
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Zoo biology | Year: 2016

Preventing obesity in zoo animals is increasingly recognized as an important husbandry objective. To achieve this goal, body condition scoring (BCS) systems are available for an ever-increasing number of species. Here, we present a BCS for the greater one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) based on an evaluation (on a scale from 1 to 5) of seven different body regions, and report resulting scores for 62 animals from 27 facilities, based on digital photographs. In animals above 4 years of age, this BCS correlated with the body mass:shoulder height ratio. Although differences between the sexes for individual regions were noted (with consistently higher scores in males for the neck and shoulder and in parous females for the abdomen), the average BCS of all regions did not differ significantly between males (4.30.4) and females (4.10.5). Linking the BCS to results of a questionnaire survey and studbook information, there were no differences in BCS between animals with and without foot problems or between parous and non-parous females. In a very limited sample of 11 females, those eight that had been diagnosed with leiomyoma in a previous study had a higher BCS (range 3.9-4.9) than the three that had been diagnosed as leiomyoma-free (range 3.5-3.7). The BCS was correlated to the amount of food offered as estimated from the questionnaire. Adjusting the amounts and the nutritional quality of the diet components is an evident measure to maintain animals at a target BCS (suggested as 3-3.5). Zoo Biol. 35:432-443, 2016. Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


PubMed | Kafr El Sheikh University, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Free University of Berlin, Reserve Africaine de Sigean and 2 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015

Equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) causes respiratory disorders and abortion in equids while EHV-1 regularly causes equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM), a stroke-like syndrome following endothelial cell infection in horses. Both EHV-1 and EHV-9 infections of non-definitive hosts often result in neuronal infection and high case fatality rates. Hence, EHV-1 and EHV-9 are somewhat unusual herpesviruses and lack strict host specificity, and the true extent of their host ranges have remained unclear. In order to determine the seroprevalence of EHV-1 and EHV-9, a sensitive and specific peptide-based ELISA was developed and applied to 428 sera from captive and wild animals representing 30 species in 12 families and five orders. Members of the Equidae, Rhinocerotidae and Bovidae were serologically positive for EHV-1 and EHV-9. The prevalence of EHV-1 in the sampled wild zebra populations was significantly higher than in zoos suggesting captivity may reduce exposure to EHV-1. Furthermore, the seroprevalence for EHV-1 was significantly higher than for EHV-9 in zebras. In contrast, EHV-9 antibody prevalence was high in captive and wild African rhinoceros species suggesting that they may serve as a reservoir or natural host for EHV-9. Thus, EHV-1 and EHV-9 have a broad host range favoring African herbivores and may have acquired novel natural hosts in ecosystems where wild equids are common and are in close contact with other perissodactyls.


PubMed | University of Zürich and Zoo Basel
Type: | Journal: Experimental parasitology | Year: 2015

Echinococcus multilocularis is the causative agent of alveolar echinococcosis, a serious and emerging zoonotic disease in many parts of the northern hemisphere. Humans but also primates and other accidental hosts can acquire the infection by the ingestion of eggs excreted by the carnivore definitive hosts, e.g. after hand contact with egg-contaminated environments or by consumption of contaminated food or beverages. The goal of this study was to develop a sensitive in vivo method to determine the viability of E.multilocularis eggs and to establish suitable conditions (optimal temperature, exposure time and humidity) for their (prophylactic) inactivation. The sensitivity of a rodent model was evaluated and, conclusively, C57Bl/6 mice were most susceptible to subcutaneous inoculation of small numbers of sodium hypochlorite-resistant oncospheres, even more than to oral inoculation of mature eggs. In the second part of the study, various combinations of exposure temperature (between 45C and 80C), times (between 30min and 180min) and relative humidity (70% vs. suspended in water) were tested. After heat treatment in an incubator, the sodium hypochlorite resistance test was used to assess in vitro egg viability at the time of inoculation. Subsequently, the infectivity of the oncospheres was evaluated by subcutaneous inoculation in mice. Eggs exposed to increasing temperatures were more resistant to heat if suspended in water as compared to eggs exposed on a filter paper at 70% relative humidity. As survival of eggs in water droplets on the vegetables cannot be excluded, further experiments were performed with eggs suspended in water only. Eggs were infectious after heat exposure at 65C for up to 120min, however, no echinococcosis developed after treatment of the eggs at 65C for 180min or at 70, 75 and 80C for 7.5, 15 or 30min.

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