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Squirrel Monkey Nursery SOPs

Nursery Selection Criteria

All newborn squirrel monkeys found off their dam are to be evaluated by the clinical veterinarian.

If the animal shows no signs of serious injury or clinical disease, the veterinarian may decide to attempt to reunite the infant with its dam. The following sequence of events should be followed:

  • Attempt to reunite the newborn animal with the awake dam, first in a maternity cage, then in an individual cage

  • Attempt to reunite the newborn animal with the anesthetized dam in an individual cage

  • Attempt to foster the newborn on females with a successful history of fostering and/or with a recent stillbirth or abortion

If all attempts to reunite the infant with its dam or foster parent fail, the clinical veterinarian will determine if the infant has a reasonable chance for survival under nursery conditions. 

If the clinical veterinarian decides that the animal will not thrive in the nursery, the animal is to be euthanized.

If the animal is placed into the nursery, the following approach is to be taken to wean the infant from hand-feedings to bottle feedings as soon as possible:

  1. A daily weight and temperature is to be taken and recorded before feeding until the animal is weaned from hand feeding.

  2. Formula is to be offered by bottle from the first day the infant enters the nursery.

  3. Prior to each hand-feeding, place the infant next to the bottle and gently touch the bottle nipple to the infant's lips to express a drop of formula.

  4. If the infant shows interest in drinking from the bottle, assist the infant by holding it in position.

  5. Do not force the infant to drink from the bottle.

  6. Avoid getting formula into the infant's nose.

  7. Note on the feeding record if the infant drinks from the bottle.

Refer to Standard Operating Procedures for Newborn Squirrel Monkeys for related information.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center