A) Judgement of given situation
Some initial cautionary notes are necessary here.
Catching a wild animal always means considerable distress and danger for
its health, and catching may endanger helpers as well, both because of
danger of disease transmission and, in lorises, effect of toxin
from skin glands. Since reintroduction of animals to the wild is very
difficult and may mean a threat to wild
populations, removal from their natural environments and transport
to some captive facility often means a permanent loss of freedom, and it
may be doubted that a wild animal will have a better life in a cage. In
many wild primates healed bone fractures have been found, observation showed
that a wild slender loris with only one hand and a captive slow loris with
only one leg apparently coped well with this handicap (A. Nekaris, H. Fitch-Snyder,
pers. comm.). Careful consideration what will be best for the animal is
necessary. An animal removed from its natural environment because it needed
help must be released in the same environment as soon as it is cured and
environmental conditions are suitable.
Anyone who does deal with wild lorises should
be aware of the legal regulations concerning these animals. In almost
all countries, e.g. Vietnam, lorises are strictly protected and dealing
with them is subject to a special permission. Taking lorises - however
sick - from a protected area is illegal and also an interference into a
natural process. The fact that existing laws are wildly ignored should
not encourage people that intend to help the species to do the same (one
of us: U. Streicher).
See also pet
A 1) Babies or infants found in the wild:
Slow loris and potto mothers regularly leave their infants alone while
foraging. This is a normal behaviour called “infant parking”. Thus an infant
found alone should be left where it is found and should not be touched.
Slender lorises usually carry their infants in the first weeks of life,
but then the infant may also wander around on its own while the mother
stays hidden in the foliage.
Handrearing attempts are only necessary if an infant is found together
with its dead mother, if it is confiscated alone or too sick to be mother-reared,
for instance a slender loris infant which is unable to cling to the mother.
A 2) Adult animal found in the wild, appearing to
be sick / needing help:A loris or potto may need help if it has severe
wounds, if it is dragging one or two legs or if limbs are missing or burnt
(frequent after contact with power lines). Animals which show severe breathing
problems, which are obviously unable to climb a tree or have been caught
by a domestic cat (even if they seem fine) might as well require assistance.
Finally animals will need help if they are caught in traps or tangled in
wire or thread (based on Ruth 2000; V. Perera, pers. comm.,
one of us: U. Streicher, and other sources, adapted). If so, see
In pygmy slow lorises during cold weather occurrence of torpor has
been observed (one of us: U. Streicher, thesis in
preparation; K.-H. Schweigert, pers. comm.). A lethargic state of
limited duration in a well-nourished animal might turn out to be be normal
in this species.
A 3) Animals illegally offered for sale at an animal
trader or on a market:
Buying animals means supporting trade and will cause much more misery
than it prevents. It increases the demand and encourages hunting. It is
more helpful to inform the local authorities or a rescue station (see rescue
station list) (see rescue station list) to initiate correct confiscation
A 4) If an animal is found in an area not belonging
to the natural distribution area of the species,
it may be a wrongly released animal from trade or an escaped or disposed
pet. Taking the local legal regulations into consideration, capture of
the animal with a minimum of distress may be tried (see under B 2); contacting
the wildlife department or any other relevant authority or a primate rescue
facility may be better since they have the expertise and equipment to recapture
such an animal, the possibility to further take care of it legally or to
assure return to the country from which it was smuggled. See rescue
Initial help for wild animals in general, before transport to a veterinarian
or rescue facility
The following part includes information for people who want to help
an animal, but have no experience with animals or veterinary work
B 1) Safety
Terminate the dangers causing the present
situation of the animal without taking a risk for people trying to help
(removal from roads, electric power lines). If the animal is still in contact
with or close to electric lines, safety of humans must be assured first,
particularly in moist environments. Removing the animal with dry, electrically
insulating material (e.g. a long dry wooden stick) should only be tried
if the electricity cannot be switched off. See also: safety
recommendations for handling the animals
B 2) Catching
Calm and deliberate action
is important. A deep breath before acting may help; it may help to avoid
mistakes and the animal will react positively to it (Ruth 2000)..
