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Meerkat TAG Vet Advisor Report 2004

SSP/TAG:             Small Carnivore TAG (Meerkats)                 DATE:  February 6, 2004



Name:    Ann Manharth, DVM                e-mail:  


Address: 5457 So. Garrett Dr.  Milford, OH  45150                                                            

Phone: (day)            513-254-7035       (evening) 513-831-3543               (FAX)


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

No reports received in the past year; historical record review ongoing.



MORTALITY (Causes of death in this year):  No reports received this year.

Cause of Death                                                 SB #               Sex                 Age






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):

Isoflurane only – successful , mask or induction chamber, majority

Ketamine 15-24 mg/kg + xylazine 0.6-0.96 mg/kg  +/- halothane or

            methoxyflurane – successful, but isoflurane is recommended as

            inhalant agent

Ketamine 4.7-5 mg/kg + medetomidine 0.1-0.15mg/kg  +/- isoflurane

            Atipamezole 0.25-0.75 mg/kg reversal – successful

Telazol 4-5 mg/kg +/- isoflurane - successful

Ketamine 9-22 mg/kg +/- isoflurane +/- valium 0.5 mg/kg - successful

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

See Small Carnivore Medical Management Guidelines

For animals at risk:  rabies  (killed or recombinant Purevax®)

                                       distemper (recombinant Purevax®)

                                       parvovirus (Parvocine®)

                                       FVRCP (Felovax PCT® most commonly used)

                                       lepto if significant risk


CONTRACEPTION (Methods used, successes, failures):

Castration, ovariohysterectomy, vasectomy reported - successful




Records (active clinical and necropsy) were requested two years ago, in addition to a short survey.  The survey results are compiled and attached to this report.  Record analysis is ongoing.

Nutritional research and formulation of an appropriate diet should be a goal as a number of top five health concerns relate directly to diet, including dental disease, obesity, heart disease, and, potentially, behavioral issues.

In addition, other areas pinpointed as problematic:

            Social aggression, neonatal death, low reproductive rate/success,

            exhibit design (access, social structure, operant conditioning)




Diets currently in use are compiled in the survey results.  Diet review is a priority for the next year.




Drs. Kay Backues and Rob Coke have completed a study using the Purevax® recombinant distemper vaccine on meerkats and demonstrating appreciable titers (based on humoral response studies).  This study is being prepared for publication.












Alexander KA, Pleydell E, Williams MC, Lane EP, Nyange JF, Michel AL.

            Mycobacterium tuberculosis: an emerging disease of free-ranging wildlife.

            Emerg Infect Dis. 2002 Jun; 8(6): 598-601.


Carlson AA, Nicol L, Young AJ, Parlow AF, McNeilly AS.  Radioimmunoassay of

            prolactin for the meerkat (Suricata suricatta), a cooperatively breeding

            carnivore.  Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2003 Feb 1; 130(2):246-56.


Clutton-Brock TH, Brotherton PN, O’Riain MJ, Griffin AS, Gaynor D, Sharpe L,

            Kansky R, Manser Mb, McIlrath GM. Individual contributions to babysitting

            in a cooperative mongoose, Suricata suricatta. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol

            Sci. 2000 Feb 7; 267(1440): 301-5.


Clutton-Brock TH, Brotherton PN, Russell AF, O’Riain MJ, Gaynor D, Kansky R,

            Griffin A, Manser M, Sharpe L, McIlrath GM, Small T, Moss A, Monfort S.

            Cooperation, control, and concession in meerkat groups. Science. 2001

            Jan 19; 291(5503): 478-81.


Clutton-Brock TH, Brotherton PN, Smith R, McIlrath GM, Kansky R, Gaynor D,

            O’Riain MJ, Skinner JD.  Infanticide and expulsion of females in a

            cooperative mammal. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1998 Dec 7;

            265(1412): 2291-5.


Clutton-Brock TH, Gaynor D, Kansky R, MacColl AD, McIlrath G, Chadwick P,

            Brotherton PN, O’Riain JM, Manser M, Skinner JD. Costs of cooperative

            behaviour in suricates (Suricata suricatta). Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci.

