By Mollie Bloomsmith, PhD
Yerkes National Primate Research Center
In May, 2016, a Workshop on Macaque Pair Housing (WoMPH) was hosted by the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. The 28 workshop participants spent 3.5 days along with the workshop instructors, Mollie Bloomsmith and Melissa Truelove (both of Yerkes), Kate Baker (Tulane National Primate Research Center) and Kris Coleman (Oregon National Primate Research Center), focusing on a variety of issues related to housing macaques in a pair situation. Jason Cowan-Brown served as the workshop coordinator and others spoke at the workshop including Jaine Perlman, Andrea Franklin, Mark Sharpless, Jenny Wood, Emily Brown (all from Yerkes), and Jim Weed (Centers for Disease Control) and Pete Otovic (Augusta University). Workshop participants came from across the country and included behavioral specialists, research staff members, animal care staff members, veterinary technicians and veterinarians.
Main topics that were covered included why it is important to pair house monkeys, selecting macaque partners who are the most likely to get along, the introduction process, and assessing their compatibility once monkeys are introduced. We also discussed things that can be done to help increase the chance that monkey pairs can continue to live together compatibly, and how to approach particular situations that might be the most challenging. Participants learned to measure the temperament of monkeys and how this can be used as a tool to select partners. The use of data to track pairs of monkeys and to track progress in social housing programs was demonstrated. The importance of communicating with veterinarians, animal care staff and research staff was a common theme, as was means to accommodate research needs while monkeys are pair housed.
The workshop included lectures, small group exercises, individual exercises, demonstrations, animal observation and behavioral data collection. Participants observed rhesus monkeys living in large outdoor groups, as well as pair-housed monkeys. They learned behavioral data collection techniques and methods for monitoring pairs of monkeys once they have been introduced to one another. They completed temperament testing of monkeys, learned the basics of positive reinforcement training and some training techniques that can be useful in helping pairs to live together, and discussed how enrichment can be helpful in the pair-housing process.
A good time was had by all and we hope that many monkeys will benefit from the knowledge and skills gained by those attending the workshop. We hope to offer this workshop again, perhaps in the spring of 2017. You can check the Yerkes website (http://www.yerkes.emory.edu/education/2016%20Behavioral%20Management%20Workshop.html) for a posting about future workshops.
The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center
Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research
Bastrop, TX March 1-4, 2016
The Conference is organized by Steve Schapiro to bring forth the science that drives behavioral management. The four-day conference is composed of scientific experts who present the methodology of their work, combined with implementation experts that display examples of practical application in primate care, and vendors who have innovative products and services to support refinement initiatives. The group of attendees is small, ensuring the opportunity for connections and collaborations that improve the quality of care and science for captive primates.
Below is a summary of the individual speakers in attendance;
John Capitanio, PhD (CNPRC)
Individual Variation in Bio-behavioral Organization
Bio-behavioral organization involves the integration of the animal’s behavioral, physiological and social systems and is a methodology that looks at the whole animal relevant to behavioral management.
Melanie Graham, MPH, PhD (University of Minnesota)
Positive Reinforcement Training and Research
Dr. Graham presented positive impacts to the animal and the science after animals are trained to cooperate with study procedures in a Diabetes research study. Improved animal care/handling improves the science!
Carrie Schultz, PhD (LabDiet)
Presentation focused on nutritional enrichment that fits the needs of the study and the animal. Emphasis on healthy species-specific food items. Dr. Schultz highlighted LabDiet’s new low-starch diet and collaborative work being done to explore the benefits of probiotics and omega 3 fatty acids for chronic diarrhea and alopecia.
Brenda McCowan, PhD (CNPRC)
Using Systems network analysis for understanding complexity in primate behavioral management
A system network analysis is used to assess colony dynamics; looking at behaviors such as silent bared-teeth displays, groom and aggression can help behaviorally manage primate colonies. Dr. McCowan’s recent work has identified that increased social relationships are linked to lower rates of diarrhea, inflammation and shigella transmission (McCowan, in prep for publish)
Eric Huthchinson, DVM, DACLAM (NIH)
Maladaptive Coping Strategies in Artificially stressful environments: Life as a Lab Animal Vet
Dr. Hutchinson, representing veterinarians in a behavioral conference, presented scenarios to help address communication barriers between Veterinarians and Behavioral staff. Focused on promoting effective communication during the construction of animal experimentation protocols and in response to behavior or problems. In addition, Dr. Hutchinson presented the use of pharmacological agents to address abnormal behavior.
