Chapter Index

More frequently occurring health problems

Details concerning observed diseases: see tables 1 - 13.
Environmental stress may lead to behavioural changes and reduced food consumption (see table 1); stress caused by transfer to unfamiliar environments led to deaths due to gastric ulcera, fatty liver and inanition in 27 % of 48 slender lorises from Ruhr-University (days or weeks after transport) and nine of 12 examined Angwantibos (death within two months after arrival) 10. The danger of stress-related health problems can be reduced by environmental enrichment and adequate housing in a reasonably quiet environments; see also information about stress problems in this database.
Social stress may influence behaviour and wellbeing (see figures of behaviour indicating social stress), fighting may lead to severe bite wounds. Infection of bite wounds may cause problems, escalation of fighting in the exciteable lorises may lead to chasing, exhaustion and even death of animals.
Recognizing diseases in lorises may be difficult unless there are apparent visible changes such as wounds. In general, signs, if there are any, may for instance be reduced food consumption or abnrmal hunger, loss of weight, passive behaviour, changes of daily habits without recognizable reason, signs of stress and other symptoms (reduced food consumption is a rather reliable sign of a variety of problems, but may not be noticed when the animal is kept together with others eating well).
Nutritional deficiencies may cause locomotor malfunctions 10, osteomalacia with limb deformation 79 or death 31. Too abundant or inadequately composed food in captivity may lead to diabetes, kidney problems, dysbacteriosis and reduced body resistance 33,15; early diagnosis: see under "preventive measures"


Blinding regularly occurs in old lorises, but in younger lorises, too, complete blindness due to cataract has occurred, maybe because of infection or a nutritional problem (diabetes-related?). Blind animals at Ruhr-University usually move in a normal-looking way when familiar with the pathways in their cage, and blindness may therefore be recognized with some delay. Some blind animals are more susceptible to stress by unfamiliar noise. In cages of blind animals, over all branches a free zone (at least 15 cm high) without sharp edges dangerous for head and eyes is provided 15.

Gastric trichobezoars may develop because of normal grooming behaviour and subsequent swallowing of hair, which usually is found in faeces. At Ruhr-University, two old females died of bezoars; no evident behavioural symptoms with the exception of reduced food consumption and in one animal occasional coughing and subsequent chewing (sort of vomiting?) were observed. (Overgrooming mght increase danger of bezoar formation; in Loris overgrooming has occasionally been observed in cases of social stress15, but no bezoar problems were noticed in the animals concerned. Death from trichobezoars were also reported in one Nycticebus and two Arctocebus, possibly due to overgrooming caused by boredom or stress10. Treatment and prophylactic measures see under "preventive measures".

Tooth problems due to tartar or root infection may occur; infected teeth may lead to disseminated bacterial infection and secondary disease 61.

There is some evidence for problems related to disturbed blood circulation such as skin changes or necroses in peripheral parts of the limbs in emaciated animals (old animals with severe kidney disease or diabetes; end stage in cases of severe quarantain stress, animals rejecting food) and organ lesions due to insufficient blood circulation (oxygen deficiency) or stasis in emaciated animals or under stress conditions. Such problems might be related to the specialized metabolism and blood vessels (presence of retia mirabilia), but information is still lacking.

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Loris and related species: health
Last amendment: 2 October 2002

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