            1998 Feb 7; 265(1392): 185-90.


Clutton-Brock TH, O’Riain MJ, Brotherton PN, Gaynor D, Kansky R, Griffin AS,

            Manser M.  Selfish sentinels in cooperative mammals. Science. 1999

            Jun 4; 28495420): 1640-4.


Clutton-Brock TH, Russell AF, Sharpe LL, Brotherton PN, McIlrath GM, White S,            

            Cameron EZ.  Effects of helpers on juvenile development and survival in

            meerkats.  Science. 2001 Sep 28; 293(5539): 2446-9.


Clutton-Brock TH, Russell AF, Sharpe LL, Young AJ, Balmforth Z, McIlrath GM.

            Evolution and development of sex differences in cooperative behavior in

            meerkats. Science. 2002 Jul 12; 297(5579): 253-6.


de Luca DW, Ginsberg JR. Dominance, reproduction and survival in banded

            mongooses: towards and egalitarian social system? Anim Behav. 2001

            Jan; 61(1): 17-30.


Juan-Salles C, Prats N, Lopez S, Domingo M, Marco AJ, Moran JF. Epizootic

            disseminated toxoplasmosis in captive slender-tailed meerkats

            (Suricata suricatta). Vet Pathol. 1997 Jan; 34(1): 1-7.


Manser MB. The acoustic structure of suricates’ alarm calls varies with predator

            type and level of response urgency.  Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2001

            Nov 22; 268(1483):2315-24.


Manser MB, Bell MB, Fletcher LB. The information that receivers extract from

alarm calls in suricates.  Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2001 Dec 7; 268(1484): 2485-91.


Moran G, Timney B, Sorensen L, Desrochers B. Binocular depth perception in

            the meerkat (Suricata suricatta). Vision Res. 1983; 23(10): 965-9.


Moss AM, Clutton-Brock TH, Monfort SL. Longitudinal gonadal steroid excretion

            in free-living male and female meerkats (Suricata suricatta). Gen Comp

            Endocrinol. 2001 May; 122(2): 158-71.


Muller EF, Lojewski U. Thermoregulation in the meerkat (Suricata suricatta).

            Comp Biochem Physiol A. 1986; 83(2):217-24.


Russell AF, Sharpe LL, Brotherton PN, Clutton-Brock TH.  Cost minimization
            by helpers in cooperative vertebrates.  Proc Natl Acad Sci USA.
            2003 Mar 18; 100(6): 3333-8.


Scantlebury M, Russell AF, McIlrath GM, Speakman JR, Clutton-Brock TH.  The

            energetics of lactation in cooperatively breeding meerkats (Suricata

            suricatta). Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 202 Oct 22; 269(1505):2147-53.


Sladky KK, Dalldorf FG, Steinberg H, Wright JF, Loomis MR.  Cholesterol

            granulomas in three meerkats (Suricata suricatta). Vet Pathol. 2000 Nov;
37(6): 684-6.



