Recent studies of serum iron and iron binding capacity have indicated that tapirs could be at risk of developing hemochromatosis. However, in recent surveys of pathologic findings in tapirs, hemochromatosis was not reported as a cause of death. This study reviews necropsy reports from three species of tapir (Baird's tapir [Tapirus bairdii], Malayan tapir [Tapirus indicus], and Brazilian tapir [Tapirus terrestris]) at the Philadelphia Zoological Garden between 1902 and 1994. Twelve cases of hemosiderosis, including fatal hemochromatosis in two Baird's tapirs, were found among 19 cases examined histologically. Hemochromatosis has previously been reported in the horse, rhinoceros, and in one Brazilian tapir. Dietary factors were investigated but could not be confirmed to have contributed to the incidence of hemosiderosis and hemochromatosis in the three species of tapir in the Philadelphia Zoological Garden collection.
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Vol. 37 • No. 1