Abstract # 69:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2007 05:00 PM-07:00 PM: Session 7 (South Main Hall) Poster Presentation

Introduction of Mother-Infant Pairs After Delivery Via Cesarean Section in Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta)

A. M. Ruggiero1, M. F. S. X. Novak1, R. A. Woodward2 and S. J. Suomi1
1NICHD, Laboratory of Comparative Ethology, Poolesville, MD 20837, USA, 2Research Animal Management Branch, NICHD
     Research goals often require infants to be raised by their mothers. However, due to experimental requirements, problematic pregnancies or complications during birth, infants may need delivery via cesarean section. Acceptance of infants after a cesarean section is not well documented for rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). Anecdotal evidence suggests mothers have difficulty recognizing their infants after cesarean section and subsequent reunions are likely to be unsuccessful. The present study looked at the introductions of six mother-infant rhesus macaque pairs after delivery via c-section. Both positive and negative reinforcement techniques were used with successive approximations to shape the target behaviors, which were holding the infant and allowing it to nurse. All six infants were successfully united with their mothers. The average elapsed time until mothers first picked up the infant was 676 minutes, for first observed nursing it was 1253 minutes and for mothers to accept their infants it was 1332 minutes. In three cases, the mothers held the infant ventrally before nursing was first observed, whereas in the other three cases, the mothers held the infant ventrally after nursing was first observed. Contrary to older literature yet consistent with recent articles, introduction after cesarean section can be successful. It is important to keep in mind that each mother-infant pair is unique therefore procedures might need to be tailored to each case.