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Tetraparesis resembling acute transverse myelitis in a captive chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes): long-term care and recovery

T. Miyabe-Nishiwaki, A. Kaneko, K. Nishiwaki, A. Watanabe, S. Watanabe, N. Maeda, K. Kumazaki, M. Morimoto, R. Hirokawa, J. Suzuki, Y. Ito, M. Hayashi, M. Tanaka, M. Tomonaga & T. Matsuzawa

Background A 24-year-old, male chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) developed acute tetraparesis. Magnetic resonance imaging showed a diffuse T2-weighted hyperintensive lesion, indicating inflammation at the C1–2 level. All infective, autoimmune, and vascular investigations were unremarkable. 

Results and Conclusions The chimpanzee's condition most resembled acute transverse myelitis (ATM) in humans. The chimpanzee was in severe incapacitated neurological condition with bedridden status and required 24-hour attention for 2 months followed by special care for over a year. Initially, corticosteroid therapy was performed, and his neurological symptoms improved to some extent; however, the general condition of the chimpanzee deteriorated in the first 6 months after onset. Pressure ulcers had developed at various areas on the animal's body, as the bedridden status was protracted. Supportive therapy was continued, and the general condition, appetite, mobility, and pressure ulcers have slowly but synergistically recovered over the course of 2 years. 

J Med Primatol 39 (2010) 336–346



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