Egeler, J. L., Hoekwater, S., Hoffman, H. D. 2010. Monitoring program for the treatment of nonhuman primates with behavioral disorders. American Association for Laboratory Animal Science [AALAS] Meeting Official Program, 717 (Abstract #P113).
Maintaining the psychologic wellbeing of nonhuman primates housed in a laboratory setting is an important aspect in providing the best possible care for these animals. Nonhuman primates kept in captivity can begin to display abnormal behaviors that are not typical of that species in the wild. Typically, these behaviors manifest themselves as repetitive actions that are not usually observed in the colony or behaviors that are harmful to the individual animal. In a toxicology research setting, treatment of nonhuman primates with these types of disorders can be a difficult and frustrating process because treatments can be limited by research protocols. These types of cases require creative long-term treatment regimes that require a larger time commitment and a different type of care plan from what is normally offered by the veterinary staff for sick or injured animals. An individualized program for responding to animals displaying these types of issues can be the best way to provide the most effective treatments possible. Behaviors that fit the criteria for being placed on a behavioral monitoring program fall into 2 main categories: injurious or noninjurious behaviors. Recognizing abnormal behaviors can also be a difficult challenge in itself as many animals only display some behaviors intermittently, are associated only with a certain technical function such as dosing, or are triggered by a certain type of stressor. For this reason, it is important to train technical staff on what constitutes abnormal behavior and why it is important to be addressed. We will further detail a behavioral treatment program and illustrate techniques used for treating various behavior abnormalities.