  Preventive Medicine Protocols:from survey information    
Inst. # Action Type of vax Frequency
1 no vax    
  examine young    
  parasite monitor    
2 no exams    
  vax rabies (Imrab3) 12wk, Q1yr
  vax CDV (Galaxy D) 8,12,16wk, Q1yr
  vax FVRCP (Felovax PCT) 8,12,16wk, Q1yr
  parasite monitor   Q1yr
3 exam   Q2yr
  CBC/chem   Q2yr
  rads   Q2yr
  ECG   Q2yr
  dental   Q2yr
  vax CDV (mlv) 8,12,16wk, 1yr, Q2yr
  vax fel. panleuk 8,12,16wk, 1yr, Q2yr
  vax rabies (killed, Imrab) 16wk, 1yr, Q2yr
  parasite monitor   Q1yr
  routine deworm    
  bank serum   Q2yr
4 no vax    
  body weight   Q3mo
  parasite monitor   Q6mo
  bloodwork/serum bank   at any immobilization
5 exam   opportunistic
  CBC/chem   opportunistic
  HWAg   opportunistic
  WNV serology   opportunistic
  rectal culture   opportunistic
  rads   opportunistic
  dental   opportunistic
  vax rabies (Imrab)  
  vax lepto bacterin (2 or 5 way) w/ parvo  
6 exam   Q2yr
  dental   Q2yr
  no vax    
  parasite monitor   Q6mo
7 exam   Q2yr
  dental   Q2yr
  CBC/chem   Q2yr
  serum bank   Q2yr
  HWAg/Ab   Q2yr
  fecal culture   Q2yr
  rads   Q2yr
  UA   Q2yr
  vax rabies (Imrab3) 16wk, 1yr, Q1yr
  vax FVRCP (Felovax) 6,9,12,16wk, Q1yr
  vax CDV (Fervac D) 6,9,12,16wk, Q1yr
  parasite monitor   Q2yr
  ivermectin   Q1yr
  neonatal exam    
8 parasite monitor   Q2yr
9 body weight   Q6mo
  no med or necro records    
10 exam   Q2yr
  CBC/chem   Q2yr
  vax rabies (killed) 16wk, Q1yr
  vax FVRCP 10,14,18wk
  vax CDV (mlv) 10,14,18wk
  vax lepto  18wk
  deworm   10,14wk
11 no info provided    
12 exam   Q1yr
  CBC/chem   Q1yr
  rads   Q1yr
  ECG   Q1yr
  ocular exam   Q1yr
  dental   Q1yr
  vax rabies (killed, Imrab3) Q1yr
  vax FVRCPC (Felovax IV) Q1yr
  vax DHLPP+C (Duramune) Q1yr
  vax Tetanus toxoid Q5-10yr
  parasite monitor   Q6mo
13 exam   Q1yr
  CBC/chem   Q1yr
  dental   Q1yr
  ECG   Q1yr
  body weight   Q30d
  vax rabies Q3yr
  vax FVRCP (Felovax) Q1yr
  vax DHPP+C Q1yr
15 no info provided    
16 no rout exam other than quar    
17 exam   Q1yr
  dental   Q1yr
  vax rabies (Imrab3) Q1yr
  vax CDV (Purevax) Q1yr
  vax parvo (Parvocine) Q1yr
  quar exam:PE,fecal,bldwk,vax    
  parasite monitor   Q1yr
18 no routine exams    
  parasite monitor   Q6mo
19 exam   Q2yr
  vax rabies Q2yr
  vax CDV Q1yr
  vax fel. panleuk Q1yr
  parasite monitor   Q1yr
20 vax rabies (Imrab3) Q1yr
  vax FVRCP (Felovax PCT) Q1yr
  vax CDV (Galaxy D, going to Purevax) Q1yr
  parasite monitor   Q6mo
21 no info provided    
22 exam   opportunistic
  vax rabies opportunistic
  parasite monitor   Q6mo
23 exam   Q1yr
  dental   Q1yr
  ectoparasite check   Q1yr
  vax rabies (Imrab3) Q1yr
  vax FVRCP (Felovax PCT) Q1yr
  vax CDV (Galaxy D) Q1yr
  parasite monitor   Q6mo
24 exam   Q1yr
  CBC/chem   Q1yr
  dental   Q1yr
  vax rabies (Imrab)  0.5ml Q1yr
  vax FVRCP (Felovax PCT) 0.5ml Q1yr
  vax plan to use Purevax distemper Q1yr
25 vax CDV Q1yr
  vax Feline distemper Q1yr
  parasite monitor   Q6mo
26 no info provided    
27 no routine exams    
  quar exams    
28 no info provided    
29 vax CDV  
  vax fel. panleuk  
30 exam   Q1yr
  CBC/chem   Q1yr
  dental   Q1yr
  deworm   Q1yr
  vax rabies (Purevax) 12-16wk,1yr, Q1yr
  vax CDV (Purevax) 6-8,12,16wk, Q1yr
  vax FVRCP 6-8,12,16wk, Q1yr
  parasite monitor    
31 exam   Q1-2yr
  dental   Q1-2yr
  ECG   Q1-2yr
  rads   Q1-2yr
  deworm   Q1-2yr
  vax rabies (Imrab3) Q1-2yr
  vax DHPP Q1-2yr
  vax Tetanus toxoid Q1-2yr
32 exam   Q1yr
  dental   Q1yr
  vax rabies (Imrab) Q1yr
  vax distemper (Purevax) Q1yr
33 exam/visual   Q1yr
  flea control    
  vax CDV Q2yr
  parasite monitor   Q6mo



