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Open Access Use of Desferoxamine and S-Adenosylmethionine to Treat Hemochromatosis in a Red Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata ruber)

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Hemochromatosis was diagnosed in a 14-year-old, male, red ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata ruber) on the basis of abnormal results of serum biochemical analysis, including high serum ferritin and transferrin saturation values, and of liver biopsy. Therapy included chelation, using desferoxamine to remove excess iron and S-adenosylmethionine to improve liver function, and monthly peripheral blood removal by phlebotomy to reduce total body iron content. Response to treatment was assessed by changes in the lemur's attitude and appetite, as well as variations in serum biochemical and iron panel values. Initial improvement was associated with the onset of therapy. After 56 days of treatment, results of serum biochemical analysis indicated a decrease in iron panel values Treatment was temporarily discontinued from days 56 to 65, and the lemur's condition worsened, so therapy was re-instituted. However, the lemur died of hepatocellular carcinoma on day 110 of treatment.

Document Type: Case Report

Affiliations: Smithsonian National Zoological Park, 3001 Connecticut Avenue, North West, Washington, D.C. 20008-2598

Publication date: February 1, 2004

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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