Bill Hopkins, PhD (Neuroscience Institute at Georgia State University)
Neurogenomic Basis of Social Cognition in Chimpanzees
Chimpanzees are an important part of behavioral, psychological and neurological research. Dr. Hopkins described neuroscience research studies including genetic & neurological predispositions for why animals behave in different ways- reviewed structural MRI comparisons that represent different behavioral syndromes.
Liz Magden, DVM, MS, DACLAM, cVMA (MD Anderson Cancer Center)
Positive Reinforcement Training (PRT) and Health Care in Nonhuman Primates
Encourages the use of PRT to facilitate vet procedures; reducing sedation, providing mental stimulation, and encouraging cooperation, while increasing efficiency & safety for the animal handler. PRT to conduct procedures can have improved clinical & research results. Dr. Magden highlighted applications of wound care, diabetes monitoring, opthalmic/otoscopic evaluation, medication delivery (PO, IM, IV, SQ, Eye ointment), acupuncture, laser therapy and the use of implantable loop recorder, conducted using PRT technique.
Kris Coleman, PhD (ONPRC)
Individual Differences in Temperament and Behavioral Management
Dr. Coleman reviewed methods for assessing temperament and how it can be used in behavioral management. Temperament is described as the animals personality in response to the environment. It is measured, on a scale of inhibited-to-bold, using a human intruder test and novel stimuli assessment. Temperament can be used in behavioral management programs to select animal compatibility for social housing and trainability.
Chris Rogers, (Envigo, Teklad Diets)
Diet Selection to reduce Research variables
Chris Rogers presented diet options that ensure quality research! He emphasized the importance of fixed diet rations to control research variables.
Nancy Caine, PhD (California State University, San Marcos)
Anti-predator behavior in primates (and why it matters in captivity)
A review of primate predation: and how it is innate for primates to act in a way that protects themselves from threat of danger, regardless of environment. Dr. Caine presented research with marmosets that showed monkeys to have increased anti-predation response to an artificial snake stimulus, and could be compared to laboratory studies in the presence of human care-takers.
Lydia M Hopper, PhD (Lincoln Park Zoo)
Social Learning and Decision Making
Social learning is behavior exhibited as a result of prior experiences. Social learning exists when a primate is shown a behavior, then they imitate it in that way. Dr. Hopper presented her research with monkeys and children who repeated what they had previously observed. This can be a helpful tool when training animals; primates have an improved rate of learning when they have watched another primate perform the same behavior. To the contrary, if prior experiences were poor it will be more difficult to train animals (or for animals to learn) to do that technique.
Melinda Novak, PhD (UMass Amherst)
Stress, Hair loss and Abnormal Behavior
This presentation provided a historical and regulatory review of abnormal behavior and the latest information on advancements in understanding, diagnosing and responding to stereotypes; alopecia and self-injurious behavior. Comparison of cortisol sampling methods and the use of hair cortisol as a marker of chronic stress.
Teresa Woodger (Lomir Biomedical)
Product Overview: Non-human Primate Applications
Review of jacket varieties and various applications; tether, infusion, telemetry/monitoring, wound protection, video monitoring, ECG and respiratory monitoring bands. Other products include enrichment, restraint equipment (gloves, nets) and Lomir can provide you with customizable products to fit your needs.
Keely McGrew, CVT, RLATG (Charles River Laboratories)
Pairing Non-Human Primates
Provided a review of pair housing literature and the method used at CRL that has resulted in a 99% pair housing success rate for cynomolgus macaques less than 5 years old and an 83% success rate improved to 91% with temperament testing of adult males, greater than 5. Novel toy and Temperament Test (PAIR-T). This presentation created a dynamic in the audience by asking questions and asking for experience
Carol Shively, PhD (Wake Forest University)
Depression, Behavior, Physiology and Therapeutics
Review of the state of depression in primates and physiological characteristics that may be harmful to animal welfare and to the research. Carol’s work shows that animals with depression may have higher rates of atherosclerosis and mortality. Reviewed methodologies for observation, documentation and quantification of behavior and discussed methods to prevent and treat depressive behaviors in primates.