Catching an animal by cautiously driving
it into some sort of transport container (card board box) without much
handling is certainly better than seizing it, with regard to wounds, broken
bones or other problems which might be aggravated, but also because dangerous
distress is minimized. A container providing protection from sight on the
environment, maybe containing some foliage in addition, in which the animal
may feel hidden, would be useful, allowing the animal to recover from shock
during transport to a veterinarian or rescue station. Of course there must
be sufficient air supply if the animal is supposed to stay in the container
for some time. The ability of lorises to squeeze through narrow clefts
in a container not properly closed is sometimes underestimated.
Possible risks when handling lorises
despite of their rather short jaws, lorises can defend themselves well
by biting fiercely with powerful muscles and pointed, cutting teeth. The
bite of slow lorises and pottos is said to be poisonous and has in the
past caused severe health problems (anaphylactic reaction) and occasionally
probably even deaths in humans. Disease transmission, too, must be considered.
If handling of an animal is necessary, strong leather gloves should be
used. See also other
B 3) Initial
Is there any severe bleeding which must
be stopped immediately? Ruth (2000) recommends to stop bleeding by
permanent pressure until the blood clots (without checking in between whether
bleeding has stopped): if blood spurts from the wound (arterial bleeding),
from above the wound for about 10 minutes, if blood flows (from a vein),
by pressure from below the wound for at least 2 minutes, repeated, if necessary.
Dabbing may disturb the clotting (Ruth, 2000). Wild animals, however, might
be reluctant to endure such a procedure and struggle fiercely. Thus it
might be better to avoid any contact with the wound to allow physiological
processes to terminate the bleeding.
Can the animal breathe freely? Objects
which are strangling the animal and objects in the mouth should be removed
and, in case of weakness or loss of consciousness the animal should be
brought into a position allowing to breathe without problems.
Fresh burns and scalds
, also from
electric contact: quick cooling with ice or cold water to help relieve
the pain. But consideration whether the stress of treatment may be even
worse for the animal also should be considered in such cases.
lead to health problems (severe circulatory problems, hypothermia), lasting
organ lesions (liver necroses, fatty liver, bleeding gastric ulcera, with
longer duration starvation) and death. Symptoms such as low body temperature,
fast, shallow breathing, pale lips, tongue, gums and eye membranes may
indicate shock, but also internal bleeding. Usually it will be best to
leave the animal alone for at least half an hour in a quiet, warm container
providing some possibility to hide such as foliage (keeping it warm because
shock, weakness or malnutrition may lead to hypothermia) and to protect
it from stressors as far as possible (noise, visible large moving objects)
until it can be treated by a veterinarian (Ruth, 2000; observation from
Ruhr-University). (In cases of severe shock half an hour may be too long,
immediate treatment by a veterinarian may be more helpful. see C2). Observation
through small holes in a transport container seems to cause only a limited
amount of stress because fear depends on the size of visible objects.
Supply with liquid: see also B5, C2
Use of a tranquilizer
(Diazepam) may reduce dangerous stress during longer transport or necessary
handling, but on the other hand it has a relaxing effect on the muscles;
equilibrium problems with higher dosage have been observed. This effect
may be dangerous during transports because the animals cannot react properly
on shaking of the transport box, protecting themselves from lesions. Use
of tranquilizer before examination of a sick animal may mean a risk. Dosage:
see information about tranquilizers.
