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J Med Primatol. 2006 Dec;35(6):388-96.

Objective measures of health and well-being in laboratory rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta).

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Department of Physiology, University of Wisconsin Madison Medical School, Madison, WI, USA.



Non-human primates are an invaluable part of biomedical research. Strict regulations insure animals have a maximum likelihood of well-being and optimum health during the course of experimental procedures. Objective assessment of well-being is a critical component of these assurances.


Here we describe an objective and quantitative system we used to identify two well-being concerns in laboratory rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta). We provide a series of indicators for use by laboratory personnel to promote laboratory primate well-being. The indicators measure (1) potentially life threatening clinical concerns, (2) developing clinical issues, (3) atypical behaviors, and (4) laboratory performance. We include specific criteria to facilitate veterinary intervention.


The assessment, applied to two case studies reported here, enabled swift veterinary intervention returning the animals to a healthy state.


The measures described here provide a battery of observable and objective measures across multiple dimensions that can further ensure both excellent science and veterinary care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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