Rob Thayer (Unifab Corp.)
Products for animal clinical care and biomedical research.
Presented caging and products including standard caging with social hosing panels, EU standard caging, group housing units, jump boxes and capture equipment. Unifab also has many small equipment products to support biomedical research, including cage locks, medical gavage tubing and enrichment products. Rob states “there are a lot of good caging companies out there; Unifab prides themselves with helping you with your customized needs”
Jonny Yan (Tyrex software)
New iPad application tool for the assessment of nonhuman primates
Review of a new iPad application (available on itunes) for behavioral monitoring that includes a user-friendly interface for documenting timed focal observations, novel toy assessment and quantifiable mapping of hair loss using a 9% scale.
Jeff Rogers, PhD (Baylor College of Medicine)
Epigenetics and Behavioral Genetics.
Review of Epigenetics: the heritability of behavior passed down to future generations. Genetic factors influence behavior and neurobiology and thinking about genetic factors can help implement behavioral management strategies; heritability will increase the likelihood that a behavior repeats. Presented genetic markers associated with major depression and anxiety in humans and NHPs.
Steve Schapiro, PhD (MD Anderson Cancer Center)
Research Collaborations and Behavioral Management
Evaluations using novel & non-invasive technologies to determine benefits to the care & welfare of the animal (examples include thermal imaging and acupuncture). Review of the NIH-funded research and retirement for chimpanzees- including work that supports that participation in biomedical research can be beneficial and enriching to the research subject as well as to the science.
Susan (Lambeth) Pavonetti, B.A., RLATG (MD Anderson Cancer Center)
Review of management and enrichment care practices that focus on improved communication, and overcoming obstacles in order to make refinements that involve all members of the animal care/research team. Review of the literature, and discussed how to use the language to make above minimum plans to accommodate animal needs. Susan encourages a proactive program.
Almost all of the speakers at the PBMC have authored chapters in the upcoming Handbook of Primate Behavioral Management, edited by Steve Schapiro, to be published in 2017.
Playful handling of laboratory rats is more beneficial when applied before than after routine injections
Sylvie Cloutier, Kimberly L. Wahl, Jaak Panksepp, Ruth C. Newberry
The ability of positive affective states to counteract negative states engendered by routine medical procedures remains poorly studied. In laboratory rats, positive affect typically associated with rough-and-tumble play can be induced through human “hand play”–the experience of being “tickled” by a human in a manner mimicking the social interactions normally occurring during physical-social play. We hypothesised that administering playful tickles before and/or after routine intra-peritoneal (IP) injections would reduce the aversiveness of such medical procedures. Accordingly, from 32-41 days of age, male Sprague-Dawley rats (N = 96) were either given a daily IP saline injection (INJ), or restrained similarly but not injected (control, CON), and exposed to one of four experimental treatments: No tickling, namely, left undisturbed before and after the restraint procedure (TN), or tickled for 2 min immediately before (TB), after (TA), or before and after (TBA) the restraint procedure. Rat affective response measures included rates of 50- and 22-kHz ultrasonic vocalization (USV) (validated as indicators of positive and negative affect, respectively), as well as audible vocalization rates (indicating pain and discomfort), duration of the restraint procedure, and ease-of-handling scores. Comparing INJ with CON conditions, injections reduced 50-kHz USV during (CON: 98.99 ± 3.54 calls/min, INJ: 59.2 ± 2.42, P < 0.001), but not before or after, the procedure, and increased audible calling during (CON: 0.44 ± 0.182, INJ: 0.67 ± 0.250, P = 0.0006) the procedure. Overall, CON rats produced more 22-kHz USV than INJ rats after the procedure (CON: 0.53 ± 0.158, INJ: 0.37 ± 0.134, P ≤ 0.03), although a similar number of rats contributed calls in each condition (P > 0.05). Tickling did not affect the responses of rats to injection, specifically, but increased 50-kHz USV compared to TN during the period(s) when applied (Before: TN: 8.3 ± 1.18, TB: 150.7 ± 3.16, TA: 30.9 ± 2.19, TBA: 154.4 ± 3.04; After: TN: 12.4 ± 1.39, TB: 72.5 ± 2.59, TA: 150.5 ± 3.59, TBA: 182.6 ± 2.67, P < 0.0001), and during the restraint procedure (TN: 33.6 ± 3.45, TB: 101.1 ± 4.27, TA: 76.98 ± 4.90, TBA: 105.1 ± 3.59, P < 0.0001). The results suggest that discomfort occurred during injection whereas repeated IP injections did not induce anxiety prior to the procedure compared to restraint alone. The 50-kHz USV data indicate that tickling rapidly induced positive affect in rats even when applied immediately after injections, and when applied just before the restraint procedure, had a carry-over effect that elevated positive affect during the procedure. In sum, when mildly aversive treatments must be administered repeatedly, the current findings indicate that brief tickling is more beneficial when applied pre- than post-procedure, suggesting a way to minimize potential welfare- and behaviour-disruptive effects of routine medical procedures.
