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Broder, J., MacFadden, A., Cosens, L., Rosenstein, D., & Harrison, T. (2008). Use of Positive Reinforcement Conditioning to Monitor Pregnancy in an Unanesthetized Snow Leopard
(Uncia uncia) via Transabdominal Ultrasound (Vol. 27).
Abstract: Closely monitoring snow leopard (Uncia uncia) fetal developments via transabdominal ultrasound, with minimal stress to the animal, was the goal of this project. The staff at Potter Park Zoo has used the principles of habituation, desensitization, and positive reinforcement to train a female snow leopard (U. uncia). Ultrasound examinations were preformed on an unanesthetized feline at 63 and 84 days. The animal remained calm and compliant throughout both procedures. Fetuses were observed and measured on both occasions. The absence of anesthesia eliminated components of psychologic and physiologic stress associated with sedation. This was the first recorded instance of transabdominal ultrasound being carried out on an unanesthetized snow leopard. It documents the feasibility of detecting pregnancy and monitoring fetal development via ultrasound.
Keywords: desensitization; fetal development; operant conditioning; pregnancy detection; primiparous; snow leopard; zoo