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A medical masterpiece! Melioidosis macaques cured!


Medical Story Feb 2012 to date: Stump tailed macaques and melioidosis

2012 brought challenging times for our veterinary team with the appearance of a serious bacterial disease in our group of stump tailed macaques. All 8 of our rescued stump tails were affected by the disease ‘Melioidosis’, a bacterial infection acquired from the soil in tropical regions which causes animals (and humans) to develop abscesses in the tissues, bones and organs with fever and weight loss. Bite wound abscesses were not uncommon in the group but in February 2012, lesions appeared with increasing frequency and a full investigation was warranted. Blood tests, biopsies, Xrays and treatment trials were performed before the diagnosis was confirmed and the intensive treatment could begin.

The group was placed in quarantine while our vets employed a human treatment protocol adapted slightly to reduce stress and side effects for our macaques. The macaques (and staff!) endured a grueling 2 months of 8 hourly injections followed by 10 months of (daily) oral medication. Thankfully all macaques have recovered, gained weight and now await the all-clear on the final blood samples before they can safely move to a brand new enclosure as part of the new land project. 2 males ‘Sid’ and ‘Joi’ have already been given the all-clear and are currently enjoying their freedom from quarantine in the company of some recently rescued females. After a thorough soil treatment and improved drainage the large enclosure previously occupied by the macaques has become happy home to 3 fishing cats. Tackling this challenging disease in a group of animals has given our vets a unique insight into the diagnosis and treatment of melioidosis in this species. We are currently working on publishing a case study to help other primate vets manage future cases of this debilitating disease.

By the end of April 2013 the cured macaques will all be moved to a new 4,000 square meter enclosure.

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