The Social Buffering Effect of Playful Handling on Responses to Repeated Intraperitoneal Injections in Laboratory Rats
Sylvie Cloutier, Kim Wahl, Chelsea Baker, and Ruth C. Newberry
ABSTRACT: Handling small animals for veterinary and experimental procedures can negatively affect animal wellbeing. We hypothesized that playful handling (tickling) would decrease stress associated with repeated injections in adult laboratory rats, specially those with prior tickling experience. We compared responses of 4 groups of male Sprague–Dawley rats to intraperitoneal injection of saline daily for 10 d. Rats either tickled or not tickled as juveniles (2 min/d for 21 d) were exposed as adults to either a passive hand or tickling for 2 min immediately before and after injections. Rates of vocalization (22- and 50-kHz ultrasonic vocalizations (USV), indicative of negative and positive affective states, respectively, and audible calls indicative of pain and discomfort) were quantified before, during, and after injection. Tickling before and after injection, especially when combined with juvenile tickling experience (ending 40 to 50 d earlier), increased 50-kHz USV rates before and after injection, reduced audible call rate during injection, and decreased the duration of the injection procedure. The treatments did not affect indicators of physiologic stress (body weight change; fecal corticosteroid levels). We conclude that playful handling performed in association with a mildly aversive procedure serves as a useful refinement by inducing a positive affective state that mitigates the aversiveness of the procedure and makes rats easier to handle, specially when they have been accustomed to tickling as juveniles.
Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum (LAREF)
Inevitably, individuals who work with animals in the context of biomedical and behavioral research will sometimes form bonds with the animals with whom they interact.
Such attachments are the results of compassionate people doing their job right.
Erik Moreau, Moderator
Marcie Donnelly, Ali Moore, Joanna Cruden (Jo), Jacqueline Schwartz, Jeannine Cason Rodgers, Kaile J. Bennett, Michele Cunneen, Genevieve Andrews-Kelly (Genny), Hannah Kenward, Viktor Reinhardt
Moderator: We have discussed on several occasions how important the establishment of a mutual human-animal trust relationship is in the research laboratory setting. Not only is it a safeguard that the animal receives the best possible care by the human, but it also helps to minimize or avoid stress reactions when the animal is subjected to potentially painful or uncomfortable procedures. It has become quite clear that many of us do form such bonds quite spontaneously with non-human primates and dogs. When we work with rodents or rabbits, do we bond with them individually or as groups? Also, is it possible to gain the trust of a mouse, a rat, a hamster, a guinea pig or a rabbit?
Marcie: In my experience with guinea pigs and hamsters, I can definitively say “yes, it is quite easy to gain the trust of individual animals.” I love these little critters; for me bonding with them happens spontaneously. I find that they are relatively at ease with study procedures and experience very little or no apprehension and fear overall! The bond with my guinea pigs and hamsters not only makes the animals happy while in research but it also enriches my life.
Viktor: It is my personal experience that it is impossible not to develop a personal interest and compassion for rodents or rabbits, who are being taken care of by me on a daily basis. I think they are all amazing creatures in their own right. It is a touching experience for me when a little rodent sits quietly in my hand and shows no signs of fear. Without my intention, I develop a kind of interest for the well-being of these creatures; that’s probably what the term human-animal bond implies.
