Causes of abnormal behaviour in captive monkeys

Jessica Crast and others, Yerkes National Primate Research Centre, Athens, Georgia

Abnormal behaviour in captive monkeys may involve a range of actions which are atypical, repetitive, functionless and even physically harmful. The authors investigated the frequency of such phenomena in a group of sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus atys) housed at a medical research laboratory They found an association between the frequency and persistence of abnormal behaviour with those individuals reared in a nursery rather than by their biological mother and those kept singly rather than group-housed. To reduce the future incidence of abnormal behaviours in this species, they recommend minimising the duration of nursery rearing and single-housing wherever feasible.

Animal Welfare 23(2), 167-178

Trace proteins as confounding factors in dietary elimination trials

Jacqueline Parr and Rebecca Remillard, Angell Animal Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts

A definitive diagnosis of food allergy in a dog is based on a dietary elimination trial followed by a food challenge test. Veterinary nutritionists and dermatologists will usually recommend avoiding giving the dog any flavoured over-the-counter product or medication during the elimination trial to avoid the risk that they may contain proteins that will affect the animal's response. The authors carried out a study to investigate whether traces of soy pork or beef proteins were present in three OTC products and four veterinary therapeutic products. Using ELISAs for the three protein sources they found no evidence in the flavoured OTC products. However, tests on the therapeutic products indicated the presence of proteins which were not listed on the ingredient list or the product insert.

In particular, the authors warn that gelatin capsules may contain either beef or pork proteins which should be avoided during an elimination trial. They suggest that veterinary staff should contact the manufacturers of oral therapeutics to determine their ingredients before dispensing those products. They should also check with the manufacturers on any product described as containing ‘natural and artificial flavours'.

Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 50(5), 298-304

Effect of olfactory enrichment on exploratory behaviour of cats in an indoor enclosure

Juliana Machado and Gelson Genaro, Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Brazil

Exploratory activity is an important component of the behavioural repertoire of cats as it may determine an animals' ability to survive or to hunt successfully For a captive animal with limited opportunities for novel experiences, some opportunity to explore unfamiliar objects or territory may be a valuable indicator of that individual's welfare. The authors investigated the effects of olfactory enrichment in ‘captive-housed' domestic cats which were exposed to a novel object, a cube impregnated with the scent of a rat. All cats were quicker to investigate the scented object than a similarly unfamiliar but unscented cube. Female cats spent more time exploring the scented cube than males, while both sexes were more likely to spray urine on the scent-treated object.

Australian Veterinary Journal 92(12), 492-498

Treatment of vomiting and nausea following elective surgery in dogs

Bonnie Hay Kraus, Iowa State University

Nausea and vomiting are common adverse effects of many analgesic and anaesthetic agents, such as opioids. Maropitant (Cerenia; Zoetis) is licensed for use in dogs and cats to control those signs, particularly during and after surgery The author investigated the optimal time to administer maropitant in dogs due to undergo elective surgery involving the morphine derivative hydromorphone. Dogs given maropitant between 15 and 30 minutes before the administration of 0.1 mg/kg hydromorphone showed significantly fewer signs of vomiting than the control group which were not given anti-emetic treatment. However, signs of nausea were only reduced significantly if the maropitant was given a full 60 minutes before the hydromorphone.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245(9), 1015-1020

Welfare and ethical issues relating to the feeding of live prey to exotic pets

John Cooper* and David Williams, University of Nairobi, Kenya*

Keepers of carnivorous exotic pets will often feed their animals on living prey. This not provides essential nutrition but may also allow the predator to display aspects of its normal behavioural repertoire. However as the authors of this review article point out, the welfare of the prey species should also be taken into consideration. They argue that unless the provision of live prey is essential to stimulate the predator to take and ingest its food, then live feeding should not take place. While the UK Animal Welfare Act 2006 does not specifically outlaw live feeding, it puts an onus on keepers to care for all animals in their possession. This places them under an obligation, whenever possible, to kill the prey animal before it is eaten but these regulations only apply to vertebrate species.

Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine 23(3), 244-249

Comparison of core and rectal measurements of body temperature in dogs

Stephanie Osinchuk and others, University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Increases in body temperature and heat stress play a role in several exercise intolerance syndromes in dogs. In a field situation, it may be difficult or impractical to assess the dog's body temperature with a conventional rectal thermometer, The authors evaluated the CorTemp ingestible telemetric body temperature sensor in labradors and compared the results with those using a rectal thermometer Resting dogs had a core temperature that was on average 0.4°C above their rectal temperature while in exercising dogs the difference between the core and rectal temperature was typically 0.3°C.These findings show that it is practical to monitor a dog's core temperature using this device without disrupting its exercise.

Canadian Veterinary Journal 55(10), 939-945

DOI: 10.1080/17415349.2015.1018655

• VOL 30 • April 2015 • Veterinary Nursing Journal