due to lack of water, extreme heat, prolongued or severe diarrhoea (Ruth,
2000). According to Kingdon (1997), Arctocebus aureus
are very susceptible to dehydration, do not tolerate heat and quickly die
when exposed to the sun or kept without water. Dehydration has been observed
in pygmy lorises confiscated from illegal trade in Vietnam. Starved and
dehydrated infants may suckle on parts of the own body and drink their
own urine (one of us: U. Streicher, thesis in preparation
Symptoms of severe dehydration are: “dehydration
” with small triangular-looking eyes deeply sunken into the orbits
and visible nictitating membranes, loss of skin elasticity (when the skin
is slightly squeezed to form a fold, healthy skin will return to former
smooth shape again within about 2 seconds whereas in dehydrated animals
the fold persists for some time) and non-responsiveness (one
of us: U. Streicher, thesis in preparation
; Plesker, pers. comm.;
If these symptoms are observed, offering small pieces of water melon or
grape or blanced liquid may allow the animal to regain balance of body
fluids. If necessary, small amounts of liquid might be given by mouth several
times within one hour, for instance with a pet nurser, syringe or eye dripple
(Ruth, 2000). Electrolyte solution made of commercially available soluble
rehydration salt can be used; if this is not available, Ruth (2000) recommends
a solution made of 1 quart (= about 1 l) of warm water, 3 tablespoons of
sugar and 1 tablespoon of salt. Commercially available liquids used by
veterinarians for this purpose: see below, under C2: treatment
of dehydration by the veterinarian
6) Data which may be needed for later rehabilitation and release:
origin of the animal (for a possible later
release to its proper habitat, avoiding to introduce taxonomically distinct
animals from elsewhere into local populations, which may cause genetic
circumstances in which the animal was found, observed possible causes
of problems, measures already taken by the initially assisting person (important
for the further correct care).
C) Quarantine, initial veterinary treatment, housing
in a rescue facility
C 1) Quarantine (Danger of disease transmission)
animal with an unknown history might carry visibly or invisibly carry diseases
and thus is potential threat for other animals and even for humans.
New arrivals at rescue facilities should generally be quarantined for some
time to assure that they do not transmit diseases to resident animals.
During quarantine the animal should be completely isolated from other animals.
facilities should be easy to clean and disinfect, however they should provide
a maximum of comfort for the newly arrived animal, particularly minimizing
stress is important.
Laws for disease protection may be slightly different in different
countries (Löhrmann, B., 1998).
Internationally valid laws for primate quarantain? See also quarantain
regulations necessary before release to the wild.
C 2) Immediate measures
of at least half an hour in a warm, quiet place before first
treatment may be necessary, see above above under B 4
in cases of severe shock (symptoms: a low body temperature, fast, shallow
breathing, pale gums, tongue and eye membranes), immediate treatment of
shock may be necessary. In such cases treatment of dehydration can wait:
C 3) Measures after at least half an hour recovery
of objects, dirt, maggots or maggot eggs from wounds. Ruth (2000) recommends
to prevent hair from falling back into the wound by smearing petroleum
jelly around the wound, but lorises lick everything within reach, cutting
away some hair should be better. Rinsing of the wound itself with warm
water, removal of remaining dirt with tweezers. Dissolving of an antiseptic
for rinsing, for instance Rivanol (by Chinololfabrik, 30918 Seelze, Germany,
containing Ethacridinlactat) or a comparable product in the water would
be best if available (R. Plesker, pers. comm.); Rivanol tablets must be
dissolved, in tropical climate they may clump together. Iodine is cheap
and generally available. A 10% iodine solution is very efficient for wound
Dehydration (see also above,
B 5, first aid by non-veterinarians)
Sunken eyes with visible nictating membranes and loss of skin elasticity
are signs of dehydration.
Treatment: offering rehydration solution or Ringer´s solution
(Ruth 2000); in severe cases initially daily subcutaneous or intraperitoneal
injection of Ringer´s solution (up to 10% of body weight) for stabilizing
metabolism (one of us: U. Streicher, thesis in preparation).
If available, use for instance Amynin by Merial GmbH, Am Söldnermoos
6, 85399 Hallbergmoos, Germany (comparable products available elsewhere?),
which contains glucose for additional energy supply and important amino
acids (the amino acid Methionin for instance may reduce the danger of fatty
liver syndrome which is often fatal in lorises under severe stress and
has other protective effects) (R. Plesker, pers. comm.; K. Petry, pers.
comm.; Spona and Spona 2000).
C 4) Recovery period
necessary recovery period before further treatment, allowing the animal
to become a bit familiar with the new environment, may last some days (Löhrmann,
1998; adaptation to unfamiliar environments in lorises takes much longer);
afterwards, the animal may be cautiously caught for a more detailed clinical
examination and treatment. If handling causes panic struggling, fear cries
or too heavy breathing, it may be better to leave the animal alone a bit
longer before trying again (Ruth, 2000).