Ali: We couldn’t agree more! ALL creatures in our care—not only the big ones but also the small ones—deserve our personal interest and concern for their safety and well-being.
Jo: About 20 years ago we had a C57/BL female mouse; she had a very sticky eye and the clincial veterinarian asked me to put cream on the eye 3 times a day for 7 days. After two days, the mouse would stand on my hand and tilt her head sideways towards me so I could easily put the cream in her eye without restraining her. I was stunned that a mouse would do this; at first I thought it was by chance, but she did it every time. She made a full recovery. I did visit that little mouse pretty much every day while she was with us. I will probably never forget her.
Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum (LAREF)
Viktor Reinhardt, Moderator
Jeannine Cason Rodgers, Kayla Shayne, Jacqueline Schwartz, Lorraine Bell, Pau Molina Vila, Amy Kerwin, Jeannine Cason Rodgers, Polly Schultz, Genevieve Andrews-Kelly (Genny), Marcie Donnelly, Vitale Augusto, Ali Moore, David Cawston
Moderator: When animals are classified into lower-order versus higher-order species, would you say that higher-order species—such as monkeys, dogs or pigs—experience more distress under standard housing and handling practices than lower-order species—such as rats, mice or frogs? If so, do higher-order species deserve more of your attention when designing and furnishing their living quarters and when handling them?
Kayla: To speak of higher and lower order may have a place when animals are subjected to invasive experiments and life-threatening procedures, but when it comes to housing and handling, all species deserve our same attention. Lower-order animals are giving us research data that are by no means less valuable than data obtained from higher-order animals, so in return we must appreciate all animals equally and provide them with the absolute best care possible. It’s only fair!
Jacqueline: I don’t think of lower or higher orders when considering different species. Independent of their species, all animals are at risk of experiencing distress if they are forced to endure inadequate living and stressful handling conditions. To me, one species is no more important than any other species that we work with in the research environment. A distressed rat, mouse, rabbit, dog, cat or monkey is not a happy critter and, therefore, not a suitable candidate for good scientific research.
Because any unwanted stressors will have a negative effect both on animal welfare and science, it seems logical that they be identified and eliminated whenever possible.—Richmond, 2002
A lot of people are talking about environmental enrichment these days. And I am pleased to report that the conversations are moving beyond definitions and talk about toys and treats. The level of discussion is getting higher and deeper with presenters focusing on evidence-based strategies backed up by sound science.
CAAT held a two-day Symposium on Social Housing at the NIH that drew over 150 people to Bethesda in late August. VBI hosted the “Enrichment Leadership Exchange” in North Carolina and online in early September and is offering a 3-part webinar series featuring Sabrina Brando, AnimalConcepts. Also enriching the fall schedule is our own 4-part webinar series that brings a global perspective to the community with high-level presentations by Penny Hawkins (9/12), Vera Baumans (10/17), Mike Noonan (11/13), and the always provocative Bernie Rollin (12/10).
Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Comparative Medicine will host its annual “Innovative Enrichment Symposium” on Sunday, October 27 as a satellite to National AALAS in Baltimore. They’ve been offering this national symposium since 2007. It is illuminating to review the program content as it has evolved over the years:
The questions we need to be asking include:
• Are we competing among ourselves for the same audience?
• What is the actual impact of the growing number of enrichment conferences and webinars on the welfare of lab animals?
• To whom should we be talking, and what should we be talking about?
• What can we do to broaden the audience?
• Are people actually doing more or are they content to keep talking about enrichment?
In other words, “How are we doing?”
What do you think we should be doing next?
Jayne Mackta, Publisher
President & CEO, Global Research Education
& Training, LLC (GR8)
In the wake of crippling economic and environmental disasters, the biomedical research community is challenged to keep focused on lab animal welfare. It is only natural for people whose livelihood is threatened to make themselves and their personal welfare the primary priority. Forced to cut budgets and reduce staff, managers are being forced to put profits first without regard for individual needs of people. So we are forced to ask where the species-specific needs of research animals fit in the over-all scheme of things?