Primary Health Concerns: top 5 requested                                  
Inst. # Arthritis UTI CRenal Dz Dental Dz Heart(CM/fib) Obesity Low repro Neon mort/Infanticide Intrasp Agg/Trauma Skin Dz Toxo Coccidia Neop Dystocia Dz fr Wild Predation Exh haz FB ingest Ectopara URI Nutrition Contracept
1 X X X X                                    
2       X       X X                          
3       X X X X     X                        
4     X X X       X   X                      
5       X       X X     X X                  
6     X X                                    
7           X     X                          
8                 X                          
10               X X                          
12                 X                          
13         X       X       X                  
14 X   X X         X                          
16         X     X           X                
17       X         X         X X              
18               X X             X            
19       X   X     X               X X        
20     X X         X       X                  
22     X X         X                          
23               X X               X   X      
24       X   X     X                          
25       X         X X                        
26           X   X X                   X      
27                 X     X               X X X
28         X                               X  
29       X   X     X     X             X     X
30       X       X X               X          
31     X   X       X                         X
  2 1 7 15 6 6 1 8 22 2 1 3 3 2 1 1 3 1 3 1 2 3




Diet Information (as provided)    
Inst. # Ingredient Amount/animal Frequency
1 chicks   daily
  lean horsemeat   daily
  apple   daily
  sw potato   daily
  carrot   daily
  dog chow   daily
  fruit mix   daily
  Diaglo (multivit) and calcium sprinkle daily
2 Zupreem canned feline diet 2 tsp 5x/wk
  Iams Less Active feline dry 0.5 cup daily
  apple 2 tbsp daily
  carrot 2 tbsp 3x/wk
  sw potato 2 tbsp 3x/wk
  root vegetable 2 tbsp 1x/wk
  mealworms 20 daily
  crickets 30 daily
  earthworms 6 1x/wk
  pinky mice 4 occasional
  raw egg 1 occasional
3 Nebraska feline diet 62.5 gm daily
  apple 25 gm daily
  carrot 25 gm daily
  lettuce, iceberg 15 gm daily
  banana 20 gm daily
  crickets (fed high Ca diet) 5 gm daily
  mealworms 5 gm daily
  crickets or mealworms 2 or 4 gm enrichment
4 Iams canned feline (non-fish) 1.5" ball daily
  Mazuri Omnivore biscuits 2 daily
  Iams Less Active feline dry (soaked) 0.5 cup daily
  smelt 0.5 fish 1x/wk
  sw potato or carrot 27 gm daily
  orange 1" chunk 2x/wk
  apple 1" chunk 4x/wk
  leaf green 1 small 1x/wk
  HB egg w/o shell 0.25 egg 3x/wk
  vitamin E 1 capsule 1x/wk
5 Purina Cat Chow 0.6-1 oz daily
  pinky mice 1 2x/wk
  apple 0.25 oz daily
  carrot 0.25 oz daily
