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Case study: training a chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) to use a nebulizer to aid the treatment of airsacculitis

Authors

  • Claire Gresswell,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Animals, Conservation and Education, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    • Department of Animals, Conservation and Education, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK
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  • Gidona Goodman

    1. Department of Exotic Animal and Wildlife Service, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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Abstract

Bacterial airsacculitis has been reported in a variety of nonhuman primates, and is widely treated using a combination of surgery and oral antibiotics. This case study details an alternative method of administering antibiotics (via the use of a nebulizer) when the chimpanzee subject developed resistance to all available oral preparations. Training the chimpanzee to use the nebulizer was performed using positive reinforcement techniques (PRT). It took a total of 89 sessions (<7 hr 25 min) to train the chimpanzee to use the nebulizer. The airsacculitis infection was treated using colistin in the nebulizer twice a day for 9 days. Out of 18 potential treatment sessions, full doses were administered on 13 occasions. The final dose of colistin was given via slow brachial intravenous injection under general anesthesia. The infection was successfully treated with colistin. Although there was a training time investment involved, it was felt to be outweighed by the success of the treatment. Also in the likelihood of the infection re-occurring at a later date, the now learnt behavior of using a nebulizer means that future treatment should now be considerably quicker. This is another example of how PRT is a useful tool in the successful welfare and management of captive animals. Zoo Biol 30:570–578, 2011. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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