Abstract # 177:

Scheduled for Friday, June 19, 2015 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (Cascade AJBCD) Poster Presentation


ESTABLISHING A BEHAVIORAL MANAGEMENT PROGRAM FOR GERIATRIC CHIMPANZEES

J. P. Bridges1, R. L. Haller1, S. J. Buchl1, E. R. Magden1, S. P. Lambeth1 and S. J. Schapiro1,2
1Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 650 Coolwater Dr., Bastrop, TX 78602, USA, 2Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Copenhagen and University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
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     In order to ensure the comfort, health, and wellbeing of geriatric chimpanzees in captivity, a formal system of management is essential. Twenty-eight percent of the chimpanzees at the Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research are considered geriatric, defined as 30 years of age and older. In order to appropriately care for this aging population, we are developing a ‘geriatric management program’ utilizing a behavioral management approach that focuses on individualized, cage-side care. This program has a number of facets, not unlike programs used at retirement or nursing facilities for aging humans. Components of the geriatric management program include: 1) environmental modifications that allow for easier movement; 2) daily health monitoring utilizing positive reinforcement training techniques to elicit voluntary participation in medical behaviors (i.e. auscultation, blood pressure monitoring, venipuncture); 3) dietary modifications to address the caloric requirements of aging and mobility-impaired animals; and 4) physical therapy in the form of either enrichment and feeding devices or training techniques that require animals to complete desired movements to obtain food. Baseline assessments of cognitive ability, mobility, and weight are collected on the whole colony to provide comparative data as animals age. This program provides specific, yet flexible (depending on each individual animal’s needs), guidelines for staff to follow to maintain and monitor maturing animals in ways that promote healthy aging.