  HB egg  0.15 egg 1x/wk
6 crickets or mealworms 12 daily
  apple 0.25 apple daily
  banana 0.25 banana daily
  romaine 1 leaf daily
  dog food (soaked) 0.25 cup daily
  canine diet 0.125# 4x/wk
  mouse 1 3x/wk
  smelt 1 1x/wk
7 Toronto Zoo Carnivore diet 57 gm daily
  Science Diet Canine Maint dry 18 gm daily
  carrot 9 gm daily
  apple 9 gm daily
  sw potato 9 gm daily
  mealworms 12 daily
8 Nebraska feline diet 1 oz daily
  Vionate powder sprinkle daily
  apple 0.15 apple daily
  carrot 0.15 carrot daily
  orange 0.15 orange daily
  banana 0.15 banana daily
  HB egg 0.2 egg daily
  kale or spinach 1 leaf daily
9 Nebraska Omnivore pellets 1.15 (?) daily
  avocado chunks 1.15 (?) daily
  ban,canta,grape,hdew,ora, swpot,app 100 gm daily
  tomato 10 gm daily
  crickets 7 3x/wk
  feline food (?) 1 oz 5x/wk
  chick or mouse 1 2x/wk
10 Nebraska feline diet 0.7 oz daily
  app,ban,ora,swpot,vegies,fruit,carr 1.3 oz daily
  Vionate powder sprinkle daily
  Eukanuba Wt Control feline dry 0.35 oz daily
  crickets or mealworms 3 daily
  HB egg 0.25 egg daily
11 Nebraska canine diet 22 gm daily
  Big Red High Energy dog food 0.25 gm (?) daily
  carrot 7.5 gm daily
  apple 9 gm daily
  mealworms 9 gm daily
  crickets 3 gm daily
  sw potato 8 gm daily
  HB egg   occasional
12 Science Diet/Iams 0.25 cup daily
  apple (5)  0.5" pieces 3x/wk
  carrot (5)  0.5" pieces 3x/wk
  mealworms 5 4x/wk
  feline diet (?) 7 gm 3x/wk
  cantaloupe (5)  0.5" pieces 3x/wk
  cucumber (5)  0.5" pieces 3x/wk
  crickets 10 3x/wk
  sw potato 5 pieces 1x/wk
  pear 5 pieces 1x/wk
  mealworms 5 1x/wk
13 Natural Balance 18 gm daily
  Purina Fit n Trim dog food 12 gm daily
  egg 3 gm daily
  fruit mix 8 gm daily
  vegetable mix 8 gm daily
  crickets or mealworms 2 gm daily
  mouse 1 1x/wk
  crickets or mealworms 10 or 5 gm 1x/wk
14 Zupreem canned feline diet 57 gm daily
  Iams Less Active feline dry 13 gm daily
  crickets or mealworms 21 gm daily
  apple 3 gm daily
  carrot 4 gm daily
  grapes 6 gm daily
  banana 21 gm daily
15 Science Diet Feline dry 0.5 cup daily
  swpot/app/ban/celer/pepp/raisin/green 0.25 cup daily
  mealworms  5 to 8 daily
  crickets 5 to 8 daily
16 Science Diet Feline Maint dry 2 tbsp daily
  Science Diet Adult Feline canned 1 tbsp daily
  gbean/app/pear/grp/ora/swpot/corn/sp/veg 0.17 cup daily
  crickets 5 daily
  waxworms 5 daily
  mealworms 15-20 daily
  HB egg 1 tsp daily
  mouse 1 1x/wk
17 Science Diet Feline Maint  70 gm daily
  carr/grape/bana/apple/sw pot 60 gm daily
  crickets, mealworms, other insects 100 gm daily
18   *** per group  
  3V:1F(pot/swpot/blpep/corn/app/pear/bro/ban) 4 cup daily
  greens 0.25 cup daily
  Vionate powder 2 tsp daily
  Hills R/D Canine diet   daily
  Feline Carnivore diet 1 oz/meerkat daily
  mealworms 300 daily
19 Miliken Feline diet 34 gm 4x/wk
