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Recordkeeping is the cornerstone of USE's Environmental Enhancement Plan.
Daily health checks are performed by caregivers trained to recognize normal and abnormal behaviors of the species housed and to detect signs of illness. Daily logs are used to record abnormal behaviors, changes in the amount of activity, and signs of illness. [A list of normal and abnormal behaviors can be developed for each species from the discussions in Chapters 5–9.]
Responses to routine practices
Alterations in behavior resulting from routine husbandry practices are noted. These often suggest early signs of illness or stress. Plotting of these behaviors over time assists the veterinarian in initiating changes in caging, personnel, or treatments at an early stage.
Many NHPs respond favorably to food reward. Such training is a valuable adjunct in administering medication, performing clinical examinations, or simply observing the animal. Changes in the animals' response to food reward are noted on the daily log.
Both successful and unsuccessful remediation strategies are documented. An example of successful remediation is the enrichment of a single-caged rhesus monkey environment that resulted in alleviation of hair loss caused by overgrooming. An example of an unsuccessful attempt at remediation is the failure to reintroduce an old male squirrel monkey to a social group after an extended separation. These and other remediation efforts are documented in each animal's clinical records and summarized in the remediation file.
SOPs for remediation are developed for all major strategies, and new SOPs are added as needed. Existing SOPs describe remediation strategies for introductions and reintroductions of rhesus and squirrel monkeys, marmosets, and chimpanzees; enrichment for rhesus and squirrel monkeys, marmosets, and chimpanzees in single and social housing; pair housing of male squirrel monkeys; aggression; infant nonsocial rearing; coprophagy; and endpoint criteria for deciding when euthanasia is the most humane option.