Increased iron absorption in lemurs: quantitative screening and assessment of dietary prevention.

Abstract

Iron storage disease (ISD) in lemurs has been reported since as early as the 1960s, and in the 1980s was demonstrated to be a consistent finding in postmortem investigations of captive lemurs. Since then this disease has consistently been diagnosed at the point of necropsy. In the current study we describe a preclinical screening procedure, as well as the quantified preventive effects of dietary intervention upon iron absorption. Twenty-three individual lemurs of four species were initially tested with the transferrin saturation test (%TS); 21 of these animals were on conventional zoo diets, and two were fed a specific diabetic diet. Initially, 20 of 21 lemurs on conventional zoo diets were demonstrated to have %TS levels above the normal range for humans; 17 of these lemurs were in the category (for humans) of excessive iron absorption. A dietary change aimed at reducing dietary iron and vitamin C levels and increasing the levels of iron-chelating tannins and/or phytates was instigated. After the animals were retested, a matched-pair comparison of %TS values before and after the diet change revealed significantly (P=0.038, n=7) lower %TS values after the diet change. All species averages were in the human hyperabsorption range on conventional zoo diets (n=21). No species averages were in that range after the dietary change (n=18). The results indicate that further investigations into the use of %TS testing in lemur husbandry, and specific preventive dietary measures, should be conducted.

Cite this paper

@article{Wood2003IncreasedIA, title={Increased iron absorption in lemurs: quantitative screening and assessment of dietary prevention.}, author={Caryl Wood and Sandy G. Fang and Annie Hunt and Wolf J{\"{u}rgen Streich and Marcus Clauss}, journal={American journal of primatology}, year={2003}, volume={61 3}, pages={101-10} }