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Irregular tooth wear and longevity in captive wild ruminants : a pilot survey of necropsy reports


Martin Jurado, O; Clauss, Marcus; Hatt, J M (2008). Irregular tooth wear and longevity in captive wild ruminants : a pilot survey of necropsy reports. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 39(1):69-75.

Abstract

Tooth wear is often suggested as an important factor limiting the lifespan of free-ranging wildlife. Given the frequent occurrence of poor dental health in captive animals reported in the literature, one would expect tooth health to be a limiting factor in captivity as well. Additionally, it could be assumed that brachydont (browsing) animals are more susceptible to dental health problems than hypsodont (grazing) animals, given current indications for systematic increased tooth wear in some browsing species. A pilot survey of necropsy reports of adult captive wild ruminants (n=294, 12 species) in one facility was performed in order to test these hypotheses and to calculate the incidence of irregular tooth wear. The overall incidence of irregular tooth wear was 20 %, with a very high proportion of reports that did not mention the teeth at all. In contrast to the expectations, animals with irregular tooth were older than animals that died from other causes, indicating that reaching above-average age was a prerequisite for the development of reported abnormalities in this data set. A grazing species (blackbuck, Antilope cervicapra) was most affected, whereas two browsing species were not. Affected species had been regularly fed on sandy soil, whereas browsers had received feeds from racks, suggesting that husbandry practices are most important for dental health. There was a high proportion of reported serous fat atrophy in animals with irregular tooth wear, suggesting a clinical relevance of the problem. On average, adult individuals of the species investigated reached 41% of the maximum reported lifespan. Although this number appears low, the lack of comparative data from other facilities does not allow to draw conclusions on the adequacy of the husbandry practices used.

Tooth wear is often suggested as an important factor limiting the lifespan of free-ranging wildlife. Given the frequent occurrence of poor dental health in captive animals reported in the literature, one would expect tooth health to be a limiting factor in captivity as well. Additionally, it could be assumed that brachydont (browsing) animals are more susceptible to dental health problems than hypsodont (grazing) animals, given current indications for systematic increased tooth wear in some browsing species. A pilot survey of necropsy reports of adult captive wild ruminants (n=294, 12 species) in one facility was performed in order to test these hypotheses and to calculate the incidence of irregular tooth wear. The overall incidence of irregular tooth wear was 20 %, with a very high proportion of reports that did not mention the teeth at all. In contrast to the expectations, animals with irregular tooth were older than animals that died from other causes, indicating that reaching above-average age was a prerequisite for the development of reported abnormalities in this data set. A grazing species (blackbuck, Antilope cervicapra) was most affected, whereas two browsing species were not. Affected species had been regularly fed on sandy soil, whereas browsers had received feeds from racks, suggesting that husbandry practices are most important for dental health. There was a high proportion of reported serous fat atrophy in animals with irregular tooth wear, suggesting a clinical relevance of the problem. On average, adult individuals of the species investigated reached 41% of the maximum reported lifespan. Although this number appears low, the lack of comparative data from other facilities does not allow to draw conclusions on the adequacy of the husbandry practices used.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:04 Nov 2008 09:34
Last Modified:11 Sep 2016 07:33
Publisher:American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
ISSN:1042-7260
Publisher DOI:10.1638/06-064.1
Official URL:http://www.bioone.org/perlserv/?request=get-pdf&doi=10.1638%2F06-064.1
Related URLs:https://biblio.uzh.ch/F/?local_base=UZH01&con_lng=GER&func=find-b&find_code=SYS&request=000909308
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-3506

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