Abstract # 4463 Poster # 97:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 20, 2013 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 9 (SG Foyer ABC) Poster Presentation


M. B. Sarnowski1, K. R. Jacobsen2, S. P. Lambeth1 and S. J. Schapiro1,2
1Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research (KCCMR), Department of Veterinary Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Bastrop, TX 78602, USA, 2Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Copenhagen and the University Hospital
     Hair loss is a common phenomenon in captive nonhuman primates and has been associated with pathological and psychological causes. Despite the likelihood of multiple precipitating factors, hair loss is often considered, and treated, as a behavioral problem, due to occasional observations of over-grooming and hair pulling. This study investigated a number of factors related to hair loss in group-housed rhesus macaques, including dominance, hair cortisol levels and social grooming. Hair loss , using a 5-point scale (no loss to complete loss) and dominance ratings (high, medium, low) were collected for 49 individuals in nine social groups. A total of 53.5 hours of grooming data were obtained over four weeks, September and October 2011, using an all-occurrence sampling method, averaging 6 hours per group. Hair cortisol did not differ significantly across hair loss ratings (p>.05). Subjects with no hair loss received significantly more grooming than animals with moderate and severe hair loss (p=.001 and p=.03, respectively). Additionally, dominant animals had significantly lower hair loss ratings than low ranking animals (p=.029) and received significantly more grooming than middle and low ranking animals (p=.033 and p=.016, respectively). Overall, hair loss appeared to be related to the social rank of the monkeys, but not grooming, or stress as measured by hair cortisol. This suggests that hair loss may not be a reliable indicator of welfare in socially-housed rhesus macaques.