The recovery period may be used for observation
through small holes,
for instance in a blanket covering the cage front, for discovering possible
symptoms of problems as for instance:
abnormal behaviour such as apathy, abnormal movements, disturbance of equilibrium,
paralysis or weakness of the legs, intense breathing,
postures indicating health problems such as arched back, conspicuous seesawing
retching, vomiting (Löhrmann, 1998). (Vomiting may also be recognized
from chewed-half-liquid food remnants on the cage floor, see figure).
C 4) Adequate housing for minimizing
Particularly slender lorises and Arctocebus (sources: see chapter about
stress) apparently may die from stress caused by transport to an unfamiliar
environment, even if they are otherwise healthy. The reduction of stress
thus must be a priority when housing lorises. Symptoms of stress:
. Housing of animals
in a quiet and moderately warm room (about 25-30 C?), in a cage with fronts
at least initially covered, for instance with a blanket, is important for
recovery of the animals from stress. (Movements of a human observer seen
through small holes in a cage cover apparently do not cause problems because
only larger visible stimuli promote distress). Cages should be furnished
with horizontal branches and some cover (artificial or genuine plants,
boxes), particularly in the upper part of the cage where the animals feel
See also husbandry requirements
If the animal is supposed to stay in captivity, habituation and taming
reduces stress and excitement both for animals and keepers and allowing
better health control. Training the animals to take a treat (e.g. titbits,
grasshoppers, mealwors) from the keeper´s hand is useful. In animals
which are supposed to be returned to the wild after recovery it is probably
better to avoid habituation to humans which might increase the danger of
being caught again for illegal trade. Therefore, in cages for such animals
cage fronts permanently closed with the exception of small observation
holes may be a good solution.
D 1) Clinical examination, treatment, rehabilitation
discover major perceivable changes and to document the state for finding
an individually adequate solution (Löhrmann, B., 1998; Ruth, 2000):
Notation of observed symptoms such as:
Trunk: wounds, condition of fur, signs of diarrhoea, nutritional
state, skin indicating dehydration (see above, B 5)? Sickish odor?
(Fear scent in a frightened loris is normal). Weight.
Limbs (also comparison of left and right limb to detect inconspicuous
changes): swellings, lesions, fractures, burns, scalds?
Head: eyes bright or sunken, runny, swollen, crusty, closed or
open? Response to light, visible movement? Abnormal movements of the head?
Neck? Ear openings and nostrils clean, free of parasites or maggots? Is
there a discharge? Muzzle: abnormal shape indicating absense of teeth or
abscesses affecting tooth roots? Open wounds on dorsum of muzzle indicating
breach of an abscess? (See photos below).
Mouth: gums, lips pale (possible sign of internal bleeding, anaemia
or shock), dirt, objects or blood inside, tooth or jaw damage, inflammation
/ infection of gums?
Teeth: in lorises confiscated from illegal
trade, often the teeth are ripped or broken out (own observation, H. Fitch-Snyder,
pers. comm., F. den Haas, pers. comm.). This is done to prevent lorises
from defending themselves before selling them as pets, and occasionally
to cheat buyers, pretending to offer toothless baby lorises to obtain a
higher prize than for adult animals (Jakarta Post, 2003). Removal of teeth
with plyers on the market, without anesthesia or subsequent treatment,
has been observed (R. Kess, P. Troni, pers. comm.). As a consequence, lorises
confiscated or escaped from trade often have wounds and severe infections
in the oral cavity which, without antibiotic treatment, may lead to the
death of the animals (F. den Haas, pers. comm.). Subsequent infections
of alveoli (tooth root channels) may cause abscesses which may destroy
the bone (F. den Haas, pers. comm.) and may cause open wounds on top of
the muzzle (H. Fitch-Snyder, pers. comm., see photos below).
|Left: treatment of a confiscated slow loris
in Jakarta whose teeth have been ripped out. Photo: H. Schulze. Middle,
right: slow lorises showing superficial traces of abscesses on the muzzle.
