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1 December 2018 ANALYSIS OF HISTORICAL MEDICAL RECORDS OF CALIFORNIA CONDORS (GYMNOGYPS CALIFORNIANUS) ADMITTED FOR LEAD EXPOSURE TO THE LOS ANGELES ZOO AND BOTANICAL GARDENS BETWEEN 1997 AND 2012: A CASE SERIES STUDY
Abstract

Lead toxicosis remains the primary cause of death in wild populations of California condors (Gymnogyps californianus). Many condors require medical intervention with lead chelation therapy, among other conservation measures, to survive in the wild. An analysis of historical medical records of California condors admitted for lead exposure to the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens (LA Zoo) between 1997 and 2012 was performed to investigate clinical presentation, radiographic findings, and treatment along with the potential impact of these factors on recovery and successful release back into the wild. Of 100 individual condors presented to the LA Zoo for suspected lead toxicosis during this period, 84 condors had records for initial laboratory blood lead levels. For these 84 condors (40 [47.6%] females and 44 [52.4%] males), 277 initial laboratory blood lead levels in total were recorded because of repeated admissions. Thirty-two (38%) condors were admitted once to the zoo and 62% were admitted two or more times. Clinical signs were not observed in 87.5% of the condors admitted with median blood lead concentrations of 26 μg/dl. Of the radiographs taken on initial presentation, 65% did not show evidence of gastrointestinal metallic foreign bodies. Various treatments protocols with edetatum calcium disodium, dimercaptosuccinic acid, and lactated Ringer's solution were documented in the medical records. Of the 277 admissions, 154 admissions had a recorded outcome posttreatment of which 140 (91%) admissions were released back to the wild. This study contributes to a better understanding of how intervention and therapeutic approaches have been essential for the recovery, release, and sustainability of these birds as a wild population. Consistency in data collection of California condors admitted for diagnosis and treatment of lead toxicosis is needed to better assess the impacts of medical interventions.

Copyright 2018 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
"ANALYSIS OF HISTORICAL MEDICAL RECORDS OF CALIFORNIA CONDORS (GYMNOGYPS CALIFORNIANUS) ADMITTED FOR LEAD EXPOSURE TO THE LOS ANGELES ZOO AND BOTANICAL GARDENS BETWEEN 1997 AND 2012: A CASE SERIES STUDY," Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 49(4), 902-911, (1 December 2018). https://doi.org/10.1638/2018-0022.1
Accepted: 14 August 2018; Published: 1 December 2018
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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