Iron Storage Disease in Lemurs


AZA Prosimian Taxon Advisory Group (PTAG). 2003. Iron storage disease in lemurs. Working paper, PTAG meeting on iron storage disease, 29 March, St. Louis Zoo, St. Louis, Missouri.


A syndrome of excessive iron accumulation (hemosiderosis) was first recognized in lemurs as early as the 1960’s but descriptive reports of the condition were no t published until the 1980’s.1,4,11 The most well-known of these is a publication by Spelman et al. (1989) who reported 100% incidence of hemosiderosis in captive lemurs from the institution in her study.11 As a result, many now consider iron accumulation to be a serious and persistent health threat to captive lemurs. This has prompted a number of individuals to recommend drastic changes in captive husbandry and diet practices in order to control the problem. In response to recent concerns regarding this issue, the PTAG advisors met in March 2003 to examine the extent of current knowledge about iron overload in lemurs and to develop recommendations for diet, husbandry, and future areas of research directed at gaining a more thorough understanding of iron storage disease in lemurs.

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