Such lesions can be the result of infections spreading along the tooth
root channels after removal of the teeth. Photos: WildAid / MoE Cambodia,
Treatment of confiscated animals whose teeth had been ripped out:
Broken tooth remnants must be removed from the alveoli under anesthesia.
In lorises, fine instruments and some practical experience will be necessary
for properly doing this (one of us: U. Streicher).
If no veterinarian with specific oral surgery and/or clinical dental knowledge
is available, treatment by unskilled caretakers should be restricted to
cautious cleaning of the oral cavity from broken or hanging dental parts
which can easily be removed with the fingers, and the animals´ ability
to heal the damage from within with the help of their own immune system
should be supported by providing good housing, tasty food that can easily
be eaten or lapped up without teeth during the healing process, a lot of
rest in cages with natural cover, systemic antibiotics and some mild analgesic
(David A. Fagan, The Colyer Institute,
pers. comm.). (Soft food which, however, does not stick to the gums or
gets into open wounds, supporting development of bacteria? Maybe minced,
soft food with antibiotics added, consolidated with gelatin?)
Some more information for skilled veterinarians: as long as visible
wounds in the oral cavity are not healed, the gums must be rinsed with
antiseptic solution every day to remove food remnants and prevent or treat
infections. Beta blockers, given about 15 minutes before this procedure,
may help to reduce stress. Suppurating abscesses along tooth alveoli (see
photos) may be present. In such cases, dead tissue and pus must be removed.
For treatment of tooth root abscesses in rabbits, Avery Bennett (1999)
recommends to start antibiotic treatment prior to any surgery and do skull
radiographs under anesthesia to assess the extent of affected tissue. A
bacterial culture from the wall of the abscess may help to determine the
resistance against antibiotics (bacteria within the pus in the middle of
the abscess are often dead). If there is no possibility to determine effect
of antibiotics in culture, antibiotic treatment should be correlated to
the clinical signs; when treatment turns out to be inefficient, another
antibiotic treatment with a different spectrum of efficiency must be given
(R. Plesker, pers. comm.; Avery Bennett 1999).
One technique for treating an abscess is to leave it open and allow
pus to leak out, rinsing the cavity with antiseptic solution such as dilute
chlorhexidine or dilute povidone iodine 2-3 times daily until healthy granulation
tissue is present. According to Avery Bennett´s rabbit study, in
abscesses of the head it is important not to drain the abscess into the
oral cavity, if possible; this would result in poor and delayed wound healing.
Treatment may be supported by use of enzymes after rinsing to help clean
the wound of dead tissues, fibrinous slough and pus, such as papain/urea
(which digests dead protein matter and liquefies pus, but is harmless to
viable tissue; for instance Accuzyme) or trypsin (which digests collagen
fibre remnants; for instance Santyl, Leukase, Ixurol). Leukase in cone
shape for implantation by Merck, Wien, for instance combines antibiotic,
analgetic and enzymatic effects. Papain or trypsin should be used according
to operating instructions, and not in combination with commercially available
non-enzyme wound cleaners. Treatment with an antibiotic cream or ointment
should be continued until the inflammation is gone and the wound is well
epithelialized (for at least 10 days, but usually longer; tooth root abscesses
tend to reappear). This kind of treatment, however, means frequent handling
and considerable distress for a wild animal.
Another technique used to treat rabbit abscesses involves surgical
removal of the abscess, tooth remnants and infected tissue under full anesthesia
and subsequent implantation of antibiotic impregnated polymethyl methacrylate
beads (AIPMMA) into the clean abscess cavity, where they will locally release
antibiotic for up to five years. Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) is a synthetic
polymer substance most often used as bone cement, the beads need not be
removed, they heal into the jaw bone. A big advantage of this method is
that wound can be closed and no further treatment is necessary, which means
a minimum of distress, it also helps minimize use of oral anibiotics
Bennett 1999; Jenkins).
