Sunday, April 29, 2007

One Monkey's Miserable Life

From the Primate Freedom Project website:

rhao45's life remembered by Amy Christenson, his Tag wearer

rhao45 was a male rhesus macaque born August 1, 1988 at the University of Wisconsin.

According to the 60+ pages I received concerning rhao45's life, the first study he was used in was "Early Maternal Separations and Vunerability to later Peer Separation." This lasted from March of 1990 to December 1993.

From April of 1994 to February of 1995, he was involved in a few different studies: these included "Effects of Early Rearing Conditions," "Caloric Restriction and Aging," and "Sweet Taste in Primates." He was used in the breeding colony from 1995 until 1997.

rhao45 then began a lengthy study titled "Skeletal Effects of Therapeutic Anti-Coagulation Administration (Warfarin)." This included daily doses of Warfarin (from January of 1998 to October of 2000), doses of vitamin K to reverse some of the Warfarin's effects, and two separate rib and hip biopsies.

On October 3, 2000, the day after the second surgery, he suffered some trauma to one of the wounds: "area above biopsy site over right hip is missing skin; area does not appear inflamed and no purulent discharge is present; monitor healing process."

October 10, 2000: "open wound over right hip; full skin necrosis; adjacent to but not confluent with bone biopsy site; cleaned with nolvasan and bandaged; cbc tentative diagnosis etiology unknown; inquinal hernia right; plan: repeat nolvasan flush and bandage or indicate healing by secondary intention."

Also, on October 10, he was assigned to the project, "Regulation of Food Intake in Rhesus Monkeys."

October 12, 2000: "area on right hip appears to have produced some purulent discharge; flushed area and applied ointment."

October 17, 2000: "hip wound open...minimal healing progress; old open wound should be cleaned and flushed daily."

October 30, 2000: "hip biospy site resolving without incident; reation near site may have been draining tract, hypersensitivity response to foreign material or chemical burn; no further treatment indicated."

On February 8, 2001 he was subjected to major surgery and had a cannula implanted in the third ventricle of his brain and a headcap affixed to his skull.

A March 14, remark in his records notes: "self-biting left forearm - wounds are dry and appear OK."

On March 21, 2002 he was treated for a draining abscess of his upper right canine tooth, it was noted taht his upper left canine tooth was fractured and that his inguinal hernia should be monitired.

The headcap, and presumably the canula, were removed in April 2002, after 14 months. A remark states that his was the "removal of headcap," but it is coded in his records as procedure "pl-05513 (removal of therapeutic device)."

From April to May of 2003, rhao45 was used in the project "Metabolic Dysfunction in Prenatally Androgenized Male Rhesus." At Wisconsin, an "a" in a monkey's serial number usually means that his or her mother was treated with sex hormones when she was pregnant. Usually, this is testosterone. In female monkeys it can cause severe genital deformities and hormonal disruptions. He was probably one of the monkeys used in this study.

On October 31, 2003, a test was made to see whether he would get along with another monkey, r97088. On November 3rd, a 30 minute test took place, and on the 4th, a 60 minute test. The remark says there was no agression and they they would be placed together ("pair-caged") the next day.

On November 10, 2003, he was involved in a fight with his cage mate and required stitches to his head. It took nearly a month and daily antibiotics to heal.

On May 5, 2004, his life with a companion came to an end. At Wisconsin, all SIV infected monkeys are kept in solitary cages. rhao45 had 100 times the common tissue infective dose of the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIVmac239) injected into his rectum. This was repeated on June 6, and November 21.

His weight declined, he lost his appetite, he developed non-regenerative anemia. Occasional reports noted that he was vomiting.

The remaining record is one of rhao45's decline. Oddly, the veterinary staff continued trying to treat his many illnesses, all to no effect, all the while knowing exactly why he was dying.

On January 19, 2006, it was noted that he was pulling the hair out of his arms and lower back.

He had a recurring intractable bloody nose until he was killed on October 20, 2006. The notes say that the room he was kept in had exceptionally low humidity that may have exacerbated his raw nasal passages.

Comments before his necropy included, "Elevated CK and AST likely from traumatic blood draw. Leukopenia occasional sign in this animal, may be related to SIV infection."

My heart breaks when I think of the life he didn't get to live. I can only hope he's in a better place now.

Amy Christenson
April, 2007
P.S. I am planning to get a tattoo of his ID# next to a rhesus monkey profile.

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