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Department of Anesthesiology

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L-tryptophan and correlates of self-injurious behavior in small-eared bushbabies (Otolemur garnettii).

TitleL-tryptophan and correlates of self-injurious behavior in small-eared bushbabies (Otolemur garnettii).
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsWatson SL, McCoy JG, M Fontenot B, Hanbury DB, Ward CP
JournalJ Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci
Date Published2009 Mar
KeywordsAnimal Feed, Animals, Behavior, Animal, Bites and Stings, Dietary Supplements, Female, Galago, Hydrocortisone, Male, Self-Injurious Behavior, Serotonin, Stereotyped Behavior, Tryptophan, Wound Healing

Self-injurious behavior (SIB) among captive primates is a recurring problem for those who manage such facilities. Its prevalence highlights the need for research evaluating the effectiveness of potential treatment approaches. In the present study, 4 wk of dietary supplementation with L-tryptophan (100 mg daily) was evaluated for the treatment of self-inflicted wounds in 22 small-eared bushbabies, a prosimian primate, with a history of SIB. The treatment significantly reduced stereotypy and was associated with a reduction in wound area and severity. In terms of physiologic measures, preexisting high levels of cortisol were reduced in bushbabies with SIB, whereas serotonin concentrations were increased after 4 wk of treatment. Results indicate that L-tryptophan as a dietary supplement may be a viable adjunct to standard husbandry procedures for animals exhibiting maladaptive behaviors such as stereotypy and SIB.

Alternate JournalJ. Am. Assoc. Lab. Anim. Sci.
PubMed ID19383216
PubMed Central IDPMC2679665