Prior facility affects alopecia in adulthood for rhesus macaques

Am J Primatol. 2017 Jan;79(1):1-9. doi: 10.1002/ajp.22551. Epub 2016 Apr 28.


Alopecia has proven to be a persistent problem for captive macaques; many cases continue to elude explanations and effective treatments. Although almost all captive populations exhibit alopecia rates higher than those seen in the wild, there also appear to be wide ranges in rates reported across primate facilities. In this study we looked at alopecia ratings for rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) obtained from five primary suppliers and currently housed at the Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC). There were significant differences in alopecia ratings based on prior facility, despite the fact that animals had left their prior facilities at least 10 months previously and 60% had left more than 2 years previously. Possible explanations for the facility effect may include longer than anticipated time lines for alopecia amelioration, early experience effects, and genetic contributions. Our results should provide a cautionary note for those evaluating alopecia, treatments for alopecia, and the current environments of alopecic animals. It is possible that not all alopecia is caused, or can be ameliorated, by changes in the immediate environment. Am. J. Primatol. 79:e22551, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords: amelioration; environment; hair regrowth; sex differences.

MeSH terms

  • Alopecia / veterinary*
  • Animals
  • Environment
  • Housing, Animal*
  • Macaca mulatta*
  • Monkey Diseases*