The objective of this 20-yr retrospective study was to review and summarize causes of mortality in the North American (NA) snow leopard population to inform and enhance animal health and husbandry practices. Pathology reports were requested from all NA zoological institutions housing snow leopards that died between 01 January 1999 and 31 December 2019. Data were reviewed and cause of death (COD) and concurrent diseases were summarized and compared by age group, organ system, and disease process. The 241 snow leopards in this report include 109 males, 130 females, and two of undetermined sex. Among them were 116 geriatric snow leopards (>15 yr), 72 adults (15–3 yr), 16 juveniles (3 yr to 2 mo), 32 neonates (2 mo to 0 days), and five fetuses (<0 days). Overall, noninfectious diseases were the most common COD across all age groups (73%). In adult and geriatric snow leopards, chronic renal disease (CRD) (38.8%) and malignant neoplasia (19.7%), including oral squamous cell carcinoma (6.4%), were a common COD. In juveniles and neonates, perinatal death and congenital diseases, including ocular coloboma (15.6%), were a common COD. Individuals with CRD were 13.5 and 4.36 times more likely to have veno-occlusive disease and cardiac fibrosis, respectively. Snow leopards with urolithiasis were 5.27 times more likely to have CRD. Infectious (14.1%) and inflammatory diseases (8.7%) for which no specific etiology was identified were less common overall and more common in juveniles and neonates (25% and 21%, respectively). Neoplasms not previously reported in snow leopards or that are generally uncommon in the veterinary literature included transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder (n = 7) and mesothelioma (n = 1).
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1 April 2021
MORTALITY REVIEW FOR THE NORTH AMERICAN SNOW LEOPARD (PANTHERA UNCIA) ZOO POPULATION FROM JANUARY 1999 TO DECEMBER 2019
Timothy A. Georoff,
Nancy A. Carpenter,