Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) populations are not self-sustaining in captivity, and in Japan there have been only three cases of successful parturition, including two reported in this study. To improve the reproductive performance of this species, an understanding of Asian elephant reproductive physiology and developing assisted breeding techniques are required. In particular, the techniques used to diagnose and monitor pregnancy and to predict parturition are crucial. During three pregnancies, including a stillbirth, progestin levels in plasma of a female Indian elephant, kept at the Kobe Municipal Oji Zoo, were measured using a rapid enzyme immunoassay system without extraction. Similar progestin profiles were observed in the three pregnancies. During the first 9 weeks of each conception, rising of progestin to a peak similar to those of regular estrus cycles was observed, progestin levels decreased thereafter, but not to a baseline, and then increased. This hormone level change might be useful to predict pregnancy in Asian elephants. Subsequently, during mid- to late-pregnancy, progestin levels showed a bimodal pattern declined in the middle and then increased slightly again. During the late portion of the third observed pregnancy, daily measurement of progestin in fresh plasma samples showed a rapid decrease to a baseline level four days prior to the parturition. The zoo elephant keepers could predict subsequent parturition.
Cases of suspected parapoxvirus infection were observed in wild Japanese serows (Capricornis crispus) in different areas of Hakusan in Ishikawa Prefecture in 2008. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequence analyses were conducted, and a specific 594-bp fragment was amplified by parapoxvirus-specific PCR from the lesions of two serows from distinct areas within the Prefecture. Parapoxviruses were isolated from the lesions of two serows and were identified as orf virus, designated IJS081 and IJS087. Partial sequences of the viral envelope gene were determined from the isolated IJSO81 and IJS087. The sequences were identical to each other and to the orf virus S-1 strain that was isolated from a Japanese serow in the neighboring Gifu Prefecture in 1985. These results suggest that the infections in Japanese serows in different areas of Hakusan were caused by the same or genetically similar orf virus. Moreover, the sequence of the viral envelope gene in orf viruses in Japanese serows in this area seems to have been stable for more than 20 years.
Coronavirus infections in raccoons in Hokkaido, Japan, were identified by serological analysis of 379 serum samples. In the virus neutralization tests, the antibody for transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV), a group I coronavirus, was detected in 11 (3%) serum samples, which were further tested for canine coronavirus (CCoV), and 5 sera showed positive results. The antibody for bovine coronavirus (BCoV), a group II coronavirus, was not detected in any of the serum samples. These results indicate an infection of group I coronaviruses in the feral raccoons in Hokkaido, Japan.
The morphology and distribution of the lingual papillae in the Indian flying fox was observed under scanning electron microscopy. The tongue was elongated with a sharpened apex that was 4.8-5.7cm in length and 1.2-1.5cm in width. The tongue was covered by mechanical papillae, fungiform papillae and three vallate papillae. Mechanical papillae can be divided into five types; scale-like, giant trifid, crown-like, large crown-like and conical papillae. The results of the study on the Indian lying fox showed a unique pattern of the distribution of the lingual papillae. In particular the giant trifid papillae were a unique charactaeristic of the Megachiropteran.
A survey of chemical immobilization of small Asian mongoose (Herpestes javanicus) on Okinawajima Island was conducted from June 2003 to August 2004. Pentobaribital sodium, medetomidine, ketamine or medetomidine-ketamine mixture was compared. Pentobarbital sodium (n=40) was found to be good for immobilization of mongoose over a wide dosage range (24.6mg/kg-66.7mg/kg). Medetomidine at three kinds of dosage (0.1mg/kg, 0.5mg/kg, 1.5mg/kg) and ketamine at a kind of dosage (70mg/kg) were not suitable due to unstable effect on immobilization when they were used alone. The mixture of medetomidine-ketamine in the ratios of 0.1mg/kg: 26.5mg/kg, 0.65mg/kg: 18.9mg/kg and 0.09mg/kg: 26.5mg/kg produced induction at 10.5±4.6, 5.2±2.3 and 5.2±2.2min, respectively. The mongooses (n=38) were administered atipamezole at the dosage of 0.2mg/kg, and achieved recovery at 28.3±18.6, 73.7±57.4 and 11.6±12.1min, respectively. It was concluded that a medetomidine-ketamine mixture of 0.9mg/kg: 26.5mg/kg was the most effective for the immobilization of mongoose.
At the Kobe Municipal Oji Zoo, a female giant panda was artificially inseminated three times during the estrous period of 2007 using fresh and refrigerated semen. Urinary concentrations of estrone-3-glucuronide were monitored to estimate the appropriate time for artificial insemination. Urinary concentrations of pregnanediol-3-glucuronide (PdG) were monitored to determine luteal function and to estimate the timing of delivery or end of pseudopregnancy. During late pregnancy period, the urinary PdG showed large oscillations which was not shown in the previous 6 years. The female occurred stillbirth in 9 days after the rupture of fetal membranes, that is on 137 days after the last artificial insemination.
An immature male raccoon (Procyon lotor) with severe mange was captured at Kita-Hiroshima City, Hokkaido, Japan, on February 2005. The severe alopecia and crusting lesion were found on dorsal side of the raccoon, and mites obtained from the lesion were identified as Sarcoptes scabiei by both morphological and molecular biological methods (2nd internal transcribed spacer: ITS-2). The present case is the first record of mange caused by S. scabiei from free ranging raccoons in Japan.
Here we report on mycobacteriosis in a captive population of an endangered fish species, the Japanese rosy bitterling (Rhodeus ocellatus kurumeus), reared in Japan. In 2004, some of these fish began to show reddening and ulceration on the body surface, and scale elevation. The spleens of diseased fish exhibited white nodules of various sizes. Apparent swelling of the trunk kidney was also seen in some cases. The most prominent histopathological characteristic was the presence of granulomas, which comprised epithelioid cells, in the head and trunk kidney, spleen, heart, intestine, peritoneum, liver, gills, trunk muscles, eyes and optic brain. Numerous colonies of long and slender acid-fast rods were observed within the granulomatous lesions. The bacterial strain was identified as Mycobacterium marinum.