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Body condition scoring system for greater one-horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis): Development and application


Heidegger, Eva M; von Houwald, Friederike; Steck, Beatrice; Clauss, Marcus (2016). Body condition scoring system for greater one-horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis): Development and application. Zoo Biology, 35(5):432-443.

Abstract

Preventing obesity in zoo animals is increasingly recognized as an important husbandry objective. To achieve this goal, body condition scoring (BCS) systems are available for an ever-increasing number of species. Here, we present a BCS for the greater one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) based on an evaluation (on a scale from 1 to 5) of seven different body regions, and report resulting scores for 62 animals from 27 facilities, based on digital photographs. In animals above 4 years of age, this BCS correlated with the body mass:shoulder height ratio. Although differences between the sexes for individual regions were noted (with consistently higher scores in males for the neck and shoulder and in parous females for the abdomen), the average BCS of all regions did not differ significantly between males (4.3 +- 0.4) and females (4.1 +- 0.5). Linking the BCS to results of a questionnaire survey and studbook information, there were no differences in BCS between animals with and without foot problems or between parous and non-parous females. In a very limited sample of 11 females, those eight that had been diagnosed with leiomyoma in a previous study had a higher BCS (range 3.9–4.9) than the three that had been diagnosed as leiomyoma-free (range 3.5–3.7). The BCS was correlated to the amount of food offered as estimated from the questionnaire. Adjusting the amounts and the nutritional quality of the diet components is an evident measure to maintain animals at a target BCS (suggested as 3–3.5).

Abstract

Preventing obesity in zoo animals is increasingly recognized as an important husbandry objective. To achieve this goal, body condition scoring (BCS) systems are available for an ever-increasing number of species. Here, we present a BCS for the greater one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) based on an evaluation (on a scale from 1 to 5) of seven different body regions, and report resulting scores for 62 animals from 27 facilities, based on digital photographs. In animals above 4 years of age, this BCS correlated with the body mass:shoulder height ratio. Although differences between the sexes for individual regions were noted (with consistently higher scores in males for the neck and shoulder and in parous females for the abdomen), the average BCS of all regions did not differ significantly between males (4.3 +- 0.4) and females (4.1 +- 0.5). Linking the BCS to results of a questionnaire survey and studbook information, there were no differences in BCS between animals with and without foot problems or between parous and non-parous females. In a very limited sample of 11 females, those eight that had been diagnosed with leiomyoma in a previous study had a higher BCS (range 3.9–4.9) than the three that had been diagnosed as leiomyoma-free (range 3.5–3.7). The BCS was correlated to the amount of food offered as estimated from the questionnaire. Adjusting the amounts and the nutritional quality of the diet components is an evident measure to maintain animals at a target BCS (suggested as 3–3.5).

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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:2016
Deposited On:17 Oct 2016 09:08
Last Modified:17 Oct 2016 09:08
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0733-3188
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/zoo.21307
PubMed ID:27322390

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