Andrews, C. 2014. Using positive reinforcement training to refine daily medical treatment of a cynomolgus macaque. American Association for Laboratory Animal Science [AALAS] Meeting Official Program, 565-566. (Abstract #P63).
Medical care of nonhuman primates in a laboratory setting can be challenging due to the safety concerns inherent in handling conscious animals. A mature, adult male cynomolgus macaque presented with a chronic foot condition that required daily treatment by the veterinarian and husbandry staff. Traditional care was time consuming and somewhat stressful, requiring the use of a pole-and-collar system to place the animal in a chair, perform the medical treatment, and return the animal to the home cage. Since handling a mature male cynomolgus requires 2 technicians to ensure the safety of the animal and the staff, this daily treatment was also a significant resource drain. Our objective was to use positive reinforcement training (PRT) to teach the animal to voluntarily participate in the treatment. We present the PRT plan used to teach the animal to present his foot for treatment while in his home cage. The successful implementation of this plan decreased stress for the animal, reduced the time needed to care for the animal and increased safety for both the animal and the operations staff.