Abstract # 134:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 20, 2009 06:30 PM-09:00 PM: Session 14 (Mission Bay Ballroom CDE) Poster Presentation


“JELLO SHOTS”: FLAVOR PREFERENCE AND USE OF NOVEL FOOD ENRICHMENT (LABGEL©) AS MEDICATION DELIVERY IN CAPTIVE CHIMPANZEES (PAN TROGLODYTES)

E. N. Videan1, T. Flores1, M. Lammey1, R. Allred2, D. R. Lee1, R. Holguin1 and D. Herrera1
1Alamogordo Primate Facility, PO Box 956, Hollomon AFB, NM 88330, USA, 2Clear H2O
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Delivering oral medications to primates, particularly chimpanzees, can be challenging as many pharmaceuticals tend to taste bitter. LabGel© is a flavored gel for primates as both enrichment and a vehicle to administer oral medications. It is 60% water in a non-wetting gel, flavored with either bananas or raspberries and available as regular and sugar-free. Both regular and sugar-free banana and raspberry were tested in 66 captive chimpanzees [44 males, 22 females], socially-housed at the Alamogordo Primate Facility, New Mexico. The gel was administered twice weekly for 4 months. Acceptance rates were tabulated for each individual and results compared using paired t-tests with significance set at the 0.05 level. Overall, there was a 79.5% acceptance rate for regular and 83.5% for sugar-free. Only 4 individuals [6%] never accepted the product. There was significant preference for raspberry [82.5%] over banana [76.9%] with the regular LabGel© [t=2.63, p=0.013], however in the sugar-free both raspberry [84.0%] and banana [83.8%] were accepted equally [t=0.25, p=0.80]. Acceptance rates remained steady over the 4-month period with no sign of boredom with the product. Finally, when 34mg of Enrofloxacin, an antibiotic with a bitter taste, was added to the gel, acceptance for banana averaged 60%, whereas raspberry averaged only 10%. Results suggest that all versions of LabGel© are well-tolerated in chimpanzees and may be a novel enrichment and vehicle for administering pharmaceuticals.