  chick or mouse 34 gm 2x/wk
  HB egg 0.4 egg 1x/wk
  Purina Hi-Pro dog chow 24 gm daily
  apple 10 gm daily
  carrot 10 gm daily
  sw potato 10 gm daily
  greens 6 gm daily
  fruit/vegie 4 to 6 gm daily
  insects scattered daily
20 ground beef 27 gm 5x/wk
  Purina Cat Chow 8 gm 5x/wk
  fruit/vegie mix 34 gm 5x/wk
  mouse 1 5x/wk
  insects 4 daily
  rib bone 5" section 1x/wk
  HB egg   1x/wk
21 dry cat food 18 gm daily
  mealworms/superworms 1 tsp daily
  Zupreem canned feline diet 33 gm daily
  sw potato 10 gm daily
  carrot 10 gm daily
  apple 10 gm daily
  grapes 10 gm daily
  banana 5 gm daily
22 frozen feline diet 35 gm daily
  apple 20 gm daily
  sw potato 15 gm daily
  mealworms 15 gm daily
  dry dog food 0.5 cup scatter daily
23 Iams Less Active cat food (soaked) 0.5 cup daily
  apple 1 tbsp daily
  mealworms 5 3x/wk
  Nebraska canine diet 7.5 gm 4x/wk
  carrot 0.5 tbsp 3x/wk
  crickets 10 3x/wk
  sw potato 0.5 tbsp 3x/wk
  earthworms 2 1x/wk
  root vegetable 0.5 tbsp 1x/wk
  peanuts 2 enrichment
  green beans 2 enrichment
  melon 0.5 tbsp enrichment
  grapes 1 enrichment
  smelt 2 pieces enrichment
24 meat (75% Toronto Zoo Feline:25% organ) 50 gm daily
  mixed fruit/vegies 50 gm daily
  mouse 1 3x/wk
  HB egg 0.25 egg 1x/wk
25 Iams Less Active feline dry 39 gm daily
  apple 7.5 gm daily
  carrot or sw potato 10 gm daily
  mealworm, cricket, or superworm 3 gm daily
  mouse 1 1x/wk
  beef rib bone 4-6" section 1x/wk
26 no info provided    
27 Hills R/D Canine diet 3 tsp daily
  Toronto Zoo Feline diet 1 oz daily
  banana 2 tsp daily
  apple 2 tsp daily
  carrot 1.5 tbsp daily
  sw potato 1.5 tbsp daily
  insects 10 daily
  mice,chick,bones,blood,fish,Hbegg,peabutter   enrichment
  rom,blpepp,rais,pcorn,pean,melon, grp   enrichment
  fruitrollup,corn,hamsterfd,broccoli   enrichment
28 Zupreem canned feline diet 116 gm daily
  dog food (soaked) 20 gm daily
  mealworms 5 gm daily
  apple 12 gm daily
  sw potato 16 gm daily
29 Nebraska feline diet 30 gm daily
  Purina/Iams cat food (soaked) 0.1 cup daily
  mealworms 5 to 6 daily
  HB egg 0.25 egg daily
  apple 0.1 daily
  grapes 1 daily
  banana 0.1 daily
  rib bone   1x/wk
30 Dallas Crown horsemeat 1.7 oz daily
  fruit 1.7 oz daily
  carrots or sw potato 1.3 oz daily
  Exclusive dog food 2 oz daily
  mealw,sunflsd,pean,earthw,mice,rais,concob   enrichment
31 Toronto Zoo Carnivore diet 46 gm 5x/wk
  mouse 11 gm 2x/wk
  romaine 10 gm daily
  apple 15 gm 2x/wk
  gr pepper 15 gm 2x/wk
  mealworms 3 gm 5x/wk
  vitamin E (50 IU/g) 0.1 gm daily
  Toronto Zoo Carnivore Vit/Min Supp 0.1 gm daily
  plain salt lick    
  crickets 3 gm 2x/wk
  celery 15 gm daily
  bean sprouts 1.6 gm 5x/wk
32 Exotic feline diet 44 gm daily
  Nebraska  diet 12.5 gm 1x/wk
  fruit 12.5 gm 3x/wk
  carrot or sw potato 12.5 gm 1x/wk
  mealworms 7 3x/wk