Happily, there are a few enlightened companies like Novo Nordisk that care about bioethics, sustainability and the provision of enriched environments for all species—including humans. Check out their website to read well-articulated position statements on issues of relevance to their business and role as a global corporate citizen- http://www.novonordisk.com/sustainability/default.asp
These forward-thinking folks are so transparent and secure in the knowledge that they are doing the right thing in the right way for the right reason that they even list names and contact information to further public engagement. Among their many statements about the use of animals in research, the following reflect the need for integrating EE standards into every aspect of the R&D process.
• Novo Nordisk supports the principles of the Three Rs (Reduce, Refine and Replace) and is integrating these principles in all our processes and procedures.
• Novo Nordisk supports high animal welfare standards in relation to the housing, care and use of experimental animals and will house the animals according to their needs, provide appropriate training and socialisation of the animals.
Be sure to read the feature article by Jan Lund Ottesen, DVM, PhD, DipECLAM, Vice President and Head of Laboratory Animal Science at Novo Nordisk, in this issue. He clearly illustrates how environmental enrichment is good for the animals, the staff, science and the all-important bottom line. Very interesting, isn’t it?
Jayne Mackta, Publisher
President & CEO, Global Research Education & Training, LLC (GR8)
It is hard to wait. It sometimes seems like forever before new ideas, innovative methods or even common-sense reforms can be implemented, especially on the job. Part of the problem is inertia. Part of the problem is fear of the unknown. And a large part of the problem is reluctance to move outside one’s comfort zone.
Happily, acceptance of environmental enrichment is gaining real momentum. The inclusion of EE in the 8th Guide has certainly helped. We like to think that The Enrichment Record is also playing some small part in the acceptance of EE as a refinement that not only increases animal welfare but improves the science as well.
Programming focused on EE in North America is steadily increasing. Trainers and enrichment coordinators are submitting unsolicited articles to us. Articles published in this EZine are being cited in other articles published elsewhere. Significantly, after several tries to generate discussion among members of various LinkedIn groups and list-servs, we finally got some buzz going when we widely posted the following comment from Dr. Patricia Turner: “There are trends to call basic cage furnishings ‘environmental improvements’ instead of EE, to further emphasize that these items should be considered standard and not ‘add-ons’. This would include solid bottom cages with substrate, nesting material, and a shelter for mice, for example.”
The topic is hot, and we can’t wait until there’s less talk and more action. Of course, when EE is universally considered standard of care for all laboratory animal species and no longer an “add-on,” we’ll put ourselves out of business. What a great way to have your cookie and eat it too.
Jayne Mackta, Publisher
President & CEO, Global Research Education
& Training, LLC (GR8)
Recently, I’ve been thinking about all the ways we are trying to share information about the value of environmental enrichment for laboratory animals. It’s a communications challenge to find the right medium as well as credible messengers who can get the attention of skeptical professionals who populate our community. In these times of tight budgets and short attention spans, we must leverage every opportunity to get people to listen and learn about a subject still dismissed by some as a “distraction.”
The many posters and presentations that addressed EE at National AALAS in November inspired us to expand our stable of writers, and the eager response to our outreach has been overwhelming. Authors are excited by the opportunity to give their posters expanded visibility through the online Poster Repository as well as to share their abstracts in print with our global audience. Content experts have agreed to write articles for future issues of The Enrichment Record. And we tapped the most compelling speakers to present at “The Enrichment Extravaganza,”which we sponsor each Spring in different venues.
In the Meeting Up section of this publication, volunteers summarize highlights from other conferences and symposia held in different parts of the country, so our readers get an idea of who’s talking about enrichment and what they are saying. We’d like more in-depth coverage of these high quality programs and welcome early communication on the part of the organizers so we can help publicize upcoming events and report on programs in a timely way.
Be sure to stay in touch in the new year!
Communication is a circle with a constant exchange of information flowing in and out. We are doing our part, but success really depends on you—our readers. Keep us vibrant and vital by sharing your EE ideas, programs and research. Then make sure to spread the word by sharing The Enrichment Record with colleagues, friends and members of the broader caring community.
Jayne Mackta, Publisher
President & CEO, Global Research Education
& Training, LLC (GR8)