Abstract # 37:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 19, 2009 06:30 PM-09:00 PM: Session 5 (Mission Bay Ballroom CDE) Poster Presentation


A. M. West1,2, S. P. Leland1,3, M. W. Collins2, T. M. Welty2, W. L. Wagner2 and J. M. Erwin4,5
1BIOQUAL, Inc., Department of Primate Psychology, Rockville, MD, USA, 2BIOQUAL, Inc. Department of Primate Biology and Medicine, Parklawn Drive, Rockville, MD, USA, 3BIOQUAL, Inc. Department of Primate Biology and Medicine, Research Boulevard, Rockville, MD, USA, 4Foundation for Comparative and Conservation Biology, Needmore, PA, USA, 5VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA

Pair housing is widely regarded as one of the most effective methods of ensuring that the psychological and social needs of laboratory primates are met. Potential obstacles of pair housing include risk of fighting and injury, along with a lack of caging that is conducive to forming and maintaining primate pairs. In the facility where this study was performed, the policy was to pair or group-house primates unless an IACUC-approved research protocol required otherwise. To this end, we designed a caging system in the 1990’s intended to facilitate pair-housing. A retrospective examination is reported here of the success of compatibility testing using our housing system. This study involved 126 juvenile and young adult rhesus macaques [average weight = 5 kgs], 74 females and 52 males, that were introduced into 63 same-sex pairs from December 2004 to November 2008. Pairs judged incompatible within the first 30 minutes were separated. During compatibility testing, thirteen pairs, 2 male and 11 female, appeared to be incompatible and were separated, with only one minor injury occurring in a female pair. Of the 50 pairs that passed the compatibility test, only one pair was separated after being together for 6 months, due to fighting without injury. Remarkably, 49/50 [98%] of the pairings that passed the compatibility test were successful. Success was not dependent on weight or weight difference, regardless of gender.