Abstract # 174:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 23, 2007 09:00 AM-09:15 AM: Session 16 (North Main Hall E) Symposium

Alopecia and Behavioral Management

K. C. Baker
Tulane National Primate Research Center, 18703 Three Rivers Rd., Covington, LA 70433, USA
     Determining the best approach to addressing alopecia in captive nonhuman primates is difficult given available research findings, the range of possible causal factors, and the variety of phenotypes when the cause is behavioral. A 2006 survey (responses from 10 facilities, housing a total of approximately 20,000 nonhuman primates) found that 80% of facilities used scoring systems and clear criteria for the severity of alopecia that triggered intervention. Rarely did all observations of alopecia result in treatment regardless of severity or patterns. On average, 30% of colony populations were reported to show some degree of alopecia, but were not undergoing treatment. In practice, alopecia is not consistently equated with psychological distress. The prevalence of alopecia, its frequently-ephemeral nature, and the lack of clear evidence for a tight correspondence between alopecia and distress, suggest that this problem is, in many cases, best addressed with programmatic improvements to behavioral management rather than individual treatment plans. Alopecia was a point of discussion in recent regulatory, accreditation, or internal inspections in a majority of facilities participating in the survey, so this suggestion requires careful evaluation. However, it may be particularly appropriate at large facilities in which the application of intervention for all levels of alopecia could detract from progress in the implementation of effective behavioral management techniques or the intensive efforts required to address clear cases of psychological distress.