Further reading about antibiotic granules: see Tobias et al.1996 (see below:
Lorises lacking full dentition might, even after successful treatment,
have lasting problems with food consumption. Inability of the animals to
chew properly or to defend themselves must be considered both in diet and
group composition in rescue facilities; housing lorises with and without
teeth together might cause problems. But observations in this regard are
still lacking. Inability to gauge
holes into tree bark to lick up the sap, which in the wild is an important
part of the diet (Wiens 2002), is certainly impossible without teeth. The
ability of such animals to survive in the wild after release should be
examined, maybe release on islands or in large semi-free enclosures and
supplementation with adequate food remains the only option for their longterm
necessary: further diagnostic possibilities such as smears, x-ray;
blood examination for detection of inflammatory processes, metabolic disturbance
(liver, kidney) or serologically recognizable disease (Löhrmann 1998).
to take blood samples from lorises
Non-invasive urine dipstick tests
for instance for kidney disease
caused by wrong captive nutrition or liver disease caused by stress.
Fecal analyses including parasitological and
D2) Prophylactic treatment against verminous
parasites (nematodes, cestodes), , other parasites, see disease
Correct placement of injections in lorises
Experience with antibiotics in lorises
for form sheets for examination of animals in a rescue facility. Based
on Löhrmann, 1998, changed.
Avery-Bennett, R., 1999: Management of
abscesses of the head in rabbits. Proceedings of the North American Veterinary
Conference, 1999, pp 822-823, Orlando, FL., online at http://www.mth.kcl.ac.uk/%7Ellandau/Homepage/Rabbit/abscess.html.
College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
Seen 24 February 2004.
Tobias, K. M.; Schneider, R. K.; Besser, T.
E., 1996: Use of antimicrobial-impregnated polymethyl methacrylate
. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 208 (6): 841-5.
D.; Münch, S.
(eds.), 1998: Internationaler Artenschutz in Deutschland
- Unterbringung und Vermittlung beschlagnahmter Tiere [International species
conservation in Germany - housing and mediation of confiscated animals].
Results of a symposium, 11-13 June 1996 in the Biological Institute Metelen
e. V., Metelen, Germany. Edited by Biological Institute Metelen e. V.,
ISSN: 0936-7357. (German)
Jakarta Post, 2002: Tricks of the protected animal trade. http://www.orangutansonline.com/articles/article108.htm.
27 August 2002. Seen 30 March 2003
Jenkins, J. R.: New Bead Treatment for Jaw Abscesses. http://www.rabbit.org/chapters/san-diego/health/vet-talk/beadtherapy.html.
Undated information in the house rabbit society website, http://www.rabbit.org/,
Vet Talk pages by Dr. Jeffrey Jenkins. Seen 24 February 2004.
Kingdon, J., 1997: The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals.
Academic Press, London.
B., 1998: Tierärztliche Versorgung beschlagnamter Tiere im Biologischen
Institut Metelen [Veterinary care for confiscated animals at the Biological
Institute Metelen]. Pp. 111-114 in: Glandt, D.; Münch, S. (eds.):
Internationaler Artenschutz in Deutschland - Unterbringung und Vermittlung
beschlagnamter Tiere [International species conservation in Germany - housing
and mediation of confiscated animals]. Results of a symposium, 11-13 June
1996 in the Biological Institute Metelen e. V., Metelen, Germany. Edited
by Biological Institute Metelen e. V., ISSN: 0936-7357. (German)
Plesker, R., primate pathologist, Paul-Ehrlich Institut, Germany,
I., (2000): First aid for wildlife. Basic care for birds and mammals.
Second edition. Bick publishing House, Madison, CT. ISBN: 1-884-158148
J.; Spona, I.
, 2000: VITALOGIC website about amino acids, Vienna Medical
School, Vienna University, Austria. http://www.vitalogic.net/fachaminos.htm
Seen 05 Feb. 02.
U., 2000-2004: unpublished data from work as a veterinarian at the
Endangered Primate Rescue Center, Vietnam, including data from:
Streicher, U., thesis in preparation.
from the breeding colony at Ruhr-University, 1980-2001, including data
by H. Schulze, B. Meier and post mortem reports from animals from this
colony by R. Plesker, Paul-Ehrlich-Institut.
Wiens, F., 2002: Behaviour and ecology of wild slow lorises
(Nycticebus coucang): social organisation, infant care system, and
diet. Dissertation, Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Geosciences, Bayreuth
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