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Symptoms of health problems: changes of fur and skin in Loris indicating problems

In healthy slender lorises, the fur looks dense and velvety. Fatty or wavy appearance of hair, particularly on the thighs, is observed in older animals, in cases of decreasing health, after grooming of the fur or as a peculiarity of certain individuals (one small reddish specimen bred from stock from Sri Lanka for instance shows a wavy fur of silk-like, shining appearance on legs and trunk). Animals with a higher age and decreasing health may show an irregular hair length. Grey patches on the sides of the trunk, showing the colour of underwool because of missing superficial hair, is apparently caused by excessive grooming of the fur, a behavioural disturbance. This behaviour was, in few cases, observed in nervous animals housed together with strong, self-confident conspecifics or in a male constantly rejected by an elderly, no longer receptive female. Overgrooming seems to indicate social stress although no quarreling was observed in such cases. When the animals were separated, fur became normal again. Moist fur all over the body was observed in several animals during an intestinal infection with protozoa (the animals were vivid and showed no other signs of unwellbeing) and in a female during an unsuccessful stillbirth (the baby had died before birth and had to be removed by the veterinarian. Clotted fur in the hind tip of trunk, close to the anus, seems to indicate diarrhoea-like problems. Soft, diarrhoeic faeces were not observed in this context. A naked patch of skin may occur in the region of trunk which is in contact with the branch during sleeping period. In such cases, replacing or more frequent cleaning of the branches ought to be considered; the layer of urine covering the branches may in the long run irritate the skin and lead to inflammation. In a female with an infection of the bladder, the usually dark area on the tip of the clitoris turned to a pinkish colour in the proximity of the urethral opening. Comparable slight changes were occasionally seen in old animals showing signs of diabetes. It is not yet clear whether this change is a reliable sign for diagnosis of infection of the urinary tract.

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Loris and related species: health
Last amendment: 5 May 2000

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