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SSP/TAG:  Prosimian TAG /Ruffed lemur SSP DATE: 17 May, 2007 


Name:    Cathy Williams, DVM   e-mail: 

Address:  3705 Erwin Rd., Durham, NC 27705       

Phone: (day) 919-489-3364 x 221   (FAX) 919-490-5394 

MORBIDITY (Significant illnesses/issues facing this species this year)

Data collection in progress. 

MORTALITY (Causes of death in this year):

Cause of Death     SB #   Sex  Age

Data collection in progress. 

BIRTHS:  Males:       Females:

Number of pairs recommended for breeding:

Number of pairs bred:

Number of births:

      MALES:  mother-reared:   hand-reared:

      FEMALES: mother-reared:   hand-reared: 

ANESTHESTIC PROTCOLS (Please list successful and unsuccessful protocols): 

Successful agents:

  • Inhalation agents: isoflurane and sevoflurane to effect (note: both agents can cause marked hypotension in lemurs. It is recommended to monitor blood pressure when using these anesthetics)
  • Injectable agents: 


      • medetomidine 40 ug/kg + midazolam 0.2 mg/kg IM, or medetomidine 40 ug/kg + butorphanol 0.2 mg/kg IM  10 minutes prior to induction

      complete immobilization

      • medetomidine 40 ug/kg + butorphanol 0.4 mg/kg + midazolam 0.3 mg/kg IM.
      • Telazol 4-6 mg/kg IM (clinic); 10 mg/kg IM (field immobilization)
      • Ketamine 6-10 mg/kg + midazolam 0.3 mg/kg IM (note: ruffed lemurs are predisposed to seizures under ketamine.  The agent should not be used alone in this species.)

VACCINE RECOMMENDATIONS (Vaccine reactions, new vaccines to be considered): 

No vaccines are recommended for routine use in prosimians. Some institutions use rabies vaccines in situations were exposure potential exists. No reactions have been reported. Titer studies at the DLC indicate good titers responses in ruffed lemurs given killed rabies vaccine IM (Imrab) at 2 year intervals.  Titers ranged from 1:50 to 1:1100 (n=6).  It is important to note however that there is no data to determine what titer levels are protective against infection in this species.  

Some institutions vaccinate prosimians for tetanus.  There is no information on the effectiveness or risk to benefit ratio of giving this vaccine in prosimians species.  

CONTRACEPTION (Methods used, successes, failures):

MGA implants during breeding season.

Depo-Provera 5 mg/kg IM, repeat q 8 wks during breeding season.  


  1. Evaluation of potential causes of hepatocellular carcinoma in lemurs.
  2. Evaluation of hepatic iron content in lemurs and the reliability of serum iron parameters for the assessment of iron status.
    • NUTRITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS: weight) with the remainder consisting of fruits and vegetables. Overfeeding of fruits and treat items may lead to nutritional imbalances and vitamin/mineral deficiencies that can compromise immune system function and  animal well being.
    • Minimize the feeding of fruits high in vitamin C (primarily citrus) until more information is known about the affect of vitamin C and iron absorption in this species.
    • Emphasize green leafy vegetables and fresh browse for enrichment over high sugar and carbohydrate containing food items.
    • Do not give vitamin/mineral supplements containing iron.


(See nutritional recommendations) 


Updated PTAG necropsy protocol available on the AAZV wesite (  


Dutton CJ, Junge RE, Louis EE. Biomedical evaluation of free-ranging red ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata) in Masoala National Park, Madagascar. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. Submitted for publication. 



      Glenn, KM, JL Campbell, D Rotstein, CV Williams. Retrospective Evaluation of the incidence and severity of hemosiderosis in a large captive lemur population. American Journal of Primatology 68:369-381, 2006.  

      Williams, CV, Campbell J, Glenn, KM. Comparison of serum iron, total iron binding capacity, Ferritin, and percent transferrin saturation in nine species of apparently healthy captive lemurs. American Journal of Primatology 68:1-13, 2006.

      Junge, RE, and ML. Sauther. Overview on the health and disease ecology of wild lemurs: conservation implications. In: Gould, L, and M.L. Sauther, eds. Lemurs: Ecology and Adaptations. Springer, New York. 2006.  

      Daffner BL, Oerke AK, Heistermann M, Radespiel U, Zimmermann E, MacLarnon AM, Hodges JK. Ultrasound monitoring of embryonic development and foetal growth in selected lemur species: grey mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus), crowned lemur (Eulemur coronatus), red-bellied lemur (Eulemur rubriventer), and black and white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata variegata). [Abstract] International Journal of Primatology. 27(Suppl 1):Abstr # 179. 2006. 

      Williams, CV, and Junge, RE. Prosimians. In: West, G., and D. Heard, eds. Zoo Animal and Wildlife Anesthesia and Immobilization. Blackwell Publishing, Ames, IA. 2006. In press. 

      Dutton CJ, Junge RE, Louis EE. Biomedical evaluation of free-ranging red ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata) in Masoala National Park, Madagascar. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. In press. 



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